There is a high water mark of the tide of the deluge that has swept through India in the name of coronavirus currently raging in India. From Assam to Kernataka and Delhi to Telangana. More than the pandemic it is hatred that is sown far and wide. Momidul Islam in Golaghat, Assam remarks that “The virus will go away in a year or so, but I hope it doesn’t take away the centuries of brotherhood between Muslims and Hindus.” This is the net result of what happened in 2002 in Gujarat and now being experimented on the length and breadth of the country before the cherished dream of a Hindu rashtra envisaged for 2024.
PM Narendra Modi has earned reputation in the majority population of a hardliner who rejects appeasement against which they have been nursed against the Muslim. His calling them dirty, eye sore in their greasy attire by road side and a puppy coming under car in which he is being driven. Furthermore he has reputation of punishing honest cops who tried to help the beleaguered Muslims and getting cops who were pliant to him out of prison is a monument of suborning justice. Even now there is a case pending before SC which if goes to logical conclusion of crime against humanity, he would go to prison—the first PM to achieve such distinction.
The observation of Noam Chomsky that there was a large scale simulation in October 2019 of possible pandemic of this kind in October 2019 caught both friends Donald Trump and PM Narendra Modi napping. It would mean in other words that the scientists were developing a model for a whole year, the globe’s climate. The duo had scanty respect for such study. But for Modi it was highly unthinkable that Delhi was reeling with the smog and the deterioration of the quality of air. He was preoccupied with winning election, snatching the citizenship rights of the Kashmiris and introducing bills that would mean colossal anxiety in the people for their own future in India. Simultaneously he was carrying on the juggernaut of building a sky high temple of Ram on the site where stood Babri mosque soon after having built the tallest statuge of Sardar Patel to enhance his self aggrandisement. In a research finding published on March 29.2020 it was found that “A national lockdown is not productive and could cause serious economic damage, increase hunger, and reduce the population resilience for handling the resilience peak,”social distancing rather than lockdown, will hold the key in flattening the virus curve in the coming months, the report warned.
Covid-19 is a pandemic and its being widespread is in no way either Indian or anything to do with any religion in India even then why is there so much vibes as is seen in the hullbaloo over stigmatizing Muslims, their ostracization, boycott and their being placed under strict taboo entering certain areas like housing colonies while selling fruits and vegetables as they usually did in the past.
“The virus generates much the same fear and anxiety caused by terrorism, but it is brought by nature, not by humans. And it demands a different response: staying alone.” This is true but the fact of a country and its elected representative differs greatly. The Indian PM Narendra Modi is reputed to have brought about pogroms against Muslim in 2002. For this the US refused him visa for more than a decade but finally trade considerations overwhelmed and the Americans issued him visa. There has been no change in Modi despite diplomatic détente. He has seized each and every opportunity to replicate the pogroms. This happened in 2013 election in Muzzaffanagar where around 60 of them were raped, murdered and burnt alive as in 2002. The same was seen as the dynamic in the carnage in the event of Trump leaving the capital. And Amit Shah asking people to press the voting button in a way that the shock would hurt Muslim in February 8, 2020 election in Delhi itself. These are instances of terror. What Shah did Modi allowed Anurag Thakur, Kapil Mishra and others to do. He kept his silence. No PM in the world has done this, Compare him with the New Zealand PM. His cohorts shouted that Muslims are the traitors and should be shot dead. Their ‘rhetoric’ and ‘bluster’ killed so many but Modi’s calculated reticense held sway. Even so the minority Muslims fear Modi more. According to terrorism expert Thomas Hegghammer people [like the minority Muslims in India] fear terrorism more than the pandemic. He had lived in Oslo when Anders Behring Brevik had killed 77 fellow Christians in July 2011 to let his apprehension about the Muslims and feminists become manifest. This was dugand or communalism.
“We are seeing stigma, hate speech, and white supremacists and other extremists seeking to exploit the situation. We are witnessing discrimination in accessing health services… And there are growing manifestations of authoritarianism, including limits on the media, civic space and freedom of expression” UNSC chief Antonio Guttrres said.
It is regrettable that former CM Fadnavis of BJP in Maharashtra uttered words like manavi bomb or human bombs about the Muslim which could incite communal violence in the state on a scale that was never possible before. This is not the Nrowegian dugand but Indian terminology of Hindu Muslim divide. That is ascribing the pandemic to the minority Muslims who have already been attacked and injured even if they sneezed, coughed or spit in Hindu areas.
“While the COVID-19 pandemic is first and foremost a health crisis, its implications are much more far-reaching. The pandemic also poses a significant threat to the maintenance of international peace and security — potentially leading to an increase in social unrest and violence that would greatly undermine our ability to fight the disease,” UN Secretary Geneal Antonio Guterres’ concern in the UNSC is very pertinent. There is attempt to divide and create turmoil in India.
The point that Modi govt missed was that his majority in Parliament should have heeded what Amartya Sen reminds “Listening is central in the government’s task of preventing social calamity — hearing what the problems are, where exactly they have hit, and how they affect the victims. Rather than muzzling the media and threatening dissenters with punitive measures…”
A parliament turned into pandemonium is blind alley that leads to the pandemic in the dark. What else is this when Muslims of India have to hide in the fields for the fear of their lives and their houses barricaded by bamboo so that they are not allowed to stir out. Their right to freedom is trammeled under the feet of the majority.
- Amartya Sen. Indian Express March 8 2020
Mustafa Khan is a blogger. http://commonalty.blogspot.com/