Response to ‘The Savarna redemption’: We need all hands on deck now

For the middle-class liberals, until now all hate crimes in the name of beef or religion happened in some obscure village they could hardly remember.
Response to ‘The Savarna redemption’: We need all hands on deck now
Response to ‘The Savarna redemption’: We need all hands on deck now
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This is in response to Rajesh Rajamani's piece in TNM, The Savarna redemption: Why 'Not In My Name' campaign is a part of the problem.

Facebook as any Social Media is mischievously deceptive.

Billion Dollar Corporations with the illusion of “good intentions”, and the pretext of free lunches, have clearly muffled the dynamics of the social networking and human connectivity. Young and old are now hash taggers. Putting a hashtag, sharing one, and participating gives them a sudden and intense pleasure of becoming an activist, a work from home one, without ever seeing the daylight.  

Anyone with a piece of computer equipment either as a mobile phone or a PC now can get a stash of answers using search tools and can redeem its solution with hashtags. 'My Grandma is sick' status could generate a nonsensical silly #GetAllGrandmas hashtag, that could instantly go viral. That is the nature of social media. To use a simple metaphor, it is like a thin layer of dark pollution hanging in mid-air in the streets of Delhi or Beijing. How it affects your political thinking or activity or your intellectual discourse is a discussion for another day.

Social media is about creating a conversation, a hashtag combines the conversation into a unique identifier and creates a social narrative. To gain traction, it has to be actively done in a timeboxed period by a variety of users. These are all networking tactics, not necessarily a solution. The instantaneous network only stays until the hashtag dies down. Even with all these complex variables, there have been many a successful social media campaigns against the BJP and Sangh politics in the past few years. But they die down, naturally, after their fifteen minutes of fame.  

Stirring the Hindu conscience

However last week, as the data started to drizzle in, that even with six more months for 2017 to wind down, it shows there has been a 98% increase of lynching in India - most of them towards Muslims - the social media-induced lethargical slumber evaporated with a campaign, #Notinmyname.

Until Junaid Khan, a 16-year-old boy, was thrown out of the train, a stone's throw away from India's capital New Delhi, until a mob of 200 people who witnessed the crime cold-heartedly denied ever witnessing it, until a silent beast of consent to kill a stranger was unleashed without any rhyme or reason, India was in denial. For the middle-class liberals, until now all hate crimes in the name of beef or religion happened in some obscure village they could hardly remember. They were comfortable distancing themselves from the BIMARU States.  

But today, it has reached places where they can feel the stink. The self-proclaimed progressives who were, until now, pressing the snooze button at all other lynchings with their hashtags, have now woken up to the shrill alarm. It could now happen when they are on a train, when they are in a bus station, when they are on a vacation, in a cricket stadium, in a market, in a cinema theater, in liberal places where they have easy accessibility which could disrupt their day to day life.

They could now easily even be an accomplice to a lynching right in front of their eyes. They might have to maintain the code of silence, enforced by a looming fear. It has finally sunk in. Hindus are now lynching mobs, in front of the world. What normally happened in some distant nameless country, has reached their backyard.

Contrary to what it looks like, these are not independent mobs, but carefully crafted by Brahminic Hindutva, unleashed through seemingly benign political messages, dispersed electronically through WhatsApp and other modern tools, but silent in form and implementation, letting the crowd manifest itself and self-organize.

This is the new political reality, in a hurry to create a new social norm, with the silent endorsement of the democratically elected government Of India. To date, the Prime Minister of India, Mr. Narendra Modi, a person abreast of current affairs, a person who sheds 'tears’ and 'tweets' for everything under the sun, has ignored the deaths, thus enforcing the consent to the mob.

Hindu conscience now has blood on their hands. The carefully crafted image which sells abroad as 'peaceful' Hindus have shattered. This will boomerang, they know.

Non-Endorsement of Liberals

History does repeat itself. When young Americans were massively recruited for Vietnam War, hippy liberals came out, protesting #Notinmyname against their then popular government. It has been an anti-war slogan throughout the history, as recently as 2008 even against Iraq War. Law abiding tax paying citizens not endorsing US government's war crimes. Thus this campaign is not the redemption of the savarnas; it means that the liberals have come out of their frozen denial state into the streets of India, against the government they themselves installed two and a half years ago.

It was time India needed this rude and late wake-up call. We need all hands on the deck now, against the Brahminic monster that is larger than the Bahubalis of the era. Similar to the self-organizing lynch mobs, this protest self-organized itself. A common person called out ‘Not in my name’ in social media and it gained traction. The calls went as far as London and Karachi. A political discourse is finally starting to take shape in the streets of India, away from the tweeting world. For every 5000 tweets, there could be one person participating in a real live protest. It would take a million tweets to generate a trend, but it takes only ten people to form an impactful protest. The bytes now have faces and emotions attached.

Recognizing the Brahminic monster

The rubber has finally hit the road. There is no way to evade now, hiding behind a hashtag but to come out in open, accepting the existence of the Hindu beast and distancing away from it. Yes, the lynching is in their upper caste names, but what they are saying to the Government of India, is it doesn't have their endorsement anymore. The corridors of Delhi do not want to upset the consumer friendly middle class and thus the corporates. Indian has to maintain the illusory image of all calm and peace. It doesn’t want its touristy spots with unrest and placards when FDI trickles in.

That is why the comparison to a hashtag like #NotAllMen doesn't stand ground; where the former collectively deny any responsibility, #Notinmyname accepts responsibility and collectively says 'We don't endorse' (anymore) or 'We as Hindu Indians don't endorse' anymore.

India needed this yesterday. Even the tiniest stir to defeat the Brahminic monster that has made the Hindu conscience go belly-up. It is a fertile ground now for the politically shrewd to stir the sinking ship against the wave of fascism to put it to sail the right course, holding by the horns of a sound constitution, written by a man named Ambedkar.

Note: Views expressed are the author's own.

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