One year of COVID-19, lockdown, seething communal hatred and misery

There seems no end to the misery caused by the lockdown due to coronavirus. And communal hatred continues unabashedly. Even the revered scientist and former President of India has not been spared

Representative Image (Photo Courtesy: social media)
Representative Image (Photo Courtesy: social media)

Humra Quraishi

It has been one full year of deprivations and disasters and dismay. And it seems the bleak days are going to continue with fresh and newer strains of the corona and communal virus making further inroads.

And whilst we sat fuming and fretting all these months, a few got busy jotting down the vital facts, focusing on the ground realities. In fact, the former IIT Delhi Physics Professor, VK Tripathi, has just brought out a slim booklet titled ‘Citizenship and Farmers Satyagrahas’ ( Sadbhav Mission ) in which he focuses on hard facts, hitting us right since the autumn of 2019.

To quote him from the preface to his book, “In 2019, the Government of India brought the Citizenship Amendment Act (CAA), linking citizenship to religion. The students and concerned citizens opposed it. When they were beaten up, women of Shaheen Bagh (Delhi) came out and sat on the road in freezing cold. For 100-days they carried the sit-in, strictly in compliance with Gandhian satyagraha, Similar sit-ins were held in over 200 sites across the nation. Several state governments and political parties came forward in support. The Prime Minister had to back track on his motive to bring NRC. The lockdown stopped the sit-ins…In 2020, the government, bypassing the parliamentary procedures, brought in three corporate-centric agriculture laws. The Punjab farmers rose in protest, creating a national awakening. Since November 26, 2020, lakhs farmers from Punjab, Haryana and Western UP have been carrying non violent day/ night sit-ins (satyagraha) at Delhi borders.”

Tripathi also focuses on the prevailing ground realities, “ I hope the educated people would share the pain of farmers and common men whose per capita income is below one fourth of the national average… Labour is not only a means of sustenance, it is also an instrument of uplift of the soul. Labour requires resources, skills and work to operate. The country has resources - land, forest, mines, sea, machines, tools, capital etc. but everybody does not have access to them. In the villages, average land holding per family of six people is about one hectare, but top 10% people own 50% of the cultivable land while bottom 50% are landless labourers. The richest 1% people have 73% of national wealth. The bottom 60% have only 4.8%.”

He argues, “ The opportunities for education and skill development are also highly skewed. For more than 50% children, education stops at the level of 10th grade or earlier. Another 25% stop education at 12th grade. These 80% children have no opportunity for technical education…”

Yes, we are indeed witnessing a strange scenario unfolding, where we are trying to survive with a nothingness clutched to us!

Communal slur against former President of India: Shouldn’t the higher authorities ask for an immediate explanation!

This particular news report published on the day this column was being written, caught attention: The priest of a Ghaziabad temple, where a Muslim boy was thrashed for drinking water on its premises, targeted the former President of India APJ Abdul Kalam on Tuesday over his religion, calling him a "jihadi". To quote details from the news report - "Any Muslim in the top echelons of the country cannot be pro-India and Kalam was a jihadi," Dasna Devi Temple's Yati Narsinghanad Saraswati told reporters in Aligarh. Levelling allegations without substance, he accused late Kalam of supplying the formula of the "atom bomb to Pakistan as DRDO chief". "Kalam had formed a cell in the Rashtrapati Bhawan where any Muslim could file his grievance," the priest claimed.( end of the news report)

All this anti -Muslim venom or call it by any other term of your choice is getting out of control. One is getting just too fed up being labelled a this or that! Enough of the communal poisoning. All these Hindutva taunts of calling Muslims ‘ Jihadis’ is getting a bit too much. Unsparing even love affairs, crudely and callously terming them ‘Love Jihad’!

At least, all the communal unleash against the former President of the country, APJ Abdul Kalam should be taken very seriously. In fact, the President’s Office or Secretariat should take it up and ask for an explanation from the character who came up with the obnoxiously dangerous communal comments against the former President of India.

Leaving you with these lines by Gulzar

These lines of Gulzar Saab seem apt in these uncertain times we are somehow surviving;

“ Kuchh bhi qayam nahin hai kuchh bhi nahin /

Raat-din gir rahe hain chausar par/

Aundhi –seedhi -si kaudiyon ki tarah /

Mah-o- saal haath lagte hain/

Ungliyon se phisalte rahte hain /

Kuchh bhi qayam nahin hai kuchh bhi nahin /

Aur jo qayam hai ek bus main hoon/

Main jo har pal badalta rahta hoon.”

( Nothing is permanent , nothing at all /

Days and nights fall on the chausar board /

Like kauri shells ,some face up others down /

The months and years dealt out to you /

Slip through your fingers /

Nothing is permanent , nothing at all /

And what is permanent is me /

I , who is changing at every instant).

Views expressed are personal

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