The crimes of a ‘non-violent’ nation
Most nations like to pretend that they are “holier than thou,” and India is no exception.
It is fond of proclaiming to the world how ahimsa (non-violence) is part of its creed, quietly ignoring the structural violence perpetrated for centuries against its socially poor Dalits, Adivasis (tribal people), and women.
But nothing in recent years has matched the horrible violence, verging on civil war, in Manipur, that little sliver of hilly terrain wedged uncomfortably at one end of India, adjacent to Myanmar and close to Bangladesh.
The rapes, slaughter and destruction in that little state have appalled the world. But what is even worse is the complete paralysis of the government, both local and federal.
Neither the state’s chief minister nor the federal home minister has been able to stop the mayhem and the carnage, which continues month after month unabated.
As for the prime minister who otherwise ceaselessly prattles about everything to all and sundry, he is mute, evasive and silent. The silence of complicity? It is hard not to think so.
“There has been little or no attempt by the government to bring about healing and reconciliation”
Much has been written and spoken about the violence. I wish merely to make three points.
Firstly, Meiteis and Kukis have lived together for generations in spite of occasional tensions. Why the sudden flare-up and the implacable hostility now? It is hard not to see the evil hand of the ruling party here, with its policy of “divide and rule.”
What corroborates this interpretation is that there has been little or no attempt by the government to bring about healing and reconciliation. The war continues, nay, the violence spreads.
Next, the Meiteis who live in the plains of Manipur are largely Hindu, of the Vaishavite tradition, characterized by devotion to the Hindu god Vishnu and his incarnations. The Kukis who inhabit the hills are largely Christian, of the Baptist and Catholic persuasion. They have suffered the most in the conflagration.
The RSS (Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh, the parent organization of the present government) in a recent statement claims blithely that the clash is not over religion. But then why were 122 churches targeted and destroyed?
It is hard not to see this as an attempt to make Manipur part of a Hindu Rashtra (Hindu nation), the avowed aim of the RSS, with the Hindu Meitei soon laying claim to the hills and their valuable mineral deposits — after having expelled the Kuki tribes from their homelands.
Finally, let me say a word about the ghastly rape of the two Kuki women in early May, an act that has angered and shamed us all.
Sadly, this is not the first time, nor is it the only time, that such a shameful thing has happened.
“They have been tortured and killed singly, or they have been slaughtered en masse”
We remember the assault on Jyoti Singh “Nirbhaya” in Delhi; the rape of the tribal woman Mathura in Gadchiroli; the Dalit woman in Hathras; the murder of Gauri Lankesh. The list goes on and on.
For the incontrovertible truth is that innocent women and children have always suffered at the hands of evil and demented men, whether in this country or elsewhere. They have been tortured and killed singly, or they have been slaughtered en masse.
The Christian feast of the Holy Innocents (Dec. 28) brings this out very poignantly. It commemorates — ‘celebrates’ is an inappropriate word — the genocide of Jewish babies at the command of a despotic ruler, Herod, in the year 4 BC. Herod wanted to crush a threat to his throne.
Other despots in more recent times have had their own reasons — Hitler, Stalin, Mao and Pol Pot — at whose behest millions were brutally slain or who disappeared into the darkness of a Gulag. To these monsters, we must add the names of all those who connived at the genocide taking place in Manipur, or who abetted it by their silence.
As I noted earlier, the whole country has reacted in anger and shame. This is good, but it is still not enough. As one political writer has observed, “these reactions do not wash away the taint of vile moral callousness, the incitement to brutality and the inversion of values which now mark our political culture.”
The damage inflicted by the present regime on our moral fiber is immense, and it will take a long time to recover the idealism and uprightness which was once the hallmark of our nation.
Courtesy : Uca news
Note: This news piece was originally published in ucanews.com and used purely for non-profit/non-commercial purposes exclusively for Human Rights