There have been many debates and discussions about the rise of intolerance in India. Some intellectuals sit on a ‘dharana’ against ban on beef while others return their Sahitya Academy Awards claiming intolerance in India has risen in recent years. All the ire is pointed towards the central government be it the crime committed against a muslim in in UP, which is not ruled by BJP. And even if BJP was in power, could a murder be generalized as rise in intolerance?
So has the intolerance really increased? Increase or decrease is a relative term with a frame of reference being in the past. So by ‘increase’ in intolerance, our intellectuals seem to agree that there was some intolerance before. At least they are honest that intolerance was not a complete creation of Modi and the so called saffron brigade which is now equated with ISIS!
Statistically, the number of people injured or killed in communal clashes or discriminated against has reduced over the last many years. Data shows that dalit communities are. The number of attacks against minority places of worship also has reduced, that is if you discount the incident of a kid hitting a sixer into a church that broke some glass. I have not heard or read of any riots or massacres happening in India; during a time of videos when everyone uses social-media, I think we can safely say that there have been no communal riots in the recent past in India. So what is this intolerance that people are talking about? Is this a movement that has now become a fashion statement that if people don’t side with congress, they are uneducated and stupid?
Growing up in the 80s in Bangalore, people did have a complex that if one spoke in Kannada, read Kannada magazines and books, such people were considered backward, unrefined and of lower social standing. I was taught Kannada and English at home by my parents and grandparents that by the age of 4 or 5, I was reading newspapers, comic strips and magazines, both in Kannada and English. I see people even today whose mother tongue is Kannada, smugly announcing that they can’t read or write Kannada because they were not taught Kannada in school. I wonder if they were not taught English in their schools would they be happily announcing it or would they be scrambling their backsides to an evening college to learn a few English words so they can call themselves intellectual. But I digress. My point is that Indians have always had a complex that whatever is desi is unrefined and un-intellectual while everything western is suave. We want to be western in our thinking. We don’t find anything cool unless it is blessed by the west. Even masterpieces of Raj Kapoor only became popular in India after we came to know that Russians were mesmerized by them.
So it is natural that all intellectuals want to say intolerance has increased because a govt. which is supported by someone wearing saffron is in power. Maybe everyone who aspires to be known as an ‘intellectual’ feels pressurized to agree that intolerance has increased in India, notwithstanding data or statistics.
Our intellectuals are quick to point out ban on beef in states across India. But not one intellectual so far, be it the Sardesais or the Barkhas or for that matter even BJP spokespersons, has ever bothered to quote from the Indian constitution- Directive Principles article-48, provision that India should work towards banning cow-slaughter. There is also an article for the formation of a uniform civil code but bringing that up that would be extreme, treacherous, binLaden-esq intollerance. Even a retired Supreme Court judge- Ganguly didn’t seem to know of such a directive in our constitution or just didn’t bother to tell the whole truth.
What I think is really happening is India is becoming impatient. Impatient for development and impatient for simple reforms that have not happened even after 68 years of independence, impatience against political lethargy. The ‘majority’ community across India is tired of the minority-card, especially the muslim-card being overplayed and are standing up for themselves. They are becoming intolerant towards Christian missionaries distributing pamphlets at the foot of Tirupati Hills about how the world would face cataclysm and how only people who believe in Jesus Christ will be saved. Indians are becoming intolerant of minorities who bully the majority by blasting a loud speaker at thousands on decibels at 5AM in the morning in the name of ‘call for prayers’ and minorities slaughtering animals on roadsides with clear health-code violations. But these codes don’t apply to minorities or they would cry intolerance. They are now realizing that there is nothing wrong in asking for people to be a bit civilized and make some concessions for the majority.
I wonder if even Saudi Arabia allows for anyone to scream at the top of their lungs and amplify it to thousands of decibels and wake up half the town at 5AM in the morning. I wonder if a liberal western country- France allow dog-meat to be consumed? And would the Vatican allow Hindus to distribute The Gita at the gates of the Vatican?
Intellectuals point towards the arrest of JNU students as an example of intolerance. This was a bait laid by the JNU students who wanted to get some publicity and clearly the govt bit into it. This is nothing but a legal anomaly which will likely result in nothing but no country in the world in its sane mind would have tolerance for such slogans. My intolerance is with the media projecting this failure of a student as the modern day Bhagat Singh. There is no talk in the media about what in the world has the Kanhaiyas have published in the last 8 years of living on tax-payers dime. This sorry person talks of freedom from poverty, hunger and inflation but if we could get rid of these with mere speeches… It looks like all he needs is freedom from hardwork so he can live on tax-payers account forever giving “fiery” speeches that most anyone can give except that they earn for a living and pay taxes and pave the way for India to be poverty-free. And I wonder what gives a communist the right even to think about social justice while the biggest oppressors in the history of the world have been the communists. Stalin killed more people than Hitler and China has long given up on Mao except as a face on posters so the politburo can hold on to power. Mao is only invoked when stealing tiles off of some poor farmers roof-tiles in the name of non-payment of 2nd child tax while the real reason is that the farmer refused to give-in when the local-officials demanded bribes. So what are the communists in India talking about? Is West Bengal a beacon of prosperity, equality and social justice?
About the drama about loving Ambedkar, Ambedkar rejected communism because it only promised equality, not freedom or prosperity. Also he did not convert to Islam or Christianity because those religions spread through forceful conversions.
For all the people like Kanhaiya who claim to love the constitution, I would like to know if they love all articles or just the ones they choose. Because if they love all of our constitution, they would be fighting for implementation of our directive principles and doing dharanas to ban beef and implementing the uniform civil code.
I am impatient- make sincere efforts to implement it or just have such chapters taken out of our constitution. I don’t have the patience to wait a lifetime for something that in my opinion should have been accomplished ages ago.
Another popular topic of conversation among intellectuals is the re-conversions of minorities. So what? If Christians can entice Hindus for many centuries to become Christians and Muslims can threaten Hindus to change their religion, what is wrong with the Hindus asking people belonging to the minority community to come back to Hinduism? Our constitution allows it and as long as it is within the legal framework, there is nothing more to it. Some idiots belonging to the minority communities even wanted reconversions to be banned! I will not even go into that because of the absurdity of such an argument.
Now about Afzal Guru- it is important to note that no one is claiming him to be innocent of attacking our parliament. Not he Kanhaiyas, nor the other scholar-intellectuals from JNU. Even his lawyers don’t claim that he was innocent. The only problem seems to be that of the wording of the judgement which talks about the collective conscience being satisfied. The “collective conscience” mentioned in the judgement is not that of the saffron brigade nor that of Brahmins. It is the collective conscience of the civilized world, especially the democratic world and the very basis of India that Afzal wanted to destroy. There is not a country in the world that will spare a person who attacks its parliament!
Whether one supports the death penalty or not is a different question but if it is not the Afzals or the Maqbools who are put to death, then what is death-penalty for? Is this not the rarest of rare cases? And by the way, will the JNU students who claim to only oppose the death-penalty also take out morchas to oppose the death penalty of Nirbhaya-rapists?
By the way, BJP was not in power during that judgement or in making a decision that his family should not be allowed a final visit and that his body should be buried in Tihar. Our former PM, actually his masters- the Gandhis have to answer to it.
In the 80s and 90s my guts would go into knots trying to understand how the army of a minnow-nobody nation like Bangladesh would murder BSF jawans and Indian govt. would do nothing more than ‘summon’ the Bangla-ambassador and issue a ‘demarche’. I have waited through my teens to my 40s for India to wake up and gain some respect. When I read that the Indian army had crossed the borders of one of these incidental nations, I was relieved that I carried for decades. Indian army was capable of this and more for decades but it was the resolve from the political-leadership that was missing.
At the dawn of the century, my heart ached that while nations charted out plans for the 21st century it was just business as usual for our govt. Even 10 years through the 21st century, all our PM did was glide in his shoes and stand aside in a guard of honor for his masters- the Gandhis.
Call it intolerance or what you may, Im just happy that India is impatient today and is yearning for common sense, development and dignity!