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Mainstream, VOL LV No 43 New Delhi October 14, 2017

Insanity Enthroned

Saturday 14 October 2017, by Nikhil Chakravartty

From N.C.’s Writings

After forty years of the foundation of our independent republic, the Frankenstein has appeared again—the monster that is out to destroy democracy and plunge this nation into civil war that shall rend asunder thousands of towns and villages of this great country.

The term, communalism, does not convey the gravity of the crisis that confronts us today—let it be bluntly stated that what we face today is the demon of Hindu-Muslim hatred. Over a large part of this land, particularly in the northern States, straddles today this monstrous hatred in the majority Hindu against the Muslim who must be subjugated and, if unbending, then liquidated. In response to that, the minority Muslim, in deadly despair, tries to hit back as a means of survival.

The map of India today is dotted with bloodmarks—bloodmarks of brothers fighting brothers. Bhagalpur, Bijnore, Hyderabad, Aligarh and Kanpur have today turned into not only the disgrace-points but danger-signals for India’s nationhood. The rule of the knife and the bomb has taken over from the so-called guardians of law and order. At every one of these places—and many others yet to come under the spotlight of the media—frenzied hatred has been spread with cynical design to douse the flames of insensate violence in which neighbours of yesterday have butchered each other, and the administration itself got affected in the orgy.

It does not require any academic research to point the finger at the agitation over the temple-mosque controversy at Ayodhya for having polluted the political environment in which communal antipathy has become the order of the day. And once the wind of hatred spread, the flames of violence have caught on unimpeded. The BJP leaders plead innocence, that their plea was for the building of the Ram temple only, but they cannot exonerate themselves from the responsibility of having unleashed forces that have taken to killing and loot. Inevitably, the minority community, faced with such a grim situation, has at places, hit back. Hence, mutual hatred spread far and wide.

The time is over for the ideologues of the BJP to come out with the thesis that Islam does not fit into the national mould. They have to realise that the ponderous labours spent in building up such a thesis is being turned into good use by those indulging in killing and looting in the frenzy of communal violence. All the prattle about pseudo-secularism have only added grist to the mill of those who are wielding the long knife in the dark night that has descended over a large stretch of this beautiful land of ours.

For leaders of major political parties too, this is the hour of truth. The hands of a number of them can hardly be regarded as clean as they too in the past have sometime or other indulged in pampering communal urges to secure votes, and quite a few in their respective camps are ready to do so again, once the elections are on the agenda. That is a matter for them to settle with their conscience. What matters today above everything else is that the beast of communal hatred has been let loose and is playing havoc. If this ghastly apparition is allowed to roam about unchecked, there shall be no question of democratic functioning, no elections to legislatures and parliament, no civil liberties, but the drum-beat of communal fury with goose-step marching of the hatchet-gangs out to destroy civilised conduct of public life.

At this cross-road of India’s destiny, we put this question to our leaders of all parties, those in office and those outside: Can you not bury your hatchets and join hands to stir the vast multitude of this great nation so that the fiendish forces of communal hatred are put down and chased out of our public life for good? This is the moment when your patriotism needs to be tested. Let all other differences and squabbles, allergies and misunderstandings be set aside, and all, really all, together come forward at the call of the nation.

For heaven’s sake, join hands and march shoulder to shoulder to fight the enemy that has entered the gates. Mother India beckons us all.

(‘Editor’s Notebook’, Mainstream, December 15, 1990)

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