Welcome to a ‘New India’. A nation where mob lynchings have become a more common sight than Virat Kohli scoring a hundred or Lionel Messi/Cristiano Ronaldo scoring a goal. Welcome to ‘New India’, where being a “meat eater” can get you in more trouble than being a molester or a rapist. Welcome to ‘New India’, where a “human shield” is mightier than Captain America’s shield. Welcome to ‘New India’, where a skullcap on one’s head can literally turn one’s life on its head.
People have been targeted for their identity based on religion or caste in the past. Nowadays, people are also being targeted for their food habits. In a country, where 70 per cent of the population are non-vegetarians, suddenly this majority section has come under threat for their choice of food.
The recent lynching of a 16-year-old boy, Junaid, on the “suspicion of carrying beef” is not only shocking but gives us a grim reminder of the path our nation is taking. We used to hear stories of people getting stoned to death in theocratic states like Saudi Arabia and Iran. Now, the GeNext will be hearing ‘Made-in-India’ stories of people getting lynched to death for being a “meat eater”, and that too in the largest “temple” of democracy. Only a fortnight ago, some “nationalists” remembered the Emergency, where freedoms were suppressed. Forty-two years later, the country is in a state of undeclared emergency where the press-critical of the government-is targeted, people-critical of the establishment-are branded “anti-nationals” and “Pakistanis”, and people, who prefer to eat a dish which is not on the government’s menu card, lynched!
Lynching is the new normal nowadays. It started with Mohammad Akhlaq in Dadri, then spread to Rajasthan, Jharkhand, Haryana, Jammu, Gujarat, Chhattisgarh. The victims being from the marginalised sections of the society.
And seemingly, all those self-proclaimed “nationalists”, who get outraged even when a mosquito bites a jawan, have maintained studied silence on this issue. Perhaps, this is not surprising given the most powerful man in this country maintains a radio silence on the radio talk show, which is ironically called ‘Mann ki Baat’!
Perhaps the most disturbing thing, is those people who are mute spectators to the lynching. Their silence implies a glimpse of commendation to these acts of segregating and killing. The “educated” intelligentsia, who get outraged at fake videos and propaganda news of Bengal turning into “East Pakistan” and Kerala turning into “Gaza strip”, shockingly turn blindfold. It underlines the fact that certainly the education system is in a mess in this country.
We have come to a point where the Prime Minister is redefining the tag of ‘Silent PM’ where he keeps mum about burning issues and talks about the “importance of sports”. He postures by tweeting Eid greetings from a faraway land even as his government ignores the iftaar invitation by our President.. But, sadly, for the father of Junaid, Eid will never be the same again. The aroma of biriyani and shorma on this occasion have been replaced by an air of grief, insecurity and shock! Perhaps this is the ‘New India’ our PM was talking about. A nation where a cow matters more than the life of a human being. A nation whose favourite sport has become lynching.