Herald View: Government must fulfil its Raj Dharma to end the continuing nightmare

Rajasthan Government and CM Ashok Gehlot took swift action against the bigots who beheaded a tailor but all other Governments must also take action against all bigots, whatever be their faith

IANS Photo
IANS Photo

Herald View

The gruesome incident of the beheading of a tailor in Udaipur for supporting a certain ‘fringe’ element’s objectionable remarks on Prophet Mohammad some weeks ago cries out about everything that has gone wrong in India today. Such an act was never witnessed in this country in the worst of times and that it should happen with such impunity – the killer had announced the beheading days in advance and declared he was not afraid of being hanged or killed – shows us the extremes to which certain actions of governments and people have led this country.

A well-governed nation where rule of law prevails and fringe elements remain on the side-lines and do not become the mainstream would have acted swiftly against the earlier extra-judicial killings in the country and would not have rewarded killers and law breakers. It is both stupid and uninformed to believe that the opposite side will be cowed down forever and not react to extreme provocation for all times to come. As such a section of the population has put another under immense stress and one cannot expect civilised reactions to uncivilised responses. But what we must now ponder is - do we want an India that is worse than a barbaric nation of previous centuries where there was no civilised discourse that would give us reasonable outcomes to the worst of disputes?

It is painful that such horrifying incidents occur in the modern century in a land weaned on the ahimsa of Gautam Buddha and Mahatma Gandhi. Narendra Modi is fond of reminding the world of these factors whenever he visits abroad, but it surely is a travesty that India becomes more violent every passing day and a point of return seems more and more impossible to achieve.

If we look at this from purely Hindu-Muslim terms, in context of what has been happening in this country over the past few years, one has to admit that the minority community has been highly restrained in the face of much provocation, although many Muslim elders are increasingly finding it difficult to rein in the anger of the younger people in the family. One such rogue incident could now unleash others and there is no telling where the retaliatory incidents might end. Just as Muslim elders are restraining the younger people in their community, it is necessary for Hindu families to do the same. Because if the dam breaks, there is no saying how many will drown in the rivers of blood that will flow without restraint.

The Rajasthan government is to be applauded that it took swift action against the perpetrators of the crime and has put them behind bars. It must fast track the judicial trial well and exemplary action must be taken against the killers. The authorities must also act against those who started the madness by allowing remarks against Prophet Mohammad to go unchallenged. The statement was made in a television studio. All that was required was for the anchor to stop the provocation and none of the reactions – from the Gulf nations or the beheading in Udaipur – would have gone forward. An irresponsible media is the worst kind of scourge for a civilised, democratic nation and there is a need to relook the laws governing such provocative telecasts.

We have heard often enough in the past years that Hindus are in danger of extinction. That has not happened in more than 1,000 years of Muslim and British rule or 70 years of a lawfully governed democratic India. If it is happening now the reasons are not far to seek.

(This was first published in National Herald on Sunday)

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