The great Indian silence trick

October 29, 2015 by  
Filed under newsletter-india

PersecutionKochi, October 26, 2015: Indian media in the past month have been replete with news and opinions about how fast Indians are growing in their intolerance for differences, and how violently dissidents are attacked and even annihilated.

On Oct. 19, for example, Abdul Rashid Sheikh, a member of the Jammu and Kashmir state legislative assembly had black ink thrown at him while he was addressing media at New Delhi’s press club. The same member, a Muslim, was also earlier attacked inside the state assembly house for hosting a “beef party” and for opposing demands to ban the slaughter of cows, an animal Hindus view as sacred.

Villagers in Himachal Pradesh lynched a 20-year-old Muslim for allegedly rustling cattle on Oct. 14. They suspected he was transporting cattle to slaughter them for beef.

A Pentecostal pastor in Jharkand was shot dead Oct. 20.

Malleshappa Kalburgi, a literary figure in Karnataka, was shot dead allegedly because of his writings against superstition and idolatry.

A Muslim man — Akhlaq Ahmed — was lynched in September near New Delhi for allegedly eating beef.

There were also reports about rationalists being shot dead; authors and publishers being attacked; art performances and concerts being picketed; novelists and literary figures being threatened with violence.

The list goes on.

Silence justifies violence

In an effort to justify the attacks, violence against those who defy traditional systems and customs of caste superiority have been portrayed as anti-Indian and anti-Hindu. That makes it easier to silence those who oppose the idea of “one nation, one religion, one culture” that hard-line Hindu groups push forward with considerable speed, challenging the nation’s secular constitution and laws.

These efforts, which were once considered to be on the fringe, are now being violently pushed into India’s social mainstream after the pro-Hindu Bharatiya Janata Party of Prime Minister Narendra Modi gained political prominence and its fanatic ideology began to enjoy tacit support from the government.

Hindu hard-liners consider an official silence to be tacit approval, part of a system that has matured among Bharatiya Janata Party leaders over the years.

When Hindus were attacking Muslims in the riots of 2002 in Gujarat, when Modi was chief minister of the state, he made no public statement condemning the violence that killed some 1,000 people, the majority of them Muslims.

The lynching of Akhlaq evoked no response from Modi for two weeks, until media and activists began to speak about his deafening silence. Finally Modi said the incident was “unfortunate” but failed to condemn it.

And then there were media discussions and opinion columns and even an editorial that blatantly justified Akhlaq’s murder on the grounds that it was a mob reaction to a religious offence.

In television discussions and causal conversations we could hear people condoning the violence and murders related to eating beef.

A journalist who visited the site of the lynching told me: “After all, he had eaten beef.” The journalist sounded as if Akhlaq deserved to be lynched for eating beef. This attitude shows how boldly even educated Indians have come to support violence for the cause of religion.

Religious leaders remain silent

Most frightening is the silence from religious leaders against this violence against human rights.

Except Muslims leaders, no other religious leader — Hindu, Christian, Buddhist, Jain, or Parsi — has made any public statement condemning the lynching of Muslims in connection with beef, or any other extremist action stifling human freedom.

Much of the noise of protest came from civil society groups, rights activists and opposition politicians. One reason for the silence from religious leaders could be an unannounced decision not to antagonize the majority, and their ruling political affiliate.

Agreeing to be silent against injustice for fear of a backlash is a gutless act, even if done in the name of being prudent like serpents. Moving away from the realities of people in order to stand with the ruling class, history has shown, is the best path for religions to walk into irrelevance and ignominy.

The other reason for silence could be sheer inability to respond. That seems to be the real problem with Christian churches in India. A week after the gunning down of a Pentecostal pastor, organized church groups are still collecting details. “We don’t have enough information,” a senior official from that church told me, when asked why there is no response to the murder. He wanted more time to respond.

But if there is no will to act, no amount of time is enough to act.

– ucan

Enter Google AdSense Code Here

Speak Your Mind

Tell us what you're thinking...
and oh, if you want a pic to show with your comment, go get a gravatar!