To talk of an India of Mahatma’s dream while paying endless obeisance to Golwalker in deeds is a joke that the monster gets well, laughs at it heartily and goes back to the job that it has been created for. Meanwhile, it’s business as usual for the bhakts!
AAZEEN KIRMANI | Caravan Daily
THE DAY after India’s civil society registered its massive disapproval of fast spiralling attacks and lynching of Muslims (under the banner of ‘Not in my Name’), Prime Minister Narendra Modi, rather unexpectedly broke the constipated silence he had maintained on the issue over the past three years.
Let it be noted that ever since the Modi government took reins at the Center in 2014, Muslims and Dalits have been a constant target of cow protection squads which have so far butchered more than two dozen Muslims, accusing them of cow slaughter/beef consumption.
However, unlike his August 2016 dramatic disapproval of atrocities against the Dalits in which he had famously asked to be shot and killed instead of his Dalit brothers, Modi did not invite any tenders to lynch him in place of his Muslim brothers.
Instead, this time around, he invoked Mahatma Gandhi and condemned the ongoing attacks in the following words: “As a society, there is no place for violence……Killing people in the name of ‘gau bhakti’ (cow worship) is not acceptable. This is not something Mahatma Gandhi would approve……..We are a land of Mahatma Gandhi. Why do we forget that? …….Today I want to say a few words and express sadness on some of the things going on….. Violence never has and never will solve any problem. No person in this nation has the right to take the law in his or her own hands…. Let us all work together. Let’s create the India of Mahatma Gandhi’s dreams…..Let’s create an India our freedom fighters will be proud of,”
While many of us rushed to congratulate ourselves at the profound and immediate impact of the protests, the foot soldiers of Hindu Rashtra saw no need to retreat or treat his words with any respect. Within a few hours of the Prime Minister’s speech a man called Alimuddin alias Asgar Ansari was beaten to death by a mob in Jharkhand’s Ramgarh on the accusation of carrying beef. The Director General of Jharkhand Police R K Mallik conveniently dismissed it as “premeditated murder.”
Can a monster after being fed on venom for years and decades and unleashed in the last three years with tactical silence be reined in by mere words? It very well knows what the liberal optimist does not know — that the Prime Minister cannot possibly expect the monster to heed his words.
To talk of an India of Mahatma’s dream while paying endless obeisance to Golwalker in deeds is a joke that the monster gets well, laughs at it heartily and goes back to the job that it has been created for. Meanwhile it is business as usual for the bhakts. Until the next lynching, followed by empty words, that is!
Aazeen F Kirmani is a Hyderabad-based writer. She tweets at @afkirmani