Charity Begins at Home: I Have to Change Myself to Change Others

A-girl-protests-against-arrests-of-innocent

Shahid Lateef

There is a long list of riots that have taken place in our beloved country.  Each one being fiercer than the other and more destructive that the previous one. Those who have the experience of witnessing one or more of them will not be able to forget the killings of human beings, torching of houses to be reduced to ashes, the noise of guns being fired, heart wrenching cries of helpless children and the elderly, scenes of large hoards of people fleeing from the land of their ancestor in search of comparative safety. And also they will not be able to forget the groaning they might have heard of the injured persons in hospitals and relief camps. Scenes similar to these incidents perhaps shake and disturb them even today.

The aim of these riots was to shatter and destroy the economy of the largest minority of the country, plunge it in a fear psyche, make the future of its youths unpredictable and make them the prisoners of their predicament so much that they can never be able to take any positive step in the direction of their progress nor to let their political and social conditions ever improve.

However, in the past riots inflicted damage and loss more or less to the aggressor and the aggressed both. Arrests used to be made from both sides. Investigative commissions used to dig out the truth behind and used to present it before the public showing a mirror to the society. Sometimes the high ranking officers and even ministers, used to get exposed as the culprits and guilty of the hideous truth that some of the riots were in fact orchestrated and were pre-planned.

Since engineering and sponsoring a riot was a risky business, a new method was discovered. As a result of this, number of sporadic riots started to dwindle and gave way to give to bomb blasts and that dramatically changed the whole political and social scenario. Regardless of the factual information of who planted the bombs, blame invariably started to be given to Muslims and a general practice of arresting and detaining Muslim youths got started

Since engineering and sponsoring a riot was a risky business, a new method was discovered. As a result of this, number of sporadic riots started to dwindle and gave way to give to bomb blasts and that dramatically changed the whole political and social scenario. Regardless of the factual information of who planted the bombs, blame invariably started to be given to Muslims and a general practice of arresting and detaining Muslim youths got started. There was no danger in it because as the planners might have thought, the actual bomb makers and planters could do their job discreetly without being seen by anyone. And if by any chance, they happened to be caught red-handed then many alibis and excuses would be used to have them exonerated.

Planting bombs in the neighbourhoods of both communities was also a part of the plan to create confusion and thus to detract attention from the real perpetrators of the crime and lay the blame squarely onto the Muslims. The culprits would remain hidden and in the name of curbing terrorism Muslim youths would be arrested, serious charges would be framed against them and simultaneously cooperation of the media would be obtained to share in the campaign to write and telecast the ‘Breaking News’.

Muslim youths thus blamed for the crime they did not do would be pushed behind bars for years at end. This would put the whole minority community on the defensive. It would be defamed and its youths would continue to be looked upon with suspicion. Anyone sympathising with them would also not be spared. Lawyers fighting against such illegal detentions would be threatened and harassed also. In the name of terrorism, an atmosphere would be created in which no one would dare open his mouth. If anyone did so he would be condemned and labelled as a friend of terrorists.

The question one might ask now that ‘is the second strategy being used now achieving the objectives that were meant to be achieved through the first one before? Obviously methodologies are different but objectives are the same. However, there is one major difference between strategies of riots and bomb blasts: riots destroyed the peace of one locality, a town or a city for which blame used to be labelled onto the Muslims of that very locality while the impact of bomb blasts goes en-bloc onto the community as a whole.

During riots as a general practice the less-educated, lower cadre persons branded as ‘anti-social’ elements used to be arrested. The allegation of carrying out bomb blasts or terrorism now affects greatly the educated or the middle class.  In riots the businesses and economic means of the minority community were attacked and destroyed to cause widespread psychological damage. By making cases of bomb blasts and terrorism an atmosphere of doubt and suspicion is being created so that each and every aspect of individual and collective life of the community as a whole gets affected. As a result its youths are unable to get employment, molestation of its womenfolk becomes commonplace, highly qualified youths have to compromise on menial or lesser paid jobs, they continue to live in fear and the sarcastic ubiquitous narration that ‘All Muslims are not terrorists but all terrorists are Muslims’ succeeds in being accepted as a gospel truth.

After the first strategy i.e. the riots and then the second one that of bomb blasts, perhaps now a third method is being tested in which there is no need of the use of dangerous task of making bomb blasts: simple and easy is the way now just to accuse the Muslim youths of planning bomb blasts and having links with Daesh.

Arrests and detentions may be carried out simply on the basis of such allegations only but perhaps thought has also been given to the hitch that such cases will not be able to stand the scrutiny in a court of law but even then it has a useful factor involved that by the time any decision is made several and sometimes many years of those incarcerated would have been lost and destroyed. Such a long stay in detention would after all be a ‘big lesson’ for the concerned individual, his family, his relatives and his community all in one go. This is what is happening today.

During riots confronting the miscreants was possible. Efforts could be made to secure help from the police. But the sole base of terrorism related cases is [a purposely and mischievously created] suspicion and Muslims cannot confront and challenge this. Any detainee [suspected of being involved in terrorism] will have to pay for the crime he did not commit. That’s why terrorism related cases are more terrifying than riots.

And if there was anything that could not be done through cases of terrorism, GauRakshaks [Cow Protestors] are performing the role of completing what could not be done earlier by other means. This well coordinated campaign, starting from Dadri to Una and from Una to Mandsaur, is being carried out throughout the country. Here they catch the meat carriers, beat and torture them and also those who skin a dead animal. When they do not find meat or a dead animal [in a van that they stop and search], they catch drivers blaming them for trying to overtake them. They have no fear of anyone. Why? One hardly needs to comment!

In such an atmosphere to be fearful of and feel threatened is only natural. But in fear one cannot confront these challenges. Patience and prudence is a MUST for this. It has to be pondered upon as to why Muslims are being regarded as soft targets. While others are responsible for this, to an extent Muslims too are to blame. Only after improving and mending one’s own approach can one remind others of their responsibility? But we think of correcting others first before doing anything from our own side.

Translated by Urdu Media Monitor.Com from Daily Inquilab, Mumbai, 30 July 2016

 

One thought on “Charity Begins at Home: I Have to Change Myself to Change Others

  • August 21, 2016 at 10:07 am
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    Well written and facts presented. The bigger question is whether community is learning and trying to safeguard and protect itself !

    Reply

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