Monday, August 12, 2013

Of Communal Harmony and other Blasphemy

We will soon be celebrating our 67th Independence Day, pretty long time since we came out of. he British Empire shackles. India has grown since then, there have been many improvements made. But at the same time some things are fast heading towards a deterioration. With more education and exposure one would expect India to be counted amongst the developed countries by now. However India is still far from being counted amongst its developed counterparts. Look at the exponential increase in the crimes. The number of rapes happening in the country has doubled between 1990 and 2008. I was once both astounded and ashamed to find India amongst the list of "Top 10 unsafe countries to visit".

How can we expect a country to grow in any way when its residents share no humanitarian values? Where region and religion pay a predominant role. Where the ugly face of partition and riots sprouts up at any minor religion based provocation. Riots, curfews and bandhs are terms very common in my part of the world. I have grown up hearing and witnessing them. Though the co-existence of different communities is largely at peace, the cracks are visible at the some special times. The reasons may vary from a trivial India-Pakistan match to the Amarnath Yatra issue in 2008 to the invincible omnipresent Kashmir issue. The people of both communities hug each other in the moods of festive fervor be it Eid or Diwali. But when the time comes the same set of people do not shy away from killing each other in the name of religion. I say this not from hearsay but from witnessing it again and again in my 24 years of life.

It is no hidden fact that the people behind instigating hate against the other religion are usually politicians. They say the intoxication of power is the strongest of all. The power-greedy politicians don't think twice before creating a bloodshed amongst the common man. Same kind of situation happened on the eve of Eid-Ul-Fitr on the quiet and beautiful town of Kishtawar in my state Jammu and Kashmir. Hindu's have one story to share and Muslims have a totally different one. I don't know what exactly happened on that fateful day but I do know that it was the cause of a lot of killings, burnings and a total disruption of law and order. Very soon the entire scenario was brushed on to the nearby towns of Kathua, Batote, Ramban and Jammu. It was a matter of religion for the people, vote bank division of the three major parties - BJP, PDP & Congress and a fabulous topic to tweet for our CM Mr Abdullah. It must be understood that the people in mobs are difficult to control, they may be different in person and ideologies but when they are in mob they will have a common motive. If that motive is to kill the people of the other religion, then so be it.

Government quickly called for a curfew with section -144 imposed. Flag march by the army. Schools, colleges closed, exams postponed. GPRS service disabled. Prepaid phones and messages disabled. I got this information from my parents and it got back all memories at various stages of  my life when school was suddenly closed and exams were postponed. As I kid I used to be extremely happy about the whole holiday thing but at the same time the world curfew sounded serious. I did not understood it but the repercussions it brought were serious and realized by me later in life. I have spent approximately two months in curfew in the year 2008, which delayed by engineering university exams and it meant that I was late in becoming an engineer by 1 semester as compared to my friends studying in other parts of India. Not just students, there are pregnant women, people who need urgent hospitalization, people who need to travel, marriages, deaths and loss in business for daily wagers and businessmen. The politicians, mobs don't understand or even care for the side-effects of such things. They are just interested in provocation by the means of religious sentiments and divide their votes. They want the issue to be active for as long as possible. The more disscussed it is in the parliament more would be the benifits.

Any sane person from my state will tell you that these issues are a part and parcel of our life's. We are so used to them that they fail to instill any emotion into/from us. Just like any other stuff, this too shall pass. Some part of me accepts this theory but the other part is livid with anger. My blood boils at the thought of a human killing another for reasons that are so blah. I always used to think while growing up that our generation is way beyond the ideology of fighting amongst each other for religion. Some of my very close friends are Muslims. I enjoy their company and we have fun together without thinking about ways of how to get the other out of the state.Though not everyone is the same but yes my ideology of a new generation secular state of J&K has been shattered time and again. The proofs of which can be seen in numerous online news posts and social networking sites. Some of the comments are so hurtful and racist that I can't even begin to talk about them. It is here in the comments section when I realize what and how the mob ideology is changed and charged. 

It started with the partitions (well actually way before that with the Afghan rulers in valley and incent of Islam) and by the looks of it, I don't think it will ever be over. The  religious divide and rule initiated by the Britishers and followed ardently by our politicians.

The irony is that the rest of India celebrates Independence day in a few days while the people of J&K struggle to survive in the curfew ridden, internet abandoned city with the fear that voilence may erupt anytime.

Disheartened and Angry: