Are we to just sit back and not react no matter what the provocations are


Humra Quraishi

Like mute spectators we are helplessly witnessing the hounding of the Muslim community in the country. To compound the horrific communal targeting is the grim fact that only a handful of strong voices of condemnation. Tell me, where are we heading? It gets distressing to see an entire minority community attacked and assaulted and rendered so very helpless on all accounts.

Last week, where were all the women and men of our country to ask for the immediate arrest of the so called Hindu priest (though I refuse to call him a seer or a priest, as no truly- genuinely religious man from any given religion will ever abuse or call for the rape of women!) who openly called for the rape of Muslim women in Uttar Pradesh! Aren’t we paving way for another Rwanda civil war like situation, where the vulnerable gets targeted…and once communal strife spreads out, only vultures survive!

Where are all those so called experts who give out dismal statistics on the homeless and shelter-less in the country, when they saw shots of the Muslim owned houses and shops getting bulldozed in Madhya Pradesh’s Khargone. Why? Even before an independent level enquiry could amply prove that stones were indeed pelted from the particular Muslim homes, those house-owners and their valid homes have been reduced to a nothingness to them! Bulldozed on state orders! In this heat and dust and in the midst of Ramazan where do these hapless- homeless Muslim families go! We haven’t even bothered to hear their side of the story. Nor will we ever be able to do so, as they will perish in this situation — summer heat and keeping rozas/ fasting, in the midst of mounting tragedies unleashed on them. The survivors will be left too petrified to take on the State might.

And in a country like ours where there’s very little to eat, water melons are so very blatantly destroyed by the Hindutva lot in Karnataka! That sight of the dismal remains of that fruit lying on the ground, could send shock waves but no governmental heads or tails were twisted, except came up reports of the chief minister of the state set to compensate the fruit vendor/cart owner.

No compensation can ever be adequate for a bruised seller’s emotions and dignity and well -being. That incident alone goes to prove how very petty the governing politics have been reduced to. Foremost, no apparent curbs on the destroying strategies of the Hindutva brigades and if and when some level of hue and cry does come up then there are much publicised doles offered to the aggrieved. Can the Musalmaans of this country be allowed to survive! To live on par. To be allowed to earn his or her daily bread, without Hindutva brigades provoking and pouncing, assaulting and killing! And the State machinery bulldozing his or her hearth and home!

Right now, hopeless seems the situation. After all, if the politics and the politicians start trampling upon the lives and livelihoods of the minority community there’s no hope! The Musalmaan has to sit back as second or third class citizens and not react no matter what the provocations are!

And news from Rajasthan’s Karauli is equally disturbing. Questions are raised on the role of the district administration and the police force. Why was the rally of provocative slogan shouting motorcyclists allowed to pass through sensitive localities? Wasn’t it all too apparent that the provocative communal slogans were rendered to provoke the minority community and then await for the dangaas to start off!

It is significant that the Congress government in Rajasthan ought to look into the role of the police and administrative force. In fact, PUCL President, Kavita Srivastava, and General Secretary, Anant Bhatnagar, have submitted a very detailed and thorough report to Rajasthan government’s administrators. Space constraints come in way of quoting extensively from their report dated 8 April 2022, but let me write these two very significant points/ instances raised by them. To quote from this PUCL report:

“Why was the police allowed to pick up young Muslim men and beat them up, torture them? See this one story which the wire.in has published where a 17-year old minor was beaten up brutally by the police and being forced to say Jai Shri Ram …Strict action needs to be taken against these policemen who indulged in torture. The young men who were tortured need to be given medical treatment.”

“Today it was brought to the notice of the PUCL, that Ghazala Ahmad, journalist with the digital news organisation The Cognate, and Ahmad Kasim journalist with Clarion India were returning, after completing their assignment from Karauli town of Rajasthan at 12 noon, they were stopped at several spots by cops and later at Ganesh Gate, the Kotwali ASI Nanua Singh manhandled them. Kasim was even pushed by one of the cops and kept heckling him. They waited for more than an hour before they were allowed to make their way out of the city. It was obvious that the police misbehaved with Kasim and Ghazala as they were Muslims and the latter was wearing a hijab.”

Leaving you with these lines of Sahir Ludhianvi … apt in today’s conditions… bloodshed and human blood spreading out!

These lines of Sahir Ludhianvi are from his poem ‘Khoon phir khoon

hai’ (Blood, however, is blood):

Tyranny is but tyranny; when it grows it is vanquished

Blood however is blood; if it spills it will congeal

It will congeal on the desert sands, on the murderer’s hand

On the brow of justice and on chained feet

On the unjust sword, on the sacrificial body

Blood is blood; if it spills it will take root

Let them hide all they want, skulk in their lairs

The track of spilled blood will point out the executioners’ abode

Let conspiracies shroud the truth with darkness

Each drop of blood will march out, holding aloft a lamp

Say this to tyranny’s worthless and dishonoured Destiny

say this to Coercion’s manipulative intent

say this to Laila, the darling of the assembly

Blood is wild, it will splatter and stain your garment

It is a rapid flame that will scorch your harvests

That blood which you wished to bury in the killing fields

has risen today in the streets and courts

Somewhere as a flame, somewhere as a slogan. Somewhere else as a flung stone

When blood flows bayonets cannot contain it

When it raises its defiant head, laws will not restrain it

Tyranny has no caste, no community, no status or dignity

Tyranny is simply tyranny, from its beginning to its end

Blood is however blood; it becomes a hundred things:

Shapes that cannot be obliterated

Flames that can never be extinguished

Chants that will not be suppressed.

Humra Quraishi is a Delhi-based writer-columnist-journalist. She is also the author of several books including Kashmir: The Untold Story. The views expressed here are author’s personal.

(Courtesy Clarion India)