Category: Politics & Social Issues Page 2 of 7
Just a little over a day is left when we’ll be celebrating Independence Day. The 70th Independence Day!
If I were in school, the practice for a patriotic group song or a speech in remembrance of our Freedom movement would be what everyone would be looking at. And not to forget sweets at the end of the program. I also remember heading over to the nearby Police Station with dada to get the sweet packet from. No problems in admitting that sweets were the only motivation for the visit to the local thana.
The last time I attended Independence Day celebration, it was in 2013, when I was still a student. Although thanks to the National Anthem being played in theatres, singing the national anthem has become synonymous with movie-watching. Of course, there is no harm in standing up for less than a minute to sing along our National Anthem. And even if there was, we should just shut up. Who knows a hyper-nationalist sitting next to you might kick you out of the theatre, right?
This fear isn’t limited to a closed theatre only. Posting anything against this holier-than-thou government and their actions, might land you a few abuses, a long-never-ending argument and maybe even a trip down to the local police station. Even if I wouldn’t like to believe that, all the relatives and family friends on my timeline, make sure to tell my mother about the possibility of it.
When will we get the freedom from thi fear?
If people of the stature of Hamid Ansari can be targeted for speaking about this ‘fear’ among the minorities, then who the hell am I? I’ll be bulldozed by a mob or my inbox filled with hate! And no, I don’t even need that goddamn Sararara app for it!
Remember that time when Aamir Khan opened his mouth and got branded as an anti-national? (I had written about that here: http://reveringthoughts.com/2015/…/24/intolerance-reactions/) and if we can just change Aamir Khan with Hamid Ansari, I’ll still hold true. The reaction to the statements about Intolerance is actually proof of where we stand. This has become such a routine thing that the irony died a long time back. The backlash multiplies if you happen to have a Muslim name.
After 2 days, I’m certain to find out skull-cap-donning kids with the Indian Flag from across the country to reiterate our patriotism all over my Timeline. Frankly, only when we don’t have to show or share such images, then I’d be truly proud.
The expectation from the majority that we have to ‘show’ our loyalty is the saddest thing to witness on a day when our country got independence. Of course, how optimist I would like myself to be, I know that things are not going to change. Especially with the current narrative being pushed through mainstream media and the thousands of paid trolls.
Anyway, all of this isn’t something new and of course, there’ll be another version of this after a few months. The divide between communities and ideologies will keep on increasing.
Remember that time when we used to say, ‘Sab neta chor hain’ and almost everyone used to agree on that almost unanimously? Now, can you say that? Now, only the Congress Netas are corrupt, regional parties not with BJPee are minority-appeasement parties (as if that’s a bad thing), and only BJPee can do Vikas.
After all, 3 saalon me bas vikas hi hua hai. Hai na ?
I’ll admit it upfront that I liked it when Nitish Kumar broke up his alliance with BJP and decided to go solo in his previous term. I loved how pulled up a Naveen Patnaik in order to become the face of Bihar. Brand Bihar.
Of course, with the ‘2014 wave’ still a phenomenon, it would have been difficult for Nitish to hold onto his seat. The elections, if fought alone by JD(U), would have suffered the consequences of incumbency. People, the world over, are pretty impatient.
Call it the fight to survive or ‘masterstroke’, the mahagatbandhan proved to be necessary. The ‘Grand Alliance’ or the ‘Gatbandhan’ helped seal a victory for him.
Notwithstanding the corruption charges, Lalu Prasad’s RJD commands a sizeable loyal vote bank among Yadavs and Muslims. And even though Congress hasn’t been quite the favorite in many of the Indian States, let alone Bihar, the BJP-fearing population still sides with the grand old party. And the calculations proved right. Nitish as the face of the Gatbandhan, an anti-BJP front, and Voila! Victory. Let’s leave the argument of whether Nitish would have won or not, had it not been for the alliance, for later.
Now, there will be people who loved Nitish when he was with BJP, hated when he went against and have started loving him since he’s back with them. Of course, the section which hated him for being with BJP, started loving him briefly and now would be back to square 1. Do you fall in any of these two categories and are trying to reason as to which side you’re on?
Nitish is a clever politician. Has always been, will always be. They don’t refer him as Chanakya for no reason. I won’t be surprised if he breaks away from BJP once more. And why should we single out Nitish? How is Mayawati, the supposed Dalit leader, any different? She was one of those who advocated for Modi after 2002! But hey, political-alliance-memory is short-lived and almost everyone has backtracked their views. Leave aside their views on policies and reforms, views of politicians about another change as frequently as the next season. There are no permanent Bandhans here.
Now, let me now go back to the vote for Mahagatbhandhan. Was that vote against BJP or not? If yes, then do you think this new combination is like going against people’s original vote?
Oh, don’t look for my views on this. It doesn’t matter. What matters is how you perceive it. My political predictions rely more on what people should be ideally doing rather than they actually do. Hence, mostly wrong.
If a good marketing campaign appears to change the perception of Yogi Adityanath, which even includes his Kurta and his barber, then anything can be done! Our media works over time if propaganda comes with corporate piggy banks like cherries on top.
Regional party-dominance is the only reason that BJP has not been able to crack many of the states. Up until now, at least.
Of course, they’re pretty determined to make that happen. If you want to know which states are their focus, all you need to do is keep an eye on ‘riots’ being covered by mainstream media. Ring a few bells?
Just watching the protest telecast from across the country is so selfishly reassuring. I know that a lot of people, entirely unrelated to each other, felt the pain of a 16-year old being lynched to death. But I feared that it’ll subside and dissolve in the loud noise of a series of debates and social media hashtags. This being translated into a protest by people across cities speaks. Speaks louder than the TRP-driven television debates.
To all those who went out there to protest on #NotinMyName, a very heartfelt Thank you. This means a lot to me and many other Muslims who feel scared of what’s been happening for a while. And no, I have no shame in admitting that I did felt scared. The usual joy that Eid brings with itself was missing and was replaced with the uncomfortable silence and fear.
To those who did not go out (for various reason) but wanted to, I’m thankful to you as well. Your sense of solidarity and mere acknowledgment that whatever is happening in the name of mob lynchings isn’t right, gives us hope. Hence, thank you.
It would mean a lot if this movement brings at least a little dent to the non-sporadic cycle of violence, but this isn’t easy and I’d be a fool to wish for a quick-fix to the divide among communities. This division is not new and has exploded from time to time. However, the institutional support and legitimacy to the violence were not so visibly lent by the administration in such a large scale (and for such elongated length of time) as is evident now.
I’ve constantly asked myself as to where this hate comes from? How different would be the teaching in someone else’s home than mine? Distinctions at my home stopped at ‘how we should greet people’. A namaste to a hello to a salam. We’d happily mix it up to say ‘Salam’ to a very dear Sitamma Nani at my Ammi’s hometown and say Namaste to an Anglo-Indian Fernandes Dada when he’d come over to meet his friend (my dada). And each of them would happily reply back with a big smile on their face.
I’m afraid every time my little brother goes out of Jamshedpur or when my father wanted to visit Surat in Gujarat sometime back. Both of them sport a beard and place a skull cap; along with the traditional kurta pyjama. I don’t want to fear this. I want everyone to travel as much as I do, but I cannot get over the fear that it entails. This fear only manifolds itself even more with every lynching incident. There have been 18 so far in the last 22 months!
Understandably, many protests like this #NotInMyName or the Black band protest on Eid might seem like the liberal show-off, but to a Scared Muslims like me, this gives us hope that we are not alone.
Thank you again to all those who went out and to those who supported them.
How do you feel when you hear the news of someone being killed in a terrorist attack ? Or an attack by Cow-Vigilates ? Or restrictions imposed by one religion on others ?
If your reaction is not a uniform outrage, then you need to reason yourself why it isn’t so. Reason hard, my friend.
And if you do get outraged over the acts of these lunatics, then hey! Welcome to the club!
The common connection that binds these attacks is the mindset. The mindset which thinks that they are ‘doing the right thing’.
Be it the terrorists who kill innocent people or the lynch mob that kills people for eating beef, transporting cows and in future maybe even looking at cows, are the same. If you still cannot see the distinction then, I’ll again advice you to reason with yourself as to why they are different.
There is no sense of guilt when people commit these crimes. In their head, they are doing ‘what is right or that they’re carrying out God’s work.
And this thought process is not about ‘religion’. The people who actually carry out these activities don’t know much about their own religion. All they do is follow someone. It wouldn’t be wrong to add ‘blindly’ as the appropriate adjective for that.
Even when their conscience pulls them away from doing something inhumane, it is by following their supposed ‘leaders’ that they embark on the ‘right’ path.
I had talked about the ‘credibility’ of people whom we follow and how that can harm us in an earlier post. It is quite critical to allow ourselves to be exposed to new information. To make ourselves open to experiences beyond what we’ve always known to be right.
I’ve shared numerous restaurant tables with people where someone’s having a beer, or bacon, while I’m eating beef. Sure, I don’t like the idea of alcohol and I won’t drink it myself. But should I beat someone up for drinking ? Or should someone do the same because I eat beef ?
It all comes down to just one thing. Freedom to choose. Choosing to eat, wear, speak whatever one wants.
Sure, if there’s something that offends anyone, there has to be respect provided for it too. Forcing others to accept your choice is wrong and there’s no two-ways about it.
We all have to learn to accommodate others in our lives. It can mean certain compromises too but that’s how a civil society functions and thrives.
Concept of one-rule-applies-to-all doesn’t work in a multi-cultural democracy like ours.
The country does not belong to one community. The country does not speak any one language. The country does not eat just one type of food.
You don’t have to agree with others’ choices but learn to accept it.
I wrote 2 years back on ‘Why I’m not sorry that I eat beef’ Looking back at it now, it seems to be a post filled with anger and something that I used as a medium to vent out the frustration.
And yet, we are again back in the beef-talk!
Of course, it just doesn’t stop there. Meerut’s mayor says, singing ‘Vande Mataram’ is compulsory to stay in India.
There’s an actual ’Anti- Romeo-squad’ working in Uttar Pradesh, ensuring ‘safety’ of women.
If you thought 2014 was ‘shocking’ then perhaps there was more to come. Someone who is okay with ‘Muslim women should be taken out from graves and raped’, believes inter-religious marriages are ‘love jihad’ and has a series of hate speeches to his credit, is now the Chief Minister of the most populated state of our country. But then were the standards any high?
At least, Yogi Ji has a degree that he can actually show to people.
Believe me, with the kind of PR already being done, from breakfast menu to hair-cut, a hashtag campaign with #AdityanathFor2024 isn’t far away. I mean the mere thought of Muslims taking over the population of 65% population of Hindus while the Christian Missionaries support them in converting, is enough for people to Vote!
Of course, this isn’t Vote Bank Politics. Nor is it Majority-appeasement.
Some of you must be thinking, all of this to be minor incidents blown out of proportion and all of this is just my paranoia. You know what, I’d be really happy if this is so. I would actually be happy to be proven wrong.
But the fact is, even if things go wrong, it’ll become ‘normal’. Just as Vajpayee became ‘less communal’ because of ‘Advani’ and then ‘Advani’ became secular because of ‘Modi’, over time, Adityanath with his ‘development’ and ‘progress’ in UP will become the new Normal.
For good reasons, I hope that all my fears are proven wrong. But then!
“…to accept it (this truth) is to recognize that every culture contains itself its own doom unless it pays as much attention to the education of the mass of mankind as to the education of the exceptionally gifted people” –Professor Hogden in Mathematics for the million, London, 1942