Skip to content

Two Encounters with the Right Wing: Anonymous

February 10, 2013
Guest post by an ANONYMOUS student of DU who is afraid, not of the Right Wing, but of the university administration. We can be very proud of our democracy.
I
I have never been so scared of being a minority before. Today I saw two Kashmiris (a girl and a boy) being chased by a mob in what was to be a silent protest. I don’t know when and what circumstances will bring me to running from a mob to save myself. No one deserves to live in fear. Not me, not the two Kashmiris, not even a fiend.
Said a friend who witnessed the saffron mob at Jantar Mantar.
Today, no one can tell me that India is democratic, that India is secular. Today no one can tell me that India is free. Today I saw a glimpse, just a glimpse of what Hindutva truly is, and it was terrifying.
I went to Jantar Mantar for a silent protest against the hanging of Afzal Guru and for the abolition of capital punishment. We reached a little late, and by the time I reached, the number of people had reduced considerably. Why? Because the police had rounded up and detained a bus-full of protesters, mostly Kashmiri, and taken them to the police station.
When we got out of the metro station, all I could hear was cries of Bharat Mata ki Jai interspersed with Pakistan Haye Haye.
Bharat Mata ki Jai, because a man has been hanged. Not for his crimes, if they even exist, but for his identity.
Bharat Mata ki Jai, as we murder Indian Muslims, because that is our idea of nationalism.
Bharat Mata ki Jai as Muslim women and men are chased by a mob of saffron and hit with broken glass bottles, even as they try to escape, some of them crying.
Bharat Mata ki Jai as the police silently watches this brutality, this violence, and becomes complicit to it.
Bharat Mata ki Jai as the leader of this mob stands by, looks upon these people being cornered and beaten and instructs his charges, ‘mat chhodna choro ko, mat chhodna balatkariyon ko, maaro saalo ko’, just like we see in those films, read in those reports about Gujarat 2002, about Bombay 1992, about Delhi 1984.
Where is this democracy then? Is it in the media that left as the right wing forces arrived? Is it in the police that tears posters, arrests anyone who looks Kashmiri? Is it in the state that locks down an entire state to make sure that there is no resistance? Is it in the quiet acceptance of a Muslim girl who says, ‘they will never see us as Indians’? Is it in our compulsion to write anonymously because we are scared of being targeted?
At one point, my friend said that she is not used to this, because she has not seen this kind of violence. So I said, don’t worry, none of us are used to it. And then I realised, I don’t want to become used to it. I refuse to get used to it. I’m new to this, but I never want to feel anything else in the face of what I saw today.
I don’t remember things being like this in Delhi. Maybe because I was too young to go out, or maybe because Hindutva violence is on the rise. Either way, we are moving towards a state which is not democratic, but is fascist. A state of suffocation, of stifled and choked out voices.
And Habib Jalib’s words come to mind.
Haq baat pe korray aur zindaan, batil ke shikanje main hai ye jaan
Insaan hain ke sehme bethe hain, khoon-khwar darinde hain raqsaan
Har shaam yahan shaam-e-weeran, aaseb zada raste galiyan
Jis shehr ki dhun main nikle thay, woh shehr dil-e-barbad kahan
II
A protest was staged on the 6th of February against the invitation to and speech by Narendra Modi in Sri Ram College of Commerce. A protest unlike any that Delhi University has seen in a while. In our university we saw extensive barricading, and water cannon tanks for the first time in many years. The sheer number of police personnel was disturbing.
But let’s just say that the police numbers, the water cannon and teargas equipment, the barricading of a university road are legitimate. Let’s not muddy the waters too much on this account. Let us even accept, given the scenario, the use water cannons and the lathicharge.
What I do not accept as legitimate is the sickeningly communal and sexist nature of the police. Protesters were surrounded on all sides by the saffron brigade, NDTF, ABVP and others. Even on the other side of the barricade, the side where only the police was supposed to be. Or are the barricades not for all students and teachers?
Even on top of the water cannon, where an ABVP activist could wave a pro Modi banner, show us the middle finger, and miraculously avoid detention. The police likes to be lenient it would seem.
We saw their leniency with the nine students who were beaten up, some hit on the head by lathis and detained without any sort of paperwork. We saw their fairness with the students who were first hit by them and then thrown into the ABVP crowd to be further beaten up. We really did see their kindness and concern when they forewarned the right wing groups about the use of water cannons, asking them to move aside and assuring them that they would not be harmed.
And who can accuse them of being patriarchal sexual harassers? We saw their concern for the women protesters when they asked women to stop protesting because we are too weak, ‘aap kar bhi kya paaoge, bas energy waste ho rahi hai’. And of course, in their kind advise to refrain from such unwomanly activities (‘aap aurat kahaan ho?’) otherwise, ‘jaisa Gujarat ki auraton ke saath hua, waisa hi aapke saath bhi hoga’.
If anyone really enjoyed the protest with a sickening high, it was the police. They enjoyed hitting protesters with lathis, they laughed while doing so. They hit people who weren’t even breaking barricades, students who had turned the other way. They enjoyed the sight of women protesting, they celebrated it through blowing kisses, with blatant stares, with calls to come closer, with active groping. They enjoyed listening to the threats of ABVP activists (‘yeh rod tumhare andar ghusa doonga jaise Gujarat mein kiya tha’), evident from the fact that none of them face any action today.
They believed wholeheartedly in their cause, in their duty, as tools of Hindutva, as servants of Modi (‘abhi bas yeh haal hai, jab Modiji Prime Minister honge toh dekhna kya hota hai).
And today, counter FIRs have been filed against protesters, for a number of charges including the possession of deadly weapons. What deadly weapons? Hands? Maybe the posters, or perhaps the mud at their feet?
That day the university was truly witnessed as a space where communalism, patriarchy and repression were blatantly exercised, where the idea of democracy, of freedom, of secularism, of gender equality were violated thoroughly, thrown aside and forgotten by all authorities.
23 Comments leave one →
  1. Samvaad Samvedna permalink
    February 10, 2013 12:36 PM

    Jagdish Tytler – NO

    Sajjan Kumar – NO

    Babu Bajrangi – NO

    Maya Kodnani – NO

    Kehar Singh – NO

    Dara Singh – NO

    Bhullar – NO

    Swami Aseemanand – NO

    Sadhvi Pragya – NO

    Afzal Guru – Yes yes yes yes yes.

    India is a multi-cultural, multi-religious, multi-ethnic, plural, diverse and World’s Largest Democracy…!

    • Pritam Singh permalink
      February 10, 2013 10:10 PM

      You are right on others but wrong on Kehar Singh. He was hanged in Tihar Jail on 6th January 1989 along with Satwant Singh, who along with Beant Singh had shot Mrs. Gandhi. Kehar Singh was hanged on the same grounds as Afzal for ‘conspiracy’. There were similar, though less organised and less wide spread, protests against the hanging of Kehar Singh because of the flimsy evidence of ‘conspiracy; against him. See http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Kehar_Singh

  2. meenakshi permalink
    February 10, 2013 12:51 PM

    This is a grievous wrong against the community. All I can say is sorry.

  3. Shourav permalink
    February 10, 2013 1:11 PM

    Your accounts of the Afzal Guru protest is deeply disturbing. As a citizen of Delhi, i want to express solidarity with you and the rest of the protesters. These are meaningless words to you perhaps but i just want to say that you are not alone in how you feel. There are many people i know, who, like me, are extremely agitated with the hindutva turn our society is taking once again. We wont let this country go back to the 1990s; all sane rational individuals, whether they be liberals, leftists, radicals, or whoever, have to figure out what they can do, in their own way, to stop this rise of fascist forces. I dont even know what else to say.

    • XYZ permalink
      February 11, 2013 10:50 PM

      Shourav we need more people like you in our country. Happy to see that hindutva not only bothers us but bothers you as well. We indians shound not look at each other as hindu or muslim but love each other as indian so that our country will progress. we will not progress if keep on cutting roots of our own fellow indians.

  4. Indian permalink
    February 10, 2013 3:04 PM

    If this can happen in Delhi University, God save this country from the Murderers on the streets! They are everywhere, all around. It feels scary being a Muslim in this country. I feel scared!

  5. Sunil. N. M permalink
    February 10, 2013 5:19 PM

    With this hanging, India has lost Kashmir for ever. Whether Indian democracy and secularism will survive this is also in doubt.

  6. Vandana permalink
    February 10, 2013 6:28 PM

    Thank you for having the courage to come forward to report the comments you heard.
    At a university if all this happened, it is indeed shameful. The administration will hopefully look into this and take action against those bullying women, kashmiris, Muslims, or any other minority.
    But what amazes me is that what did the Univ Admin fear to call for such high security? Surely there could have been a better way. Or were all the theories and concepts of human behavior and social violence forgotten in books or journals? Applied sciences remained in labs and libraries?
    I see total system failure since fear propagated all they from top in admin to the last student, chasing or chased.
    A new PhD on this topic might reveal some results in 2016. Or a book by an expert who may have rushed to record the event or take pictures? All the studies have failed us if we cannot apply concepts here. And, now.
    On the other hand, has saffron become the colour of violence? Hinduism, is an umbrella word for diversity and non-violence. Where is this new concept coming from? Or, funding for such a saffron protection brigade?
    The police? The less said the better. Very sad that they ‘threatened, scared, laughed at work of protecting society from perceived social unrest.’
    If rod comment is to be looked at again, it can be seen as the reason of police failure to protect women as in the dec delhi/ gujarat rapes. It is a joke for them and they enjoyed using that as a threat to discipline someone in the crowd. Sick.
    There are good people in the police somewhere…please catch the culprits and train your men and women to respect the society they live in because it is to protect them that there exists a police force.
    India is stronger and richer for our diversity and minorities- religions, women, kashmiris, tribals, included.

  7. vilokana permalink
    February 10, 2013 7:34 PM

    i agree wholeheartedly with what you say here. But there is a reason why Hindutva is coming up , the ideology, i don’t mean the mob mentality. The mob has behaved this way since times immemorial. Its good policing and good examples set by leaders that can teach people to behave. Anyway, i’m not gonna talk about the mob. i am going to say this about the pro-Hindu (i’m not calling it HIndutva, coz that word has connotations i’m not fully aware of) movement. There is a feeling among Hindus after 60 years of Anti-Hindu treatment by INC or Cong (Indira), that nothing and noone’s going to stand up for their religion and people, in a country where its historically been the ‘borderline anti -Hindu’ Nehru dynasty that’s been in power, or the leftist anti-Hindu parties that have been in power. All this combined with the real existence of Radical Islamic interests in geo-political occupation of India. So Hindus need to find a voice that will listen to them, and a better way of fighting their fight than the HIndutva-manu smriti menace.

  8. February 10, 2013 8:04 PM

    Is this what our country will be like under Modi? Where Hindutva activism will be rampant because everyone knows the man at the top condones, or maybe even actively supports it? The AFSPA will not be repealed. The fragmentation of our society will be complete. This cannot be allowed. Surely there must be something we can do! :(

    I’m sorry.

    We have to do something.

  9. chinmay permalink
    February 10, 2013 10:04 PM

    It was the same delhi police tht lathi charged peaceful protesters with Baba Ramadev and killed Rajbala, or lathi charged the protesters of delhi gang rape. this problem is there all over india where the police doesn’t seem to care for the public. Nothing right abt that. but STOP giving it a communal color. u guys just love playing victims all the time. and if u shout azaadi slogans, trust me, a lot worse can happen with u..

    • February 11, 2013 12:45 PM

      a lot more is already happening and has happened while you were asleep, so Awake!

    • Anonymous permalink
      February 12, 2013 9:55 PM

      When RSS and Bajrang dal people chase anyone wearing a hijab or looking kashmiri and hit them with glass bottles, and call muslims ‘saale pakistani’ while doing so, and when they therefore clearly target Muslims, and when cops clearly protect ABVP, RSS and co. while beating everyone else up, it is quite obviously communal. It is selective violence based on religion, and on beliefs about religious identities.

  10. chinmay permalink
    February 10, 2013 10:07 PM

    and i pity ur jaundiced thinking tht defines Hindutva based on the actions of few misguided folks.

  11. Romyorup Mitra permalink
    February 10, 2013 11:33 PM

    It has come to a point now where the University administration itself is the most vocal and visible Right Wing in the state.

  12. Anna permalink
    February 11, 2013 12:23 AM

    I do not know if Afzal Guru was framed.what I do know know is I don’t blame the people of Kashmir for protesting against the execution.the actions of our government and the army have given kasmiris all the reason to doubt them.

    As far as Modi goes,I am astounded as to why so many people do not think he is just plain dangerous.

    • February 11, 2013 12:47 PM

      Exactly! people are going blind before him just in the name of development, they are overlooking the dangers which could even kill them also.

  13. lynne permalink
    February 11, 2013 12:23 PM

    :(

  14. Vivek permalink
    February 11, 2013 4:14 PM

    I sympathize with you. Also, I am in total agreement with all the points mentioned except the following one:

    “Bharat Mata ki Jai, because a man has been hanged. Not for his crimes, if they even exist, but for his identity.”

    Afzal Guru was executed for “his crimes” (which he had confessed) and not for “his identity”.

    Please don’t bring the identity thing here.

    PS: I don’t belong to any wing.

    • Basudeb Banerjee. permalink
      February 13, 2013 12:23 PM

      You are absolutely right but these are masses parroting the sentiments & ill advices of the political parties. There are very few who can think & give their independent judgement.

  15. Abusidra, Dubai permalink
    February 11, 2013 7:23 PM

    A meeting inside jail with Afzal Guru. New Delhi based Journalist Vinod K. Jose met Parliament attack convict Afzal Guru inside the high security Tihar Jail in New Delhi in 2006. Read excerpts from this rare interview with Afzal on Kashmir Newz Specials.

    A rusted table, and behind it stood a well built man in uniform holding a spoon in his hand. Visitors, all of them looked habituated, queued up to open their plastic bags containing food, allowing it to be smelt, sometimes even tasted. The security man’s spoon paved its way through the thick grease floating curries—Malai Kofta, Shahi Paneer, Aalu Bengan, and Mixed Vegetables. As the visitors opened tiny bags of curries the spoon separated each piece of vegetable from the other, quite mechanically. ‘Frisking’ the food of a middle aged woman the spoon took a dip at the water in the steel bowl nearby. It then moved to the plastic bags of the next in the queue, an early teenage boy. By now water in the steel bowl has all kinds of colours. The floating oil gave it a vibgyor effect when light hit at it on the winter afternoon. Around 4.30 my turn came. The man left the spoon on the table and frisked my body top to bottom, thrice thoroughly. And when the metal detector made noise I had to remove my belt, steel watch, and keys. The man on duty bearing the badge of Tamilnadu Special Police (TSP) looked satisfied. I am allowed to enter now. This is the fourth security drill I had to go through to get into the High Risk Ward of Prison No 3 in Tihar Central Prison. I am on my way to meet Mohammad Afzal, one of the most talked about man in the contemporary times.

  16. February 12, 2013 1:33 PM

    Not to inform Afzal Guru’s family in advance of the hanging was wrong. Calling all (BJP, ABVP, VHP, and others that are against Muslim terrorists, etc) protests as “saffron brigades” is also wrong, divisive and insulting to those of us who are Hindus but not part of such protests. We should condemn governments that delay carrying out judicial punishments for years as has been done with the assassinations of Rajiv Gandhi, Beant Singh and the delayed execution of the planner behind the parliament attacks. To encourage alienation among Muslims is wrong and we must not ignore it, but interfere to prevent it. Condemning Modi for his statements but not Rajiv Gandhi, whose remarks started the Sikh riots is also indicative of the forked tongues on all sides of our intellectual spectrum.

Trackbacks

  1. Collective Conscience or Collective Vengeance? «

We look forward to your comments. Comments are subject to moderation as per our comments policy. They may take some time to appear.

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s

Follow

Get every new post delivered to your Inbox.

Join 57,219 other followers

%d bloggers like this: