By Dr. Gyan Pathak
What has been happening in Uttar Pradesh and Uttarakhand now is a clear indication that the fire of hatred is spreading faster than we can douse. It has become a political tool and the major beneficiary is the BJP which is not only ruling these states but also the country. Action is seldom taken against the hate mongers. Inaction on the part of the police and administration has become the general characteristics until they are compelled to take action after general condemnation of the incidents from across the country. What proof one need to believe that some sort of structural changes based on hatred have already been carried out in governance?
Hatred is one of the basic human emotions that have always been exploited for political purposes, especially to establish hegemony of one community over the other, which is politically translated into support for remaining in power or gaining it. In the meantime thousands of innocent people just perish in the fire of hatred. The history of the world is full of such incidents, and hence many people believe that it should not be allowed in India.
The Supreme Court of India is hearing a number of petitions seeking investigation and action in hate speech cases, particularly in Uttarakhand and Uttar Pradesh. On April 13, the Supreme Court has even asked the Uttarakhand government to file a status report by April 22 in the case registered against hate speech in Haridwar. Appearing for the petitioners, the senior advocate Kapil Sibal has informed the Supreme Court that a similar event is going to be held in Himachal Pradesh on April 17.
It is a matter of serious concern that over the last few months some Hindu hate mongers including some religious personalities have made outrageous hate speeches and even given open call to take arms against Muslims, rape Muslim women, and commit genocide against them. In majority of the cases, such hate speeches were delivered during such events where police and administrative officers were present, and no actions were taken against the violators committing such crimes against a community. Who is responsible if not the ruling establishment? If these blatant incidents cannot be stopped then who is going to stop the whisper campaign against a community.
Take the example of the Haridwar incident. In the so called religious congregation several saffron clad personalities claiming to be Hindu saints, called Hindus to take arms against Muslims and resort to their genocide. No action was initially taken by the ruling establishment, which took action only after five former chiefs of staff of the armed forces and over a hundred other people including bureaucrats and prominent citizens wrote to the President Ram Nath Kovind and Prime Minister Narendra Modi calling upon them to protect the integrity and security of India. Yati Narasinghanand was made prime accused and arrested. However, he got out of jail on bail more than a month ago. The accused did not stop here. He again delivered a hate speech in Delhi reiterating the call for use of weapons against Muslims.
The latest example is from Uttar Pradesh. This incident also involved a saffron clad so called saint. The head of Maharshi Shri Lakhman Das of Udasin Ashram in Khairabad, Sitapur, 100 km from state capital Lucknow, made a hate speech on April 2 threatening Muslim women with rape. The speech was made at an event, a religious procession, where police and administrative officials were present. No action was initially taken. Then a two-minute video of his speech went viral six days after on April 8. It drew sharp comment from the people and even from the National Commission of Women. The Commission sought his arrest and said the police cannot be mute spectators to such comments. Only after that an FIR was registered against the accused under various sections of IPC related to making hate speech, making derogatory statements and sexual harassment.
These are only the much publicized examples of hate speeches made in public. There are numerous whisper campaigns doing rounds, in which Muslims as a community are demonized and dehumanized, as if there are no innocent or good people among them including their children and women. It is sheer madness of certain Hindus who have been running their hate campaigns only to consolidate Hindu votes in favour of the BJP.
Such activities are being carried out and institutionalized through certain organizations who have nothing to do with religion but are primarily interested in establishing Hindu hegemony against all other religious communities. This is camouflaged under the name of patriotism, falsely implying that no one other than a Hindu can be patriotic in India. Even nationalism for them means nothing less than ‘Hindu Nationalism’. They are no more talking ‘Vasudhaiva Kutumbakam’ (the whole world is our kith and kin) which was one of the fundamental thoughts of Hinduism. Of late, democratic institutions are weakened, their spines are broken, and only a handful of officers have left with courage to take action against hate mongers who go on encouraging violence of one community against the other.
Branding any community “enemy of the people” is wrong, since these activities are carried out either with a wish to harm the community in the grab of protecting other communities or with a wish to get political support for gaining or remaining in power. Unsuspecting Hindus must not allow themselves to be exploited by such Hindu hate mongers. There are also anti-Hindu hate mongers in the contemporary politics and people should equally beware of them.
India needs peace and development, not hatred and violence. Love among the communities is far more valuable than hatred among them, since nobody will be safe in the fire of hatred that breeds only violence, though some of us may temporarily become political beneficiaries. Keep in mind that hate is normalized when people are told by their leaders that some among us are a threat. They also are encouraging violence against the seculars, and even the Hindus who oppose their design of hate campaigns. (IPA Service)