By ASHRAF LONE
The current atmosphere of hate and the gory incidents that flow from it- lynching, and now burning alive of Muslims in India- reminds me of the college days when I used to listen BBC, Urdu regularly. I did not read newspapers too often those days and the internet was not as ubiquitous as it is today. The popular form of news was radio and TV after news papers. The world then was defined by conflicts and wars and it is still. Nothing has changed for good yet. In fact, after so much progress on educational and technological fronts during the last decade, the world has gotten from bad to worse on political fronts. Wars have ravaged countries and there seems no end to these.
I remember, one day , a listener had written a letter to the BBC writing that why you(BBC) broadcast “bad news” like killings of people and war and too much politics only and why not some good news. To this question the BBC member replied that when the world will becomes a better place and when evil and bad news will vanish to some extent, then they would be left with no option except to broadcast good news only.
In this context, coming to the present India and the recent hacking and then burning of a Muslim man on wrongful pretext sums it all and the answer of the BBC member. After Akhlaq , Pehlu , Junaid and so on, now we have another Muslim Mohammad Afrazul of Rajasthan burnt alive and it is now close to a dozen Muslims since 2014, who were either lynched or burnt alive. The video of hacking and burning of Mohammad Afrazul is horrifying. The Indian media tries to wrap this atmosphere of hate under a carpet but fortunately there is still a section of Indian media which brings highlights these “bad news”.
India appears to be on the path of losing its democratic values. The politics of hate is gaining pace by the day. Every other day, bounties of lacs and crores are put on the head of some person-nowadays mostly on Bollywood celebrities. Artists and Writers are threatened openly and no action is being taken against any culprit (we cannot actually expect it when hate is propagated by those who are on the thrones of power). Murderers are roaming free and getting away with judiciary easily. While India always criticized and criticizes Pakistan for its military rule and the ills associated with it, but India, a “democratic country” is doing worse on political, social and economic indicators. Corruption and nepotism are rampant and the communalization of society is rising with each passing day.
India’s constitution guarantees rights to every citizens- be it of any religion, caste or community. India though marred with anti minority riots and other problems from 1947 has somehow cherished some democratic rights and rightly boasted about these, but the present atmosphere of hate has taken a toll of Indian democracy and its democratic values.
The poison of hate and fear is spreading in Indian society with no stop to it; instead most of the media is propagating it in one way or the other. Only some independent media are reporting the truth. The rest is owned by big corporations and are supinely showing what the present regime and big corporations want it to show. The common man of India is suffering. Threats and warning of killings are issued in open and there is least concern shown for judiciary. The present regime is watching all this with least concern for human values. The so called “Achchey Din”(Good Days) slogan has turned into “Burey Din”(Bad Days) for Muslims, Dalits and other marginalized of India.
India is defined by so much cultural and religious diversity that it cannot afford this hate and lynch politics for too long. The social fabric of India has already got badly damaged from last three years, and it has polarized the society on religious lines but if this continues with the same pace, there would be drastic consequences which a country like India cannot afford in the long run.
The author can be reached at: firstname.lastname@example.org