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NC Top Opinions: Round Your Neck With Love, A Noose; Man Of Destiny And More

Here's a curation of best opinion pieces that caught our attention today.

  • Cow terrorists bay for Muslim blood: A story of lynching in India

 Swati Chaturvedi writes in her column for Gulf News that make no mistake the cow terrorists, emboldened by the state, do not care about the welfare of the cow, but want to send a clear and blunt message to India’s 172 million Muslims. 

The message, semaphored by Ivy League educated ministers garlanding convicts accused of lynching, draping the national flag; the tricolour on the body of a man who was part of a lynch mob and died of an illness; ministers meeting and weeping at the plight of cow terrorists in prison; the Chief Minister of India’s largest state saying that “cows are as important as people”; the meat being found in a victim’s home being sent for forensic tests to check if it was beef –  as if that would make the brutal murder justifiable.

The message being sent by the Modi government and the BJP, which rules in 22 states, is unequivocal – the life of a cow is more valuable than an Indian Muslim. The mob baying for Muslim blood is helping the BJP in its default mode of polarization, of tapping into the majoritarian project in general election season, with the 2019 vote a mere eight months away.

The lynchings won’t end anytime soon as the state looks away. After all the BJP has to win another term and Amit Shah, party president and Modi’s doppelgänger, demonstrated in the Uttar Pradesh state elections how he had effectively disenfranchised the Muslims by not giving a single ticket to a candidate in a state where Muslims form 20 per cent of the population. Uttar Pradesh now has the lowest number of Muslim legislators ever in India’s history.

  • Out of my Mind: Lynch State

In his column for The Indian Express, Meghnad Desai writes that the Honourable Supreme Court has got it wrong about lynching. The problem is not that we need more laws to be passed at the Centre. Nor does the announcement by the Home Minister of convening a Group of Ministers (a sure sign of indecision during the UPA) inspire much confidence. This is not a problem which has a top-down solution.

Lynching is not so much a nation-wide problem as a Hindi belt one. It is to do with the feeling among many Hindus, some but not all with Parivar ties, that a BJP government in the state is an open invitation to beat up and/or kill Muslims. Law and order is a state subject. We have perfectly adequate laws in the IPC to deal with the problem. It is not the lack of laws but a lack of will to enforce the law which is the issue. The lackadaisical attitude of the Alwar police towards the victim of lynching shows that as far as they were concerned, getting the cows back under protection was more important than to look after the half dead Muslim man under their care.

The fact is that in many parts of India, especially its Hindi heartland, the State has broken down. Not as a body for spending public money — on cancelling farmers’ loans, starting infrastructure projects, declaring new reservations etc. The State does not function to maintain law and order in an impartial way.

  • Round your neck with love, a noose

Sankarshan Thakur says in his column for The Telegraph that you recognise the scene of crime, don’t you? No? But of course you do. It is a scene of recent crime, an audacity most foul whose after-effects are still eddying about. But such it is, this scene of crime, it lends itself. To violations of all manner. It has been wrung. It has been choked. It has been tied. It has been twisted. It has been lassoed. 

It has been stabbed. It has been slit. It has been chopped off. In the native parts, in my beloved Beehar, the charming euphemism they sometimes use when they declare intent to decapitate someone is chhau inch chhota kar denge… will reduce your height by six inches. A critical place, this neck, ground zero of many manners of threat; this is where you reduce the intended person’s height by six inches from: the neck. It’s what you might see in the illustration below. A versatile part of the anatomy. Crafted by whoever crafts such things for many and contrary purposes.

Lo! Yeh kahan aa gaye hum? But this is what happens in Mahadeb’s absence. It is so distracting – this no being there of Mahadeb – that we begin to digress. We were on the neck and we have seamlessly travelled to the lips. Not done, although it is a certain kind of practice, travelling from the neck to the lips. Some folks do that and think nothing of it. Some folks think it’s bad enough you got to the neck in the first place. God knows what you may have done next.

Beware! HugBug alert!! Run!!! Kahin galey naa pad jaaye! And what if in the process of necking me, he gets the real measure of the proclaimed size of my chest? God forbid. So you see, the neck and the sheer fright of getting necked. What is it that they say when you get it really bad? Do they not say you got it in the neck?

  • Man of destiny

In Imran, Pakistan has a cosmopolitan defender of the faith writes Mukul Kesavan in his column for The Telegraph. Imran Khan is an era in himself. His public career joins Sunil Gavaskar and Virat Kohli in the minds of desi cricket fans of a certain age.  It’s interesting that on the few occasions that mass media celebrity is parlayed into real political power, the political persona is invariably conservative. 

The American precedents are instructive: Ronald, Arnold and, of course, Donald. Imran (it’s hard to call him Khan or Niazi, since his first name is his brand) has built his political career on an Islamist, anti-corruption, anti-Western platform. There are obvious ironies here, none of which is particularly interesting, but they’re worth ticking off if only to rehearse the clichés in which political commentary is done. Imran is interesting because he is the starkest example of the ‘man of destiny’ you can find in the modern world. There is something both comic and impressive about his long-standing belief that he was destined to redeem Pakistan’s cricket team and, eventually, the country itself.

It took Imran 21 years to scale cricket’s Everest, and just over a year longer to become Pakistan’s prime minister-in-waiting after he turned politician in 1996. Unlike lesser men like Kapil Dev and Arjuna Ranatunga who frittered away their World Cup fame by becoming sporting mascots, for Imran the World Cup victory was a dress rehearsal for the great role he was destined to play: Pakistan’s redeemer.

  • Words are all we have: Bollywood lyricist Neeraj’s beautiful collection of poems

Remembering Bollywood lyricist “Bhaavuk Etahwi” born Gopaldas Saxena, aka “Neeraj”, Seema Chishti writes a column for The Indian Express. She says that poet “Bhaavuk Etahwi” had a way with words. Stunningly simple, woven intricately, they made their way into the listener’s heart. In days before television, when mushairas and kavi sammelans were commonplace and poets were heroes reading their own writing — it mattered how they recited.

Best known for his ability to understand and express fine, romantic love in Hindi film songs, Neeraj composed some memorable poems for Dev Anand, who became a lifelong friend. The effervescence of his words, sentiment — and Anand’s picturisation helped lift that phase in Hindi film music to among its finest. His songs spoke to a generation of Indians caught in the cleft-stick of hope and restlessness — well into the 1970s, before the anger and noise took over.

But, beyond the soothing love poetry, the delightful play on metaphors: mala mein dhaga, sapnon ki geetanjali, and focus on the shringar ras, there was more to Neeraj. Within him was a registan (desert) — a kind of restlessness haunted him, which those who are fans of just his film songs are less familiar with. His other poetry often deeply echoes viraha (separation), a sentiment far less exhibited in Hindi music lyrics today.

Neeraj stays on in Aligarh, uncremated. He had donated his body to Aligarh Muslim University’s Jawaharlal Nehru Medical College. Its anatomy department head prof. Tariq Zaidi spoke of how nearly 140 bodies had been pledged in the past six years, but “only six” had arrived. Neeraj, embalmed, for medical students to study, rests in peace and poetry.

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