Wake up India!

An acquaintance from New Delhi called on the other day. As usual he posed a volley of questions. Where do you see Kashmir five years from now? How do you perceive the proposed dialogue? How will Syed Ali Geelani react?

Soon after, he came to the point. India has prospered a lot. It is a big economic power now. It believes in pluralism. Pakistan on the other hand is a failed state. His onslaught ended when the maid walked in with tea. After a brief pause, I posed an uncomfortable question. Agreed Pakistan is a failed state, how successful has India been?

India is a country where Muslims are killed, Sikhs are persecuted, Christians are lynched and Dalits are humiliated. Where does pluralism exist? Bharat is for Hindus alone and this has been made amply clear repeatedly by the Sang Parivaar. Madhav Sadashiv Golwalkar, an early RSS ideologue, expressed his admiration for Nazi agendas unabashedly, indicative of ethnocentrism and internationalized oppression/racism that fuel the accretion of majoritarian agency: “To keep up the purity of the Race and its culture, Germany shocked the world by her purging the country of the semitic (sic) Races- the Jews, Race pride at its highest has been manifested here” (Violent Gods by Dr Angana Chatterjee, Pg 83)

Golwalkar adds: “The non-Hindu peoples in Hindustan must either adopt the Hindu culture and language must learn to respect and hold in reverence Hindu religion, must entertain no idea but those (sic) of glorification of the Hindu race and culture.”  Defining conditionalities for citizenship, he stated: ‘They (non-Hindus must cease to be foreigners, or may stay in the country, wholly subordinated to the Hindu nation, claiming nothing, deserving no privileges, far less any preferential treatment-not even citizen’s rights.’ (Ibid)

Golwalker was the second Sarsangchalak of the RSS. Much time has passed since he hailed the madness of the Nazis but has the mindset changed? No it has not. Not only was the hoodlums, the Indian elite seen looting shops owned by Muslims during the Gujarat carnage. According to Syed Ali Shah Geelani, around 40,000 anti-Muslim riots have taken place across India since 1947. Some of the major riots are Kota 1953, Rourkela 1964, Ranchi 1967,

Ahmedabad 1969, Bhiwandi 1970, Aligarh 1978, Jamshedpur 1979, Moradabad
1980, Meerut 1982, Hyderabad 1983, Assam 1983, Bhagalpur 1989, Bhadrak 1991,
Ayodhya 1992, Bombay 1992 and Gujarat 2002.

Before 80s suspecting patriotism of Sikhs was considered an unpardonable sin in India. But everything changed in 80s. Following murder of Indira Gandhi on October 31, 1984, Sikhs reaped the `fruits’ of secularism and democracy for the first time. In three days (October 31 to November 2) 2733 Sikhs, according to official figures and 4000 as per unofficial estimates,

were ruthlessly killed in Delhi and adjoining areas. The report of the Justice Nanavati Commission of Inquiry on the riots was released in February 2005, nearly twenty-one years after the event. The commission failed to conclusively indict the Congress government in power at New Delhi in 1984 as complicit. The survivors are still awaiting justice.

And who can ignore the tirade against Christians in Orrisa and elsewhere?

Nobody knows how many innocent people have been killed till date but the atrocities inflicted on the community reflect the ruthlessness and designs of the Hinduvta forces.

Angana Chatterjee writes in the above named book: “In Balliguda, in one church, furniture was dragged out, lit into a grotesque sculpture. The private violated in public, made spectacle. A catholic church burned, opposite the street the fire station witnessed the incident but did not intervene. A cow dragged from shed, set afire,was beaten to death, identified as Christian.” (Pg 200).

Re-conversion to Hindusim is always coerced, painful and humiliating. At times the Christians are made to eat cow dung to re-enter Hindusim. The woeful tale of seven Christian women narrated by the People’s Union for Civil Liberties in 2004. More than 160 million people in India are considered ‘untouchable’—people tainted by their birth into a caste system that deems them impure, less than human.

India’s untouchables are relegated to the lowest jobs and live in constant fear of being publicly humiliated, paraded naked, beaten and raped with impunity by upper-caste Hindus seeking to keep them in their place. Merely walking through an upper-caste neighbourhood is a life-threatening offence. "Nearly 90 per cent of all the poor Indians and 95 per cent of all the illiterate Indians are Dalits."

Statistics complied by India’s National Crime Records Bureau indicate that in the year 2000, 25,455 crimes were committed against Dalits. Every hour two Dalits are assaulted; every day three Dalit women are raped, two Dalits are murdered and two Dalit homes are torched.

In 2000, "68,160 complaints were filed against the police for activities ranging from murder, torture and collusion in acts of atrocity, to refusal to file a complaint. Sixty-two per cent of the cases were dismissed as unsubstantiated; 26 police officers were convicted in court."

A report released by Amnesty International in 2001 found an ‘extreme high’ number of sexual assaults on Dalit women, frequently perpetrated by landlords, upper-caste villagers and police officers. The study estimates that only about 5 per cent of attacks are registered and that policeofficers dismissed at least 30 per cent of rape complaints as false. The study also found that the police routinely demand bribes, intimidate witnesses, cover-up evidence and beat up the women’s husbands . Little or nothing is done to prevent attacks on rape victims by gangs of upper-caste villagers seeking to prevent a case from being pursued. Rape victims have also been murdered. Such crimes often go unpunished.

"Thousands of pre-teen Dalit girls are forced into prostitution under cover of a religious practice known as Devadasis, which means ‘female servant of god’."

"In August 2002, the UN Committee for the Elimination of Racial Discrimination (UN CERD) approved a resolution condemning caste or descent-based discrimination (in India). But at the national level, very little is being done to implement or enforce the laws" that would prevent or eradicate rampant, blatant acts of caste-based-driven discrimination/victimization.

And then people are told that India has become an economic power. But the figures released by the United Nations last week narrate an entirely different story. India is 134th among 184 nations as far as development, health care and literacy is concerned. Shockingly Pakistan, Sri Lanka and even Sudan are ahead of India. India is home to 46% of world’s unnourished children. 2190 people die of tuberculosis daily.

Besides insurgency in North Eastern States, people in 120 districts have resorted to guns to enforce their rights. This means a good number of people (other than Dalits, Muslims and Sikhs are not happy with the present state of affairs. They are fighting for a change.

And last but not the least, the ignorant people of India are told that Kashmir cannot be left alone. It is Kashmir that binds a huge country like India together. Leaving Kashmir alone would result in disintegration of India. This is an admission that secularism, socialism and democracy have not integrated India effectively during the past six decades. It is Kashmir that has done the job for India. If this is true, then Indians have to do some serious thinking. The bondage is already broken because Kashmiris don’t like India and cannot, therefore, act as an effective adhesive.

Feed back: din.zahir@gmail.com