She speaks about Padmavati and Kalburgi, gau-rakshaks, love jihad because they are easy headline materials, but not about Sankar or Jisha.

Taslima Nasreens fashionable outrage and perennial victimhood give her away
Voices Opinion Friday, December 15, 2017 - 19:40

How do you know what a country has in its gut? I mean what are your points of reference when you explain an event to the world about a country of over 1.2 billion people who speak numerous tongues, represent all religions and socio-economic bands and all of whom want to seek their place in the sun for themselves and their loved ones at the same time? Are echo chambers your principle watering holes, or do you actually go out and mingle with people, use public transport, catch the pulse of the nation beyond speaking to the bored and the jaded?

I am writing this after reading celebrated Bangladeshi author in exile Taslima Nasreen’s piece in The Print where she asks: “Why are Hindus trying to prove they can become ISIS-like extremists?” Read here.

The immediate cause for Ms Nasreen’s outrage - and rightly so - is the slaughter of Azarul by Shambhulal in Rajasthan and a video of the massacre that was circulated on internet. The murder should make all Indians hangs their heads in shame.

The video seems to have been the reason for Ms Nasreen to make the odious comparison that Hindus in India are trying to prove they are ISIS-like extremists. She is probably an authority on Hindus in India. I take it she has good knowledge about what the ISIS actually did beyond the beheadings they showed on television. I take it she has a firm understanding about who created the ISIS and nurtured it for years, for what purpose and how the genie escaped from the bottle. I am sure she knows the level of organisation these non-state players represented as they went about with their near-industrial decimation of entire peoples, villages and cities, against and together with some of the world's most powerful armies.

So why do I call the outrage fashionable and blinkered? Because for someone so concerned about India (I do not want to accept this changed India and I hope these changes are temporary she writes), her piece comes at a time when one part of India is reeling under the gory details and verdicts of the gruesome murders of Sankar in Coimbatore and Jisha in Ernakulam, both so cold blooded that they shook the states of Tamil Nadu and Kerala respectively. I call Ms Nasrin’s outrage fashionable because she speaks about Padmavati and Kalburgi, gau-rakshaks, love jihad and Gauri Lankesh because they are easy headline materials that speak to the video. Sankar and Jisha are not. They are just some non stars in the south and there are no boxes to tick off against their deaths.

“The point of the video," concludes our former guest, "is that Muslims can be killed easily, because they invaded India, destroyed temples and plundered villages, converted Hindus, took over Hindu land and ruled over Hindus." Love Jihad is what Shambhulal wants to stop says the author but makes no mention about millions of Indians who will not allow the Shambhulals in India to go scot-free and Ms Nasreen knows this.

“ISIS knows that in their strongholds in Syria, no police will come to arrest them. Shambhulal probably also thought that no one would punish him,” writes Ms Nasreen. That last line should have convinced the author that despite everything she has written in the piece about the country that gave her safety, India is a democracy. Shambhulal is in jail and earlier this week the killers of Jisha and Sankar were given death sentences. Democratically. Sankar’s wife Kausalya who has made it her life’s mission to fight for the dismantling of the caste system (her late husband was hacked to death in broad daylight because he was a Dalit) is now dealing with death threats from her own Thevar community. Additionally, she has to work her way through the trauma of her father being sent to the gallows.

Given her experience, Ms Nasreen should have shared her concerns in a way that heals, not opens wounds. She could have framed the violence and the killings in ways that help Indians reflect and move forward instead of writing that she fears a second partition. How far is that concern from the "bharat ke tukde hongé" fears that are systematically raised by self-serving interests?

If she really cared about India, there would be less judgement and more empathy in her attitude. After reading her piece, I am not sure Ms. Nasreen cares about India. I could be wrong. 

Meanwhile, I look forward to reading the celebrated author of Lajja about intolerance against Muslims in the United States (US), where she also lives.   

Views expressed are the author's own.

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