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Fifth column: Modernity or murder, Mr Modi?

It is hard to understand why a PM so passionate about making India a modern, digital, prosperous country has seemingly not noticed that hunting and killing Muslims on the pretext of cows and love jihad does not sit well with modernity.

Written by Tavleen Singh | Published: May 7, 2017 12:02 am
narendra modi, pm modi, modi, Swachch Bharat, Yogi Adityanath, UP, uttar pradesh, gau rakshaks, hindutva, cow vigilante, bulandshahr, indian express, india news Narendra Modi.

A joke popular on social media these days goes like this. ‘Dear Pakistanis we as a nation have become immune to the martyrdom of our soldiers because they are paid to die, you just try and kill one of our cows then we will show you the fun.’ I begin with this joke to make the point that India is in danger of becoming a laughing stock in the rest of the world because of our new, violent obsession with cows. So enough is enough, Hindu fanatics. Stop! Stop right now if you really love Bharat Mata.

It is hard to understand why a Prime Minister so passionate about making India a modern, digital, prosperous country has seemingly not noticed that hunting and killing Muslims on the pretext of cows and love jihad does not sit well with modernity. The Prime Minister talks about a ‘new India’ built with the energy of the largest population of young people on the planet. Has he noticed that hunting Muslims is serving mostly to distract these same young Indians from far more important tasks?

Why are armies of them not already deployed for Swachch Bharat? Why do we not see educated young people going into villages to help teach skills and basic literacy to disadvantaged children? Why are they not helping solve problems of rural development? Why, on the lines of the American Peace Corps, do we not see an Indian Development Corps? Is it because too much of the energy of our young people is now being used for supposedly saving cows?

Personally I have nothing against a national movement to save cows. It breaks my heart to see abandoned cows living on the edge of open garbage dumps, eating plastic bags to fill their stomachs. I support totally cow shelters being built in towns and cities. And I support jailing Hindus who throw cows out of their homes when they become useless. We could begin by immediately locking up the monsters who poured acid on the backs of a pair of bulls who strayed into their fields to eat their crops. What I do not support is the madness and murderous barbarism that have been unleashed on the pretence of saving cows. It is being led by the same young Indians who the Prime Minister hopes will help build the modern India of his dreams.

It is possible that Mr Modi no longer spends as much time on Twitter as he once did, but he should pay attention to the kind of abuse that is directed daily at those who oppose cow vigilantism and love jihad. Last week, Ghulam Muhammad, 55, a farmer in the Bulundshahr village of Sohi was beaten to death by young men in saffron scarves, said to be from Yogi Adityanath’s Hindu Yuva Vahini. He was killed because these Hindutva killers suspected that he had helped a Muslim neighbour elope with a Hindu woman.

It is cowardice of the worst kind for young men to gang up and kill an old man, so I tweeted against this latest lynching and was immediately subjected to an onslaught of abusive tweets. Tweeters used words that cannot be printed in a family newspaper to attack me. They defended their abuse and threats on the grounds that I had never written against RSS workers murdered by Marxist killers in Kerala. Is that a defence?

What frightens me most is the pride Hindutva tweeters plainly take in every new lynching. They make it clear that the squads of Hindu vigilantes that roam about these days in search of Muslims to kill are in their view heroes avenging centuries of repression by Muslim rulers. Like the cowardly cow vigilantes, these tweeters remain nameless, but from their language it is obvious that many of them are linked directly to the RSS or one of its sister organisations. I know this from having learned to recognise their names from earlier occasions when I have written something in this column that they did not like.

My reason for repeatedly drawing attention to Hindutva violence is because I believe it is motivated not by some twisted nationalism but by uncontainable hatred of Muslims. This hatred is what persuades young Hindus to go out in gangs and hunt for the poorest, most vulnerable Muslims to beat to death. It is true that there have been almost no communal riots in the past three years, but it is also true that there is an insidious new kind of violence that takes the form of hate crimes.

Senior BJP leaders say these hate crimes are not being committed by ‘our people’ but by ‘agents provocateur’ from secular parties who have infiltrated the ranks of Hindutva organisations. Hard to believe. Our secular opposition parties today lack the strength even to rise out of the doldrums.

Follow Tavleen Singh on Twitter @tavleen_singh

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Tavleen Singh
  1. J
    Jai Hind
    Jun 27, 2017 at 8:03 pm
    Modi ji please bring in anyone like Adityanath yogiji in karnataka. So that you areWe middle-class people could have some relief
    1. S
      May 13, 2017 at 12:52 am
      In a political time such as these, it's even a challenge to speak out most obvious. Tavleenji, keep your razors sharp, don't ever be intimidated by these hollow sounding comments and gestures Remember, you have t say the truth, never mind who benefits. Tavleenji, never​ really been a fan of urs. Just that it added up in end. Don't ever be against a religion, be against a regressive perspective. Take Care. XX Shibs
      1. G
        May 13, 2017 at 12:46 am
        To some of the anti tavleen singh comments below i will say. This lady is a seasoned Veteran whos seen Real action in her career as an indian broadcaster who was courted by western television giants when they were reporting on india and its civil conflicts during the 1970s-1980s-early 90s was india correspondent for a western newspaper from blighty. went into the golden temple in amritsar during the Heydays of bhindranwale with her plucked eyebrows no pun intended,Some years later in 1988 entered the golden temple alone and rescued an injured man bringing him out to safety along the way interviewing Some gun toting militants.keyboard warriors can only talk dribble behind a screen tavleens the real deal a hardnut as we say over ere in the west.
        1. S
          May 13, 2017 at 12:53 am
          150 percent correct@goldy
        2. G
          May 9, 2017 at 8:57 am
          News Channels are also using the gentle mammals for their ratings. Indian op-ed writers are milking them for pretty pennies even in New York Times.
          1. V
            May 8, 2017 at 9:16 pm
            The zeal with which the BJP's bhakths not only fail to condemn the lynchings of poor Muslim men but indeed go so far as to condone these lynchings speaks volumes of their depravity. The thugs who go about actually doing these crimes belong to the lumpen underbelly of the BJP and are often paid to do it. But the intellectual lumpen elements who grace these columns defending extra-judicial kil s and lynchings are far worse - they do it for sport and clearly relish the idea of seeing an innocent Muslim man being set upon by a mob and massacred. Indeed, very few commenters express even an iota of pity for the murdered men. They are the Maya Kodnanis who surely will never take up arms but will provide ammunition for these inhumane acts. But, Hindus need to be careful too. The last few lynchings in Delhi were those of Hindus. And the mob did not care when they screamed that they were Hindus, presumably people with greater claims to safety than Muslims. Be careful what you wish for !
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