“United we stand, divided we fall” – Aesop, I guess…
Ah, India – or as it may also be called:
None of these names truly do justice to the spirit of unity that you can feel, smell, and almost taste – possibly all at once, if you’re lucky enough land up at the right airport/train station.
For one thing, India has the world’s largest voluntary military force, whose sheer bond of unity has safeguarded national interest for decades, now. To put things in perspective, I’ll draw a comparison between two of the world’s largest military forces, the United States of America and India: if USA is the land of the free, then India must surely be the land of the united, for how else could we have secured independence 68 years ago? How else could we have driven off every colonial power to ever wash up on our shores, in the past couple thousand years or so?
Better yet, how else could we explain the cruel murder of a defenseless old man, solely because he was SUSPECTED of eating a “sacred” animal? That too, only a few days ago.
Less than a week ago, a Muslim family in the Bisara village of Dadri, in Uttar Pradesh, was attacked by a 100-strong, angry mob. This resulted in the death of Mohammad Ikhlaq, the now-critical condition of his younger son, and the suffering of his family in the wake of his death. Moreover, Ikhlaq’s older son, Corporal Mohammad Sartaj, is an engineer with the Indian Air Force. Contemplate the irony for just a moment…
The attack happened because of a nebulous connection drawn between a slaughtered calf, and the presence of a single Muslim family in the area. The riled up locals of Bisara village wasted no time in drawing their conclusions, and in half an hour, a group of a 100 men attacked the family of four; of the 100 attackers, several had known the family for years. The family had mutton in the fridge, if that still counts…
Likewise, an under-reported case of ‘moral policing’ occurred in Mangalore a few months back, where a Muslim man was immediately beset by a group of Hindus upon speaking to a female, Hindu colleague, outside of work. After stripping him down to his undergarments, thrashing him, and tying him to an electric pole, the mob went on to take and circulate pictures of the humiliated man, as a “message to other Muslims”.
Be it for societal reasons, be it for religious reasons, be it for communal reasons, or be it even for political reasons; I have never heard of a country so very much at war with itself. Heck, I’d probably stand a better chance being a Palestinean in Jerusalem right about now…
Now to get controversial: I’m spiritual. I don’t believe in any God or religion. I believe much less so, that ANY animal should be given a position of sacredness, much like a single person – or even a group of people – has no right to presume powers of sanctity over other humans. But hey, what do I know?
What I do know, though, is that incidents of mob violence do not begin and end with violence. Sometimes, they find a common, and otherwise, seemingly innocent source.
Take the “Digital India Movement” (opinions reserved for the time being); when told that Facebook is becoming more open to the general Indian populace, many immediately jumped on the bandwagon and converted their profile pictures to demonstrate their loyalty to the tricolor, and their determination to improve rural conditions; while many others decided that the campaign was a pointless publicity stunt, to further market Facebook to the Indian peoples. In the end, users were split into two parties: “with the campaign, or against the campaign”
“With us, or against us”: in some ways, India as a nation, adopts a way of thought remarkably similar to the USA.
You know what, I take it all back: India is not the land of unity I thought it was. There was NEVER unity, just a common enemy. We are a country, currently united on the basis of hatred, indifference and guilt, only in reaction to a common enemy. It is only in a country like India that ANYBODY would protest against a protest, that protests something else. Heck, just look at what Hardik Patel has achieved (opinions reserved for the time being)! We live in a nation that’s steadily getting choked by a long chain of protests, further lengthened and tugged at by millions who do not want this mob mentality to come to an end.