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Lessons from Trumpland: Until the police arrive

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Sanjay Gupta
Sanjay Gupta frequently writes on the civilizational and cross-cultural issues. His interests include the comparative study of various cultural and social phenomena and their evolution with respect to Indic civilization. He has a Bachelor's degree in Computer Science, and a Masters from Georgia Tech, Atlanta, USA. His professional career includes founding several technology and non-technology ventures.

It is painful to see the innocent lives lost due to Jihadi riots that have gripped the northeast part of Delhi. Every time there is a terrorist attack or riots by the Jihadis, we sympathize with the victims and move on. This gets repeated after some time and our response is the same. Leaders make speeches, relatives mourn for dead, and others move on with their lives. Amidst all this handwringing and the shock this time round in Delhi, the TV screens were showing the split screen of President Trump departing in Air Force One just several kilometers from the burning stench of lives ruined, and homes and businesses destroyed. I wondered if we can do anything positive and not be the fodder for the Jihadi mob.

It wasn’t the first time and I am sure that this is not the last time that the Jihadis have gone on a rampage. Many aspiring Indians look up to the USA as a successful country and hold in high regard many of the traits that make it a superpower. While Trump was leaving from Delhi on the one end, the rioters were causing mayhem at the other end in hopes of getting attention from him and the world media accompanying him. I thought of the lessons that we can learn from American society.

Delhi jihadi violence
Delhi Jihadi violence

First thing first, the Jihadis occupying the arterial road in Shaheen Bagh, Delhi, thereby inflicting pain on millions of commuters for the last 70 odd days would not have lasted 70 minutes on road in the USA. They would have been blown out of existence with military-style weapons without any sympathy from the general public. Democracy doesn’t mean anything goes. Rule of law is a tenet of all modern and prosperous societies.

Second, even the attempt to harm a police officer in the US is met with overwhelming force, no matter what the provocation. The cold-blooded lynching of police officer Ratan Lal and the intelligence officer Ankit Sharma by jihadis shows the extent of fearlessness and the impunity these rioters enjoy due to patronage provided by left-wing politicians, media and judges.

When Narendra Modi got elected in 2014 as Prime Minister of India the first time, he came to Varanasi to thank his constituency. He was generally distressed about the chalta hai (anything goes) attitude and spoke about citizens’ participation in governance. He was referring to his favorite program of cleanliness and admonished people in jest that by electing him they have not outsourced their responsibility to keep their streets clean. Even as Prime Minister, he understood the limitation of government. Alas, most of the people in India still look up to the government to solve all their problems.

Most people who would never think about sending their kids to government school would still trust their safety to the same government-provided security. There is generally a cavalier attitude towards personal safety and security in India. This is my third point regarding lessons from American society. Americans fiercely protect their right to bear arms and know that government law enforcement has its limitations. I know that many critics point to the high rate of death caused by gun violence in America, but they don’t count and cannot count the death and mayhem that gun ownership helps prevent every day.

In this latest round of violence in Delhi, I saw an elderly Sardar ji pleading on camera to send police because his shop was being looted and burnt by Jihadis. It was a sad spectacle but made me wonder many what-ifs. What if he had thought about his security beforehand? What if he had prepared for his security? India has arcane firearm possession laws largely derived from British rule that were meant to disarm the people and rule over them during colonial times. Despite all the limitations of the law, everyone should think of the eventuality; what if Jihadis show up at my locality, at my doorstep tomorrow.

Only recently, illegal Bangladeshi Jihadis created panic and mayhem in NOIDA just outside of Delhi on some flimsy pretext and the people living in the housing society were panicked and beaten up. Even in the US, Hindu homes are disproportionately targeted because criminals don’t fear getting shot. Most of the Hindus who have migrated from India to the US have no idea how to handle firearms and naively believe that they are bad. If possession of arms was so bad, why would almost every deity in Hindu pantheon be adorned with sophisticated weapons? Why would Lord Krishna have a flute in one hand and Sudarshan chakra in another?

Please mark that I’m not advocating that people take law in their hands and do justice as they please. Law enforcement is the state’s responsibility and in any civilized society, only the state has the monopoly on violence and coercion. What I’m talking about is armed self-defense until police arrive.

Most of these rioters are cowards who take strength from the mob they are in and would likely not risk their lives if confronted with resolve. In the US, it’s common to see a sign on homes that display security tags to deter would-be criminals. Most of the looters in the mob are looking for easy targets, they would move to the next easy opportunity if they feared that they would be met with Glock-19. Even if the outcome is the same if you did have the weapon, wouldn’t it be better to not die as Bechara (hapless) but get Veergati (die fighting)? You would have lived with dignity and valor and if successful in your attempt to protect yourself, you could send the Jihadis to their desired place in the company of 72 virgins.

Please note that a Jihadi does not discriminate whether you are communist, socialist, left-wing, right-wing, upper caste, scheduled caste, rich or poor. They display true bhaichara (brotherhood) in the killing because anyone not Muslim is Kafir who needs to be killed to establish Darul Islam.

In the gloomy atmosphere of death and destruction, if there is anything positive that can come out, it is the resolve that no one dies as the next victim and does everything in their power to avoid that fate. Again, it is extremely dangerous to outsource your family’s security totally to the state. Remember, the army and the state could not protect Kashmiri Hindus from genocide. Arguably, the most ‘Hindu’ of the independent India central government could not protect the Hindus of northeast Delhi. You can only imagine if the levers of power had been totally in the hands of people who are paying exorbitant doles to Maulanas from public exchequer to buy their votes and are protecting them from law enforcement.

I pay tribute to Veer Savarkar, a visionary who had called upon Hindus to militarize long ago. He had seen this predicament and knew that Hindus need to be militarized to survive against a bloodthirsty ideology after centuries of subjugation. It is time to think about self-respect and self-preservation. Most Indians are fond of Hindi movies. If there is one positive lesson you can learn from them, it is that the police always arrive after the crime has occurred. Would you wait for that fate? Don’t listen to moralizing politicians who discourage you from making your security your priority. After all, the politicians have state-provided security; it’s a luxury ordinary people don’t have.

Again, think about how you would protect yourself until the police arrive and what if it’s too late for you? What would be your legacy, a bechara? We ought to learn from Trumpland.

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Sanjay Gupta
Sanjay Gupta frequently writes on the civilizational and cross-cultural issues. His interests include the comparative study of various cultural and social phenomena and their evolution with respect to Indic civilization. He has a Bachelor's degree in Computer Science, and a Masters from Georgia Tech, Atlanta, USA. His professional career includes founding several technology and non-technology ventures.

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