The ground reality of communal harmony in India – Part 1

I had decided that I would talk least politics on internet as most internet friends may not be interested in it. It worked for quite long time but now time has come to intervene again as these ‘disinterested people’ too have nearly CONCLUDED that since the new dispensation has come to power in the center, the nation is on the verge of losing its communal harmony if already has not lost it. This is in the aftermath of a case of lynching of a Muslim individual to death by a Hindu mob under the suspicion that his family ate cow meat which is banned in the state of Uttar Pradesh and ensuing intense social media debate. (https://www.google.co.in/search?hl=en&gl=in&tbm=nws&authuser=0&q=dadri+lynching&oq=dadri+lynching&gs_l=news-cc.3..43j43i53.667.5951.0.6325.14.5.0.9.9.0.175.443.2j3.5.0…0.0…1ac.1.8f_J7P4DuME)

I am okay with this kind of conclusion but I would insist a little bit of analysis should precede it.

First read this link of official statistics on communal riots in India: http://www.prsindia.org/…/1308201190_Vital%20Stats%20-%20Co…
Every year 130 people are killed and 2000 people are injured only in communal voilence in India. It is not that the Uttar Pradesh case is the beginning of something real bad.

Now read this

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Religious_violence_in_India…
You can see that muslims have invariably suffered more loss in each of communal clash. See this:

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_massacres_in_India
Nothing new is happening now. The next thing one should look at is the the National Crime Record Bureau report to get an idea of the degree of criminality in Indian society. Please note that all sorts of criminalities are interconnected. A case of crime need not always be necessarily be a case pure communal crime. E.g. a case of “beef related outrage” may be linked with a cattle theft case. With the fear of increasingly active media and social media in specific though we get a different impression, we are a stagant society on crime front. We should be happy that criminality in India is constant (which actually translated into net reduction) irrespective of the fact that drivers of criminality such as rapid urbanization are on rise.

Well that was point number one. Do you remember name of any British soldier/army officer with strong muscles or great war skills from the Raj days that fought Indians? Like Rana Pratap? It looks Indians surrendered their territoy to the British without much muscle fight. The British ruled India without much resistance except that one in 1857. What was the reason of this mutiny? Cow fat!!! Pork!!! We didn’t mind our country getting enslaved (by not as brave people), but when it came to cow fat on the cartridge, we wanted to butcher the British. They were on the verge on losing India. If you just read the history and present of (ban on) cow slaughter in India, you will know that there is a lot of “cow sensitivity” in Indian society. Even the supposedly most intolerant Mughal kings banned cow slaughter. Historically, half of the riots have been due to beef and pork. For those who needed it, cow/pig slaughter was the most economical way to disturb the peace in any part of India. This sensitivity has nothing to do with the new dispensation at the center. The Maharashtra government banned cow slaughter and it was criticized for its bizzare kind of priorities but if look at beef ban map of India, you will find that Maharashtra joined the bandwagon late. In the other states, it wasn’t any BJP government to ban it.

That was point number two. Now if you do advanced google search for a period before May 2014 (When Modi took reins of India) with terms “Modi+Hitler”, you will get unusually high number of results from reputed media and people. Thousands and may be ten thousands of seculars or leftists were sure that Modi, if voted to power, is going make India into Germany of WWII or worse. There were appeals from every kind of corner to save India by defeating communal Modi. Many said they will commit suicide or leave the country and all that sort. First of all, all these celebrities felt insulted when people turned down their open/public appeals. (But they simultaneously felt good as well that was what happened in Germany also – the common turning down the wise.) When Modi sat on the PM’s chair, these people expected him to start India-Pakistan war or at least some ‘respectable’ Hindu-Muslim riot. That is how their names would have been recorded in golden letters among the wise who had forwarned India, the great seers of India and sort of things. They thought Modi should have at least removed all subsidies, facilities, extra statutes and statuses of minorities. He should have built Ram temple. He should have imposed Uniform Civil Code without much discussion. They thought RSS would force him to do all this. But that did not happen. Some of Modi’s voters might have wanted some ‘real action’ too, but they were disillusioned when Modi called Nawaz Sharif for swearing in ceremony. Later came the issue of land acquisition bill and here the Modi government kneeled down in front of the opposition after two rounds of ordinances. Yes!!! You read it right. Sarkaar ne ghutne tek diye. The Modi-is-Hitler-ists had expected that he would at least impose emergency for land bill. Then this emergency would work as a good pretext to drive other RSS agendas. But that did not happen. Then it came forth that Modi occassionally attends Sufi mehfils. Then he warned right wing zealots not to disturb peace of minorities. He met several delegations of Muslims and Christians on several occasions. Proving Modi Hitler was nowhere in sight in the first year of his rule. The most provocating (to the inteliigencia) part was Modi’s alliance with the Islamic, separatist and pro-Pakistan (adjectives are popular perception of the party and possibly used by BJP itself in the past. They don’t reflect my idea of things.)  PDP in Jammu and kashmere. You must appreciate and empathize that intelligent people don’t like their predictions going wrong. It hurts their ego. It also means that loss of that name in the golden letters stuff. Also there was a large section of media which had projected Modi as Hitler of India. There is hardly any person from opposition who has limited his talk to saying that I don’t agree with Modi’s political philosophy and it is going to be a mere rule of our opposition if he comes to power and nothing more. Everyone was certain that some “Mahabharat” is going to be seen. When nothing of this sort happened in one year, these leftist people nearly lost their credibility and honour. But since they are intelligent and they can’t believe that they are proven wrong, there must be an atomsphere that says that they are right. Modi is Hitler, his rule is a curse was something they had said and when Modi started getting ‘undue’ praise for his international initiatives, behaviours, policies, etc this lobby lost its temper. Ordinary people don’t analyze things much and hype can sell. This was a good strategy to salvage the credibility of the wolf criers. So friends, for each of the small developments in our country there is going to be unparalleled level of analysis in the future. Be prepared for that. Create hype and make the impression that what we were telling is turning true is going to be the formula.

That was point number three. One actually need not really worry about Hindu Muslim unity of India. Our country got divided on religious basis but it was not through a referendum. It was an idiotic, abrupt political failure. We saw big riots in 1947-1950 period, because there was no mechanism to shift wealth and life. When one idiot Indian goes with one idiot Pakistani in any part of the world claiming that they are enemy countries with history of 2-3 wars, clashing religions and nuclear missiles aimed at each other, a fellow from a third country can’t find any discernible distinction between them for all this animosity. Well, that was India and Pakistan. Let’s talk of things within India. What is the upper limit of Hindu Muslim distrust in India? Well, the entire nation was burning in 1992 after Babri mosque demolition. That is worst that can happen in India. We see its remnants and ramifications of that even today. But 1992 tested India’s Hindu Muslim unity in modern times!!! Not a fly was killed in the whole nation when Allahabad high court gave 2/3 land to Hindus and 1/3 to Muslims in 2010. Nobody bothered. Even the patriarchs of Hindu, Muslim and secular causes on social media didn’t bother to fight!!! So if there is no political involvement, Hindus and Muslims don’t even bother to see how big sin is taking place against their religion. Babri Masjid was felled multiple times in the history. Even the mosque in Somnath was felled by the Government of India in 1947 but it was well managed and caused no social damage. I just mean to say that we need to get out of this habit of calling Muslims ‘sensitive’ and incriminating them for being sensitive and impossible to handle. They have let gone the mosque without a word of protest and this is historical fact. (And yes, some secular leaders were against this even then as well!) I personally feel that the political leadership of all parties, including Shivsena, PDP, SP, RJD, BSP, MIM, in India today is mature and prepared to handle, manage and reconcile any kind of communal event. And just don’t worry about BJP, INC, TMC and AIDMK and all. There are reasons to believe this but I will avoid their discussion as I will go off-topic. But I will insists that one be respectful of the political parties of the country and identify the parties with their core than the fringe elemets. It will give you a sense of solace.

That was point number four. Assume that there is indeed rise in communal friction for a moment. But what makes you think that it is sponsored by the central government? Modi was not even a corporator before he became CM of Gujarat and he didn’t know that when a riot takes place a CM is supposed make very serious face and make an appeal for communal peace which generally goes like this – ” We have a glorious history of communal harmony. Saint …. Moulana ….Culprits would be brought to book. I appeal Hindus and Muslims …….) Instead, he started analysing things publicly. “Godhra hoga to Ahmedabad hoga” he had said ( Which mean if Muslims have killed in Godhra, Hindu are likely to react in Ahemedabad.). He was immature then and didn’t know what to speak. Today, he knows what to speak. And even an idiot won’t want to spoil his own record of communal peace by spurring riots during own rule. He is in power with full majority and elections are far away. Modi’s life was made hell by media for his immaturity. ( I know many of you are not convinced with the choice of words here. But an Indian mind is not cynical by exception and I am used to that.). Nobody wants such kind of repute. The probability that a random person is Hitler is near zero. So chill. Also BJP has ruled in so many states so many times. It could be around 100-150 state-years of BJP rule in India. Was there is systematic, schematic plan to cause to damage to Muslims? No! So rest assured that the central government is not interested in disturbing communal harmony.

That was point number five. Internet is a frail medium. The one liners cause a lot of confusions. Have real life conversations of the issue. When you speak of communal harmony, remember your own friends from the other communities. Has anything changed between you? If other bonds are going to break, that has to remain. We need not panick. Zealots are rare in a society. It is the ordinary people who are supposed not to fall prey to their propaganda. They should not be given importance. Nobody can type out one’s entire understanding of the issue like I am typing here. Nobody reads. For sure, I know (or feel) that (most of) you are not going to open any of the links I have given. But we shold refrain from having imperfect dialouge. Also when you are reacting to what a politician has said, remember to see the full video of conversation. Media asks questions that would result in a sensational answer. If the politician still answers calmy the section of the speech are nitpicked to make it sensational. So, beware of the criminality in the media.

That was point number six. Still you think there has been excess of communal imbalance in recent days and there are good reasons to believe this? Okay. All the people who are spewing venom (as you think) are not born two years ago. They were adults and active even before. Remember Bal Thackeray speeches? Remember Rutambara? Rember Togadiya? Remember so may dalit leader making non-sense statement against Brahmins? Remember Oweisi? Remember Advani? Remember Subramanyam Swami? Adityanath? Were they not there in the past? Tell me, what is the change in the style of statements of these people? I am not against anyone’s (of above named ‘sensation monger’ people) political views, I am just saying that these people have remained the same. If Kulbargi is killed now, Dabholkar was killed before Modi ruled. Don’t hurry to conclude that things have precipitated only now and don’t fall prey to some unknown agenda. Look at all communal speeches in independent India and you will see that the politicians are softening. The media expects them behave like disciplined convent school students and is keeping them under its CCTV. But that does not mean anything new is happening NOW.

That was point number seven. India is a country of sentimental people. Indira Gandhi was killed and Rajeev Gandhi got 3/4 majority in Lok Sabha in 1984 that even Nehru never got. There was sympathy wave for orphan Rajeev Gandhi. The sentimentality was very high even before. When Nathuram Godse killed Mahatmaji and RSS was implicated, people kept them out of power till 2015!!! Nathuram was bingo in killing Hindu nation ideaology!!! It shows India’s adoration for the Mahatma. Though BJP and RSS always deny anti-Gandhi-ism, the Congress always calls them killers of Gandhiji and many voters do think that way. However, due to this excess sentimentality, a political thought that India should be a Hindu country was considered altogether taboo in every space of life. Note this carefully – opposition to a political view is a different thing than denial. The seculars and left did not oppose right wing but they denied the very validity and existence of this thought. They has no space in education, media, goverment, etc. With two Prime Ministers from RSS background, the Hindu India concept has suddenly got a huge space in social discussions. DD News shoing what is RSS! Tauba Tauba !! But this has nothing to do with rise in communal thought. A political thought was denied space and it finding its voice in the media where it was not before. What this thought constituted has not changed and who all subscribed to it also has not changed. We are listening the voices we were deaf to. Your secular friends are likely to tell you that presence of right wing thought on media itself is communal and don’t pay much heed to them.
Here in India, by confusion, people think that they themseleves are secular. But one need not be secular. I am fine as Hindu in my personal life. It may or may not be the case, but the Indian state should be perfectly fine even if I consider myself as a proud Brahmin, forget Hindu. It is the Indian state that is supposed to be secular. I am supposed to be secular only when I act on behalf of the state or when I act as a representative of the state. The left wing is used to complete denial of political space of Hindu nation thought. They think that this thought itself is criminal and treason, though it is accepted by the parliament, the judiciary, election commission and people (at least in part). A huge section of so called intelligencia thinks that the very assumption of political power by the right wing Hindu nation thought is a detrimental, criminal and unfortuanate event. So had there been no beef event in UP or some ban somewhere, these people would have still cried foul. Don’t vote BJP for whatsoever reason you may like, but don’t cry foul sitting next to these secular people who expect individuals to be secular in personal capacity. The moment you express the need for state assistance in your religious pursuits, the will say it is communal. Thus there are a lot of seculars, leftists and atheists who hate religious processions and involvement of state in religious matters.

That was point number eight. There is one more aspect to the growing perception of intolerance in the country. The economy of the system in the past used to more localized and family based. The interaction between cultures was relatively less. New times have witnessed an extremely fast pace of integration of cultures. People of entirely opposite life ethos have started interacting. A set of completely unrelated cultures are coming together in the cities. If times would not have dictated change in my life style, I would have remained a bhootdayawadi (compassionist), ahimsawadi (preaching for no cruetly/killing), vegeterian Brahmin of a village, but I am married to a nonvegeterian person and my own son is a avid chicken eater. Not everyone is comfortable with this pace of change. And they are likely to express the discomfort in some or other way. We must understand this.

That was point number nine. Earlier there was hardly any news of what is happening in the other parts of country. With the penetration of mobiles going to 80% or so, these days everybody is aware of all national news. The repletion sensation monger leftist mediapersons on one side and the extremely-distrustful-of-the-politicians audience on the other side, the perception of gravity of the situation is multifolded.

Than was point number ten. When you read that a northeasterner was discriminated in Delhi, you get worried about what is happening to the sense of tolerance of the majority. Well, do you know that absence of holistic knowledge of an issue leads to very wrong kind of conclusions? If you go to northeast, the people of oriental features are majority there. They have obsence sense of discrimination against their own brothers of the region. Ask a zealot “plains man” and he would tell how bad those tribals on hills are!!! When the ‘majority in Delhi’ Bhaiya of UP goes to Manipur, he typically pulls a rickshaw in the town and you must watch the sense of disdain for them in the eyes of the locals to understand what is discrimination. UP Bhiayas are the poorest chaps in the northeast and on main occasions are literally killed by the extremist groups of the northeast. I have two observations on this – 1. In the n number of TV debates after unfortunate events in Delhi against people of northeast, no one mentioned a single line on discrimination within the northeast within tribes and with SW India. 2. The media of northeast is completely silent on this issue. What can we conclude about how majority behaves? Amartya sen is very proud of Kerala and always cites development indices there. But the gender ratio in Kerala is bad and sad and more so in the light of matriarchical society there. It is 1000:1084 and it should be 1000: 980. The highest number of roits in India take place in Kerala. And it is a doomed state if we ignore the remittances. So try to understand an issue in its entirety and you may come across an amazing number of paradoxes of social reality. We don’t need to overreact to them.

The fibre of national of unity of India is not a cheap thing that we are going to give away for a misley price. It is an insult of India if you are buying the argument that something has seriously gone wrong with our country. And let me know if you have appetite for more points.