It√≠s been one hell of a week. Or is it two. Or just ten days?
Sense of time warped by too many late nights. Have been shaken out of my long hibernation from blogging by the enormity of the disasters and calamities that have been hitting the News.
Bombay nearly drowned in 940 mm of rain in one day. But didn√≠t. (Of course, the question remains, exactly how ‘natural’ was this natural disaster?)Sudheendra Kulkarni was one among many who survived the deluge because of extraordinary acts of ordinary people. (Kulkarni has also survived a deluge of a different sort not very recently. He was the man behind LK Advani√≠s infamous Jinnah was secular, erm, truism. He is however, currently out of a job.)
Three innocent schoolkids get gunned down in Kashmir, mistaken for militants; within a couple of days of a Brazilian being shot dead in London underground, mistaken for a Pakistani√ñ speaking of Kashmir reminds of me of Yahaaan√ñ/Here, a film that I saw yesterday, and which I think does an admirable, if rather whimsical job of serving up the Kashmir problem for a Hindi movie audience, replete with song and dance, love and hope. (if I sound confused in the preceding sentence it√≠s because I am√ñ ) It is marred, of course, by having a lead actress who speaks Hindustani the way only a South Delhi babe can, and an ending that is way too pat and feel good to be true. (Apparently, there are some √´good√≠ army men in Kashmir in real life too. Or there were. )
And just before (or was it just after?) the blasts in London, there was an attack in Ayodhya, on the site formerly known as the Babri Masjid. It says something about the creepingly insidious way in which the mainstream media has become hindutva-ized that every channel and every newspaper seemed to refer to it as an √´attack on Ram Janambhoomi√≠ rather than an attack on √´the disputed site at Ayodhya√≠.
And just before Ayodhya there was the mass media hysteria about the Imrana case, which gave the BJP some more mud to fling at the backwardness and obscurantism of Muslims and Muslim Personal Law, and the politics of appeasement played by the √´pseudo- secular√≠ parties. On Muslim Personal Law, read Mahmood Farooqui again. What is sort of scary is that the closeness of events (Imrana/attack on disputed site) seems to be a historical telescoping of the two events that are landmarks in the stigmatization and ghettoization of Muslims in India. The Shah Bano case followed by the Ram Janambhoomi movement and the Babri Masjid demolition. The linking logic being – the Muslims are backward, and feudal, and treat their women like shit – and they’ve don’t deserve to live here; they’re aggresive, they’ve desecrated our temples -let’s get rid of them. of course, the woman’s body as the marker of ‘acceptable’ modernity is a huge component of the image of ‘India Shining’ – even more so now than in 1986…
And to top it all, The Supreme Court repealed the IMDT (Illegal Migrants -Determination by Tribunals) Act in Assam, using the following language –
…that detection of illegal migrants, who belong to the same ethnic stock as Indians is not an easy task. However large-scale illegal migrants from Bangladesh have not only threatened the demographic structure of the area, but have seriously impaired the security of the nation, particularly in the present circumstances. The need for expeditious identification of illegal migrants is more pressing now than ever…
upset the demographic structure? read – too many muslims. Assam has had a major xenophobia problem for a while now – but the judgement was made by a wise old judge in the supreme court of india, right here in new delhi. ‘demographic structure’, indeed. just say it, won’t you judge? the thought of too many muslims, even in far assam, gives you the screaming heebie jeebies – and you are the supreme arbiter of the law of the land – of the law of secular (hindu?) democratic india…
As you can see, it’s all a bit predictable and depressing. i tried to subvert the headlines by making ghalzals out of them, but that also petered out after four shers. too depressing.
‘Brazilian shot dead with no terror links’
London to Baghdad, coffee to woe – error links.
‘”He looked like a Paki,” the bystander said’
Five bullets and a foreskin grow terror links.
‘Ayodhya attack, Akshardham: guilty same man’
A man for all seasons – Aren’t those clever links?
There’s a sattelite broadcasting the pain of others
From Moon Crescent, to which the News never links.