Ignorance, prejudices and fear have triumphed over reason and knowledge. This is new India. Modern. Liberal and certainly "secular", even as - to use that journalistic cliche - SICKULAR.
Indians – both Hindus and Muslims (and also others) – might have been surprised over Dadri. But did they have reason to be shocked? The hate politics has taken over the country. An overwhelming section of political class and even the self-styled champion of neo-liberal-national spirit of India, the media, quickly passed the verdict against the right wing BJP and RSS for the same. Prime Minister Narendra Modi did not do any service to himself by delaying his "comments" on Dadri.
On the other hand, the RSS and its affiliated organizations say the appeasement politics (towards minorities) has hardened the unity and fundamentalism among the Hindus.
Thus the lynching of a 50-year-old old man, father of a Air Force personnel, made news. Importantly, the victim was a Muslim and the pretext was rumour of a cow slaughter. This brought in quick 'TOURISM' element to Dadri.
The ‘#Beefydebate’ as highlighted in the social networking sites has remained and would continue as ‘competitive’ communal politics surfaced over the incident. Azam Khan was in competition against Asaduddin Owaissi, one-time Hyderabad MP and now trying to establish toe-holds in at least two 'cow-belt' states.
Lalu Prasad, out on bail after being convicted for corruption in fodder (cow's food) scam, is not only teaching morality. He also said, Hindus eat beef.
In Kerala, where a self-styled sickular lot like in West Bengal thrive in lampooning at anything Hindu and India, beef parties were organised. Where's the word - provocation?
Incidentally the forensic reports later claimed that the meat in the deceased Akhlaq Ahmed fridge at Dadri village not far from national capital was mutton and not beef.
His wife Ikrana lamented that the case against her family was fabricated. She wants the government now to find the truth behind the murder. Predictably all these were linked to Bihar polls and also easily concluded that the saffron brigade had orchestrated it to salvage NDA boat once RSS chief played spoilsport to Narendra Modi's electoral journey of electoral success by playing the anti-quota politics.
But the sudden reactions from writers’ fraternity added a new drama. It was well orchestrated. First a Jawaharlal Nehru kin - Nayantara Sehgal said she is returning Sahitya Akademi award because India has become so intolerant. The connection is lost on me as it would to Rabindranath Tagore also. The Nobel laureate had returned Knighthood – given by the Britons – to protest Jallianwallah Bagh. Here none of the awardees got the prize during Modi regime. But when dictates come from elsewhere or is motivated by a campaign, reasons have no place. Forty other writers joined her -- some in groups, some individually -- clearing leaving a mark that it was pre-planned.
The operation 'let us nail Modi' – in writers manner had one agenda: present a gory picture of India when the Modi government is desperate to set the economy on right track. And, so much of the ‘tolerance’ of these writers, the moment Chetan Bhagat flayed their move – the quick judgement was passed again: Chetan Bhagat is no William Shakespeare ! My analogy is simpler: SICKULARISM ZINDABAD.
There was another coincidence and the sense of timing. Release of a book by a Pakistani and 're-invention' of secular credentials of Sudheendra Kulkarni. In 1970s, under 'sickular but dynastic-democratic' rule of Indira Gandhi this could have been easily attributed to 'foreign hands'.
These lead me to ask a few questions. One, the timing of Dadri and secondly, has BJP walked into a trap of its own creation by giving impression that they justify the lynching of an old man – rather a helpless farmer – on the pretext of protecting the Gau-mata.
On the face value, timing of Dadri definitely links it to Bihar polls. Media found it easy to link the murder to BJP’s political agenda of electoral polarization. But none thought over the other factor in timing as it happened just when PM Modi had wrapped up his successful visit to the US.
If the second analogy is correct, the very message for international press is that Modi’s India is becoming intolerant to beef, the staple and favourite food item of Christians. This negates an atmosphere of pro-investment.
Irrespective of what happens in Bihar; the episode certainly did a “collateral damage” to Modi’s effort to put India on the fast track of development.
And look, who is laughing?