By Sushil Kutty
The socio-pathology of the nation stinks. Cow vigilante beat a man half-dead. People inform police. Cops assault the victim! At the spot. In the police station. Finally, taken to hospital, Rakbar Khan is declared “brought dead”. Who is to blame? The state government says not the murdering cops. In the Lok Sabha, Speaker Sumitra Mahajan declares: “This is not an issue to raise in the House.”
Good. Give it a clean burial. After all, Muslims do not cremate! Television shows the grieving family. It is not pleasant watching. Even the most hard-hearted will feel the loss. What was Rakbar Khan’s fault? He was transporting a pair of cows to his village in Haryana. Like one family member wailed: “Muslims also drink milk.”
Rajasthan Chief Minister Vasundhararaje Scindia did not hear the plaintive cry. Prime Minister Narendra Modi flew off on his three-nation Africa tour. Will somebody from ‘Indian Diaspora’ ask him the question: “Do Muslims also drink milk?” After all, when young and ‘dirt-poor’ he must have sold a cup of tea laced with milk to a Muslim. Muslims also commute by train. Remember Junaid, Mr. Prime Minister?
Iqlaq. Pehlu Khan. Junaid. And now Rakbar Khan. It’s a small world. What’s the song? Chotti Si Yeh Duniya, Pehchane Raaste; Tum Kahin Toh Miloge, Kabhi Toh Miloge! Well, the “Miloge” so far for the Muslim and Dalit has been murderous. At least, in rendezvous with the cow vigilante. Mobs beating to death alleged child-lifters have been more “secular” in selecting victims.
And all this after the Supreme Court read the Riot Act to the police and district administrations. Listed a number of ‘Dos’ to them. Most important, told Parliament to enact a ‘Vigilante Law’. Did Prime Minister Narendra Modi mention anything about a new vigilante law in his reply to the no-trust motion? Did Rahul Gandhi allude to it in his “audition for the grand alliance’s PM-face role?”
What was the trust-vote, actually? It was not to defeat the “government out”. The numbers did not allow that. It wasn’t a video-game. It wasn’t ‘Avatar’. It wasn’t ‘Infinity Avenger’. It was to present before the nation a screenshot of the ‘State of the Union.’ But Rahul Gandhi lost it. He went for the ‘hug and wink’ and got called for his histrionics.
The Congress had Jyotiraditya Scindia and Shashi Tharoor, far better orators. But the entire focus was to keep the focus on Rahul Gandhi. The limelight! All because the Grand Alliance had to be told that Rahul was the ‘PM-face’ of the ‘Mahagathbandhan’, which it did not wait long to declare. The ‘rest of the grand alliance’ is not impressed. Mayawati remains the BSP’s PM-candidate. Samajwadi Party says Akhilesh Yadav is the “architect” of the grand alliance. Mamata Banerjee says it is “too early”.
Quite frankly, things are going awry for both the Congress and the BJP. The Prime Minister lost a golden chance to declare war on the vigilante, especially of the ‘cow-sort’. The Congress failed to capitalise on a chance to cement the grand alliance.
In fact, the trust vote shows there is not much difference between the “two national parties”. The BJP also fielded run-of-the-mill speakers to keep the Lok Sabha camera focused on Narendra Modi. There aren’t any alternatives to either Modi or Rahul in both parties. Minus Modi, the BJP will be dead duck. Without Gandhi, the Congress is a flightless bird, chicken!
The trust vote was about Titanic sinking! About the most hotly contested piece of real-estate on the sub-continent, South Asia. It was about a Prime Minister who like God made promises. About people so refreshed by a prime ministerial candidate in 2014 that he was catapulted to power with majority. How many of the promises have been kept?
The trust vote was also about the politics of hate let loose in the country because the opposition hates one man! The vitriol seen against him is unhinged. Anyone who supports him is a Nazi, a Third Reich bigot, a brainless ‘bhakt’.
The media mostly have lost their bearings. They’re divided in camps. Cow vigilante are hung from the rafters, and rightly so, but a ‘Hindu’ gets lynched by a Muslim village panchayat for having an affair with a Muslim woman and the media reports don’t mention ‘Hindu’. Like said, the socio-pathology of the nation stinks and nobody in or out of power cares.
The trust vote gave Prime Minister Narendra Modi a chance. Rahul Gandhi got an extraordinary opportunity. One was called a ‘Blockbuster Actor’, the other was nailed as a ‘Hug & Wink Artist’. And the trust vote went ‘Pfft’, the dictionary meaning of which is: A brief sound such as that made by the passage of a bullet, or that of a small muffled explosion. (IPA Service)