By the Editor: Siddharth Sehgal
Hate comes with its consequences, just as the condemnation and anger that the country faced internationally following the BJP spokesperson’s remarks, the more indignation and resentment will follow against the minority community after the gruesome terror attacks in Udaipur. Unfortunately, the calls for violence against the BJP spokesperson resulted in the death of two innocent individuals.
Those calling for violence against Nupur Sharma should understand that these calls for violence will only further the growing chasm that is created between the two communities. The concerning part is that action of a few will be used to malign a whole community. The tension in Rajasthan is so high that a curfew had to be imposed in many cities and heavy reinforcements have to be called to prevent rioting. Rajasthan had already seen some communal clashes in the past months and given the helplessness of the state government in maintaining law and order, we might see more tensions along the religious lines and clashes in the coming days.
Action should also be taken on religious groups and leaders spewing hate from the pulpit. Some Maulvis and Gurus want others to pick up swords and face the consequence while they roam around in peace spreading the venom. Religious extremism should also be countered online and through awareness campaigns so that people don’t start looking at each other with suspicion and fear. This suspicion will only fuel the prejudice against each other and unfortunately, that’s too much to ask in a country where the mainstream media itself is busy fanning flames through daily Hindu-Muslim debates.
We live in a time where words like secularism and diversity are mocked and derided as if these are taboo subjects. I am not saying that our history is filled with stellar examples of interfaith harmony but we are not monsters either. It is possible to have a sensible conversation about religion and each other’s differences without insulting someone. One can register their protest without the use of violence or call for beheadings because in settling arguments through swords, and bullets it’s always the bystanders, those who have no dog in the fight end up paying the price.
It’s always the ordinary folks of this country that suffer the consequences of religious hatred. Their houses and shops get torched and their loved ones fall victim to the violence and paranoia.