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Hate has its own momentum

March 09, 2017 11:53 IST

'Hate cannot be channelled only in one direction,' warns Amulya Ganguli.
Illustration: Uttam Ghosh/Rediff.com

Illustration: Uttam Ghosh

Barack Obama's prediction of a 'meaner, harsher, more troubled world' because of the rise of the white xenophobes is coming true.

Both in the US and in Britain, there has been an uncommon spurt in recent months of hate crimes against immigrants following Donald Trump's election as the US president and in post-Brexit Britain.

According to the Southern Poverty Law Centre in the US, 'hate activity' after Trump's ascent to power has been above pre-election levels.

In Britain, the London metropolitan police noted a 'horrible spike' in hate crimes following the referendum on Britain remaining in the European Union while there was a 41 per cent increase in England and Wales, according to official figures.

The targeting of 'aliens' by the ultra-nationalists is the primary distinguishing feature of the present-day 'troubled world'.

Among those who arouse the ire of the chauvinists are the Muslims in the US, Britain and other European countries and also any person of 'colour,' irrespective of his or her religion, along with even the white immigrants from Poland and elsewhere who take away the jobs of the locals.

'Get out of my country' is the war cry of the uber-nationalists against the outsiders.

This was the dire threat uttered by the former US navy employee against Indian technologist Srinivas Kuchibhotia when shooting him dead in Kansas.

The White House has refused to see any link between the crime and Trump's anti-immigration rhetoric.

The disinclination is understandable because the US president's success is almost totally based on whipping up such nativist sentiments among his supporters in disaffected white communities whose employment prospects have been hurt by globalisation.

In any event, an admission on this score by the White House is unthinkable.

Insularity is currently the cornerstone of all Alt-Right parties in Europe, which are gaining ground by exploiting the resentment against and fear of Muslims.

There is also apprehension about immigrants eroding the local culture.

Britain, too, is proving to be no different although 48 per cent of its people opposed Brexit.

The reason is that hate has its own momentum.

Even before the Brexit referendum, a promising politician of the Labour Party, Jo Cox, was killed by a man shouting 'put Britain first.'

But it is not only the West which is experiencing the violent expression of parochialism.

India, too, has seen campaigns by the BJP and its allied organisations, which have included the imposition of their fetishes about beef in their agenda.

So passionate is their abhorrence of the consumption of beef that a mob killed a Muslim householder near Delhi on the suspicion that he and his family were eating the forbidden meat.

Muslim transporters of cattle have been beaten up or killed while a group of Dalits were beaten up in Gujarat for skinning a cow.

One can also hear the angry warning, 'Get out of my country.'

BJP Minister Mukhtar Abbas Naqvi's threatening advice to beef-eaters was to go to Pakistan and in Maharashtra Chief Minister Devendra Fadnavis felt that those who do not chant 'Bharat Mata ki Jai' have no place in India.

The tactics of the Akhil Bharatiya Vidyarthi Parishad, the saffron brotherhood's student body, against those it considers anti-nationals is another example of self-appointed patriots running amok.

The ABVP recently ensured the cancelling of a seminar in Delhi's Ramjas college by clashing with Leftist student groups over the participation of two Left-leaning students from the Jawaharlal Nehru University and compelled another college to call off a theatre festival because of the allegedly anti-national content of some of the plays.

Finance Minister Arun Jaitley, who started his political career in the ABVP, has muddied the waters by saying that the opponents of the saffron student body constitute an 'alliance of subversion.'

However, the saving grace of democracy is its incompatibility with violence.

Just as Modi silenced the ghar wapsi and love jihad brigades and stopped the attacks on churches, it is not impossible that he will send a discreet message to the saffron students to cool down.

RSS chief Mohan Bhagwat's rather surprising admonition of those who judge the patriotism of others -- 'doosre ki bhakti naapne ka adhikar kisiko nahin hai (no one has the right to measure anyone's patriotism)' -- is apparently a hint in the direction of restoring sanity.

In America and Britain too, the 'horrible spike' in violence against the fabled Other cannot but worry the Republicans and Conservatives.

The death of the Indian techie in Kansas is also bound to induce second thoughts about Trump among the saffronites in India who were happy with his anti-Muslim outlook.

Now, they will realise that hate cannot be channelled only in one direction.

Amulya Ganguli is a writer on current affairs.

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