Common citizens will certainly speak for themselves, says Kavita Krishnan

Kavita Krishnans rejoinder to Chitra Subramaniams piece Idea of India Skip this nonsense pleaseCourtesy: Voice Out Facebook page
Blog Rejoinder Thursday, October 15, 2015 - 13:04

The following is Secretary of the All India Progressive Women’s Association and a member of CPI (ML) Kavita Krishnan’s rejoinder to Chitra Subramaniam’s piece titled “Idea of India: Skip this nonsense please” which was published on Wednesday:

In an article much feted and shared by Modi’s followers on social media, Chitra Subramaniam has written “lives and aspirations of 1.27 billion people can be influenced by the shenanigans of a few hundred publicity mongers”

She suggests that those writers and artists and citizens speaking truth to power and expressing horror over the lynching of Akhlaq, are elitist. And she suggests that the lynching of Akhlaq or the raping of the December 16 2012 Delhi rape victim happened because of joblessness: “There is one thing I will say – if the Narendra Modi government does not rush to create jobs and more jobs, they would have let the country down. There is enough data to show that people with job security shun violence. Wars (between countries and within), sustaining hatred and spewing venom are expensive.”

She ends by stating that India will survive and thrive in spite of being pulled in all directions by a “prejudiced and petrified self-serving elite which has the gumption to think and talk for a billion people.”

I find this article ironic and amusing in its lack of self-awareness.

Ms Subramaniam herself seems to have no problem “talking for a billion people” – and stating on their behalf that they aspire for jobs and electricity, not justice and democracy.  

There is nothing more insultingly elitist than the assumption that the poor and the jobless inevitably become rioters and rapists. Ms Subramaniam, people who lack power, money and jobs do not necessarily lack empathy, solidarity and a sense of secularism and justice.  

The comparison of the Dadri lynching with the December 16th gang rape is interesting.

No politician came to offer guns to protect men from women after the December 16th rape. An MP of India’s ruling party, Modi’s party, did come to Dadri offering Hindus guns to ‘protect themselves,’ though the man who died unprotected was a Muslim.

Moreover, the citizens of this country held the Governments of the day – the Manmohan Singh Government and the Sheila Dixit Government – responsible for the situation that allowed that rape to happen, and for the statements by Congress leaders trivializing or 'normalizing' rape. Why, today, should we not hold the Central and State Governments responsible and culpable, and hold accountable the calculated apathy of the UP State Government and the Central Government Ministers, and ruling party MPs and MLAs who stoke passions over beef and slyly ‘normalize’ the lynching?  

Then, Congress MP and the President’s son Abhijit Mukherjee called the anti-rape protesters ‘dented and painted women’ – i.e. elite women with no connect to India’s poor women – much as Ms Subramaniam is now calling the anti-lynching protesters an elite bunch.

The protesters then took to task politicians and others who suggested that rapes are accidents that ‘happen’ because women go out at night or wear provocative clothes or fail to call their rapists ‘brother’. Why should we, today, not call out ruling politicians who suggest that lynchings are ‘accidents’ or ‘social tragedies’ that happen because a man allegedly ate beef?     

Finally, a word on ‘aspirations.’

Yes, India’s millions aspire to basic needs and jobs – and yes, many of them did perhaps hope that the Modi Government would work towards this.

Instead they see today a Prime Minister who sought to grab the land of the poor and deprived to hand it over to corporations; a Government that seeks to dismantle the already fragile provisions of labour laws and right to food; a Prime Minister whose promises of creating jobs and curbing prices has been a mirage mocked at by the publicity of foreign trips and photo-ops. To boot, they see the same Prime Minister seeking votes on the strength of passions over ‘beef’ – after a human being’s life was taken away by a communally motivated mob on the strength of the same passions. They see how the ‘Gujarat model’ turned out to be an empty bubble, since ‘job security’ has apparently eluded even the relatively more privileged communities in that state!  

Those common citizens will certainly speak for themselves – we do not need to speak for them. Instead, each of us must speak for ourselves and our own conscience. If you choose to excuse the powers of the day for patronizing lynch mobs and killers of writers and rationalists, do it in the name of your own aspirations and desires, don't insult India's billion citizens by doing it in their name. 

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