The intolerance of tolerance
The melodrama unleashed at Jawahar Lal University by its student union, media and political parties was music to certain people but it was equally painful to those who have suffered at the hands of people like Maqbool Bhatt or Afzal Guru. The latter were portrayed as heroes and rulings of Supreme Court were projected as intolerant towards these guys. Media chewed more than it could bite and prompted me to put my point for general public. I am neither tolerant nor intolerant Indian but simply a victim who lost his home, identity and some relatives but no one cried because we have no vote bank. I hope you will not paint me red or saffron after reading what I have to say.
The tolerants remained silent, when the supporters of Maqbool Bhatt (Founder of Jammu and Kashmir Liberation Front) walked freely with Kalashnikov rifles on their shoulders sloganeering Kafiroo Bagh Jao, Hum kya Chahitay Nizami Mustafa etc. Where were the intellectuals or prize winners or media persons of this country, when ultimatums were published in local newspapers like Alsafa warning Kashmiri pandits to leave the valley? Why Press Council of India did not take any action against such newspapers? I do not know where Sitaram Yechuri or Rahul Gandhi, the supporters of JNU agitation, were but I am sure that Farooq Abdullah, the secular and the tolerant leader of the state, had left for his vacation to England. No action has been taken against any killer till date. Certain people out of the killer lot have turned leaders now, despite being convicted by the court and deliver lectures in universities and at times appear on TV channels. Those who remind them of their real face by
protesting against their lectures are termed as intolerant. No FIR was registered against anyone. The question which haunts me every time is; does it require vote power to get justice in India. There was not a single word from so called human rights activists about Wandhhama massacre, Chattisinghpora massacre or killing of innocents for no fault of theirs took place. The microscopic minority of Kashmiri pandits was left to fend for itself in the last 26 years. It shook the conscience of no one in India; still this minority has no objection in saying Bharat Mata Ki Jai.
Kanhiya Kumar and his likes in JNU may show solidarity with those who advocate the separation of Kashmir by sharing a cultural evening with them. He has every right to sympathise with Afzal Guru, Maqbool Bhatt or Yakoob Memon but has no words for NeelKanth Ganju, Nirja Tiku, parliament/Bombay Blast victims or for people killed, looted or raped by terrorists. They were no czars but ordinary people who stood by the law of the land. It seems that the neo liberal citizens of this country strive for freedom of expression, but have no expression for Kashmiri Pandits whose right to life was snatched during the regime of tolerants and were made to live the life of refugees in their own country. The ethnic cleansing of Kashmiri minorities has not entered into the mind of JNU Kashmiri student leader Shehla Rashid Shora obviously because she does not want to share reality. The perpetual neglect of basic rights in the last 70 years of its independence made this microscopic minority to leave its place of origin. Mahatma Gandhi had seen a ray of hope in Kashmir when the whole of India was in flames but now the reverse is the case.
The Kashmiri pandits definitely do not belong to Kanhiya Kumar and his associates but as my brethren make me to boil on seeing their condition and more so when people propagate the cause of those who left no stone unturned to debase them from the place of their ancestors. Kanhiya Kumar can give new interpretation to the word Azadi because he has not seen the stark reality of Azadi seekers which I have seen. He accuses Army of raping Kashmiri women but fails to recognise its role in fighting armed terrorists who use kashmiri women at their will on gun point. The inflammatory words get good marks for political parties and people get easily swayed by the negativity. They are in fact upset from the attitude of every political party that has come to power till date. The tolerants returned their prizes to contest a democratically elected intolerant government/majoritarian government. This raises questions about their silence at the time of the emergency, exodus of Kashmiri pandits from valley, and Bhagalpur riots to name a few. Why those traumatic times had not shaken their conscience is a big question in itself?
Media helps these fickle minded people in becoming heroes because anything negative about the state sells easily in India. It easily projected a student after one lecture as an alternative to a democratically elected PM with absolute majority and 15 years experience as the successful chief minister of a big state. Media has become a party to the fashion of denouncing state, army, religion, leaders, political process, ancestral knowledge, eating habits and life styles.
The author is a Professor at Guru Gobind Singh Indra Prastha University, Delhi