The peddling of Hate and...Good Governance
The scene has now shifted out of Delhi, 7 Race Course Road, BJP’s Office at Ashoka Road and even South Block. Not surprising the current favourite, that is the Minister for Human Resources Development gets maximum press; as do some others but there is not much from news the MEA (MS Sushma Swaraj). Another favourite is the MOS Commerce Nirmala Sitharaman. But media pundits are silent over the BJP, and the new government’s silence.
Key secretaries are mum. The noisy newshour sees no anchors waiving surreptitiously leaked documents (RTI seems infra dig now) except of course the “leaked IB report on the naughty, difficult policy questioning NGOS. That’s all the great ‘Nation Wants to Know” channel could unearth probably because a whily MHA wanted him to! But then he has no desire to expose the new government given all he did to ensure the government was in place.
But despite this adoration, so far there is no media advisor to the PM. The Press Information Bureau (PIB) has hardly any information. Except a circular which says a special cell has been set up to monitor the pro and anti PM Modi stories in the media. So now instead of telling the public about government policy, PIB will be used to monitor the ‘friend’ and ‘enemies’ of the new regime. Surprise of surprise (ever heard the dictum one individual is bigger than the organisation???), the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) has scrapped its daily briefing, which was the lifeline of the political beat for many years. The RSS goes on speaking however be it on Sexual Violence in Gujarat’s academic works or other historical treatsies through Dinesh Batra’s Shiksha Bachao Andolan, Education will now be save from rationality, from questioning, from a genuinely Indian, inquiry ethos of the kind generated by Jyotiba Phule, Babasaheb Ambedkar, Maulana Azad. The new regime prefers the autocratic approach “its my way or the highway” “Hindu upper caste history is the only contribution of this civilization” not Shivaji who was a loved ruler of the masses because of his lived pluralism:
What has stumped hardcore political journalists in Delhi is that the numerous BJP media lovers like Prakash Javedkar, now I & B minister, Ravi Shakar Prasad, India’s new law minister (remember he appeared for the VHP in the Ayodhya matter and emerged from the Court on September 30, 2010 waving a “V” for victory sign??), and even Arun Jaitley, who sometimes spent the entire day in front of TV cameras patiently answering questions ranging from politics to social propriety and offering advice to the nation, at large, are nowhere to be seen. Maybe they are finally working! Has the byte has gone out of the BJP ?
Action has shifted to the states who go to the polls. There is almost no ‘national’ news from BJP ruled states even if there is a Dalit self immolation or rape or corruption scandal. We only get news from Maharashtra, West Bengal and never to forget, Uttar Pradesh.
The brutal kiiling of Mohsin Shaikh, a young IT professional in cold blood after hatred was allowed to spill on the streets on June 2, 2014 is an example of how hatred is allowed to fester unchecked. Dhananjay Desai of the Hindu Rashtra Sena (who’s venomous bile can be heard unchecked on the Youtube) has bee allowed to spread his poison unchecked in Goa and Maharashtra (where a ‘secular’ Congress-NCP government rules. Twenty three cases pending against him have not stopped in. Finally he has been booked; he was also suspect number one in the Narayan Dabholkar killing but escaped due to lack of evidence.
Shaikh's murder was a pure and simple hate crime, one would have thought. But will the Maharashtra police unequivocally book him and prosecute him or settle for the theory of 'action-reaction', a Hindutvawaadi theory that has percolated all institutions. All Hindutvawadis describe their violence as 'defensive' or a 'reaction' to violence by Muslims. The latter are always the initiators -- this is an article of faith for Hindutvawadis. And the reaction is always bound to be more than the action, since Hindus are the majority -- this was explained to me by the late Adhik Shirodkar, the Shiv Sena's senior counsel before the Srikrishna Commission of inquiry into the 1992-1993 Mumbai riots.
So here's the Pune police's explanation for Shaikh's lynching. First, came the Facebook post derogatory to Shivaji and Bal Thackeray. This was followed by stoning of mosques by offended Hindutva activists. The Congress led a delegation of affected Muslims to complain about the stoning. According to the Pune police, this closed the matter -- the situation was 'under control'. Over 25 bakeries were attacked and burned outside Pune, what was the police doing?
Now, in the peaceful atmosphere that had by then descended on Pune, say the cops, this was a direct provocation to the Hindu Rashtra Sena guys who were then zipping around on motorcycles distributing offensive leaflets. So they killed Mohsin Shaikh. Hence, both the stoning of the mosques and the lynching of Shaikh was part of a 'Hindu backlash' to Muslim provocation (though the identity of the originator of the FB post is still unknown). There is still no explanation for why Mohsin fell prey and victim, however.
The Srikrishna Commission demolished this 'backlash' theory put forward by the Mumbai police and the Shiv Sena to justify the January 1993 Sena-led pogrom against Muslims. You don't need a judicial commission to demolish the Pune 'backlash' theory. Eye-witness accounts from the very first night of violence, May 30, show that the police chose to ignore the vandalism of the Hindutva goons.
The moot question is, what and who helped Dhananjay Desai spread his poison?