The 'riot' game!


Atul K Thakur | March 22, 2014

Those who instigate riots know the rule to be 'fireproofed'—and to thrive on dangerous fundamentals. Beyond such calculated moves, the sufferers and their humane observers live in oblivion. Quite often, we see the frail silent image of Manto hanging on wall and his literatures meeting disdained responses, likewise as: I'll fly all from here--not to listen, these are at service, always at service!

Akbar Illahabadi wrote: “They hold the throne in their hand. The whole realm is in their hand. The country, the apportioning of men’s livelihood is in their hand. The springs of hope and of fear are in their hand—in their hand is the power to decide who shall be humbled and who exalted.” But who they are? Why they enjoying such sinful authority?

Their authority powered from the effects of fragile public dismay—and by the electoral design, which allows the representative of particular interest group, winning the ground. The riot cannot be secular—however time and again, political parties have tried falsifying this kind of simple argument. Most recently, the Samajwadi Party government in UP termed their handling of Muzaffarnagar riots as ‘secular response’—though outside the ‘ambit of reasons’ and nailed in no time, its leaders and sycophant bureaucrats have made all efforts to keep the state government away from imminent legal and moral scrutiny.

As a nation, India was born in the atmosphere of fractured communal harmony—by that account, year 1947 was intensely grim coated. That year, the partition theory reached swift action mode and resulted the bloodiest outbreak of riots and exodus across the imagined borders of two nations in making.

The ‘two nation theory’ worked as planned by the ‘White Sahibs for Brown Sahibs’—and British left not one but two ‘free countries’—both scare-faced and terribly handicapped in keeping alive the momentum of great sacrifices, made during the independence movement. The scores of people butchered, displaced to never return their home—and most shockingly, women raped for being identified with particular religious identity, had not really shook the minds and souls of system.

But the man who spearheaded the non-violent fight against the tyranny of empire, Gandhi, was in deep shock. He avoided the well deserved happiness for independence and tried to control the frenzied communal clashes in Calcutta. Sadly, the ruling political classes at that time and later in the history of modern India— remained unflinchingly inactive and unimpressed with an option of ‘straight shooting’ against the hooliganism of unparalleled distort.

Why so? Because only being complicit in the communal riots goes against the ‘law of the land’? Then such law must come under the scanner, which spares the state’s role in commanded violence—with a few rounds of hiccups. Beyond the political overplay, ‘riots’ need to be relooked—much more seriously than the other currents of history. And this must start with India’s partition, which not only bifurcated the nation but left it permanently vulnerable, to be marred by the ‘communal elements’ and opportunist users of secularist ideas.

During the Delhi riots in 1984, Bhagalpur riots in the late 1980s, Gujarat riots in 2002 and most recently at Muzaffarnagar, the superficial political inquisitions surpassed the real grief of human tragedies. Thousands were murdered, most of them without realizing the actual spectre of politics behind the riot—they simply vanished, as easily as they appeared destined for it!

The ‘riots’ in Indian contexts have been driven through certain ‘political intents’—and communal assertion intermingle them at certain stage. In such wild state of affairs, ‘personification’ takes place at high stage. With each incident of riot, our collective memory recalls a face behind it—the real issues get no attention in public memory or by the restless and assumptive media. Henceforth, the riot victims presented as numbers and court seeks evidences—only evidences, and not anything reasonable.

Those sheltered in riot camps are treated like ‘citizens on margin’—and ‘the rulers’ of state claims such inhuman arrangements, charity. A young—undeserving—and untimely CM of UP, Akhilesh Yadav will never ever understand what his government has done in follow-up action on the wake of communal outbreak in politically charged Muzaffarnagar. He could have easily done without Saifai extravaganza or Europe trip for his party rank and file, when people were freezing in relief camps, away from their homes.

They are still in camps, winter was harshest for them. Most of them are facing health issues, which arise by the lack of basic nutrition and hygiene. Like normal human being, they too require elementary amenities—circumstance to go back home, which are burnt and need to be repaired. Though they know, the soul of their home has withered away—as only a few good neighbours want to see them back. Something similar happened in Kashmir in 1990—still we talk about relief camps, and we recall the grim faces of Kashmiri Pandits. Now they are settled everywhere, except at their home in valley—my fear is the same for those uprooted from the villages of Muzaffarnagar.

The victims live in reality—as they have no command on resources. Their ‘dignity’ is compromised—the kids are trying to learn the lessons, through experiences and self efforts. But there is a limitation of self-learning. The young girls are being married, to suppress the extra amount of insecurity and helplessness. The terror outfits are, reportedly visiting these camps to negotiate with ‘anemic sheltered citizens of India’—and they return without much success, as people have still trust in state, if not in leadership. They collect relief to survive—as survival is not less than a virtue, for both ‘fit& frail’.

This way, the riot works in India. Knowingly or unknowingly, political animals help each other to float in the dirty stream—and they really triumph the alternative wisdom. In the coming general elections, the ‘secularism claim’ must be tested by the electorates in UP, and wherever the land is India!



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