Back in time, when broadcast technology was initiated in India, the focus was on to how to use the medium effectively in order to spread education and awareness in society. Later, the technology was developed further and finally, the internet came on board. Since then, the field of video production has transformed. It is now consumed and interpreted differently. It thankfully brought about a revolution by democratising the power of visual technology. Now, it is accessible via our smartphones as well.
In hindsight, it’s almost impossible to imagine the Arab Spring of 2011 without the youngsters taking to the internet. It gave birth to online activism that grew rapidly over the years. However, it’s not all gold that glitters.
The recent horrific video from Rajasthan shows how video technology can be used for the worst possible reason. In Rajsamand district, a 35-year-old Hindu extremist Shambhu Lal Regar hacked and burnt a 48-year-old Muslim labourer Mohammad Afrazul to death, accusing him of ‘Love Jihad’. After having killed him with an axe, he kept ranting against ‘Love Jihad’ and proudly propagated that this was a lesson for anyone who practices it. Doing all this in front of his 14-year-old nephew who shot the video, he showed no sign of humanity and was boastful of the fact that he took part in the violence. It reminded me of ISIS’s beheading video and numerous others where the sadist took pride in oppressing and torturing.
Five days have passed by and I still can’t wrap my head around the brutality of the violence captured in the video. Facebook gives a graphic violence disclaimer before playing the video but it doesn’t help. The fact that it is real and we simply can’t blindfold such incidents is a matter of fact. Shambhu Lal Regar, the perpetrator lacks conscience and is driven by fallacy and blind faith. “Yeh tumhara anjaam hoga, jo bhi ‘Love Jihad’ karega,” (This will be the final result of whosoever takes part in ‘Love Jihad’) he announces, right before setting Afrazul on fire. ‘’Love Jihad’ is a term coined to describe an alleged conspiracy where Muslim men marry non-Muslim women and girls, in order to convert them to Islam. It has remained at the centre of controversy and politics.
At the core, it is just another oppressive tactic to make life difficult for the Muslims, like putting a ban on the sale and consumption of beef.
Akhlaq, Junaid, Pehlu and now Afrazul, the horrendous deaths are constantly taking place and the normality of these incidents now don’t even find any mention in the news, tweet or ‘election speeches’. This deafening silence by those in power is a harmful treatment of the issue and it totally encourages the hate mongers. The RSS, Hindu extremist group since BJP came to power takes the liberty to preach and propagate hate through its words and actions without facing any consequences.
The PM’s alma-mater extremists, in fact, are no less harmful than terrorists. The whole comparison between ISIS and them reveals the pattern in which they both operate, i.e killing in the name of religion. The bigots then take to hate speeches and extreme violence like this incident to instil fear in the society. Fear and political nexus are what gives them mileage to operate and function.
This is totally unacceptable in a civilised society and the question that arises is if we even are a civilised society. What have we been reduced to? The developing nation, land of Gandhi which propagated non-violence, the largest democracy on-the-verge-of-becoming a superpower with such incidents by fanatics becomes more regressive than ever.
Speak up now and face the devils because surely a special place in hell is reserved for those who maintain neutrality at the time of a moral crisis.