Been a long while since I ranted…my fingers have been itching for the pats few weeks. So, here I am 😉
Our Honourable Home Minister Mr. P. Chidambaram always manages to hog the limelight, thanks to his regrettable statements made without giving it a second thought.
The latest, of course, has been his usage of the word ‘saffron terrorism’.
Let’s not even go into the problem areas in uttering those words publicly. Let’s just look at the two words used here-‘saffron’ and ‘terrorism’.
Firstly, as most editorials of prominent newspapers have pointed out, terrorism has no religion, colour, caste, creed, race, et al. It is driven by hatred and hatred alone. The editorial published on August 28, 2010 in The New Indian Express asserts that PC was trying to avoid using the term ‘Hindu terrorism’ which would have been even more objectionable. What makes PC think that he can get away by simply replacing a religious word (Hindu) with a seemingly neutral and ‘colourful’ word (saffron)?
Going by the trend of bomb blasts and terrorist attacks in our country over the past couple of years, most were either conducted by Islamic fundamentalists to target the Hindu community or Hindutva fanatics to target the Muslim community. Or simply fanatics and fundamentalists whose religion has no connection with their terrorist activities. Movies like My Name is Khan (which I am yet to watch) apparently deal with a similar theme-that a religion has no connection whatsoever with terrorism.
I stayed in New Delhi, the capital city of our diverse nation, for three years before coming to Bengaluru for my Masters. Given that it was the national capital and a politically active place, Delhi was always on high alert even if a bomb was suspected to be seen at some remote corner of the country. We were so used to brisking and checking at hotels, restaurants, shopping complexes, malls and metro stations that we suspected that something was fishy when we weren’t subjected to brisk checking.
I remember an incident quite vividly. This happened after the Malegaon blasts in Maharashtra in 2008. All major metropolitan cities in the country were on high alert, which, in most cases, is just a fancy term for extra checking and inconvenience caused to fellow citizens for their own safety . Sadly, civilians, in their hurry to reach their respective destinations forget to acknowledge the same.
I was travelling to Connought Place from the University (boy, do I miss that place?) in the metro when this high-alert drama was on in Delhi.
As usual, all passengers were subjected to fairly rigorous checking that day. What surprised me (or maybe I shouldn’t have been surprised given its all-too frequent occurence) was when I saw two young Muslim men being subjected to extra frisking, checking, questioning and grilling. That they were Muslims was clear from their attire and Muslim caps that the people of this religious community wear. The security policemen who were conducting the security check suddenly seemed wide awake and alert deciding to frisk these young men in and out, making it very clear that these Muslims were the obvious target of their suspicion.
I would have probably dismissed this casually until I boarded the train.
As soon as these two young men entered the compartment, all the passengers clutched to their belongings with greater firmness. The message was very clear: You are Muslims. The nation is bleeding with bombs planted by people from your community. You will rob me too. I’d better be on the safe side.
The men were subjected to such intense stares that i wouldn’t be wrong in stating that they were almost raped to death by those disapproving eyes. One should have seen the faces of these two men. That they were feeling extremely uncomfortable in a compartment full of Muslim-haters must have been a living torture for them.
Muslim alienation isn’t anything new and has a whole history that goes behind it dating as long as Partition in 1947. Sadly, it has only grown over the years.