October 29, 2008

Call them

Here I sit in the Cochin airport, looking around me at various people waiting for their flights to various parts of the country -- the board lists upcoming flights to Bangalore, Delhi, Chennai, besides mine. Here I sit, and the TV screen to my left shows a cricket match. To my right, there's a sign to my saying "Smoking Prohibited", and two in front say "Fire Exit". Another says "Suggestion box", with this addendum: "Suggestions on Security, Please".

What suggestions on security come to mind?

I don't know, everything seems normal down to still more cricket on the tube -- but right now that last sign seems just a tad ironic, given the happenings in my own city in the two days since I left. First, a man gets on a bus, brandishes a gun and gets shot dead. Then, another man gets on a train and gets lynched.

What are we coming to? Or is that even a question to ask?

After all, we have for over a generation tolerated, even celebrated, the brand of politics that says we should draw a line between we who speak one language, or we who follow one religion, or we who are of one part of the country, or we who come from one particular caste -- and those others. I mean, the people who feed us this stuff are even called patriots. (What feeling for a country -- patriotism -- should we ascribe to men who attack other citizens of that same country?) I mean, there are even respected columnists claiming that this is no different from Barack Obama's concerns about outsourcing. (Among other differences, there's this: Obama's talking about jobs going outside his country, as opposed to demonizing fellow-citizens from elsewhere in his country).

And what's the obvious, natural-as-cricket-on-TV result of this brand of politics? Simple: the hatreds that lead to lynching.

And let's be sure: we are going to see plenty more such killing. Unless me and you -- me writing this, and you reading this, I mean nobody else but the two of us -- unless me and you tell ourselves, enough. No more support to such politics. No more celebration of such politicians as patriots. Instead, call them for what they are: the men who will destroy this country that belongs to me and you.

Do that, for a change. Forget every other equivocation that comes to mind. Just call them for what they are.


Sidhusaaheb said...

I do not blame such politicians. They are merely catering to a demand for hatred and helping to quench Indians' thirst for the blood of their fellow citizens.

When any political party organises the killings of Sikhs (in 1984), Muslims (in 2002), Christians (in 2008) or Non-Maharashtrians (in 2008), it is with the knowledge that such actions would fetch votes. Until the thirst that Indians have for the blood of their fellow citizens is quenched fully and until they, therefore, stop voting for the killers in order to reward them for the killings, how can the killings stop?

MinCat said...

tell me how. because i want to and i cannot, for the life of me, figure out how to stop the violence, especially the violence in words, which is the root of it all.

Anonymous said...

Thanks for the article Dilip.

This reminds me of famous Martin Niemoeller's poem.

When the Nazis came for the communists,
I remained silent;
I was not a communist.
When they locked up the social democrats,
I remained silent;
I was not a social democrat.

When they came for the trade unionists,
I did not speak out;
I was not a trade unionist.

When they came for the Jews,
I remained silent;
I was not a Jew.

When they came for me,
there was no one left to speak out.

Just like above

Most of the people in India remained silent

When they came for Sikhs In Delhi
People remained silent
But many supported violence and justified it too.

When they came for Muslims in Gujarat
People remained silent
But many supported violence ,justified it and are branded as patriots too. Instead of calling them killers.

When they came for Christians in Orissa and Karnataka
People remained silent
But many supported violence ,justified it and are branded as patriots too. Instead of calling them killers.

Now they are in Mumbai and call themselves patriotic goondas
We must not remain silent
if we remain silent i am sure this will continue the only way to stop it is call what these people are they are killers.


Kavi said...

'mental case' cried one. Same to you cried the other.

But that label can be affixed to every man and woman who thinks right and has his and her conscience zipped and stowed. You. Me. And all else.

So, how does that label sound ?

Anonymous said...

In a refrence less world everyone can call everyone mental and live hapily if it stops there
its fine, it becomes a problem when hatred comes into this where some act mental but they actually hate.