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Mainstream, VOL LV No 16 New Delhi April 8, 2017

We stand Reduced to what Pathetic Lows!

Sunday 9 April 2017, by Humra Quraishi

MUSINGS

As an Indian Muslim I’m sitting not just apprehensive but very upset. I don’t feel I’m living in a democracy, as Hindutva forces have begun ruling this land. Camouflages are off. Stark realities stare. Henceforth, I should get used to living in a Hindu Rashtra, to be ruled by pracharaks and maha-pracharks, their dictates unleashed on me on a daily basis. Humiliating me, throttling my very spirit, diluting my identity. Nah, I cannot revolt; otherwise there is the danger of getting lynched by private senas that these Hindutva creatures have raised—Hindu Yuva Yahini, Durga Vahini, Shiv Sena and many more such outfits.

My roots are in Uttar Pradesh and though I’m residing hundreds of kilometres away from my place of birth, I can’t break those emotional bonds. And as news-reports are coming in of the latest round of barbaric tactics unleashed on the Muslims of Uttar Pradesh, I see a very dismal future. Survival is at stake. There will be only two options left for the Muslims: to get killed or to kill their very identity.

In fact, for the last few days I’ve been feeling low and somewhat depressed. Not sure what the future holds out for the largest minority community of the country, which has anyway been reduced to a second or third class positioning; but this latest onslaught has been a bit too much to handle. The last nail in the coffin! Mind you, nobody has any answers to any of the queries doing the rounds save this one remedy: the secular Hindu has to stand up and raise his voice at what’s been going on. If this country is to saved from the Hindutva goons, then the secular parties and the majority community have to come together under a joint banner. Otherwise we are doomed!

Nostalgia tightens its hold as I sit keying in. I have spent my childhood and growing years in and around the Avadhi belt. Those were carefree years, though I was well aware that I belonged to a disadvantaged community. No, nobody whispered this into my ear but I could more than sense the divides-cum-disparities, making it somewhat apparent that we were from the minority segment. And as a school kid I’d over-heard my maternal grandfather detail atrocities unleashed by the cops of the Provincial Armad Constabulary/PAC during rioting in a Avadhi village. He had seen for himself how the cops unleashed terror on the unarmed Muslim population of that village. To this day those details lie tucked with me. And to this day I shudder whenever I hear the very word ‘riots’ or ‘rioting’... Call it destiny that in the following years I have seen hundreds of horrifying happenings in the Kashmir Valley and I have made it a point to report each one of them. Let it be known what we are doing to our hapless masses; provoking them to revolt and cry out.

I don’t know what fate awaits Uttar Pradesh. Maybe the new rulers will try their utmost to provoke or hound or kill or damage psyches. Maybe Uttar Pradesh stands bifurcated or trifurcated. This would suit the Hindutva brigades. For one, distractions will be heaped together with bogus development theories. Also, those divisions will ensure that many more Hindutva elements will have to be placed on the rulers’ seats.

Don’t bother about the dents on the State exchequer. Deceit-laden explanations will provide ample cover, as was done during the demone-tisation campaign. And going by reports which have begun trickling in, the newly appointed Ministers’ bungalows in Lucknow are getting adorned and readied according to Hindutva dictates. And going by previous reports that police stations of Gujarat ‘look more like Hindu temples than sarkari police stations’, the same could be happening to police stations of this State. Also, schools and colleges will be greatly affected by this Hindutva wave—text will be intruded into, facts will be fiddled with, twisted theories will find their way into every-day teaching. Look what’s been happening in the schools of Rajasthan, Gujarat, Madhya Pradesh. Educational institutions are in the grip of the Hindutva elements, which will carry imprints for generations to come.

And in the backdrop of these upheavals, not a day passes without disasters taking place. News just coming in is of three Nigerian brothers brutally assaulted in Uttar Pradesh’s Greater Noida. In these recent years, the only power that holds sway is muscle power. Unleashed on a daily basis.

Imagine, there was that blissful period in our very recent history where poets of the likes of Ali Sardar Jafri and Sahir Ludhianvi wrote verse after verse in solidarity with leaders from far-away lands: these lines of Ali Sardar Jafri written in the 1960s relay much bonding between Indians and Africans—“This African, my brother /Picks flowers, in forest after forest/ My brother, whose feet are red /Red as roses.”.... Or these lines of Sahir Ludhianvi written when Patrice Lumumba, the first Prime Minister of Congo, and who was also a staunch anti-imperialist, was deposed from office and then murdered— “Tyranny has no caste, no community, no status nor dignity/Tyranny is simply tyranny, from its beginning to its end /Blood however is blood, it becomes a hundred things /Shapes that cannot be obliterated /Flames that can never be extinguished /Chants that can never be suppressed.”

But look where we stand reduced to. Such pathetic lows that even our very existence seems to be in the grip and control of the political mafia.

ISSN : 0542-1462 / RNI No. : 7064/62