Vinod Mubayi and Raza Mir


‘Majrooh,’ likh rahe hain vo ahl-e wafa ke naam

Hum bhi khade hue hain, gunehgaar ki tarah


Majrooh, they are writing the names of the faithful

And we stand in wait, like a guilty supplicant.


The government of India has decided to enumerate and catalog all its citizenry. Aadhar cards must be linked to PAN cards in an unending cycle of governmentality, and as our first story shows, it is being selectively deployed to disenfranchise poor minorities. Muslim Bengalis are denied on the ground they are “Bangladeshis,” and Assamese citizens are being reclassified as “Rohingyas.” An endless cycle of exploitation just got so much more fine-tuned. And of course, it bears repeating that Aadhar is nothing but a surveillance technology masquerading as an artifact of citizenship, and susceptible to the most damaging and disastrous of digital breaches.


On the cultural front, the country is exercised over the release of Padmaavat, an Indian film that, despite its promised jingoism, fell afoul of the Hindu right because it may or may not have shown a fictitious Indian princess chatting with a caricatured Muslim invader. 1700 women of the Indian right promised to immolate themselves in a collective jauhar if the film was released. When it was eventually released, mobs in Gujarat and Rajasthan went berserk, destroying malls and cinema halls, burning vehicles, and stoning (for their own demented reasons) a school bus full of terrified children in Gurgaon (aka Gurugram) on the outskirts of Delhi. A retired Indian Army officer, Lt Col Gurmeet Sethi, whose 4 and 6-year old grandchildren were on this school bus that was attacked vented his disgust and anger when he wrote as follows:


What use defending the border when our children and women, Dalits and minorities aren’t safe within the country? And now you know why I hate the BJP for doing this to the country.


What a Sham we Indians are! Hypocrites.


The nation (if there exists one) is going to, like every year, put up a grand show on Rajpath this 26th January with its pseudo ‘Unity in Diversity’ theme. While we love to watch the contingents of the Rajputs, the Jats, the Sikhs and the Mahars march past in perfect synchrony, we fail to see the utter riot that runs amok in our hearts. What has happened in Gurgaon today in the name of honour, what happened in Mumbai and Pune this month in the name of caste and what happened last year all over the country in the name of cow, rips naked the reality behind the bogus pomp and show of the Rajpath.


What use are our missiles and bombs when we can’t keep our women and children safe on the roads from our own people? What use is the police when they choose to be dumb spectators to hooligans on rampage? Forget China or Pakistan, we are enough in number to suck each other’s blood.


As little kids snugged under the seats of their school bus in Gurgaon today, I worry for the scar of trauma that plagues them now. They won’t know why you pelted stones at their school bus, but they will never forget the fear you’ve sown in them. The fear of going to school, the fear of being on the road, the fear of their fellow Indians. You’ve taken away the joy of school bus trips from their childhood memories.


They feel weak and scared. Their parents taught them to stand on their feet… you brought them to their knees. F… your honor and prestige. Damn your caste supremacy or the lack of it.


If anyone, anywhere feeling disgruntled (including your honors) thinks they can come on the roads with rods, stones and guns to vent, well… let’s then have an open kill match and sort it out. Why keep shit in our hearts and traumatize young children?


And if you feel this is the misdoings of a nasty few and you needn’t do anything about it… Lock yourself in your room and watch the Republic Day parade as a dumb stuck spectator … And clap… For your conscience has marched past you….in perfect synchrony!


(Reproduced from Sabrang Daily newsletter, Jan. 27, 2018 <sabrang@blue.1wnk.com>)


Terror of course produces its own logic. It is essential for the Hindutva agenda that the myth of Indian Hindus fighting Indian Muslims must be preserved at all costs, for without it, the history of the Indian right would be exposed as nothing more than a legacy of quisling treachery against the freedom movement. The hollow tragedy of this sorry episode is that Padmaavat is an execrably jingoistic film, playing up the Hindus-hated-Muslims angle, and robbing women of their agency (the protagonist apparently askes her husband for permission to immolate herself). In a different era, its patriarchal and hateful themes would have been hotly contested, but in our bizarre upside down world, even servile furtherance to Saffronized history is violently prosecuted in the court of fascist vigilantism if it is not craven enough for the escalated demands of the Hindutva agenda.


Hindutva’s embrace of Zionism, symbolized by Benjamin Netanyahu’s visit to India and his bonhomie with Narendra Modi, was replete with savage ironies. One of them was Netanyahu’s visit to the Taj Mahal escorted by the Chief Minister of UP, the Hindu fundamentalist Yogi Adityanath. Apparently, the Yogi did not inform his guest about the monument’s supposedly “Hindu” history as the Tejo Mahalaya. Another was Netanyahu’s visit to the Gandhi Ashram with Modi. Mahatma Gandhi, who was assassinated by the Hindu fundamentalist Godse, is now sought to be appropriated by the descendants of his assassin. The US-India-Israel nexus appeared further strengthened when the US suspended security assistance to Pakistan in early January, citing Pakistan’s reluctance to move against the Afghan Taliban and other militant groups. This may truly be an unexpected boon for Pakistan’s crusaders for civil liberties and democratic rights, weakening its military while reducing the savage inequalities such “aid” engenders among its citizenry. Pakistan is a country of great inequalities, but on that count, India has it comfortably beat, the Oxfam report of January 2018 declares that 1% of India owns a staggering 73% of its national wealth. That 1% will have no problem linking their Aadhar cards to their PAN cards. They are the ahl-e wafa among the gunehgaars of India, the fragments whose identity has been erased by the duster of militaristic nationalism.


The BJP’s assault on Dalits has been as severe as its assault on minorities. The Citizens for Justice and Peace (CJP) have reported that the Bhim Army Chief, Chandrashekhar Azad, popularly known as Ravan, has been incarcerated in an unjust manner for about 8 months now. He was arrested by the UP police on June 9, 2017 in connection with the Saharanpur violence of May 2017. Apart from multiple criminal cases, that CJP believes are being unjustly foist on him, the draconian National Security Act (NSA) has been also slapped on him since November 2017. CJP, in an endeavor to protect and defend human rights defenders who stand up for people’s rights at the grassroots, is campaigning for the release of Chandrashekhar Azad. CJP has written a letter to UP Chief Minister Yogi Adityanath to free Chandrashekhar Azad and drop all NSA charges against him. Insaf Bulletin strongly supports the campaign to free Chandrashekhar Azad.

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