In Rajasthan’s Sikar district, a 52-year-old auto driver, Ghaffar Ahmed, was attacked and thrashed by miscreants, who also yanked his beard and forced him to chant “Jai Shri Ram” and “Modi Zindabad”. Ghaffar sustained a head injury along with injuries on his waist, legs and fists.
After an FIR was filed by Ghaffar Khan, the police arrested two men who were identified as Rajendra and Shambhudayal, citizens of nearby villages in Sikar. The accused also have several cases of physical assault, robbery and SC/ST (Prevention of Atrocities) Act registered against them.
In 2017, Pehlu Khan, a dairy farmer from Nuh district in Haryana, was allegedly attacked and murdered by a cow vigilante group affiliated with the right-wing Hindutva camp. Similar attempts were made by far-right Hindutva groups, individuals and organisations to derail the protest movement organised by the women in Shaheen Bagh earlier this year against the unruly and unjust legislation passed by the Parliament in December 2019.
Fuelling communal riots in Delhi’s North East where after the provocative statements of BJP leader Kapil Mishra, mobs were passionately aroused by being forced into action for inciting violence, arson and loot as the administration became inept and lax in controlling it.
I do find that the legislation aiming to reform the social, cultural and religious rituals and practices of Muslims runs in sharp contrasts to the perceptions of Muslims from within, as by stoking their anxieties and fears in the face of popular mandate, doing the greatest nature of dissatisfaction to their primary interests and objectives by signalling any form of engagement with the state agencies and apparatus.
I still remember how the national media was busy playing the clips after the Centre legislated on the Triple Talaq Bill, declaring it a rightful piece of justice promising dutiful liberation of the Muslim women from the clutches of orthodoxy and conservatism of the Muslim patriarch.
Arguments were made on as to how the former Prime Minister Shri Rajiv Gandhi succumbed to the popular pressure of Muslim clerics by overturning the decision of the apex court in the Shah Bano case and how the approach of Modi government was diametrically different towards it.
In many of the illustrations, the Centre has often stoked populism and rhetorics in dealing, deliberating and negotiating with the policy concerns of the minorities in the country. It is the foremost priority of the State to sideline their apprehensions for the reforms to be made practically purposeful for systematically upgrading and ameliorating their well being, life and living.
On the contrary, they are being systematically discriminated and deprived of their basic liberties and rights which they can dutifully proclaim being the natural citizens of the country often being “othered” and “seconded” by the vested interests. Secularism has become an alien and the worst casualty under the NDA led BJP government being referred to as a term unknown to the Indian culture and civilisation, synonymous for being against the tenets of cultural nationalism propounded and preached by the BJP.
The Ram Temple consecration in Ayodhya should have settled the equations between the Hindus-Muslims by way of peace, harmony, tolerance and brotherhood, but it chose the other way round by deepening the already existing fissures whereby the fundamentalists and conservatives of the majority community were rewarded with an opportunity to settle their scores.
Faith, which is so intrinsic to us Indians is causing malice whereby we are up against our fellow beings to prove our might and strength numerically as we seem to be abhorring the inclusive and integrationist principles and philosophy of Hinduism by opting for the repulsive and reactionary Hindutva, innately basing our value in being instigated and incited towards lynching and a sense of collective abuse and violence which inappropriately places our moral virtue and wisdom on the top.
By being pinned as ideological foot soldiers of the right-wing, Hindutva has misinterpreted and deflected us from seeking state response on the larger and wide issues that impacts and influences our sustainability and survival, be it for any.
What we are witnessing in the face of Muslim exclusion and isolation in India points to this pertinent view and fact, as in the view of Karl Marx: “Religion is but an opium of the masses and the state is making the best purpose of it by shifting its goalposts in a routine and relaxed manner.” Corona has provided it with an escape route whereby it is not answerable to our miseries and woes and we ought to become Atma Nirbhar for fulfilling our aspirational minimalist wants.