By Dr. Arun Mitra
The video showing two women being paraded naked and molested by an unruly mob of males in Manipur has shocked the whole country. It has brought shame to us worldwide. This has also exposed hollowness in our society which takes pride in worshiping women as Devis. This has also brought to the fore socio-cultural degeneration that has occurred and has highlighted male chauvinist attitude to use women as a tool. Above all it has exposed the insensitivity among the political and bureaucratic structure in power. This is the first ever incident of this level in the independent India.
Dubious silence of the Prime Minister for last 79 days since the violence erupted added to the surcharged atmosphere in the state. This led to hatred against each other. Hatred towards others does not happen automatically but it is engineered and brewed in a planned manner.
There are always problems in the society. Question is how we project them or how we try to deal with them and solve them. It is easy to blame the vulnerable sections of the society for various issues. Systematic propaganda is unleashed against the other community. This is spread in a systematic manner and a mind-set is created among the people against each other.
We have seen this during the partition of India when nearly 25 lakh Hindus Muslims and Sikhs were killed by each other. Up to 1.8 crore People were forced to migrate from their place to the other areas. But that was the time we were ruled by the colonial masters who would not hesitate to resort to any dirtiest means to continue their power and hold. But we are an independent nation now.
It was beyond imagination that in our country, which fought against colonial power and despite extreme poverty and illiteracy developed as a democratic country that such a situation, would ever crop up. But signs of such events were becoming apparent in the last few years. A systematic propaganda against the minorities has been unleashed and hatred being spread. Violence in Gujarat in 2002 in which 2500 Muslims are said to have been killed and several women raped was a part of this sinister game plan. Worst was when such killings were going on a section of the people including the women rejoiced. Mr. Narendra Modi who was Chief Minister at that time kept mum for several days and let the Carnage go on.
Such pernicious propaganda in the last few years has led to communal division in the society. So much the people are engrossed by the propaganda that they lose human feelings and feel no pain when the people whom they hate are subjected to violence, even killings. The victim and the family face humiliation, extreme mental stress and develop Post Traumatic Stress Disorder. They lose interest in any thing in life; develop suicidal tendencies and revengeful attitude. They get angry for no reason even on their nears and dears on trivial issues. Those who have been subjected to physical violence keep on lingering for want of healthcare. When the state is insensitive or perpetrator, things are worse. People lose faith in the state machinery and do not approach them for redress of their grievances, rather try to solve themselves. This is an anarchic situation in any society.
Such situations destroy harmony in the society built through several decades of hard work. It takes decades to rebuild a harmonious relationship. It is the task of saner elements in the society to come forward to spread the message of love, brotherhood/sisterhood, respect to all particularly the women children and the elderly, respect the belief of others. It is important to develop scientific temper in the society based on oneness of humans. The negative forces spread obscurantism and harp on the ancient glory. They try to devoid the people from getting wide knowledge; instead feed them with self-conceived and manufactured ideas. This is what was done by Hitler in Germany which led to killing of over 8 million Jews, communists, trade unionists and socialists among others. Similar things were repeated in Rwanda where over 8 lakh people were killed just in 100 days in 1994 after hate campaign among Hutu and Tutsi tribes.
Let us not let this happen in our country lest it starts falling apart. It is important that the constitutional bodies, bureaucracy, police and judiciary and others become proactive to save the constitution. Civil society and social reformers have hard task ahead to take up the cause to save the idea of India for which thousands of our freedom fighters laid down their lives and laid foundation of a secular, democratic, socialist republic.(IPA Service)