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Beheaded Democracy

by Rinku Khumukcham
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By: M.R. Lalu
The Udaipur shocker has become a gruesome tale of brutality executed in the name of religion. Once again there was uproar against radicalization, but of course, this time it was limited within the boundaries of Rajasthan. Bubbles of repercussion elsewhere got easily settled.  The democratic minds in India are determined not to talk too much about this bone-chilling persecution. Not only India but also the world across, a sense of understanding is effervescent, that there is no escape but fall prey to the contradictions of beliefs which draw justice lines around the conscience of human intelligence. For India, this incident of beheading a Hindu shopkeeper is not less than the beheading of its democracy. The horror was capable enough to send feelers across India’s social canvass, significantly reminding its people that it is not the percentage of population of a certain community that matters but the sense of unity that a thought can bind and blindfold its people. Kanhaiya Lal Teli’s killing is seen to be justified as a reaction, a spontaneous outrage, an aftermath effect of the TV debate, which literally shook the country a little while ago and much to its surprise the West Asian friends of Modi dispensation came rattling and the BJP, in its diplomatic U-turn acted against its media faces. Paradoxically, India’s precariousness is evident from its efforts to balance between its democracy and a theocracy terrifyingly pulling its ugly head from the dungeons of theology. The horror in Udaipur was an act mostly determined to bring the idea “Kill one, frighten a thousand”, a lesson that the plural social establishment should diligently learn from.
It’s time for us to realize the quantum of mistrust and enmity that we as a nation have grown into. The street violence in the name of the controversial TV debate across the country was not a spontaneous outrage. India was clouded with a conspiring silence for almost ten days after the debate and the uproar was probably an effect of a meticulous plot hatched deliberately to create a whirlwind of unrest and bring the country on its knees. The idea of secularism that the country offers in its democratic platter has shrunk too little to be identified.  If a majoritarian mindset was responsible for the horror that India witnessed in Udaipur, the violence erupted in West Bengal before and after the state elections, killing and raping numerous Hindus should have attracted equal reaction. It is time for India to define blasphemy based on its democratic principles. If blasphemy is punishable to one religion, a secular country should legally profess the same for all religions democratically. Easily getting offended on facts that are genuine and codified in religious texts is evidently meant to deliberately derail an intellectual discourse and an ideology, with short of facts to justify its anomalies, frequently attempts to make its presence felt through violence. Scarcity of intellectual depth and scientific comprehension in religions force them to pull cleavers to slit open their ideological opponents. The question is, how long the world should remain susceptible to brutality in the name of religion. 
Should the barbarity on an innocent Hindu tailor be seen as reciprocation on what the liberals often call the provocations by an emboldened Hindu majoritarianism, supported by a government ‘well-known’ for its majority-appeasement politics? Why should someone in their good senses believe such a theory?  If that was the case, the government and its entire mechanism could have come to the rescue of the poor Hindu sadhus who were beaten to death on April 16, 2020 in the town of Palghar in Maharashtra by a frenzied mob. The country should have expected a majoritarian outrage. Neither the political establishment nor the judicial system could so far bring justice to the poor sadhus. What might have led an unruly mob to kill two saffron clad men? Outcries in the name of minority rights are often heard in India. But no leaf fell in support of the sadhus and the intellectuals refrained from writing columns condemning the bloodcurdling lynching and most of the visual media remained silent. The whole intention behind the Udaipur barbarity was to defend a particular ideology and dance in tune with its pre-emptive gesticulation, which if not whole, a section of the supporters in India are aspiring to follow. Let us not deny the fact that assistance to build an ecosystem of horror in the name of religion practically comes from across the borders. But the real issue of concern lies in the increasing number of its takers in India. It is unnecessary to go into the details of the issue that turned two young Muslim men to become heinous barbarians. Their act of crime was in consonance with or a replica of a medieval savagery.
There were multiple instances in which Hindus and Muslims pitched bitter battles in the streets in India and most of them occurred in the minority dominated areas. From Kashmir to Kerala hostility was evidently purported by an ideology which remained suffocated with its extremist and exclusive beliefs and whenever it was expected to shake hands with others in amity it disappointed the country with enmity. There is no denying the fact that India’s recalcitrant neighbor; the Islamic Republic of Pakistan, does everything that it can to bleed India by a thousand cuts. But the political narrative that India is habituated to build is to deliberately camouflage the dubious intentions with which the youth in a particular community get radicalized. After Udaipur, the reasons behind the gruesome murder of a chemist in Amravati are unravelling. Both murders were executed as a particular community got offended on the Nupur Sharma episode and the shopkeepers from both the cities got their fate sealed forever for their alleged support for the former BJP spokesperson in the social media. Evidently, a democratic nation is seen to be digging in the heels, a futile exercise to maintain its constitutional values when it is clobbered hard by its own flattered demography. A tussle between democracy and a theocratic mindset in the slippery slopes of India’s political hypocrisy is what the country is witnessing at present. And the barbarity that an uncivilized medieval period was known for is getting prominence in India and Udaipur and Amaravati are its hapless victims.
Do not forget, this sickness or call it madness is an outcome of the education that many young children receive in seminaries run by semi literate people. The boy, seated on the shoulders of a young man shouting blood thirsty slogans in the Alappuzha district of Kerala was an example of a parallel education system that injected hatred at a younger age distancing people as infidels and believers. The brutal killings of innocent people in the name of religions may be chest thumping for many in the mohallas of Jihad. Such episodes of bestiality are enough to topple the entire edifice of democracy. A country run by the rule of law cannot budge anymore with this fiendishness. We need fast track courts to speed up the legal proceedings to deal with such crimes. The more the religions agree to reforms, the more peaceful would be the religious space in the country.
(The writer is a Freelance Journalist/Social Worker)

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