Dadri’s gruesome lynching in 2015 had caused an unprecedented uproar globally. And rightly so. Dadri was by far the most inhuman act, witnessed in a modern and civilised India. It brought home the point that 2002 genocide could once again be a reality even outside Gujarat.
This dominated the public discourse for months while the members of the ruling class desperately sought to play down its cause and impact. The deceased, who had died due to unimaginable torture, was later put in the dock posthumously, as if to find any reason to justify his cold-blooded murder the government.
Since then, public lynchings of Indians by fellow citizens in what I call the new India have become a routine feature with perpetrators of the heinous crime committing the acts with almost impunity.
While many have been quick to point out the eerie similarity of all public lynchings taking place in states ruled by one political party, I think looking at these ghastly acts through the political prism will be tantamount to oversimplification of what’s essentially a shocking testament to a degenerated society in India.
I’ve deliberately chosen to not highlight the religious background of those killed, who fell victim to rampant bigotry and hate over the last year-and-a-half. In order for India as a country to tackle the cancer of hate, plaguing our society, it’s time we detached ourselves from any perceived political or religious biases.
What was deemed as an act of savagery against an elderly member of a particular community in Dadri is now affecting our society at large with far more frequency. Testament to this is the religious backgrounds of those brutally killed in Jharkhand. Four out of seven victims did not belong to the community usually at the receiving end of this hate crime. Hence the desperate need to pause and introspect. How our apathy has allowed the barbarism to start ruining our social fabric.
It’s very well for those in government to turn defensive and display their ostrich mentality, but by simply turning a blind eye to the malaise is unlikely to help India rid of terrorists, determined to make the country an unlivable place.
India plunged to 13th century Barbaric Britain or even worse
What’s happening or being allowed to happen in India today is shockingly reminiscent of a 13th to 19th century Britain when the country frequently witnessed such barbarism with the approval of those in power. Known as Hung, Drawn and Quartered, the then English Law had special provision for those found guilty of treason. In effect, those who were deemed anti-nationals.
This is what the English law said for those convicted of treason, “That you be drawn on a hurdle to the place of execution where you shall be hanged by the neck and being alive cut down, your privy members shall be cut off and your bowels taken out and burned before you, your head severed from your body and your body divided into four quarters to be disposed of at the King’s pleasure.”
Notable victims of this infamous law were William Maurice, David, the last Welsh Prince of Wales and Guy Fox, who tried to blow up the British parliament in the early 17th century. Maurice was tried for and convicted of piracy in 1241.
It was in 1814 when the British recognised the barbarism attached to their capital punishment and decided to do away with this extremely inhuman practice. Many years later, the country finally chose to turn its back on the capital punishment altogether, replacing it with life imprisonment, which is in practice till date.
What was essentially a part of the criminal justice system in Britain for hundreds of years is now being practiced on the Indian streets by the ordinary public. Today’s victims can be any body. You or I could be the next target as long as we don’t happen to be at the wrong place at the wrong time being found guilty of what’s perceived as wrong by today’s neo-nationalists.
Whilst the traces of barbarism existed within all of us even before 26 May 2014, these sadistic traits have now come to the fore as something to publicly flaunt or be proud of. The flag-bearers of nationalism on the streets today are in a constant race to outsmart each other.
Holy Cow syndrome
Never before in the history of independent India has the cow acquired so much sanctity that killing human beings for the animal will become a new normal. In the last three years, while violation of human rights has dipped to a new low, concern for animal’s rights, cows in particular, has grown exponentially. The cow has been the single reason for almost every lynching of human beings in the new India in the last three years.
It’s extraordinary that we’ve almost made peace with the new reality that cows’ rights will outweigh the rights of human beings if they happen to belong to a certain community or caste.
What we’re witnessing currently is a trend unique to India, not seen elsewhere in any civilised country around the globe. Countries such as UK and USA are very conscious of their ethical treatment of animals including cows, but nowhere do they kill or publicly lynch human beings in their so-called love for animals.
One would have seen a logic in people’s reverence for cows if their sentiments were genuine. A genuine love for a being that you consider your mother would never allow you to let her wander on streets without any care and eat from garbage dumps.
We’ve become barbaric, Period!
The worrying trend is not that lynching of human beings on India’s streets and in villages have become frequent. What must worry India is our apathy and in most cases acts of complicity in such ghastly crimes.
What kind of a society India has to be for a prime minister to never condemn the brutal murders of his citizens? What does it say for India as a country where the cheer-leaders, often paid, on social media do not shy away from condoning or glorifying violence? What do we call ourselves when a father of two-year-old daughter is picked up by cops for a WhatsApp message and murdered inside the police station in Jharkhand?
What rights do we have to call India a civilised society, where an elected member of parliament, a lawmaker, calls for violence against an internationally acclaimed author and a national TV channel sees some merits in such barbarism?
What happened in Dadri, Alwar, Jharkhand and Bulandshahr are the ugly faces of news India, which has metamorphosed into a country, thinly bordering the definition of a failed state.
You can manipulate the story of the country’s economic growth to make India look good in the eyes of the world. What you can’t manipulate or camouflage is the grim reality of India soon slipping into another Pakistan- a country of blood thirsty people, out to seek any opportunity to kill each other.