Assam-Mizoram police clash and silence of India’s ‘patriots’

Is there a limit to how much official oppression, hatred & violence we are willing to condone? As we carelessly see destruction of Union of India unfolding, what future we leave behind for posterity?

Assam-Mizoram police clash and silence of India’s ‘patriots’

Ranjona Banerji

Cautionary travel advisories between two neighbouring Indian states, both part of the Indian Union. Police forces of two neighbouring states attack each other, including firing and capturing police posts. I leave you with that thought. Though, did I mention that these are two states within the Union of India?

When you vote for someone solely because they promised you – openly or implicitly – that they would suppress those you want suppressed, is there a limit to how much official oppression, hatred and violence you are willing to condone? As long as someone else suffers more than you, how far are you willing to sacrifice your own happiness, well-being and future progress?

And increasingly now in 2021, how much criminal negligence and incompetence from the government ever, is your hatred worth? Let’s not ever forget that this government, headed by Narendra Modi was sold to us as the best ever, right from 2013 onwards.

We have seen from demonetisation onwards that our capacity to withstand pain is enormous. Add to that everything else that has hit us, from Constitutional destruction with the citizenship acts and with the chopping of Jammu and Kashmir, to the direct attack on farmers with the farm laws. China made a mockery of our borders, inflicting real and symbolic damage but we were told by the man voted to power with an overwhelming majority for the second time, that no one crossed into Indian territory, so a reaction was not necessary.

Then we had the pandemic and everything else that went wrong with it. The suffering, the deaths, the official lies and miscalculations. You know what I’m talking about. We all went through it.

And still, we take pleasure in every lynching, every humiliation, every death of those we hate.

But now we see what it takes to upset us. When Modi goes against what you thought was the grain, when instead of pushing upper caste Hindu majoritarianism to appease his vote bank and money bank, he makes a segue and introduces reservations. It is a small act, reservations for Other Backward Castes and Economically Weaker Section in the All-India Quota for the NEET exams for medical and dental college admissions.

It’s what would be slammed by our elite commentariat as a “sop” or “appeasement” if any other government had done it.

And lo and behold! After a series of unimaginable governance disasters from 2014 to today, this is the one small act which has hugely upset the BJP’s upper caste followers. Modi was not supposed to do this. Modi was supposed to continue to crush Muslims, lower castes, he was bound to push the bogus “merit” argument to keep Dalits in their place, wasn’t he?

How they rant and rave. They care little if they expose both their ignorance and their prejudice. Let’s be honest, they are exceedingly proud of both their fake knowledge and their discriminatory privilege. But how could Modi ji do this to them?

How indeed. It’s not that Modi cares about discrimination against Dalits or any other lower castes. His government has just informed the world that no one died because of manual scavenging this year – a brazen lie. Like every other lie we’ve been fed: no one died of Covid-19, no one died of oxygen shortages in hospitals, no migrant workers walked home, no one is unvaccinated and so on.

The people of India swallowed all this, or so we’re told, because the people love Modi as no other. And the one thing that upsets his followers, is a tiny attempt to right discriminatory wrongs if only to win an election in Uttar Pradesh.

Caste oppressions is alive and kicking in India and so is upper caste privilege. But we knew that.

And so, let’s go back to the beginning. Where are we with Assam and Mizoram, one BJP-ruled state, the other state part of the NDA, in violent conflict with each other? This is not the people clashing. This is not a riot. This is two police forces engaged in violence against each other leading to death. Evidently, this does not upset India’s most patriotic political followers. Even Modi’s normal media enablers could not find a historic justification and excuse they have always managed to find for him.

Once more, we see how low we can sink. Just when you think that there is a bottom to this pit. No. We display openly our hatred and discrimination. And we don’t really care at the destruction of the Indian Union. Once again. What future we leave behind for those who will follow?

(Views are personal)

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