Is India really a land of inclusivity and acceptance?
This question will be answered by a long silence. In the meantime, people who want India to be such a nation will try to find ways to defend it.
With the year 2017 coming to an end, one wishes that the tensions between the different religious communities of the country will also come to an end. But alas, India is far from attaining religious harmony. The idea of a land, where all religions are not only tolerant but also accepting of each other’s cultures and traditions, has so far been utopic. In fact, we are so far away from this utopia, that cases of hate crimes are still a common thing in newspapers.
Recently, yet another case of a hate crime has came to light. This time, it was a video of a Muslim labourer, Mohammed Afrazul, being killed. In the video, we see the accused, Shambhu Lal Regar, attacking the man brutally with an axe till he is half-dead, and then setting his body on fire. Afrazul’s voice begging for Regar to let him go will chill your soul to its depths. All the while, Shambhu Lal’s 14-year-old nephew allegedly recorded the whole incident.
What makes a man hate another man so much that can lead him to do something like this? In my opinion, the answer lies in the sense of insecurity surrounding religion.
Though brutal, the case in itself is not something we should be talking about. What we, as a diverse country with the largest population of youth in the world, need to ponder upon is how a person can have so much hatred towards another just because he belongs to a certain community or religion. What gave him the strength and the confidence to murder someone? Did he think he would get away scot-free?
Not only did he murder the man mercilessly, he also made a video of it and posted it on social media. A 14-year-old, a child, allegedly recorded the entire thing. What sort of impact does something like this leave on a child? Is it not possible that he may grow up to be accepting towards the violence against the people of the community that his uncle murdered, for which he is being held?
India’s youths are being subjected to a lot of news on violence against a particular community. But, is anybody thinking about controlling the damage this is causing to the minds of the young people? With the environment that currently prevails, won’t the youth, especially in minority communities, also possibly grow up to be insecure and resentful? There are far too many questions to be answered – and very little time to not only answer the questions, but also to find a solution and then implement it.
The youth is the future of the country – this is not merely an idea, it is also the stark truth and reality. A huge part of India’s youth is growing up in an environment where they feel insecure and unwelcome in their own country, where they feel the need to constrain themselves and not venture out. This creates a divide in their minds. Moreover, a feeling instilled at a young age is harder to omit, once one grows older. Like Maya Angelou famously said, “I’ve learned that people will forget what you said, people will forget what you did, but people will never forget how you made them feel.”
Feelings as strong as those of insecurity and injustice are seldom forgotten easily. It takes years to earn back the trust. In this case, justice is what needs to be done. To keep the country united, a firmer stand needs to be taken by the authorities especially keeping in mind the youth of the country. This is to ensure that no child again has to witness what the nephew of Shambhu Lal allegedly witnessed, without probably knowing how harrowing it can be, given his impressionable age.