As election time draws near, violence accelerates. The latest, of course, is this horrifying video on social media of an eatery-owner in Assam, 68-years old Shaukat Ali. The video shows Shaukat Ali being brutally thrashed by gau-rakshaks, and also forced to consume pork! Those pictures of a dazed and traumatised Shaukat Ali are adequate pointers to the sheer magnitude of the uncontrolled communal violence erupting all over the country! Attacks on the minority community have never been so blatantly ruthless. To force a Muslim to consume pork is the worst form of attack. It is an attack on the very psyche of a person.
And as always, not even a murmur in terms of even symbolic protests from any of the ministries or from those corridors of power. What do our lawmakers or law keepers have to comment on the sheer brutality unleashed on this hapless man in Assam? No, he is not a terrorist, nor a militant, nor a refugee and nor a politician! All he has to him is a modest eatery and that’s about it. Yet he was targeted!
Every single day, one is made to feel how easy it has become for the Hindutva brigades to hound if not kill a Muslim in present-day India. Yes, as a Muslim I feel apprehensive, as any of the alibis can be used by these private senas and goon brigades to target a Muslim, to lynch him or her, if not the entire family or clan.
After the killings are carried out and the killed lie buried, we sit and hold lengthy television debates and discussions on those killings and murders in which the right-wing men and women could be even heard justifying those killings!
And in the latest newsletter from the Delhi Minorities Commission, two incidents or happenings are detailed which are more than pointers to what has been happening even in the capital city, New Delhi . I quote from it -
“Second Notice to JNU New Delhi: JNU student Aejaz Ahmad Rather had complained to the Delhi Minorities Commission that JNU professor, Amita Singh, passed derogatory comments against the said student in particular and against Muslims in general. JNU Registrar replied to DMC’s notice saying that a probe is going on about this issue and a report will be submitted once the enquiry is complete. The promised reply is yet to be received by DMC which has in the meantime received another complaint from the same student against the said professor, alleging that she continues her attacks against him on social media platforms. DMC has again written to the JNU Registrar directing him to complete the enquiry and send JNU’s reply by 20 April.
Notice to Delhi Police regarding objectionable posters New Delhi: Posters appeared recently on the walls of Krishnagar in East-Delhi in the name of “Local Voters of Bharatiya Janata Party” which said “Muslim have decided to leave India and save their Pakistan”. Delhi Minorities Commission has issued a notice to DCP North-East to investigate, take action against the culprits and file a reply with DMC.”
Well, If you are under the impression that the RSS and the other connected right-wing outfits are making steady intrusions only within the confines of our country then be prepared for a shocker of sorts; though let me be quick to add that nothing really shocks in these times!
In the recent years there have been clear indications that a large number of Indians settled in the United States of America are turning in favour of the right-wing.
Not to overlook the fact that each time the America based businessman, Shalabh Kumar, who set up the Republican Hindu Coalition in America, came on the small screen he did not bother to add the vital ‘Indian’ prefix to his name. In fact, all his statements gave the impression that only ‘Hindus’ live in Hindustan. With that, he was misleading not just the West but even the people of this subcontinent. He was quite obviously trampling upon the basic fact of our co-existence, as Sikhs, Parsis, Muslims, Dalits, Christians, Atheists also live in Hindustan but he couldn’t give a damn. After all, he proclaimed to be close to Narendra Modi and also to Donald Trump! Trumpeting his connections with the right- wing, he seemed to be getting away with all his utterances!
One didn’t quite realise how far the right-wing has influenced the Indian community, till one viewed this latest documentary by Ajay Raina. Titled – DiasPura, this documentary has been shot in the USA. The well- known filmmaker covers a wide range of commentators and visuals.
It’s a rather offbeat film, which introduces the viewer to the prevailing psyche of many Indians settled in America. The film could be termed an eye-opener to the changing political patterns and the long term impact that they can have.
To quote Ajay Raina, on ‘why’ he decided to go ahead and show us this reality via his documentary film– “ ‘DiasPura’, is an observational study of the subculture of a wide cross section of the Indian – immigrant community in the USA. It explores the process of identity formation of Indian settlers in America while focusing on the critical relationship of their politics to the reality of regressive, majoritarian and identity based politics of Hindu Rightist movement back home. This politics manifests in the form of the desire of many Indian-American communities to build fortresses of ‘little Indias’ in many parts of USA, where they can express their relationship with Mother country through reimagining of a pristine Hindu cultural heritage and an intense involvement, even interference in its political life.”
Raina also focuses on several significant backgrounders – “Though there is nothing surprising about the interest that South Asian Americans have always shown in politics back home, at the same time it raises many issues and questions about the nature and quality of their engagement with the mother country. If at first, the founding of Ghadar Revolutionary Party in 1913 at California was in response to the British colonialism of India, in the present times, the political focus of some of the expatriate Indians has shifted from ‘Pan Indian-ism’ to more regional, parochial and divisive interests in their native lands. This is seen as support for separatist movements of Khalistan among some Sikhs or for an exclusive Hindu majoritarian India among many Hindus. As we see in these ‘Little India’s’, the overseas Sikhs, and Hindus in American diaspora seem to be supporting their own religious, political organisations perhaps more vigorously than the respective citizens in the 'motherland'. How has this phenomenon come about? This ‘diasporic subculture’ of India’s expatriates and the nature of their political involvement with India may be a consequence of the racial discrimination they suffer in USA or from a need to project Indian soft power to garner more respectability in USA?”
Needless for me to add that a lot would depend on the outcome of these Lok Sabha elections, in terms of our future and that of our country. The sane voice will be able to survive only if the fascist forces are defeated. Otherwise, divides and divisions will get difficult to handle.