Some thoughts on March 23. // A paean to Indian Secularism.
On 23 March, 2003, 24 people were lined up and shot, somewhere in India. The victims included 11 men, 11 women and 2 children, including a 2 year old child.
Killed in cold blood.
Killed by extremists.
Killed for their religion.
But in India, as a relative wryly observed, we have no value for human life. Massacres, Murders, Rapes, and assaults happen so regularly that we’re numb to the pain, the devastation and despair that happens every day in this country. We are, at times, a soulless nation, an apathetic nation.
But there is a community that has suffered more apathy and desolation from us than others. A community that was forced to flee from their land because of extremism. But perhaps because they are from a particular community, perhaps because they are not a vote bank, their issues and discourse is left missing from the discourse in our nation.
Are they missed, by ignorance ? or are they covered as a result of it being nonconforming to a particular narrative?
On 23 March, 2017, a rather popular Lucknow Kebab shop was closed for an hour. One might wonder, however, whether the Kebab shop was in some way, related to the media because of the singular attention the whole story received from Delhi based English media. As witnessed by this single snap:
The shop had to close down for some time because of the non-availability of buffalo meat, as the new government cracked down on illegal slaughterhouses.
Of the 126 slaughterhouses in the state, only one has a permit, and only 21 had effluent treatment plants. As the state cracks down on something long overdue and also a major poll promise of the newly formed government. One can imagine the way it was spun by the news media. Just looking at Eminent Journalist’s outrage on twitter, it seemed to be the end of days. Huff Po and Hindu Buisnessline reported dutifully on lions in the Lucknow Zoo starving as buffalo meat was unavailable!
The dye was cast, the narrative was spun, the outrage had begun.
The new UP Government had suspended about 100 police officers, started the much derided anti-harassment squad (a vote-grabbing poll promise, apparently), acted on illegal buses, and ordered Government servants to conform to the employee dress code as well as a ban on paan.
The one that received the most eye-balls of course, was this. After ratting out “Communalised Development” and what not, one would expect no less, and no less we got. What might be the reason, the symbolism behind it? I leave that to you, the reader.
Just see the outrage that the shutting of this kebab shop sparked:
Adhir Ranjan Chowdhury, an INC MP of the Lok Sabha who was very concerned about the meat shortage in UP, raised a very poignant question: “Will the lions survive on Palak Paneer?” (In the Lok Sabha, no less.)
I would like to request“Reliable News Portal” Huff Po which was so concerned so much earlier about “Cruel male sport of Jallikkattu” and now for the pregnant lioness in Lucknow, to please interview this model Member of Parliament, who put the concerns of his constituents first.
I would also request Huff Po to interview Barkha Dutt as well as Kapil Sibal, and publish articles on how there is a wide spread conspiracy by Modi and his cronies attempting destroy the kebab industry in the Uttar Pradesh.
Barkha on twitter:
And Kapil Sibal:
All this while the Government arguably subverted democracy (not that it hasn’t already been subverted, in my opinion, the Parliamentary aspect has never really kicked in our Republic). Not that we’re debating that. Or that the Supreme Court violated its own directive on Aadhar. (Cognitive dissonance, much?)
It is very sad to see that we have such warped priorities, and I would credit this to the Secular-Liberal-Left (SLL) narrative that has dominated our nation, our thinking and our political beliefs. Their massive predominance in intellectual, academic and media circles is slowly being broken, and as they are, one can see the visible groans that has filled the air. It will not be long that there will be some or the other incident that will spark the next outrage and breathless debate about some issue that happens in UP.
The question, on why the focus is so much on meat and on kebabs rather than on others, is something that you can answer yourself, no pointers are necessary.
All these happenings in a single day, March 23.
A day where innocents where killed. A day that marks another massacre in Post-independence India of this community. A day, however, remembered only by some. A day where only a few weeps for the loss of the innocent lives.
From “Our Moon has blood clots”:
Read this thread as well.
Maybe because the incident happened in Kashmir, maybe because they happened against the Kashmiri Pandits, and as it goes against the narrative, one is ignorant of the pain that they have suffered, and we are almost openly contemptuous.
(O! Merciless, O! Kafirs leave our Kashmir)
(If you want to live in Kashmir, say that Allah is your god/You will have to convert to Islam)
These were the slogans that were used in the 90s as the Pandits fled.
For some reason, not many marked the day of the massacre.
You can draw your own conclusions:
I said earlier that we are almost openly contemptuous of their pain, of their desolation.
I would like to change that; I am not. I am not apathetic to the pain, the despair and angst that the Kashmiri Pandits have suffered, and continue to suffer.
Newspapers, Politicians and Media personalities breathlessly covered the closing down of a Kebab shop in Lucknow, and ignored the anniversary of a massacre, another dark day in the story of Kashmir and of this Republic.
It had happened before; very few remember, or condemn the Godhra Train Burning in the same breath as they condemn the Riots that followed, or when they forget to condemn the deaths of the kar sevaks in 1991 shooting, in the same breath as they condemn the incident of December 6th, 1992, or when they try to monkey balance problems of Islamic Fundamentalism with regressive moral policing.
Oh, my India, secular India, what shall I say?