Collective cowardice is turning into the defining feature of the Virat Hindu Rashtra that the fanatic fringe is sculpting.
Look at new India, feel its collective pusillanimity. Run your hand over its spineless body. Sit up and notice how the country of gau bhakts is morphing into a nation of rats who can't even squeak.
India is now a country where gau goons can easily pounce on unarmed boys and stab them on a train. When this happens, instead of jumping to the rescue of the boys, the passengers on the crowded train moving through the heart of India scream for their blood like spectators watching a blood sport in the Flavian Amphitheatre. Like deranged maniacs in the Gladiator, they raise cries of 'kill them, kill them'.
India is now a country where silence is the collective code of conscience. In this nation of the dumb and the mute, not a single person notices the brutal murder of a 15-year-old boy on a crowded platform. As The Indian Express reports, from the station master and his staffers to a nearby postmaster, to the vendors at the platform, nobody appears to have seen anything at the Asaoti Railway station in Faridabad, Haryana where Junaid Khan bled to death after being repeatedly stabbed aboard a local passenger train on Thursday evening.
India is now a country where cops turn a blind eye to their duty, ironically, just a day after an officer gets lynched in Srinagar for performing his own in the middle of a hostile crowd. In this nation of derelicts and deserters, cops watch helplessly, like the darbaris in Dhritrashtra's court, as a boy is stabbed, thrown on the platform and his brother pleads for help.
What an amazing brotherhood of Hindutva this is! Gau bhakts travel drunk on trains — model sons of gau mata indeed — and then kill a Muslim on the suspicion of carrying beef. They soak their hands with the blood of fellow human beings in the name of an animal they desert on streets to scavenge for food in dustbins.
Truth be told, the Hindutva-wadis were always hypocrites. After genuflecting to Durga and Lakshmi, Kali and Saraswati, for ages they burnt women on the funeral pyres of their husbands, opposed widow remarriage, practised female infanticide, killed girls in the wombs of their mothers, and demanded dowry. After preaching vasudhev kutumbhkam, they revelled in untouchability and poisonous casteism. When the British occupied India, instead of fighting the colonial power, their leaders who professed courage in public and accorded themselves with titles like veer, cut deals of clemency in private. For years, while the Indian Army waited for soldiers and officers, the flag-bearers of jingoism and patriotism, showcased their bravery only during communal riots or mob violence targetted at unarmed minorities.
To this culture of hypocrisy, as the silence over Junaid's lynching shows, India has now added a custom of collective cowardice. Look around. See the cold apathy on every face. Witness the blank look in every eye. Notice the fear frozen on every tongue because of the rampaging lynch mobs. And mourn for the new Indian who is more and more resembling a replica of Mahatma Gandhi's three monkeys, albeit, in a perverted way where he neither speaks against evil, no sees it unfolding in front of his eyes.
Where does a country that is unapologetic about its collective cowardice go? There is, of course, the Martin Niemoller-esque denouement of collective silence ultimately claiming its own practitioners. (Then they came for me — and there was no one left to speak for me, he said.) But, before that, spare a thought for a society, where a murder can be committed in public glare, making every witness an accomplice, a murderer by proxy.
Will each of the participants in this collective ritual go back home, wash their hands, sit in front of television sets, and, like Rodion Raskolnikov in Fyodor Dostoyevsky's Crime and Punishment, justify it by saying Junaid's murder was permissible in the pursuit of a higher purpose (read, gau bhakti)?
Will India now, apart from being a nation of hypocrites, cowards, bigots, also be a country without a conscience?
Will India now be a land of people without a soul?
Or, will the people of India, like Rumi said, realise they are neither a religion nor any cultural system?
That we are, first, last, outer, inner, only that, breath breathing human being.
Updated Date: Jun 26, 2017 15:20:38 IST