Today when I was at Rajpath participating in the “March for India” walk organised by the citizens who are fed up of the negative campaign being carried out by a group of intellectuals, writers, filmmakers, artists and scientists, some people wanted to know why I supported such a march and why I attended despite being on wheelchair.
It is irrelevant why I attended despite being on wheelchair so I won’t talk about that. I would like to talk about why I supported such a march and why I went to attend the march.
I believe extremism, any sort of extremism, is fed by the silence and inertia of the moderates. When Nazism spread in Germany, it didn’t mean every German citizen turned nasty. Most of the German citizens were not. They were either too scared to speak up, or they simply decided to remain quiet. The same happens with Islamic extremism. Most of the Muslims are peaceful but there is a small section that is extremely violent. This is because the moderate section among the Muslims decides to look the other way when their co-religionists are perpetrating the worst atrocities on fellow human beings. When common people, moderate people, don’t speak up, don’t express their disagreement loudly, the extremist elements among them take it as acceptance and endorsement.
The same is happening in India.
There is a leftist mafia that is constantly trying to portray India as a highly intolerant, anti-minority country sitting on a tinderbox. As Narendra Modi is strenuously working to carve out a niche for India internationally, these people want to send out a message that no, don’t even think of India as a balanced, civilised country. There is total darkness. Upper castes are crushing lower castes. Hindus are killing Muslims. Mosques are being demolished. Rationalists and writers are being hounded by extreme Hindu outfits. Fringe elements are becoming mainstream elements. Narendra Modi, they constantly harp, endorses such acts by not talking against them.
It’s another issue whether Narendra Modi should have said something or not (I believe he should have) but if there is growing extremism in the country, it is among the leftist-intellectuals who have launched an out-and-out campaign to portray Hindus in general and the BJP-led government in particular, demonic.
People who are repeatedly saying that there is “extreme intolerance” in India, they are also being extreme and such extremism desperately needs to be countered by the common man and woman walking in the streets. This sort of extremism will keep on spreading if we keep quiet and don’t take an initiative. These people are maligning India at international forums. They want to sabotage India’s economic progress simply because they don’t want the credit of the success to go to Narendra Modi. In order to harm Narendra Modi, they will go to any extent, even to the extent of taking the country back to the 1800s. By constantly hammering in the point that there is intolerance, minorities are insecure and people are being killed in the country with impunity, they are actually working towards creating such alarming situations.
Is there intolerance in the country? Yes, but this intolerance has existed in our country for thousands of years. This happens when people from different classes, races and religions live in the same country and there is clash of interests. It happens, it has been happening, and let’s hope that I’m wrong, it will go on happening for some time. There is such intolerance in almost every country. There is racial problem between Blacks and Whites in America. Muslims are having problem in Europe. Many African countries are in turmoil.
The current government has got nothing to do with it. Yes, the government has some role to play and if it is not playing that role, it should be questioned by all whether you are from the Right or from the Left but there is definitely no “extreme intolerance” in our country. A fear psychosis is being spread among the minorities that they are in danger whereas they are in no danger. An atmosphere of suspicion is being created.
Since we all live in the country, it’s our duty to raise our voice against such misinformation campaigns because they can lead to disastrous social conditions. There is no unrest in the country, but these writers, intellectuals, artists, journalists and sundry public figures are actually going to cause an unrest that may leave a big scar on the face of our secularism and pluralism. These are the people who are actually harming our secularism.
At the venue I could directly see that there was no anger against any particular community. The only anger was against these intellectuals and award-returnees. The only anger was against the media that twists facts and tries to hoodwink the viewers by keeping them engaged in stupid discussions instead of taking a stock of what the Congress government has been doing for so many decades.
Why do you think there is so much “extreme intolerance” in the media? This is to keep people distracted from the real agenda.
Remember that the BJP (at least under Narendra Modi’s influence) wanted to stick to the development agenda. The media purposely started seeking out fringe elements in the BJP and started highlighting them and creating controversies around them. Then it started picking incidents that normally happen in India — which is such a big country — and started spinning communal conspiracies around those incidents. It was a good opportunity for them to tell Narendra Modi, that look, you want to talk development to the people of this country, but we will tell you that it’s not development we want, but lots of communal crap to keep people divided so that the Congress party is never taken to task for its decades-old non-performance. They are simply trying to save the Congress party’s ass, that’s it.
There is going to be a constant, unrelenting effort to create as many hurdles as possible so that development and performance never become a political agenda. They want us always to be embroiled in communal and casteist controversies. They can never think beyond sameekaran-politics.
As a common citizen I try to use as many tools at my disposal as possible. I can write, so I write. I can communicate using Twitter and Facebook, soI do. There was this opportunity for me to attend the march, so I did. Common people should be vocal as much as possible. We need to put our voice across. Sure, the media has well-established platforms to spread as much misinformation as they can but we can always create alternative platforms for ourselves. If not a few strong platforms, then a network of interconnected, maybe tiny platforms. Anyway, that’s another issue.
So I was there at March for India to extend my support, to lend my voice to the call of the common man that no, things are not as bad as they are being portrayed by vested interests. We have a normal, non-violent India trying to live a productive, useful life. We are not interested in hounding people for what they eat, what they wear, which gods and prophets they bow to or whether men have sex with men and women have sex with women or men and women have sex with goats and bulls — really, we don’t care.
But we do want our India to get out of the grip of overwhelming poverty and backwardness and ignorance. Even with our un-intellectual intellect we can make out that there is a concerted effort to keep India lolling in the quagmire of the same old poverty and backwardness that has plagued India for centuries under different foreign rules. The difference this time is, people are no longer ready to take this shit lying down. Either stop your antiques or be prepared for some unpleasant consequences. Don’t crib afterwards.