Crimes Were Committed Earlier Too, But For The First Time We Are Witnessing Celebration of Violence: Apoorvanand (Watch)
Dr Apoorvanand, Harsh Mander and Pamela Philipose talk about rising intolerance in Karwan-e-Mohabbat's video series “Tathya”.
“This is Gandhi talking in 1947: He says that the open goondaism that is seen on the streets cannot be possible without the subtle goondaism that lives in our hearts and let us accept that we are addicted to this subtle goondaism,” says Professor Apoorvanand.
As part of the Karwan-e-Mohabbat — a civil society initiative for peace and justice led by of activists, writers and journalists — video series “Tathya”, public intellectual and professor at the Delhi University Dr Apoorvanand, Director of the Centre for Equity Studies and social activist Harsh Mander, and senior journalist and researcher Pamela Philipose spoke about majoritarianism and the rising intolerance in India.
“I have many Muslim young colleagues who work with me, and they’ve said their mothers tell them, Do not say Assalamu Alaikum when you get a call, do not wear the skull cap, do not grow your beard. If there is a fight on a train, do not get involved. If it’s a political discussion, don’t get involved. Somebody will find out that you are a Muslim,” said Mander, highlighting how fear dictates the day-to-day activities of minorities in India.
Pamela Philipose, adding to that, elaborated: “Fear is actually one of the building blocks of separation in that wall between people. So, generations of young kids grow up not knowing the ‘other’ at all. They do not interact with the ‘other’. In Gujarat, they use the term Pakistan.”
Touching upon how sectarian hatred has metastasised under the Bharatiya Janata Party regime, Apoorvanand said, “It’s not that crimes were not being committed earlier. But it is for the first time that we are witnessing the celebration of violence and jubilation for the perpetrators of murders. Hindu society has become accustomed to violence; they have been taught to enjoy violence. People have been intoxicated with violence. For this, the lynching and murders have been video recorded and shared.”
He added that this had been done to give people access to the high of violence.
According to reports, in the last five years, there have been at least 121 incidents of mob violence that have affected more than 290 people and claimed at least 46 lives — all in the name of the cow. The majority of the victims in these incidents have been Muslims and Dalits.
“The soul of Hindus has been crushed. They have stopped seeing Muslims and Christians as humans. Of course, it is a political failure, especially that of political parties. But we need to ask why the political parties are not able to speak to the Hindus and tell them that they are wrong in their acts of violence,” said Apoorvanand, asking, “Why aren’t political parties failing to tell the Hindu communities that lynching and murdering in the name of cow is not acceptable?”
With Lok Sabha elections at our doorsteps, the air is thick with majoritarian and nationalistic sentiments — all fuelled by the ruling party. Harsh Mander, in this context, said, “There are moments in history when it’s more important to save the country than to fight elections. We really have to demand that from our political leaders.”
According to Philipose, fraternity is a fundamental requirement in any society. “If that disappears, then you’ll have only ghettos and ghettos are by their very nature dangerous for a democratic society such as we aspire to be.”
One doesn’t have to explain the reason for the collective silence to him, said Mander, adding, “But do justify it to yourself.”