How hatred is driving society and politics

Oct 16, 2022 08:43 PM IST

According to the National Crime Records Bureau, 973 hate crime cases were reported across the country in 2016. The number grew by leaps and bounds over the next four years

I can no longer remain in today’s Democratic Party that is now under the complete control of an elitist cabal of warmongers driven by cowardly wonkiness, who divide us by racializing every issue and stoke anti-white racism, actively work to undermine our God-given freedoms that are enshrined in our constitution.”

Are political hatred and religious bigotry only being seen among the majority? Definitely not. (Shutterstock)
Are political hatred and religious bigotry only being seen among the majority? Definitely not. (Shutterstock)

The speaker in this video message was Tulsi Gabbard, who describes herself as the “only Hindu woman legislator” in the United States (US). This is the same person who was anticipated to run for president in 2020. Later, she withdrew in favour of Joe Biden, who went on to win the presidential election. Gabbard calls herself a representative of Indianness and declares her fervent belief in the Gita. For her opinions on the Ukraine war, Gabbard was called the Kremlin’s stooge. I don’t want to pass judgment on her actions or political stance, but Gabbard’s closing comment accurately captures the current global situation, including that of our nation.

India, which is regarded as equitable and inclusive, is once more roiled by hate speech. The problem has become so serious that on September 21, a Supreme Court bench led by justices KM Joseph and Hrishikesh Rai requested the formulation of rules to “control” television debates that take place every evening, describing these as the primary vehicle for the dissemination of “hate”.

Hatred has become the most powerful tool for politicians.

This scene resurfaced with full horror a few days ago at a Vishwa Hindu Parishad (VHP) meeting in Delhi. This VHP meeting was called following the murder of a young man named Manish in the national Capital. During this meeting, two dharmacharyas urged the majority to be ready for violence against a segment of the minorities. A member of the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) was also present.

It is frequently attempted to spread the narrative that such work is primarily done by members of the Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh and the BJP. This is not correct. If you do not believe this, watch and listen to Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) leader Rajendra Pal Gautam’s statement at the conversion programme held on October 5 at Ambedkar Bhavan in Delhi, where he and a group of people took an oath not to worship Hindu gods and goddesses and not to regard Rama and Krishna as God’s incarnations.

Gautam was then the social welfare minister in the Delhi government. As he saw things deteriorating, he resigned. Is this the true probity of our politicians? Gopal Italia, the president of the AAP’s Gujarat unit, is making headlines for all the wrong reasons. In a video, he can be heard calling Prime Minister Narendra Modi names. He was detained for three hours by the Delhi Police after receiving a summons from the National Commission for Women, but was later released. It’s not surprising that someone sees political opportunity in this in the poll-bound state of Gujarat.

Are political hatred and religious bigotry only being seen among the majority? Definitely not.

People in Jodhpur raised threatening slogans of sar tan se juda on the occasion of Eid-ul-Milad-un-nabi. Following the Nupur Sharma episode, nefarious efforts were made to implant this slogan in the hearts and minds of the minorities, and we saw the results in Udaipur and Amravati.

A series of such threats against dozens of people and is still ongoing. Is frenzied violence like that of August 1947 our fate? It must be stopped, but how will it be stopped? Courts rely on thorough police investigations, but we all know how the investigation process works.

In such cases, the police are frequently unable to hold the criminal accountable for his actions. According to the National Crime Records Bureau (NCRB), 973 hate crime cases were reported across the country in 2016. The number grew by leaps and bounds over the next four years. In 2020, 3,026 cases were registered, but was the punishment administered in the same proportion? Not at all. Records say that punishment is carried out only in 20% of such cases. Isn’t the primary reason that those responsible for hate crimes are typically associated with power ?

One more thing should be mentioned here. Hatred is increasing not only in society and politics but also in entertainment. A shocking smear campaign was launched on social media to boycott Aamir Khan’s film, Laal Singh Chaddha. Similarly, Ranbir Kapoor and his pregnant wife Alia Bhatt Kapoor were stopped from praying at Mahakal in Ujjain, Madhya Pradesh. But what was the outcome? Ranbir’s film was a smash hit, and Aamir Khan was not disappointed by his overall financial returns. Hatred has not yet become the primary motivator of the Indian psyche. I am confident that this will never happen, but it is necessary to deal with what is going on these days.

Shashi Shekhar is editor-in-chief, Hindustan The views are personal

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