Bidhuri’s communal rant reflects decay spreading out in system

BJP MP Ramesh Bidhuri having a go at BSP MP Danish Ali in Parliament

If  BJP MP Bidhuri could  hurl such crude-communal stuff  standing  right inside Parliament, one can well imagine what obnoxious stuff he must be mouthing on the streets of South Delhi – his constituency!

What do you say to the communal slurs, obnoxious comments unleashed by BJP MP from South Delhi, Ramesh Bidhuri, in the Lok Sabha during the special session of Parliament? Don’t they relay the utter decay and degeneration spreading out in that most uncontrolled way? Don’t they leave you feeling disgusted, just about too fed up with the communal lot ruining us in every sense of the term?

Ramesh Bidhuri unleash could be termed not just communal but crude and uncouth and nauseating enough to be aptly dealt with, in the severest possible way.

Danish Ali

He was heaping communal comments, one after another, on the BSP MP, Danish Ali. Mind you, all this is taking place right inside the Parliament. And instead of asking him to keep shut or control his unleash, the two BJP parliamentarians sitting next to him were seen smiling and semi-laughing! All too well captured in that video.

Lurking in the backdrop is the grim fact that this is not the first time a parliamentarian has unleashed and hurled obnoxious-communal comments on the largest minority community of India, the Muslims.

And also stands out the fact that each time the communal politicians go unpunished and uncontrolled. This has only added to the mess getting messier. Mind you, this trend of hurling hurtful- obnoxious- communal comments and abuses at Muslims and getting away with it, seems part of the governing tactics of the Right-Wing. And with these blatant onslaughts on the rise one can well imagine the fear and apprehensions the minority community goes through.

Let me hasten to add that if this parliamentarian Bidhuri could  vomit such  crude-uncouth- communal stuff  standing  right  inside the  Parliament, then one can well imagine  what obnoxious stuff he must be shrieking and shouting on the streets of South Delhi – his constituency! What would be the fate of the minority communities residing in and around South Delhi! Yes, do ponder on this. Don’t overlook the offshoots and graver dimensions to it!

When my friends can’t  understand or comprehend  the apprehensions and insecurities an Indian Muslim is facing, I tell  them to go about in the traditional attire – he in a shervani, she  in a burqa or hijab, and greet with a ‘as- salaam – alaikum’– in public places or even in the  drawing rooms of the political and bureaucratic supposed who’s who. Then see what response comes their way! Or just about spell out a Muslim name and surname and address of a Muslim-dominated area. In fact, my Kashmiri friends tell me that the Valley address and a Muslim name and face is adequate for the cops to get suspicious! And then question in every possible way! And in certain locales if  ‘Mian’ is  prefixed to the name or surname of a  Musalman man, then that stereotype ‘image’ looms large!

How times have changed – when I was a young girl, the very prefix ‘Mian’ to a Muslim gentleman would be in terms of respect, but in today’s scenario it’s used with an obnoxiously communal slant!

It’s not just shocking but simply dismaying to realize how the various Ministries are doing little to harness the way and manner in which a Muslim is looked at, because of the heap of myths and misconceptions.

Why should a Muslim be dis-respected in her or his own country? What is the government and all the men under its command doing to halt this dangerous trend? Why should a citizen of this democracy be looked at with disrespect or suspicion or go through those humiliating rounds of questions and queries?

Injustices would  have been accepted  if it was one of those erstwhile  times where the kings ruled as they  wished to. Not in a democracy. Don’t we realize the basic fabric is being  systematically ruptured…I’d  never  visualized that  we would be  at this strange juncture; where one is left with only two choices  – either sit back conned by all possible distractions or  else stand  hunched  in that corner, as a second or third class citizen. You can’t even argue or dissent or counter. Remember, you are living these strange times, where it takes not long for those in the establishment to heap a couple of charges on your head together with -‘off – with -it’ orders! Today encounters are taking place so very blatantly yet we are not crying ‘halt’ nor questioning the State might!

Why we, as a people, are not standing up, speaking out. Why should only Muslims speak out if they are lynched? Why should only Christian leaders speak out if churches and priests are targeted?  Why should only Hindus speak out if there’s hounding of their community? Why should only Sikhs speak out if tortures are inflicted on the Sikh community?  Why should  bureaucrats and  civil servants bare the blatant truths only and only after they sit retired in that safe positioning?

Today, how many amongst us are trying to counter the communal madness surcharging ahead? Are we, as a people, taking on the political mafia? No, as most of us sit like mute spectators, inhaling  the poisonous propaganda in circulation.

Gone are personalities like Khushwant Singh. Nostalgia hitting. Images spreading out of the dos hosted  by Khushwant  Singh  at his Sujan Singh Park apartment during that fixed one-hour slot, 7 to 8  pm, when he would  talk of the various  political characters together with the ‘fundoos’ ( fundamentalists) and their destructive  unleash. On countless occasions I’d  heard him  argue  and  argue rather too vehemently with the likes of Swaraj Pauls and also with VS Naipaul for their pro-Right  slants.

Khushwant was Khushwant.  When I had asked  him what are the regrets in his life, he’d quipped, “Wish I’d taken on these fundoos years back. They are hell bent on destroying this country. We don’t seem to realize the damage they are doing! I should have written more about their misdeeds, exposed many more of them.”

Woman of grit

Gone also are the women of grit, like the  late  Mrinalini  Sarabhai who was one of the few to raise her voice in Ahmedabad  as the pogrom had peaked in 2002.

Mrinalini Sarabhai

I recall that soon  after the Gujarat pogrom, I’d written a  piece for The Indian Express, along the strain: ‘Where is our  God ?…Not  In  Bharat,  Apparently!’ It was a cry from my heart. Perhaps, the cry was piercing enough to have touched Mrinalini Sarabhai. Within a week of the publication of that piece, I’d received a handwritten letter from her. Soothing gentle words, relaying that together we are going to fight this  battle. No, she didn’t know me; after reading my piece, took pains to  write to me on the  Indian Express address which was  later  re-directed to me.

I’m sounding much too realistic or maybe a bit too far-sighted, but if   our  planners  don’t  take  corrective  measures now and right now, a  day could  soon come when the  Indian Muslims would  be compelled  to  equip themselves with an  ID card  or even  visiting  cards with  a footnote  printed along these  lines- “I’m a  Muslim …very  secular  and  not a  terrorist!”

That will be the saddest day for this democratic republic.