Burning To Death India’s Unity And Integrity

A screengrab of Shambhulal Regar, the main accused in the case. The victim Afrazul (inset) was hacked and burnt alive in Rajasthan allegedly over an affair. Photo Credit/The Indian Express
A screengrab of Shambhulal Regar, the main accused in the case. The victim Afrazul (inset) was hacked and burnt alive in Rajasthan allegedly over an affair. Photo Credit/The Indian Express


A man was burnt to death in Rajasthan on December 6th when we were moaning and remembering the 25th year of the assault on our constitution.  Afrazul Khan (47) was brutally hacked to death in Rajsamund, Rajasthan and his ‘story’ was shown life and now available everywhere on social media. His fault was that he was a poor Muslim working as a labor. The other man who committed the barbaric crime was Shambhu Lal Raigar, though it was not a crime worth discussion at ‘machhi-bazar’of the ‘official trolls’ where they were discussing about #neech and how Congress Party has inflicted a #selfgoal in Gujarat. It need thick skinned absolutely shameless morons and thugs to ignore such a calamity and converting a non issue into a hot prime time debate just because they are determined to maintain status quo in Gujarat. It would be sacrilegious to suggest that it is ‘media’ and that ‘journalists’ are discussing something of national importance, when the entire country should have been feeling the pain and ashamed of what has happened but then the paid trolls had deliberately found a way to ignore this heinous crime and push on their prime time issues which is more to help their funders and less with the issue of probity in public life and level of political discourse. If they are worried about the falling standard then they should actually debate as who and why is the level degraded and can the Pradhan Sevak be rescued from being analysed and debated.

I am not among those who would call this barbaric act as ” aberration’. Few years back, I wrote that we are in fact a barbaric society and those who are pretending about our ‘tolerant’ past just betray the truth. The fact is that we are violent society unable to tolerate dissent, diversity. Our constitutional forefathers knew these differences and yet they weaved a constitutional India, allowing each of us to have our own faith, and right to choices. Yes, I can say, till 20 years back, we were still much respectful but the Hindutva’s sinister campaign has unleashed a wave of hatred and violence. We are now entering into a phase which can put us in the company of ISIS and Taliban. We should not say that it is an exaggeration but the fact is we are moving in that direction. When the state abdicate its duties and shamelessly encourages those perpetuating these ghastly crime then, we need to worry. The worry is whether this constitutional India will survive or it will become anarchic. Whether the constitutional India they want to build will be under the boots of tyranny of the thugs who distort news, construct false stories and spread absolutely distasteful, hateful and poisonous narratives among the common masses.

We have not heard a single sentence of condemnation on the horrific incidents which has happened from those who claim to represent 125 crore Indians. I would have greatly appreciated the media if thad spared half of the time to discuss this criminal act and shown even 1/4th of the outrage the media showed towards a Mani Shankar Iyer’s statement. Not that we support the statement by a feudal Tamil Brahmin whose class caste prejudices are well known.

Why are things happening at the constant pace and the what is the reason that the government is not acting. Is the government encouraging them or is it helpless in front of a cadre that it has built on the basis of hate narratives. I am saying this because, I feel, India is moving in a stage when people will take law into their hand unless the government effectively send a message that it want to control and suppress them. And for that, it is not merely being proud of your might military but more as building the mindset. India can never be a great country or a powerful unless its people live in harmony and contribute to the nation building. It can’t use people for nation building unless its minorities, marginalised people are ensured a respectful place in all walks of our national life.

A few days back, we were witnessing war cries from Rajasthan about a Rajput pride. We know each community in India today feel hurt on ‘history’. It is not merely a Sangh Parivar’s narrative. Sangh has cleverly built up narratives which link history to pride and it is not merely Rajputs who want to feel great about their past but all the other communities. The only thing is that they will only react when things come. Why has this happened because as a society we have not yet learnt to respect individuals and their choices. We are creating false narratives to suit our political interest. In the chessboard of politics, the nation, its societies are made to fight and kill each other. Can anybody be victorious in such hatred.

The Rajasthan episode is a clear indication of how the hate propaganda has reached and how it kills our sensitivity. How, the narratives are nothing but justification. He succeeded in his motives as we have promoted his videos and I can bet, it will not decrease. The fact is that the perpetrators of crime are making videos and circulating it themselves because they know it well that nothing will happen to them. They have the full backing and even if they are caught and arrested, they know it well that the ‘message’ is passed. Shambhu Lal Raigar has sent a chilling message to all that Muslims are not wanted. If you find an innocent persons who is a muslim, then built a narrative to justify your crime. That is what happening. Shambhu Lal hacked Afrajul, who came from West Bengal as a labor in Rajasthan, on December 6th when we feel ashamed of an incident that broke our constitutional edifice. Shambhu Lal added another crime which the Hindutva story narrator would definitely term as ‘valour’ or ‘shourya’.

Rajasthan is one state where the condition of Dalits is worst. They are not even allowed to ride on the horse during marriage. At many places, the Dalits even today, have to walk barefoot if they pass through the houses of the Manuwadi Hindus. I dont know what makes people proud of their heritage which cant eliminate such violation of human rights of a community and make them subservient. Shambhu Lal Raigar belong to the most isolated and marginalised section of our society. The other side, Affrazul hailed from West Bengal and was a labour, so a Pasmanda Muslims, may be belonging to the tribe of Shambhu Lal only. What was Afrazul’s fault ? Was he competing with Shambhu Lal or was there a business animosity ? Nothing. What forced Shambhu Lal, wearing a saffron and a red tilak on his forehead ? Today, everyone is asking this question as how a Dalit can do it ? Why should Dalit kill Muslims when a huge number of Dalits actually embraced Islam elsewhere to get rid of the tyranny of the brahmanical system of discrimination that discriminate people on the basis of their birth?

But then brahmanism in India worked on the contradictions between communities. Some of the Dalit communities have become politicised and many have not yet but demanding positions in power. Today, the Sangh Parivar narrative does not want to blame Manusmriti and brahmanism for the social isolation and subjugation of Dalits but the entire blame is now on the Muslims. That narrative cleverly crafted and inked in saffron is now being spread everywhere. Temples are being built, history is being glorified, ”heroes’ are being çreated’ from each community which feels betrayed for being lagging behind. So who to blame ? BAMSCEF and Dalit Bahujan activists may be speaking against brahmanism but frankly except for working with the already organised communities, they have not gone further. RSS with its massive money and religious power has spread and today, both the Dalits and OBCs have been brought into the greater varna dharma not by any compensation to them or assuring social harmony but purely on the narrative built around Islam as the sole reason of their backwardness, subjugation and oppression. Khap Panchayats and Love Jehad terms are planted so that each community confine its youngsters inside the community. Brahmanism never wanted any intermingling as that will continue to protect caste and its purity while blaming Muslims and then perpetuating violence against them.

In January 1999 the Hindutva activists burnt Graham Stains alive in Odisha along with his two innocent children. Dara Singh, who was a goon, was glorified and new narratives were being spread to spread discord between the Dalits and Adivasis. Today, spreading hatred has become easier in the ‘gossip mongering’ whatsapp University with the hugely paid mythologists narrating new stories and building new castles of lies on the edifice of the Dalit Bahujans.

What is the way out in these extremely painful and disturbing circumstances when our social fabric is completely collapsing and people dont feel pain in things unless that belong to their community or religion. Politics and social work, once upon a time, was the job of dedicated people of whatever ideology but today it is the real estate agents, dalal street brokers, retired bureaucrats, bollywood stars, cricketers, and business dealers. In a way, politics has depoliticised and industries create a brand to win the elections so people’s issues dont matter. The brand is important and not his ideology and work. That is why so many film stars continue to win elections without doing any work. It shows the maturity level of our voters and our democracy.

All of us have to think now. This country can be saved either by people’s movement or fair and unbiased implementation of the constitution. I have mentioned many time that we might have fought on various matters, differed but this country’s heritage of being together. That is being shattered today. We will only have to blame ourselves If we don’t understand the designs of these forces who want to rule and enjoy the anarchy on the ruins of people and communities. India is still in the transition phase and democracy is under the severe threat from those who are using religion and fear psychosis to build their castles. Time is slipping out of our hand as the country’s psychosis is being converted into violent mode. We need to stop it. We need to unconditionally condemn such incidents. The farcical pride on the lies of the golden past must be exposed and people must be told about the dangers of such narratives. Secondly, none can be punished for the mistakes or wrongs of others who belong to the same communities. Third, history cant be corrected it is the chronicle of events that has happened at certain point of time. . We can only learn lessons from it. Fourth, varna vyavstha was not created by Muslims or British but by the brahmanical system. Sixth, constitution is the only guarantee of our unified India. Implement it without any prejudice. Seventh, introspection time for all Ambedkarite Bahujan activists too as how such things happening. Eighth, Rajasthan need deep political mobilisation and an anti caste anti patriarchy struggle but it will also need clear line of thought from those claiming to secular parties as how different they are from the Hindutva party. Ninth, political parties must raise this issue in Parliament and NHRC and other national bodies must act. Lastly, it is time to move together and build our own narratives. It is not to score a few brownie points in the debates but think seriously of future which is being shattered before us. Nothing will come out of the blame games as that only helped the Hindutva’s brahmanical forces to cleverly inject their narratives among the Dalit Bahujans. It is not their victory but our failures to reach the people and ignite them but it is still not late to act again and save the country.

Vidya Bhushan Rawat is a social and human rights activist. He blogs at www.manukhsi.blogspot.com twitter @freetohumanity Email: [email protected]


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Vidya Bhushan Rawat

Vidya Bhushan Rawat is a social and human rights activist. He blogs at www.manukhsi.blogspot.com twitter @freetohumanity Email: [email protected]

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