National normalcy provides the right atmosphere for social growth. In its balmy warmth flourishes civilisation, enabling the arts, science and philosophy to shape the times, and for future generations to define the past. However, underneath all the politeness exists a vast substrata of darkness populated by beasts whose sense of normalcy is rape, murder, lynchings and massacres. Nothing is sacrosanct; the life of an innocent child in Kathua, a helpless village girl in Unnao, a grieving father in lockup or a physiotherapist on a Delhi bus on a wintry night. But sometimes the eggshell of the commonplace order of things cracks. This is one such time.
A teenage girl identified a BJP legislator of raping her in BJP-ruled Uttar Pradesh; in spite of her seeking justice from Chief Minister Yogi Adityanath, the MLA could roam free despite the stringent anti-rape laws that mandate immediate arrest and judicial confinement without bail of the accused. The laws of the country obviously do not apply to ruling politicians.
In the first week of January, a shepherd child, who grew up in the pastoral normalcy of her nomadic life, was allegedly kidnapped by cops, sedated and raped for three days in a temple. Before she was strangled, one of the predators reportedly expressed a wish to rape her “for one last time”. Kathua erupted. Lawyers, who are supposed to defend the innocent, called for a bandh to support the accused. A never-heard-of local outfit named Hindu Ekta Manch went on a protest spree, waving the national flag, thereby identifying the Tricolour with the rape of a child.
Hinduism has become the new suffix for political wannabes like the Hindu Ekta Manch, which ignored the grim irony of savaging a girl on holy ground. Unfortunately, after the BJP came to power riding an anti-corruption, nationalist wave, the proliferation of non-accredited political Hindus are doing a disservice to the mothership by clinging on to its keel like toxic barnacles. In July 2013, Narendra Modi told Reuters that he was a Hindu nationalist; a statement which is selectively interpreted by retrograde outfits as a licence to terrorise populations in the name of Hinduism. In the interview, he had elaborated further that there is no contradiction between progressive development and being a Hindu. India used to be mocked for its “Hindu rate of growth”, an economic construct, which Modi is refashioning into a progressive model. By identifying Hindusim with economics, he was perhaps hoping to restore the age when pre-colonial Hindu-dominant India was the world’s biggest economy.
The Prime Minister has often been accused of keeping shtum on various contentious issues. Unlike motor-tweep Donald Trump, Modi chooses his own time and place to chastise transgressors, targeting trends rather than individuals, but leaving nobody in doubt about the symbolism of his wrath. The moment has come now to save Hinduism from fake Hindus and restore humanity to politics and society. The innocence of democracy, which believes that all are equal and justice gives all citizens a fair deal, has to be resurrected in this age of sadistic pretenders. Let the girl of meadows not have died in vain as an unsuspecting and unavenged martyr at the hands of savages who use an ancient religion and pervert patriotism in the name of god.