Thursday, October 15, 2015

Fight for all the wrong reasons

I can't believe that it has been over a year since I put up a post of any sort in here. When asked by people who know I write, I quoted the usual 'laziness' excuse of not having time. But then some things happen that just push you forth to put those thoughts out there, for if you don't your head will burst or something. Or maybe not. These past few days there has been a slew of events in India, which have been inexplicably sad/ tragic and most definitely unfortunate. But my post is not condemning an idiotic act of lynching someone in 2015 (This is not Salem Massachusetts in 1692, please). And it certainly is not expressing my anger at the murder of a renowned, liberal scholar. I can already sense a lot of people shutting their browsers, because I am not protesting the 'rising religious intolerance and attack on freedom of expression'. But like I said, if I didn't put this out there, my head would burst or some such. Or maybe not.

Now, a bunch of idiots lynched a man in Dadri in 2015 for having allegedly consumed beef. I cannot even begin to express my shock at the super regression in time our people have made. One of the most ahead-of-its-time countries in the BCE, this particular event in UP certainly makes even a person of average intelligence sit up and be like 'WHAT THE HECK!!' A liberal scholar decided to voice his views on idol worship using terms like one can urinate on idols if he so wished and so on. He received death threats for such views and a couple of idiots murdered him. The murderers were allegedly Hindu fundamentalists.

Now that is the context. Let me be clear. I am not condoning murder. Murder for any reason is a crime and must be met with the swiftest of punishments. But returning awards conferred by the Sahitya Akademi is not making any statement, in my humble opinion. For one, the Akademi is a non-political body. By forcing it to take a stand, the authors are forcing a neutral entity to become non-neutral. Second, the protest is against 'rising religious intolerance and attack on freedom of expression'. So Salman Rushdie freely expressed his opinion in Satanic Verses. Taslima Nasreen freely expressed her opinions as well. They all met with fervent opposition from fundamentalists. Would anyone be able to express opinions of using the holy book of a certain green religion for sanitation purposes and live to tell the tale? No, because members of the said religion have made their view abundantly clear that they take no prisoners. Fundamentalists exist everywhere, and I see no reason to deal with some religions with kid gloves. Nobody can be sure to control the few lunatics that take religion literally, who are too dim to understand the metaphysical implications of religion. So expressing your anger at those people, is not achieved by politicizing a neutral body.

The way society stacks up today, minute the alleged perpetrator is saffron, communalism comes in. People lose sight of the real issue and choose communal rhetoric. Politicians get a new story to cover up their governance failures and the people also fall prey to the rhetoric.

So I do not agree with the reason behind the protest. I do not want to go into the 'free publicity' angle that many are raising. If instead the protest had been against failing law and order, I would support the movement. If the protest had been against communalization of every issue in India, yes, I would have supported it wholeheartedly. The government is responsible to provide a strong law and order mechanism and there they have failed. But turning it into a 'bash Modi' scheme, just because he is from a party whose color is saffron, in my opinion, is incorrect. As members of a democracy, people have all the right to protest. But against the state of what the Government is supposed to provide. Not against the same old battered and bruised communal agenda that has been the favorite of political speech writers in India.

As for the intelligent people of India, there really is nothing wrong in being a majority religion of a country. In fact, what religion you practice or don't practice has nothing to do with being an Indian. So protest for the right reasons. Not for the reason that gets instant media publicity.