Every argument — be it over a seat on a train or a bus, a land squabble, or road rage — can now be resolved in seconds. Simply by accusing your adversary of carrying beef.
This is now a defence that allows people to engage in mob frenzy with the comfort of knowing that it has a quasi-official sanction.
We can keep pretending this isn't true. That only a handful of idiots engage in this atrocity while the rest of us, rather sanely, stay above it all.
However, the handful has become a battalion. Which transformed into a brigade. Which mutated into a division. Which formed into an army. Which has now cemented itself as a way of life.
We seem to have accepted the premise that simply carrying beef is grounds for justifiable homicide. What does that say about us? Very little. And none of it flattering.
The lynching of 16-year-old Hafiz Junaid on the Mathura-bound train and the grievous injuries suffered by his brothers will go largely unrecorded.
The news will die down in a couple of days because it no longer shocks us that Muslims, Christians and those with names that could cut across creed must live in constant fear that any non-vegetarian item in their possession or their homes makes them fair game (pun very much not intended) for a crazed, bloodthirsty mob.
The barbarians are not at the gates. They are in your kitchens.
Lynch them. Beat them. Denude them. Strike them down in cold blood. All of it is sanctioned in the name of protecting the sacred cow.
Examine the way this train incident went down. One man has been arrested — in what surely must have been a holier-than-thou group of travelers wounded by the mere presence of non-Hindus on a train daring to compete for seats — the rest of the attackers are still breathing free air and are unlikely to be brought to justice.
The accused is probably sitting in a cell, chatting away to the police, explaining why he killed the child over tea and biscuits. The police, I'm sure, are nodding sagely. By now, the accused is probably a folk hero. Perhaps soon, he'll even run for office.
No one will be treating him like a criminal. There may even be slivers of regret that he has been brought to jail.
You and I will never know when he is let off. And that's terrifying.
If I'm carrying a sandwich or paratha and I get into an argument with someone, what if he shouts that I'm carrying beef? How much time would I have to save my skin before the frenzied mob descends upon me, eager to tear me limb from limb. Ten seconds, maybe. Fifteen or twenty at most.
What would I do if I was with my wife and children?
On a train to Mathura, they won't even think its necessary to check if I'm actually carrying beef.
They'll simply expect God to forgive them.
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Updated Date: Jun 25, 2017 13:53:39 IST