Humanity is dead
History has shown that the politics of hate has never worked and we must speak up before it is too late.
Did you see the video of the man in white trousers, wearing a garish red shirt, and shiny ear studs, hack and burn another man to death? Did the screams of the Muslim labourer, Mohammad Afrazul, from Malda district in West Bengal rattle you as he begged for mercy? Did the words of Shambhu Lal, who seems to have dressed and prepped especially for the occasion, infuriate you as he urged his Hindu sisters to not fall for Love Jihad? Will you even remember these names? If you've seen that shocking video and are still going about life pretending that all is well with our country, then think again.
I was all set to write about another topic. But once Thursday's brutal video surfaced, I knew it would be a great disservice to stay quiet about this heinous and brazen act. I cannot turn a blind eye to this act of hatred. A labourer hacked and then burnt to death at Rajsamand, five hours from Jaipur in Rajasthan. The victim, alleged to be having an affair, was lured possibly with the promise of a job. The perpetrator then, not only filmed this gruesome act, in another video in true ISIS and Taliban-esque style, he launched into a one-sided tirade on how films such as 'PK' and 'Padmavati' must be opposed and how the Muslim community itself must be silenced.
The video, which shows the murder, is of 3:41 minutes, but seems excruciatingly long. The accused, in all likelihood, is of unsound mind. But, what is worrying, is the seriousness with which he takes the task of cleansing the nation of the minority community. Incidents of killing and lynching over religion have reared its ugly head. It is not that these incidents did not happen earlier, but the alacrity with which it is also being consumed by the masses is alarming. Sickening comments on this video supporting this brutal act shows the hitherto unknown side of Indians that is far from human.
My hands tremble as I write that we have lost our humanity, and we must be very afraid. The diverse social fabric that we chest thumped about not so long ago is showing its frayed corners. The years that we revelled in being a nation of different people, languages, and cultures, and yet united under the common umbrella of nationhood is fast becoming a thing of the past.
People are being advised against viewing the video. But here I disagree. I think every Indian should watch this video if only to realise how much we have fallen into the depths of irrationality and intolerance. It should come as a wake-up call to all who dismiss such incidents as a one-off occurrence; to the fence-sitters too, who rage in private but maintain a stoic, politically correct silence in public.
This is a clarion call to all our political leaders and youth icons across the spectrum. No matter what their political affiliation may be, they must stop these mindless killings from happening; not only of Muslims and Dalits; but of every Indian citizen. This is not us; this is not our India; this is not our culture. No government should take this lightly and Prime Minister Narendra Modi himself must condemn this incident of hate before the country descends into further chaos. We have always prided ourselves on being a multi-cultural nation, and the forces who are nurturing and indulging this fundamentalism need to go.
And you, dear reader, need to take off those blinkers, shake off the slumber, and speak up. This is not the country that we once had and we have to take action, in our own little ways, to ensure that our future generations recognise what India once used to be. History has shown that the politics of hate has never worked. Speak up before it is too late; speak up before the next person who is subject to such hatred is you.
(The writer is a journalist and media entrepreneur. The views expressed are strictly personal.)