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Mainstream, VOL 62 No 4 January 27, 2024

Post Ram temple inauguration, Hindutva goons out to intimidate | Humra Quraishi

Saturday 27 January 2024, by Humra Quraishi


25 January 2024

Communally surcharged atmosphere has only worsened. Shots and visuals of Hindutva mobs attacking Muslim property, chanting provocative slogans right in front of mosques, and raising saffron flags atop mosques and churches. To compound this frightful situation stand out the blatantly communal comments of the Right-Wing politicians. And seemingly no action against any of them. After all, they are part of the ruling brigade, out to instil fear in the minority community.

The situation can be termed alarming to the extent that though communalism unleashed by Hindutva mobs was witnessed and reported in several locales of Madhya Pradesh, Gujarat, Delhi, Uttar Pradesh, Maharashtra, Telangana, and Bihar, but not a word of condemnation from any of the ruling politician. Why!

And as these Hindutva brigades seem growing in size and dimension and outreach and also in their brazen unleashing, one wants to know: Who is funding their upkeep? Which Hindutva outfits are recruiting these youngsters, training them to attack and kill? Who are the young men in these outfits? Why are these outfits not termed terror brigades, as they go about terrorizing and assaulting the minority community to such an extent that last week many Muslim families did not step out of their homes and also postponed if not cancelled long and short commutes?

Also, looms large the big question in the backdrop of the larger picture in this atmosphere where hate and violence is getting whipped up to such an extent that Muslims in North India are sitting all too apprehensive and fearful, what lies ahead? Correct me, if I’m wrong but the dismal fact is that most Muslims have accepted their second-class status as Right-Wing’s terrorizing tactics seem mounting. Many Muslims can be heard mumbling, “Ab unki sarkar hai …woh jo chahein karva saktai hain …kya karein!” (It’s their government, they can do anything …what else!)

Yes, Muslims are feeling not just utterly dejected and also as though doomed! Very worried about their future survival, as discrimination and destruction mounts. There seems a definite pattern, if not a well-planned design to weaken and dent the minority community to such an extent that they don’t react or even raise their voice. Subdued they survive as second or third-class citizens. That is, if their very citizenship is not snatched off from them by any of the new rulings of this sarkar!

Of course, 1992 was the turning point in the recent history of the country, when LK Advani’s rath yatra paved the seeds of divisions and utter anarchy all across the Northern States of the country…The last ten years, right from 2014 when the Right Wing government came centre stage, have only brought along grim facts to the rising unemployment and poverty and crime and malnutrition deaths.

Suranya Aiyar Went on a Three-Day Fast …

Last weekend, diplomat-politician Mani Shankar Aiyar’s eldest daughter Suranya went on a three-day fast, with a very detailed statement from her. Space constraints come in way, so quoting only partially: “With the forthcoming event in Ayodhya on January 22, the atmosphere here in Delhi, already famous for being polluted in a material sense, has thickened to a spiritually poisonous and unbreathable concentrate of Hindu chauvinism, malice and bullying. I am deeply anguished by all this as an Indian and as a Hindu. And after thinking hard about what I can do, I have decided to go on a fast starting Saturday the 20th and ending on Tuesday the 23rd a day after the January 22nd production at Ayodhya…I am doing this first and foremost as an expression of my love and sorrow to my Muslim fellow citizens of India. I cannot let this moment pass without saying as loud as I can to my Muslim brothers and sisters that I love you and that I condemn and repudiate what is being done in the name of Hinduism and nationalism in Ayodhya…I am also doing this as an expression of my love for my Mughal heritage. This is not only about feeling protective towards someone else. It is about my culture and my ethos. I love dhrupad and khayal music. I love kathak. I love the Mughal and Sultanate buildings in my city of Delhi – I cannot imagine Delhi without the Qutub Minar or Humayun’s Tomb, or the Sabz Burj. Not to mention the Taj Mahal next door in Agra…And let me tell you that I do not consider my only heritage to be Mughal. I come from a mixed background of Tamil Brahmin and Punjabi Sikh – and I love and cherish all those parts of my heritage too. My husband has mixed Rajasthani Jat and Jath Sikh heritage with a family history in the military and I have been delighted to adopt his legacy, with all his tales of valour and chivalry as my own… I was about fifteen years old when the Ram Janma Bhoomi agitation started, with LK Advani’s Rath Yatra. My entire school was for it. There is no ugly statement about Muslims that is made today, that I did not hear from my fellow students in school. I will never forget the malice in their eyes; the spite dripping from their lips. I will never forget the glee with which they would wave the tapes of Sadhvi Ritambra’s speeches, which they would play in their cars on the way to school…”

o o

Ending this week’s column with Suranya Aiyar’s verse:

“We shall cajole the sullen earth
We shall win back the lost rain clouds
Showers of love will return
Pouring down on our Beloved Nation 
As of yore
The garden of friendship will flower afresh
From the winter of our despair
Will one day
One Sweet Day 
Emerge into that lost, blooming spring
Where the gentle Sun shines equally on each once again
In this place
Which will always be 
Our very own.”

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