Communalising heinous crimes
Giving communal tones to recent incidents of crime and protest points at a dangerous trend engulfing India
The story of Adam and Eve has always fascinated me. It is the ultimate story of vulnerability, seduction, and of course, the first betrayal. The role of Satan disguised as a snake, is equally intriguing. He is able to persuade God's second human, who is filled with holy goodness, to think thoughts they were hitherto unfamiliar. All it took for our world to exist the way we know it today (and if we accept the Biblical version) was for Eve to commit sin by taking a bite of that juicy apple. The rest is truly history.
Funny that I am using one religious allusion to write about two other religions. But such are the times we live in that one has to keep revisiting the first lessons ever taught. In an atmosphere where communal hate is naturalised and even encouraged, small groups of people remain who aren't yet hoodwinked by hard-lined, majoritarian politics. Evil has whispered its lie in many an ear, forcing the majority to fear the minority, fanning years of simmering resentment into dangerous flames of communal disharmony. And if you think these flames won't one day become the fire that dares to consume the social fabric of this nation, then you are grossly wrong.
If you're a student of history, then the examples are there for you to refer. Several world leaders such as Adolf Hitler rose by turning the majority against the minority; aided with a kind of fear psychosis that stopped all rational-thinking. And where ever politicians are not seen to be directly causing this thinking, they simply turn a blind eye and allow such an atmosphere of hate to fester.
The cruellest of all crimes has to be child abuse. What can allow such perversions to physically harm little children is inscrutable. Now to these nightmares, is the communal touch that is added with a flourish. Last year's brutal rape and murder of 8-year-old Asifa Bano in Kathua, Jammu and Kashmir scarred our souls. So, the nerves were still raw when similar reports came from Aligarh. This time the victim was little Twinkle Sharma who was mercilessly beaten for 8 hours. Though it was also found that she hadn't been raped, but, by then the damage had already been done. Certain sections purposely added a religious touch to the unfortunate incident.
Bringing religion into every crime, scuffle, and protest is becoming the order of the day. Even the government doctors' protest in Kolkata received the tag of 'Hindu-Muslim' strife. More specifically, about crimes committed by Muslims towards Hindus. Celebrities who had railed and ranted about Asifa were accused of not doing the same for Twinkle. Doctors facing patient families' anger were branded as Muslims attacking Hindu doctors. This dangerous trend is going unnoticed by most who are choosing to either remain silent at the change of the Indian polity, or are partaking of it themselves. We should allow the law to take its course and punish the perpetrators of any crime without the bias of religion clouding our minds.
Elections may be over but the poisoning of minds and hearts with communal hatred continues. And for the first time in Indian history, we are being forced to choose sides and remain dumb spectators of this social churn. While the hatred jars the senses of the tolerant, rational, and liberal, it is the acquiescence of a fast-growing unsecular culture that is most worrying. India is changing; our demands and rights are evolving. And while we can choose our political parties, are we also choosing to change our Constitution and the tenets that have governed us?
(The writer is a journalist and media entrepreneur. The views expressed are strictly personal)