It’s Not Caste, Religious Or Gender Oppression- Just Humans Fighting Humans
No such thing as truth or lies. They're all just words.
It’s difficult to call a spade, a diamond or a club but I think most of us can get around to it if we just try enough. To ease your journey into cognitive dissonance, I have prepared a small crash course. Your ability to master each successive level depends on your privilege. Studies have shown that people with more privilege are genetically predisposed towards performing better on these indicators.
Start your preparation for the first level by staying informed – read/watch the news. Anyone can be ignorant, but being truly incoherent and nonsensical requires some effort. Take a look at the smug face of Kuldeep Singh Sengar, a BJP MLA in Uttar Pradesh, Unnao. Keep in mind that this is after he made national headlines upon being accused of raping a minor. Pay attention to the fact that Unnao police did not register the FIR for almost a year, and that the survivor’s father has died in police custody. Repeat after me, ‘politics has nothing to do with this’. You can also learn from Meenakshi Lekhi about how to take this opportunity to blame the opposition, a strategy you can use for literally anything else that is going wrong in our country.
Proceed to level 2. Since you’ve read some news, you now know that an 8-year-old Muslim girl was raped by a group of Hindu men who perpetrated the crime specifically to ‘teach a lesson’ to the Muslim community that the girl belonged to. Do notice the men trying to protect the rapists by protesting under the banner of “Hindu Ekta Manch.” Now, log in to your Twitter/Facebook and/or straight up shout at the person sitting next to you, “It’s not about religion.”
Level 3 is a bit more difficult to crack, however, a serious lack of grey matter and an abundance of class and caste privilege help. You’re obviously horrified and moved by crimes against women, so launch a protest with your friends and ensure that your protest to demand women’s safety and rights, is ‘apolitical’. It might sound hella stupid, but believe me, you can even get Priyanka Chopra to endorse your official and apolitical protest. At the protest say things like, “From what I’ve understood, the seeds to it were communal…it is high time we stop making everything about politics and religion.” You can watch the entire demo here. Demanding justice is easy, but understanding what actually constitutes justice is difficult but you don’t need to worry about that anymore.
There are numerous benefits of this course – it lets you give a damn about socio-political issues without actually giving a damn about society or politics. The final step to complete your education is to apply your lessons everywhere, e.g., when you desperately want to tell women that the issues they face are not actually about gender. And when Dalits, Bahujan and Adivasis protest their oppression by calling out your caste privilege, you can easily dismiss them by spouting ‘not everything is about caste’. Lynchings can be attributed to general law and order deteriorations, so you can sleep peacefully knowing fully well that this will never affect you personally. Nobody likes a trouble-maker, and this course guarantees that you will never ever make any trouble by asking your privileged friends and family uncomfortable questions.
If you add the word ‘human’ to your vocabulary, the world will immediately become a better place. No more worrying about violent crimes that stem from religious bigotry or a combination of bigotry and misogyny. You can just say “humans are hurting humans”, which is a problem that dates back to the very genesis of humanity. It was a much simpler time when there was no caste, religion or even the concept of justice. Hence, it follows that there is nothing wrong with using that as the context to evaluate what is happening today. Assessing your surrounding events on the basis of historical, social and political context is passé, and it’s a relief to see most of us are keeping up with the times that are-a-changing.
(Mitali Agrawal is an education researcher in a Delhi based think tank and tweets at @just_screams.)