Darkness is upon us – my thoughts on Dadri

The country’s conscience has recently been jolted by the horrific lynching of an innocent man in Dadri.

What exactly was it that transformed peaceful neighbours into a ferocious, bloodthirsty mob within minutes? Try as we might, it is difficult to fathom how just a rumor of cow slaughter could have turned an otherwise peaceable people into killers? Is it really all about the holy cow? Or is that animal symbolic of a deeper malaise that has gripped the country? Was there something else, already simmering beneath the surface of just another ordinary Indian village? Yes it was politically orchestrated and the venom of religious hatred had been injected. But what was it that provided the breeding ground for a communally charged atmosphere?

Akhlaq Ahmed, a village blacksmith, was doing well for himself. He had managed to educate and send a son to the Indian Air Force, no mean achievement that. Perhaps the village should have been proud that one of its sons had ‘made it’ so to say? But joy at another’s success does not come easy when you have nothing yourself. Rather, a sense of injustice begins to creep in, for having been denied the same.
A few months back, 2 Dalit boys made news by cracking the IIT examinations, ranking among the top 500. Instead of bouquets, they received brickbats back home. Literally. Their home was pelted with stones by their neighbours, requiring police intervention. Was that deep rooted casteism, or again, something else that reared its ugly head?

May be the same thing that devoured Nirbhaya? Let us remember that she came from the same socio-economic background as her rapists. But she dared to wear jeans, to watch an English movie, to study, to dream of becoming a physiotherapist. Worst of all she dared to look into the eyes of her attackers and answer back, when they wanted to know – ‘what was she doing, roaming around with a boy at night?’ You don’t insert rods into people and pull out their intestines, out of lust. That sort of demonic rage can only come from a deep loathing of yourself and your failings.

In a broader sense, it is the entire nation’s failure – to provide jobs to our youth, to secure the livelihood of our farmers, to reduce the socio-economic schism that is wider than ever today. While a few are set to conquer Silicon Valley, a majority are languishing with no opportunities. While some can afford to blow up money at discotheques, most wonder where the next meal will come from. While some whizz past in flashy cars with trendy girlfriends, others remain sexually repressed and frustrated.

Hunger, of any sort, can lead to blinding rage. The kind of rage that the Hardik Patels of this country can intensify and exploit; a rage into which politicians can inject the poison of communalism, creating a lethal concoction that can be used to manufacture riots and win elections. A rage, that if not deflected and provided an outlet for, will turn upon the elected leaders. Rather than dwelling on our failings, it is easier to deny them or find someone convenient to blame. We do the former by focusing on either the future (dream of a military, economic superpower, a Digital India)  – or the past – (hark back to the imagined glory days, of Hindutva). In a very Bollywood like manner, we twist reality to fit our dreams. It is when this image is disturbed  by the present – the spectre of farmer suicides, the sordid reality of unemployment, power cuts, water shortages, the stench of open defecation – that we become angry and look for an Akhlaq Ahmed to beat up.

Today, the target of this rage are the weaker sections of society – the minority Muslims, the Dalits, the liberal thinkers /writers who challenge its ideology. But tomorrow, it could be anyone stepping out of a pub; reading a book or watching a movie by an artist considered an anti-Hindu/anti-national; enjoying a meal of parota and chilly beef, holding their partners’ hand while walking down the street. Anything that does not conform to the ‘pure’ Brahminical conception of how society should be, will come under attack. Jealousy, anger, fear and all forms of darkness often find a convenient garb – that of religious righteousness. It is the same darkness that gave birth to the ISIS and the Taliban. Could this darkness devour India too?

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29 thoughts on “Darkness is upon us – my thoughts on Dadri”

  1. Awesome article… Rightly said…socio economic factors are the true reason why people get antagonistic.. They have nothing else to find fault with so they fall back on ancient archaic parameters like caste religion.. A sort of envy creeps in that a person who started out backward has dared to step forward and make a difference to his or her life…

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  2. Mob is directly linked with rumour .. Rumour often give rise to Mob which in turn results into lamentable destruction. Your article is nicely written, though it has focussed heavily against Hindu as one aggressive and unreasonable community. That to me appears somewhat harsh..Despite all sordid tales, minorities are still best placed in India. Mob has no religion and it does not follow due gumption …Like U said, it is more of frustration. However why is it that when question of minority arises, it is only Muslim who are taken into reckoning. There r several other minorities who are hardly brought into discussion. Why..??

    The incident was unfortunate and shocking and I hope perpetrators wud be harshly dealt with.

    Nice beginning… Keep it up..

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Anil, did you feel it was biased against Hindus? I have in fact mentioned ISIS and Taliban, not RSS. I also meant all minority groups as targets- the dalits, women, writers, anyone, not just Muslim.

      Thank you for your comment.

      Like

  3. loved it…i could feel the anguish and the restlessness to express……individual freedom was never ever threatened the way it is today and the ruling party is hell bent on curbing it….

    Liked by 1 person

  4. Nicely articulated & presented with lots of examples. Yes, if we (as a nation) focus on uplifting the masses, providing equal opportunities to all, such that the gap been haves & have-nots is reduced, then, people will start to become more constructive in their thinking & actions.

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  5. Very impressive thought process Durba. There is so much need in our current society for a evolution in religion. Religion was created to sustain character, moral values and could be put in a sentence interns of a guide to live a life.

    But as with all things we need to evolve and our religious beliefs need to evolve. We used to light a lamp in a temple to dispel darkness ( darkness meant a lot of things during those days … From stumbling across a log of wood to evil spirits to thieves and perhaps even to not being educated ) if we still insist on those practices at this day and age it is downright ridiculous. If we actually turn back time and see how each prophet or each divine incarnation made a new set of rules as per their times and needs. The earliest dirty was probably fire … Although we have retained it as a sense of purity we have gone far ahead . I believe cows are sacred agreed but in a world of 6 billion you are going to need food and in abundance. Choices are few and needs have to be met. Cultures will collide … Blood will be spilled… But as sure as the sun rises in the east there will be a change And a new guidance will arise as was with the ancient days… A new guide with a new set of rules which will give us a broader understanding of our current needs and a push towards the right side of evolution… Hopefully a more peaceful and productive set of humans who are then hell bent on discovery and domination of new worlds and alien planets … (Lol but then as a single race ) … Until then we will chop and chow on hatred and anger and blame the good old Lord for his set of ancient rules…..

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  6. Durba – Really makes our heads hang in shame.. Reminds me of –
    There comes a time when we heed a certain call
    When the world must come together as one
    There are people dying
    And it’s time to lend a hand to life
    The greatest gift of all
    Nice work !

    Like

  7. Very impressive thought process Durba. There is so much need in our current society for a evolution in religion. Religion was created to sustain character, moral values and could be put in a sentence interns of a guide to live a life.

    But as with all things we need to evolve and our religious beliefs need to evolve. We used to light a lamp in a temple to dispel darkness ( darkness meant a lot of things during those days … From stumbling across a log of wood to evil spirits to thieves and perhaps even to not being educated ) if we still insist on those practices at this day and age it is downright ridiculous. If we actually turn back time and see how each prophet or each divine incarnation made a new set of rules as per their times and needs. The earliest dirty was probably fire … Although we have retained it as a sense of purity we have gone far ahead . I believe cows are sacred agreed but in a world of 6 billion you are going to need food and in abundance. Choices are few and needs have to be met. Cultures will collide … Blood will be spilled… But as sure as the sun rises in the east there will be a change And a new guidance will arise as was with the ancient days… A new guide with a new set of rules which will give us a broader understanding of our current needs and a push towards the right side of evolution… Hopefully a more peaceful and productive set of humans who are then hell bent on discovery and domination of new worlds and alien planets … (Lol but then as a single race ) … Until then we will chop and chow on hatred and anger and blame the good old Lord for his set of ancient rules…..

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Arun, I believe religion has served its purpose. As you have rightly pointed out, the rituals that held meaning once upon a time, have no significance in the present. Back then, perhaps people had to be told good from bad, taught the consequences of their actions. We have evolved enough to know that now, without the help of religion. At present, it does more bad than good, in my opinion. I wouldn’t even mind it so much, some of the festivals are such fun! But people taking religion too bloody seriously, is the problem.

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  8. DD: excellent article. The main point is that socio-economic condition is the main reason for many of the ills. For this, the country needs investment from outside. The PM understands this hence the trips abroad.
    Regarding the mob killing from whatever I read, ppl were angry about cow theft rather than ‘beef’. It seems that there was cow theft is a mojor issue in that area and ppl were frustrated about police inaction. Killing is totally wrong in my eyes be it humans or animals. Justice delayed is justice denied (topic for your next blog 😜). Expediting the justice system should be another priority.
    Accountability of public officials is a another major concern in India. If the cops in the area had acted on several complaints, this innocent life could have been saved.
    Good job articulating ur thoughts. Keep writing!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. It is a complete break down of law and order. The perpetrators were confident that they could get away with murder, due to their political clout.
      I like how you’ve justified our NRI PM’s travel 🙂 We will have to wait and see if this yields anything. My belief is when you improve things back home, investors will love to come anyway. The more we woo them, the more they will dictate terms and conditions to their benefit, not India’s.

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  9. That sort of demonic rage can only come from a deep loathing of yourself and your failings………that rang so true!!!….
    The article really voiced the concerns that we ‘ should ‘ have.Do continue writing that our outrage finds a voice …….makes me get up do something about the current wave of ‘Hinduism’!!!……and if your writing can inspire- what more ?

    Liked by 1 person

  10. Durba, You are right that the killing was done due to jealousy of the progress of the person. The guy who was jealous just wanted an excuse to hurt the man. What better excuse than beef at the moment. Attributing this hate of one person to make a general statement that we won’t be able to do anything we like in future is the stuff what newsmakers of television do. This is a stray incident in a country of a billion people. Making a general statement based on it is not necessary and exaggeration.

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