Delhi violence: Communalism runs deep in Indian society and its police force, this is the feudalism that can undo the nation

No doubt the communal violence in Delhi will for the time being be quelled by the police, but it is bound to erupt again and again, and all over India, not just Delhi.

Markandey Katju February 26, 2020 14:30:27 IST
Delhi violence: Communalism runs deep in Indian society and its police force, this is the feudalism that can undo the nation
  • No doubt the communal violence in Delhi will for the time being be quelled by the police, but it is bound to erupt again and again, and all over India, not just Delhi.

  • Some people thought the Delhi election result had put paid to the BJP aspirations, but what they overlooked was that distributing freebies in a small state can win an election.

  • It is only when the fuel is spent, that is after some kind of French Revolution which destroys feudalism in India, that this malady will end, but that seems a far way off.

Many people are blaming Kapil Mishra, former minister of Delhi in the AAP government, and presently in the BJP, for all the violence happening in northeast Delhi and some other parts of the National Capital.

It is true that Mishra gave a provocative speech calling on the Delhi Police to remove the anti-CAA protesters blocking the Jafrabad and Chandbagh roads within three days “or else we won’t listen to you". But it would be inane to put the blame on him alone.

The truth is something much deeper.

Delhi violence Communalism runs deep in Indian society and its police force this is the feudalism that can undo the nation

Security personnel conduct a flag march during clashes between those against and those supporting the CAA in north east Delhi on Tuesday. PTI

In the articles, Dark days are ahead for India and Bad days are ahead for Indian Muslims it has come out clearly that though the Indian Constitution describes India as a secular country, the ground reality is very different. Secularism is a feature of industrial society, but India is still semi-feudal (as is evident from the rampant casteism and communalism prevalent in the country). Most Hindus in India are communal, and so are most Muslims. This communalism was present in India even before 2014 when the BJP came to power, but it was then largely latent, and only erupted and surfaced occasionally (in the form of communal riots etc.). After 2014 it has become open, virulent, and continuous, increasing exponentially and penetrating even the hitherto bastions of secularism like West Bengal. I have even seen this polarisation among the NRIs in the Bay Area of California, where I am presently located.

Some people thought the Delhi election result had put paid to the BJP aspirations, but what they overlooked was that distributing freebies in a small state can win an election. This, however, does not change the basic underlying social realities. The recent violent events in parts of Delhi reveal the tremendous polarisation of Indian society.

The violence began in Jafrabad but soon spread to Maujpur, Babarpur, Yamuna Vihar, Shiv Vihar, Gokulpuri, Brahmapuri, Chand Bagh and Ghonda. Muslim shops were destroyed, houses vandalised and vehicles burnt. The wall of the Gokulpuri burial ground was broken down. Men with covered faces wielding sticks and rods roamed around with the police remaining mute indifferent bystanders.

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The spark which became a conflagration in Delhi began with the anti-CAA protest in Shaheen Bagh. The great mistake by the protesters was to have condemned the entire Citizenship Amendment Act. Surely the oppressed minorities in Pakistan, Afghanistan and Bangladesh (Hindus, Sikhs and Christians) deserve citizenship, but this was rarely emphasised by the Shaheen Bagh protesters, and instead, there was a wholesale condemnation of CAA because it did not include Muslims. The sight on the TV screens of a disproportionate number of burqa and hijab-clad women gave rise to an impression that this was largely a Muslim show.

Also, a protest for a few days is acceptable, but surely not an endless protest, blocking roads, and causing other nuisance to the general public. Demagogues like Mishra capitalised on all these mistakes by Muslims and enabled them to give incendiary speeches, setting fire to the accumulated fuel.

No doubt the communal violence in Delhi will for the time being be quelled by the police, but it is bound to erupt again and again, and all over India, not just Delhi.

India is a huge powder keg of communal explosive, which is bound to explode violently and repeatedly, on a bigger and bigger scale. This is particularly inevitable since the Indian economy is sinking with record unemployment, and our government is unable to get us out of the morass. So to divert attention from the real issues, which are socio-economic, and which it does not know how to resolve, there must be a scapegoat, and in India, these the Muslims.

It is only when the fuel is spent, that is after some kind of French Revolution which destroys feudalism in India, that this malady will end, but that seems a far way off. Till then India will burn.

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