& occasionally about other things, too...

Sunday, July 30, 2017

Modi's India - II

The angry “Hindu”

Modi’s unbridled popularity and achievements should have ensured perennial exultation by his supporters of their leader’s unparalleled success.

That, however, is not the case. On the contrary, it’s claimed that large sections of the majority Hindu community in India are angry. Very angry. Logically, there is really no cause for the “Hindu” to be so angry. After all, a government that is totally committed to the “Hindu” is in power and is likely to be in power for the foreseeable future. Moreover, many of its policies are all tailored to assuage the majority religion.

It’s this “Hindu” anger that has set India on fire and has had the minorities scampering for cover.  If we believe the proponents of the militant Hindutva ideology, the “Hindu” is angry with all Indian minorities (both religious and caste-based). But he is especially angry with the Muslims, for many reasons, but mainly because they eat beef and have the azaan on the public address systems early in the morning. I was emphatically told that the “Hindu” is angry with the liberal left also because they have scuttled the rise of true nationalism in India and have dominated the public discourse with issues that are inimical to the “Hindu” interests.

The angry “Hindu” has made it impossible in India for anyone to consume beef, and it’d be pertinent to remember that beef is consumed not just by the Muslims and Christians but also by Hindu Dalits. Laws have been and are being passed in several Indian states which penalise the consumption of beef. The Indian government has banned the sale and purchase of cattle from animal markets for slaughter. The incumbent chief minister of Gujarat, the state which propelled Modi to power in Delhi, has proclaimed that it is his fervent desire to turn Gujarat into a vegetarian state.

According to an estimate, 26 people have been lynched to death because they were suspected to have either consumed beef or suspected of intending to massacre cows. This includes a callow 15-year-old Haryanvi lad Junaid who was lynched by a mob at Delhi while returning home from Eid shopping. The resulting uproar which included impromptu #NotInMyName rallies across India and brought the enraged but largely impotent saner elements of the Indian society out on the streets in several cities. The uproar, however, was short-lived and the lynching incidents have continued sporadically.

What I found shocking was the process of normalisation of such an unacceptable proposition. During my stay, I saw newspapers publishing laudatory news features on “scientists” who had developed kits that can detect and differentiate cow’s meat from other varieties of red meat. It’d appear that nobody in the media or in the public domain even thinks it is necessary or relevant to ask whether Indians can be so brazenly deprived of their right to choose their diet. 

The Dalits are the other group of minorities that have seen rising violence against them all across India, and especially in Gujarat. It suits the leadership to remain quiet about such issues. When it does speak, it equivocates. 

No comments:

Post a Comment