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|May 13, 2002||
After the carnage: the predatory 'intelligentsia'
The events in Gujarat recently have been extremely deplorable. Nobody covered themselves with glory. The murders in Godhra were an outrage, a crime against humanity. The riots that followed were also a crime against humanity. The perpetrators should be found, tried and punished forthwith. And the State failed miserably in its duty and responsibility of protecting its citizens and of dealing with the criminals.
But the self-proclaimed 'intelligentsia' has been equally at fault: it has attempted to mislead the public with its biased and one-sided perorations.
The gullible public has been misled: I have seen several people suggest that they are 'ashamed to be Hindu' or 'ashamed to be Indian'. This is ridiculous: if you are ashamed to be a Hindu because of what happened in Godhra and Gujarat, then you were not a Hindu to begin with. For, otherwise you would be sharing the pain of Hindu pilgrims being burnt alive. Do not blame the religion for your own frailty, lack of self-confidence. In contrast, not a single Muslim (including famous bleeding heart Shabana Azmi) said he/she was 'ashamed to be a Muslim' because of 9/11 or Godhra. All they said was that the attacks were un-Islamic. Okay, so Gujarat's riots are un-Hindu, the rioters are not Hindus, thank you very much, we can all rest easy now.
There is an interesting situation in the Indian media: whenever a single Hindu does anything obnoxious, it is supposed to show how horrible Hinduism is. On the other hand, if any Christian or Muslim anywhere does a single good thing, it is celebrated as proving the goodness of the religion. Why? Aren't these just individual acts?
Those who are 'ashamed to be Hindu' should consider formally converting to the religion of their choice, be it Marxism, Christianity or Islam. Those who are 'ashamed to be Indian' should consider emigrating. Really, nobody made you India's ambassador or anointed representative: you should feel free to seek citizenship in China, Saudi Arabia or America, for instance.
The proximate cause of the Godhra incident, according to the 'intelligentsia', is the effort in Ayodhya to revive the Ram temple. And the proximate cause of the ensuing riots in Gujarat, according to the 'intelligentsia', is the alleged nature of the so-called Hindu fundamentalists, a term that is, in passing, an oxymoron: the fundamentals of Hinduism are tolerance and plurality, so a 'Hindu fundamentalist' is a contradiction in terms.
On the contrary, a very good case can be made that there are several layers of causes: the proximate cause, the preponderant cause, and the root cause.
The proximate cause is general Hindu frustration.
The preponderant cause is endemic Islamic fundamentalism, the deleterious results of which we see everywhere in the world: fuelled by intolerant petro-dollar Wah'abism from Saudi Arabia, Muslims have turned violently intolerant against both minorities and majorities everywhere.
The root cause in India is the decision circa 1947 by the Nehruvian Stalinists to impose apartheid against Hindus, by oppressing them in every conceivable way:
I would like to ask all those petitioning the Human Rights Commission and the Commission on Minorities about 50,000 Muslim refugees in Gujarat, and ask those august bodies themselves, what about the damage done to Hindus in Jammu & Kashmir? Every day, we hear of a few Hindus murdered there, and they are clearly minorities in J&K. Why aren't the commissions visiting Rajouri and Doda or the refugee camps in Delhi where 700,000 Kashmiri Pandits have lived in pitiful conditions for an entire decade? I will tell you why: Hindu suffering doesn't matter.
The attitude of the 'intelligentsia' can only be explained by assuming that Hindu lives are less valuable than Muslim lives. This, in fact, mirrors what the Saudis believe (see The Wall Street Journal, April 9, 2002), and therefore buttresses the charge of dhimmitude against the Indian 'secular' 'progressives'. In Saudi Arabia, there is the concept of blood money. If a person has been killed or caused to die by another, the latter has to pay blood money or compensation, as follows:
I find this discriminatory valuation of human life deeply offensive to the core. But this is the fact in the Indian media; I wrote about this in a column The value of a human life. The life of each human life should be valued at exactly the same. Why is the life of some Australian missionary considered so much more valuable than the lives of the Hindu priest and Buddhist priest murdered in Bangladesh last week? Have you even heard of this in the Indian media? Of course not!
All this has led to a perception among some sections of Hindus that they have no rights, and that therefore they have no responsibility to, or stake in, civil society. They have begun to perceive what amounts to a gross conspiracy against them, perpetuated by the State and the chatterati. They have a grievance. Gujarat is the result. The 'intelligentsia' who readily accept that Muslims, or Palestinians, or blacks in the US, have legitimate grievances, will not accept that Hindus may have legitimate grievances too.
As the Nehruvians have sown, we reap in Gujarat today.
As the Nehruvians sowed in Punjab, we reaped during the troubles there. It is worth remembering, now that Baisakhi and Jallianwallah Bagh Day have just come and gone, that the same ugly combination of State and media succeeded in converting the most patriotic of Indians, the Sikhs (a section of them, to be precise) into enemies of the nation. See my earlier column, Remember Jallianwallah Bagh! Incidentally, I would like to request that the International Court of Justice be moved to bring charges of war crimes against the British queen for Jallianwallah Bagh.
I received several hundred emails about a previous column Godhra, 'secular' 'progressives' and politics, most of it positive; but a number of people took exception to my suggestion that the Americans would take a very dim view of violence by minorities. I said that if a bunch of Muslims torched a Greyhound bus, they would round up and incarcerate all Muslims in the US in concentration camps.
My correspondents disagreed, suggesting that Muslims killed a lot of people on 9/11, Black Thursday, and that despite this, Americans did not retaliate in general against Muslims. Ah, but they are wrong. The situations aren't entirely comparable. 9/11 was not an attack on Americans by Americans, it was clearly perpetrated by 'others:' foreigners, Arabs, Muslims. Whereas in Godhra it was Indian citizens murdering Indian citizens.
And some ordinary Americans did take revenge on Muslims and others like Sikhs who they thought were Muslims. It is true that this was not widespread, but that was because they had full confidence in the ability of the American State to take revenge. They did not have to resort to acts of individual violence as there would assuredly be revenge. And there was. Can you say the same in India? Is there any chance whatsoever that the perpetrators of Godhra will ever be identified and caught? Absolutely none!
And surely my correspondents must be kidding when they say that Americans did not retaliate. What do you call the 10,000 reportedly killed in Afghanistan by the American-led force? Estimates vary all over the place from 5,000 to 50,000 civilians killed in the brief but bitter Afghan 'War against Terrorism'. What was (is?) going on there is State-sponsored retaliation, overwhelming and punitive force directed by the American state against foreigners, Afghans, Muslims, civilians.
It so happens that the US government will not attack Arabs because of other compulsions, namely, oil; so they went ahead and massacred whichever Muslims were easy prey. And they did so with such good propaganda that the world applauds them. Nobody weeps for the innocent bystanders who perished in the thousands in Afghanistan. So Muslims killed 3,000 in the US, the US killed 10,000 Muslims. This is not retaliation? A kill ratio of 1:3? And they are planning to kill more Muslims in Iraq (not to mention the 500,000 children already murdered there in a decade of sanctions.)
Retaliation is an ugly thing. No one can justify the torching of 58 Hindu pilgrims at Godhra by a Muslim mob; and no one can justify the riots that ensued in retaliation. This is something most sane people would agree on. The suffering of innocents, on both sides of the religious divide, is a blot on civilization. It is also true that the State of Gujarat has appeared to be helpless at best, and predatory at worst.
But there are several points I would like to raise. One is the endemic and brutal unfairness in the media. The media should have a simple criterion: are innocent Indians getting hurt? If so, the media should raise its powerful voice against it. The media should be colour-blind as they say in the US, or religion-blind as the case should be in India. When Hindus are systematically massacred in Jammu & Kashmir or ethnically cleansed in Tripura, when Sikhs are butchered in Delhi, when Muslims are killed in Gujarat, there should be equal vehemence on the part of the media. They should not discriminate.
But they do. They are diabolically one-sided. When I wrote my columns Blaming the Hindu victim, and "Godhra, 'secular' 'progressives' and politics", I simply followed a tactic made infamous by the 'secular' 'progressives' in the media: being one-sided and downplaying the fears and concerns of the other side. For instance, in literally thousands of articles and opinion pieces published by them, they say, "Godhra was deplorable", dismiss the horror with that, and then go on to write thousands of words about what happened in the ensuing riots. This is certainly lip service.
The 'secular' 'progressives' always mouth meaningless platitudes when there is aggression against Hindus. Then why isn't it perfectly legitimate for me, in reverse, to weep for Hindus, and to downplay aggression against Muslims? And I am one of only a pathetic handful of columnists who worry about Hindus at all. I noticed that a few 'secularists' got quite angry with what I said. Can you -- and you know who you are -- see how one-sided your own cherished values are? Do you realize that you have been brainwashed by the prevailing orthodoxy into accepting gross discrimination?
This brainwashing comes across in a series of exhibits I would like to present to you, mostly related to the burning of the Sabarmati Express at Godhra, and one relating to the ensuing riots in Gujarat. I must thank reader Kaleem (a propagandist for Islam) for bringing several of these to my attention. Others too keep sending these to me as if they proved something. In fact, they prove gullibility on the part of the senders. You have been conned, folks, by the unscrupulous media. Even though Varsha Bhosle exposed some of these as fabrications some time ago, new ones have come up, and clearly a lot of people still swear by them as the gospel truth. Stop being so gullible, will you? Think!
In the following, you can see the chain of quotations: how a fabrication from one source is repeated ad nauseam until it becomes the 'truth.' Truly Goebbelsian: say a simple thing again and again until it becomes the truth -- "truth by repeated assertion". Reminds me of the Upanishadic story of dogs forming a circle biting each other's tails.
Arun Shourie recounts the tale of how the leftist chatterati do the same thing often. There was a story of how Aurangzeb allegedly demolished the Kashi Viswanath temple in Benares "on the request of a Hindu Rajput queen". A number of 'eminent historians' asserted this, each quoting another of their tribe, each quote making the story appear more and more solid. The indefatigable Shourie finally located the source: a grey eminence who said he had heard about an old Muslim man who had a parchment which proved this; said grey eminence never saw the document and then the old man died! Pure hearsay, but the story had become an accepted 'truth' meanwhile.
Consider the following exhibits:
Exhibit A: Rajeel Sheikh's report on the Islamic site, ummahnews.org, dated March 2
Exhibit A is from a site meant to rally the Muslim faithful. Here are a few excerpts about what allegedly happened in the Godhra railway station:
Hearing the chaos, the stallholder's 16-year-old daughter came to intervene. She pleaded with the kar sevaks to stop beating her father and leave him alone. The kar sevaks then carried off the young girl to the train and locked her inside one of the reserved compartments (S-6).
As the train started to move out of Godhra with the elderly man banging on the compartment doors, two stall vendors jumped onto the last bogey of the moving train and pulled the emergency stop chain to halt the train. The train came to a standstill about one kilometre away from the railway station.
Having been written for a site that specialises in Islamic sob stories, it, not surprisingly, provides a tale of Islamic victimhood. It relates a story (uncorroborated by anyone else) that the torching of the train happened because a Muslim vendor's daughter had been abducted by Hindus and forced into coach S-6 of the train.
There are some gaping holes in this story, which make it, literally, incredible. Why on earth would Muslims set fire to the coach where the alleged Muslim girl was? Why on earth would the Hindu men take the purported girl to a coach where their own womenfolk were sitting? And how come there was a mob of 2,000 Muslims ready and waiting with weapons and kerosene and petrol at 7 in the morning, anticipating this eventuality?
In any case, it also gives the impression that if a Muslim girl had in fact been abducted, that was sufficient provocation to burn alive 59 Hindu women and children. Isn't this a little excessive? But according to the 'intelligentsia', it was fully justified: these were Hindu activists, including Hindu activist babies and Hindu activist ten-year-olds and Hindu activist women. Obviously, because of their ties to Ayodhya, or so went the media logic articulated in many columns, they invited the justified wrath of the Muslims. They only have themselves to blame, these dangerous Hindu activist babies and women and children.
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