Anti-CAA Protests, Delhi Riots, Tablighi Jamaat, Now Palghar Lynching: Anger Should Give Way To Analysis, Action
A sense of defeat and despondency is taking over as Indians realise more is same than different compared to before as far as Hindu-hate is concerned
As painful as the last five months have been, they also provide a great opportunity to learn, reset and reinvigorate the Indic movement
The last five months have been difficult for Indians.
December and January saw anti-CAA protests full of violence, hate and Islamist-supremacist rhetoric— from ‘kaafiro se Aazadi’, ‘Bas Nam Rahega Allah Ka’ to ‘Gandhi the greatest fascist’ and ‘cut off Assam from India’ — over a restrained legislation that barely comforts the Indic communities subjected to intense persecution.
The logical culmination of this hate was the northeast Delhi riot in February that left over 50 persons dead.
The mainstream media, of course, ignored the anti-CAA leaders’ hate speeches, blatant fear-mongering, and the economic blockade by the protesters that brought common people to the brink.
Blatant propaganda to push the “anti-Muslim pogrom” narrative followed.
It is visible in the Wikipedia entry on the riots where Kapil Mishra’s “Gaddaron ko goli maro” (shoot the traitors) finds a mention as the primary instigation, but AAP MLA Amanatullah Khan’s “they will ban loudspeakers on mosques and burqa”, another AAP leader’s comment invoking Battle of Badr when the infidels were massacred, are missing.
- "We will burn the whole country and reduce to rubble the private property of the whole city”
- “We are that qaum that if we decide to destroy, we will not leave anyone. We can destroy any country. This is the level of anger, this is the level of emotions..”
- “Don’t Muslims have even that much haisiyat to close down north India?”
- “In chadda-chaddi walo ko, goli maro salo ko” (shoot the RSS men)
- “Jinnah wali Aazadi”
and other similar comments were found too innocuous as compared to Kapil Mishra’s to be mentioned.
The country was still recovering from the riots when the Covid-19 pandemic hit.
Predictions of doom filled the newspapers. On 24 March, the government ordered a nationwide lockdown.
India was busy preparing the testing and quarantine facilities, PPE kits, masks and information campaign to educate people about the virus, hoping to flatten the curve, when Tablighi Jamaat Delhi event came to light.
The National Security Adviser had to be flown in at 2 am to convince the chief of the Jamaat to allow testing of the attendees.
The event was organised in violation of a Delhi government order.
Tablighi Jamaat emerged as a super spreader, but what followed was even more shocking — attacks on policemen and health workers, molestation of nurses, intentionally defecating, urinating in the hallways, spitting to spread the disease, stonepelting etc.
Mediapersons were threatened, slapped with legal notice, and a man in Uttar Pradesh was murdered for criticising the Jamaat; people informing authorities about congregations were beaten, intimidated.
A look into the Tablighi Jamaat’s past and Maulana Saad’s speeches revealed the kafir-hate ideology as the motivation behind such acts.
Since the beginning of the pandemic, the religious preachers had been branding the virus a weapon of Allah to punish the kafirs; and the lockdown a conspiracy to drive Muslims away from their religion.
An influential preacher in West Bengal was caught on camera hoping that the virus kills up to 50 crore in India amidst cheers from the crowd.
Such unimportant details were, of course, skipped by the mainstream media, and soon, “Islamophobia in India” was the focus.
Nobody, from media-persons to politicians, criticised the kafir-hate ideology preached by religious leaders.
Compare this to the swift police action against men for simply putting “Hindu” on the banners of their private shops, installing saffron-flag on their private properties because it was “hurting others’ religious sentiments”, and for making jokes on Tablighi Jamaat.
A concreted campaign to harass Hindus working in Islamic nations began alongside the campaign to scare Hindu shopkeepers into removing religious symbols from their private shops,
The kafirs were only in the middle of being shamed for being bigoted when another tragedy hit.
On 16 April, two saffron-clad sadhus along with their driver were lynched to death by a mob outside Gandchinchle village, 125 kilometres from Mumbai in Maharashtra — in front of the policemen.
A video of the gruesome act showed a 70-year-old sadhu clinging to policeman’s hand and the latter throwing him to the mob.
The fact that Palghar is a hotbed of Christian missionaries who have a long history of abusing Hinduism, spreading hate against nomadic sadhus who are the major bulwark against conversion, even getting them killed, was brushed under the carpet.
The same mediapersons who find the mention of Tablighi Jamaat in Covid-19 reports Islamophobic didn’t spare a second to highlight the "tribal" identity of the perpetrators.
We have seen media portals using pictures of Hindus, saffron colour and other tactics to hide the Muslim or Christian identity of the perpetrators, especially when reporting the cases of discrimination and superstition (link 1, link 2, link 3, link4).
This time, the Sadhus born in Brahmin families were fashioned as “nomadic tribals who have nothing to do with Hinduism”.
The work is now underway to disguise the lynching as the murder of two “outsiders” by the tribals who are fiercely protective of their territory and culture, as they should be, except, of course, a book, a god and a church from 4,000 miles away.
Apart from the gruesome nature of the crimes, there are two major pain-points—
First, despite repeat embarrassment and exposes (link1, link2, link3, link4, link5, link6), the Left intellectuals confidently carried on the propaganda, making it clear that the Indian people don’t hold any influence on them.
Understandable given the underlying structure of local left-global left-imperialist alliance.
Even so, it was a new low when the the nurses who had accused Tabhlighi Jamaat patients of molestation were called liars because ‘religious Jamaatis just won’t do it’; when a leading news portal published a false statement attributed to riot-victim Ankit Sharma’s family members; when the news channels tried to paint the lynched Sadhus as ‘thieves’, and a journalist found a way to blame Hinduism over the incident.
Not that such attempts go unchallenged.
But social media is no match for the institutionalised narrative building. By design, the content on social media is fast-moving and ephemeral. There is not the kind of accretion required to build a potent alternative.
The pushback from the organised right-wing voices proved less than enough and the Left ultimately succeeded in setting the narrative.
The most unnerving of all is the fact that all of this is happening when the right-wing is at a historical high point.
A “Hindu nationalist” party is ruling at the centre with a thumping 303-seat majority. Unlike before, we have some right-to-centre portals like Swarajya.
Still, Indians are finding out more is same than different as far as normalisation and minimisation of Hindu-hate is concerned.
A wave of disenchantment against BJP-RSS as well as the right-wing intellectual leadership is visible — who can protect us when even a party that we gave full-majority to cannot? Who can give us a voice if the intellectuals who we look up to cannot?
There is a sense of defeat, despondency and confusion in the right-wing circles.
However, as painful as the last five months have been, they also provide a great opportunity to learn, reset and reinvigorate the Indic movement.
A movement doesn’t succeed because of a political party, media or intellectuals. It succeeds because of good ideas, good people and good planning, in that order.
Political power is an important factor in a movement’s success, but political parties can only be expected to implement, not produce good ideas. Moreover, in a democracy like ours, political power is more about continuity than change.
It is time the right-wing takes a long-hard look at its goals, roadblocks and the steps necessary for the movement’s success.
In a series of articles, we will analyse the common thread that runs through the anti-CAA protests, Delhi riots, Tablighi Jamaat fiasco and Palghar lynching — the Christian-Islamic imperialism.
In 1947, Indian Independence Act ended the explicit political rule of the British, and Partition created a separate Muslim homeland to the satisfaction of the Muslims who considered it beneath them to be ruled by their former subjects.
However, the psychological, cultural, social and economic dimensions of the foreign rule continue to subjugate us.
In the first article, we will investigate the form and character of contemporary imperialism, and the factors that enabled not just continuation but strengthening of imperial forces in independent India.
Next, we will try to come up with some concrete steps to expose and overturn the colonial legacy, including legal-constitutional safeguards.
We will also set expectations and standards of accountability for the right wing leadership — political or intellectual — to ensure that our leaders don’t just ride the wave of the anger of the people, but make efforts to channelise it into something productive.
Lastly, we will also look at the steps we need to take to ensure the long-term success of the Indic movement.
Along the way, we will discover that we aren’t alone, nor are we starting from zero.
The stalwarts of the Indian National Movement are with us, and have dealt with a lot of the same questions that we are dealing with today.
We shall also look at the struggles of the subjugated peoples all around the world, the different ways they dealt with it, and the outcomes.
Israel and Pakistan, both nations were formed by bringing people from different cultures together on the basis of religion, but followed a very different trajectory.
The Chinese followed another trajectory. Japan and South Korea, yet another.
A look at these will help us understand our own story better.
To conclude, yes, the intellectuals are silent; the media is silent; the government is silent. Yes, the global community is also silent on Hindu-hate.
But all that matters is whether we speak up or not. Anger should give way to analysis and action.
There’s a famous saying — never let a crisis go waste.
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