From Karnataka, to Gujarat, to UP, to MP, What’s Going on to the Human Beings of Our Country

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Hindutva activists threatening Muslim shopkeepers in Uttar Pradesh against giving service to Hindu women. — Twitter photo

SIGNS OF THE TIMES

Humra Quraishi

NAH, I am not going to wait till December 10, World Human Rights Day, to detail the horrific human rights violations ongoing here, in our country, in these current times, where the actual or the official killers are seldom caught and nailed. It’s the un-official ones and those labeled ‘sympathisers’ who get hounded and harassed to such an extent that they sit ruined for generations to come.

Mind you, the prime accused in the Lakhimpur Kheri killings couldn’t really flee because of the tremendous pressure put forth by the opposition leaders and also by the farmer leaders; otherwise, Ashish Mishra and his father, Ajay Mishra, who happens to be MOS Home, had come up with all possible alibis and false narratives for his son’s non-involvement in those killings.

With this in the background it is no mathematical quiz to not comprehend the basic crucial ‘why’ the crime rate is on a huge high, where the culprits roam about freely and all too unperturbed about arrests. In fact, in the last one week, there’s been one incident after another of communal violence against young teenagers in the states of Karnataka and Gujarat and Madhya Pradesh but till date I have not heard any condemnation from any of the child rights forums or even from any of the ministries and commissions said to be looking after the well-being of the human being!

Details of these three incidents have been reported in the non-godi media yet no apparent outcry or condemnation! This level of apathy, when those targeted are the young — in Karnataka’s Bagalkote Muslim students were attacked and thrashed by a group of Hindutva men, for wearing skull caps in the tuition class. This incident took place just a couple of days after two madrassa students, Umar and Khizar, were beaten by a Hindutva mob in the Paldi area of Gujarat. And now news just coming in from Madhya Pradesh goes on detail that four Muslim men, including two students, were targeted by Bajrang Dal men for entering a Garba venue! Mind you, they were just not targeted by the Hindutva goons but even arrested with that stale ‘Love Jihad’ accusation thrown at them!

In fact, in these recent days one alarming incident after another of blatant human rights violations taking place in Madhya Pradesh, so much so that just days back a Muslim family in Indore’s Kampel locality (said to be the only Muslim family residing in that locality) were targeted by a Hindutva group. And when the Muslim family tried to file an FIR, a counter FIR was filed against them!

Tell me, what’s going on! To the human beings of our country!

INDIRA GOSWAMI’s ‘FIVE NOVELLAS ABOUT WOMEN’ (Niyogi Books) –

The well-known writer and commentator, Indira Goswami, passed away exactly ten years back. Winner of India’s highest literary award, the Jnanpith (2001), as well as the Sahitya Akademi Award (1983), and the Principal Prince Claus Laureate (2008), she was also an editor, poet, professor, and scholar, best known for her novels such as The Moth Eaten Howdah of the TuskerPages Stained with Blood and The Man from Chinnamasta.

Publishers Niyogi Books have recently launched Indira Goswami’s novellas. Titled, ‘Five Novellas About Women’ (translated from Assamese by Dibyajyoti Sarma). I am looking forward to reading this latest translated work of Indira Goswami, more so as I had met and interacted with her on several occasions.

This was about twenty years back, when she was teaching at the Delhi University and residing on the campus. A simply done-up, neat home with an abundance of warmth. In fact, two aspects stand out to this day, even whilst I’m keying in. Her pet dog was not just always kept far away from guests and visitors, as she would tell us that she doesn’t believe in inflicting or imposing her pets on visitors. No matter what time or day one landed at her place the dog wasn’t allowed to enter the drawing room…The other aspect was that tea and snacks and sweetmeats were served on a tray or platter and she would insist that we don’t go back hungry from her home. There was something genuinely sincere about her and the minute one entered her home she would greet with a smile, followed by the tea and snacks and then our talks would go on …nah, she wasn’t inquisitive nor curious, but then as our talks would take off there’d be much of the offloading. You know the conversation would go on …endlessly along the outpouring strain.

DO LISTEN TO WHAT SHATRUGHAN SINHA HAS TO SAY ABOUT ARYAN KHAN…and the entire case!

I make it a point to watch and hear news on NDTV. It is far away from the Godi media news, and so comes across as genuine and real news!

Just a couple of days back, I watched this bold cum frank interview of Shatrughan Sinha with NDTV’s Manoranjan Bharti, where the veteran actor said whatever he could say and comment on Aryan Khan and the drugs case and the general scenario spreading out. He said all that he could possibly say in his typical bold fearless style. No, none of the Khans would have said so much, so very openly!

Shatrughan Sinha does carry a personality. I had interviewed him just once and that was several years back when he was fighting elections, pitting against Rajesh Khanna for the New Delhi seat. I recall it was tough tracking down exercise but once that got over, the rest wasn’t too difficult … It had taken me five days to find out where Shatrughan Sinha was putting up in New Delhi and together with that, his contact telephone numbers. And finally his brother, Dr Lakhan Sinha, had given the time for the interview, at their apartment at the erstwhile controversial building, The White House (then situated close to the Mandi House complex).

And as I arrived there at the appointed time, I could meet Shatrughan Sinha in the lift itself …the lift taking us upwards to the eleventh floor where his apartment was situated. And when the interview finally took off, it was a longish interview with our differing views making it even longer but it was all very civil. No, I wasn’t apprehensive of getting thrown off from the eleventh floor because of my repeatedly questioning him for fighting on the BJP ticket.

When I had asked him why he’s with a political party which had been bringing along divisions amongst the masses he said, “I’m not communal…I don’t believe who is a Hindu or who is a Musalmaan or a Christian …just believe in Insaniyat. I have been telling my party workers to treat all communities equally.” He had even gone on to detail his friendships with Muslim families in the country and elsewhere in the world.

And as the interview went ahead, we had arguments on the BJP’s stand on the Babri Masjid and on several other sensitive issues. And even when I openly disagreed with his views or view-points, I knew I was interviewing a gentleman, who wouldn’t shriek or shout or stab or abuse!

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Humra Quraishi is a Delhi-based writer-columnist-journalist. She is also the author of several books including Kashmir: The Untold Story. The views expressed here are author’s personal.

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