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Mainstream, VOL LIV No 45 New Delhi October 29, 2016

Aping Israel, Build-up in Ayodhya

Sunday 30 October 2016, by Humra Quraishi

MUSINGS

Why did this government indulge in all possible publicity stunts on Gandhi Jayanti Day when it was all set to follow the Israeli way to strike? Doublespeak at the highest level! The top brass of the BJP-RSS should not talk of Mahatma Gandhi and his philosophy of non-violence when it is flaunting its might to kill! In fact, Modi’s Government is going a step further; it’s not just threatening to kill the enemy but also its own people. After all, the so-called ‘controlling the crowds’ measures adopted in the Kashmir Valley for the last so many weeks were nothing short of ruthlessness unleashed on an unarmed civilian population.’Pellet strikes’ ruining young lives, if not killing them.

These latest relays by the Right-wing govern-ment at the Centre that it wants to ape the Israeli model has ripped off all possible facades that we practice non-violence. Masks off, ugly reality out. Nothing startling or rattling. But, yes, worrying it is because to ape Israel at the governance level can bring about disasters for the apolitical Indian masses. Indians who have travelled to Israel have come back with bleak reports of how the average Israeli sits paranoid and in a state of perpetual fear of attacks by the Palestinians. Nah, there is no formal battle-field but there persists that dreadful atmosphere of an ongoing war. A war-like situation hovering around. Patterns have been unchanging for the last several decades: Israel’s air strikes kill hundreds of hapless Palestinians and then they retaliate by throwing stones at every given opportunity. What a mess the Israeli policies have made of that entire region, where each one is living in fear of the other.

Needless to add that in that mess the worst victims are the Palestinians. They sit in a state of unending siege on their lands. In fact, in one of his previous interviews to me, Palestinian Air Chief-turned-diplomat, Osama Musa, had told me: ‘The situation is so bad that Israel can order its troops right into our bedrooms and we can do nothing about it! Like Hitler, Israeli troops are killing our civilians and the irony is that they can do so in our own land! It’ll be a different thing if we go to Tel Aviv and then we are killed but Israelis are coming to our homes to kill us!’

He had gone on to detail the extent of damages inflicted on the Palestinians. ‘Palestinians are restricted to only 23 per cent of the total land that originally belonged to us. The rest—almost 80 per cent—has been occupied by the Israelis. Tell me how would you feel if the fields which once belonged to you and your father are forcefully grabbed by someone else through sheer military might? Israeli policies have affected over six million Palestinians: the three million displaced Palesti-nians who live in refugee camps and the other three million who live on their own land but as slaves and not like free citizens. We have been reduced to refugees in our own land. That’s what the new world order is bringing about!’

I am not too sure what will be our fate if the government of the day is all set to ape the Israeli way of governance! The very atmosphere is anyway riddled with strikes and counter-strikes. Hatred for the ‘other’ looms large. New definitions of patriotism and nationalism are getting churned to suit political wants. Even the bunch of movers and shakers are petrified of speaking out sane stuff, for that appears insane to the ruling lot!

What’s going on? What’s going wrong? Almost everything going haywire! Politics reaching such lows where there’s little space left to counter and question, even a basic query as this: Where will this hatred for the other lead to? I have just completed reading a slim novel Till Break of Dawn by the Lucknow-based writer Syed Rizwan, where he webs and inter-webs the ongoing mess in the region. ‘Towards the end of the 20th century the nation unknowingly witnessed a period of transition. Simplicity and cordial relations gave way to mistrust, turbulence and mayhem, leaving life and love gasping for breath.’ And with this backgrounder emerges this tale: whilst two friends, who have been raised in Lucknow, are struggling with their careers, bilateral relations with the neighbouring country sink low. ‘As a result, one of the friends became a victim of indiscriminate action and the other lost his lady love due to hostility with the neighbour.’

Mind you, these are no fictional tales. There’s nothing called pure fiction! Words and more words webbed around the dark realities of the day. Yes, darker these realities will get, with twisted propaganda and utter lies manufactured overtime by the political mafia, all set to tear apart fragile remains of peaceful existence.

And who would dare question these rulers in the backdrop of distractions thrown on us —be it in the form of build-ups in Ayodhya or along the borders or just anywhere. Taking the masses for a ride towards a nowhere of sorts! This time around L.K. Advani’s chariot is missing, but in its place many more modes of unleashing State terror in the upcoming elections in Uttar Pradesh.

Palestine Essays 

Just landed this volume—Palestine Essays (Pharos Media). It is a collection of essays with this backgrounder—The Milli Gazette had organised an essay competition in 2015 to spread awareness about the Palestine tragedy ‘which continues to fester the Middle East as a result of the Israeli occupation and refusal to concede to the Palestinian rights supported by hundreds of UN resolutions, umpteen stands taken by the governments around the world and international forums’.

This volume carries the prize-winning essays. Yet to read the essays, but once I read them, will definitely quote from them in the coming weeks.