Verbal & Visual Violence

Verbal & visual violence poses a threat greater than that of the terrorists. Those who use words for stoking hatred, disaffection, disharmony in society, only show disrespect to the gift of words they possess. Knowledge evokes respect, but if misemployed to  cause devastation, it invites scrutiny. Historians have no other choice but to be honest with facts. History can’t be made to order. If India has suffered subjugation under the Muslim Rule followed by the British Rule, it stands out as an undisputable fact. Neither of them had come to India to serve the people of India or their welfare. They came, terrorized, subdued, massacred, frightened, enslaved and dictated the ordinary people. Seeing them as great as Emperor Ashok or Maharana Pratap or Shivaji is not history but a mere hypothesis. If someone has twisted facts to manufacture some kind of an imaginary history, people are bound to question it and correct it. How can someone cry foul of new breed of historians sieving facts again and looking for evidence ignored by earlier scholars? The objections to such scholarly pursuits remind one of the court historians of yore, who would sing paeans in praise of their masters to earn their livelihood even at the cost of truth and facts.

Scientists have come to occupy a place of pride in the modern society. They claim exclusive rights to rationality and knowledge. But knowledge is prevalent in the cosmos. Scientists are only unraveling it. Gravity , magnetism, mass, energy, space, time, life, galaxies, stars, planets, light, darkness and everything else already exists in reality. Can scientists create any one of them to replace the existing ones? If not, then it is rational to believe that there are limits even to scientific knowledge and that even scientists should not cross their limit by indulging in politics or propaganda. They would do themselves justice to devote themselves wholeheartedly to the pursuit of scientific knowledge. Misuse of knowledge is a recipe for disaster and needs to be restrained.

Science & technology has given mankind huge power. Power tends to spur the desire to get more power and get monopoly over it. It breeds a generation that tends to control all information and deploy it for propaganda to perpetuate the rule of a coterie of persons. Such clubs block dispersal of knowledge, which is contested by those deprived of it. It generates conflicts between those controlling all levers of information and others demanding free access to all information. In such a conflict, which of these two blocks should be tolerant? Which block can be called “intolerant”? Obviously, those fearing to lose control would call the other group intolerant. In that case, the allegation of intolerance against the newcomers becomes untenable.

Intolerance is a seemingly harmless word but aims hard at anybody resisting the devious designs of religious fanatics out to capture new territories or clients. The violence inflicted on innocent men, women, children in the last 15 years in the conflict zones of religious fundamentalism establish the stakes they have in pursuing violent course to establish their control. Human history is full of wars fought in the name of religion. The 20th Century saw two world wars, instigated by religious fundamentalists. The hate mongering by these religionists has continued even after the wars. The intensity of hate, the hard hitting language of the hate mongers, the designs of these elements are all beautifully summed up by William Shakespeare in his play The Merchant Of Venice in the court scene. These religionists are intolerant of other faiths but seek complete freedom for themselves from other faiths. They incite hatred against the natives, their religion, values, customs, beliefs, Gods & Goddesses, rituals and tradition. They challenge their intellectual attainments, scriptures, thought at the cost of all reason only to establish their non-existent superiority. They put to brazen misuse money, material and machine power to shake, shatter and subdue others. They move about stealthily to achieve their goals throwing all morals and values to the winds. If resisted, they charge people with intolerance. If there is any community in the world which is the most tolerant, it is the Hindu community of India. This community has an open mind, gives due respect to all views, seeks no converts to its faith by treachery or guile or inducement or weapons on the head of someone. Those dreaming of taking over India once again through such devious means should forget about it and learn the value of peaceful co-existence. They should either pursue their own religion peacefully or the Hindu religion. They don’t have to convert to Hinduism to pursue the religion and are free to leave it any time. They will feel happy at the freedom they enjoy here- the genuine freedom of thought and expression. What more is there to tolerance in the world?

It is not as if the world is witnessing knowledge explosion or science & technology for the first time. There may be no written records available of such growth and achievements in society, but great literature and treatises throw up enough proof of their earlier existence. The legendry Ravan, misnamed the Demon King, is a superb example of a man of outstanding scholarship, scientific knowledge, technological prowess and a great poet in one. Unfortunately for him, so much of power in his hand made him so proud that instead of employing it for society’s good he started abusing it all for his personal gratification. The result was his destruction and heavy loss of life and property of the masses.

In this age of instant communication, journalists have become tabloid journalists and worse, and television anchors street fighters of their employers or their political parties. India, a country of many languages is being maligned by the English language print and television media as intolerant. The media is hyping “intolerance” for illegal money from foreign markets, political parties and religious fundamentalists out to spread their religion through violent or unethical means in India. India saw one party rule for a long period under Prime Minister Jawaharlal Nehru. He became Prime Minister of India in the fervor of the Freedom Movement. He was surrounded by highly educated, modern, liberal, visionary leaders and bureaucrats, who devoted themselves to the service of the people wholeheartedly. How the sense of service changed to self-service is a sad commentary on the evolution of democracy in India. It didn’t take much time for the undeserving to slip into the good books of the establishment to capture positions of power as the country needed skilled and trained manpower. In less than 10 years of the coming in to force of the constitution of India, dishonesty and corruption in public life started replacing honesty and clean governance. Nehru had to resort to cleansing operations under the Kamraj Plan in 1964 itself. Immediately thereafter, events in quick succession led to the growth of a culture of feudalism, since they were familiar with feudal environment more than democracy. Nehru died that year, India faced a war with Pakistan in 1965, Prime Minister Lal Bahadur Shashtri died in Tashkand that year in suspicious circumstances, Nehru’s daughter Indira Gandhi became Prime Minister, she split the Congress Party to control it for her political interests. That was the beginning of a culture of feudalism, which was nothing more than brazen subservience. The voice of merit was muted and sycophancy of the lowest kind encouraged. The journalist community joined all other seekers of government bounty and largesse. It was the time when newsprint was imported and black market in newsprint made millionaires overnight; wages of journalists were raised by the government; licence-permit-quota Raj spurred journalists to seek “out of turn” allotments of scooters/cars/ plots of land/houses built by government agencies as they fetched huge premium on black market; foreign trips as official entourage of the PM or President and many more favours. The media had no qualms of conscience in doing the bidding of the government, dish out stories favourable to the Congress Party and Indira Gandhi etc.  Its job turned out to be image makers or image spoilers. The silence of the press on issues of public importance for favours gained, tended to ignore the complete collapse of law and order in the country, leading to imposition of Black Emergency, whereby Indira Gandhi suspended all Fundamental Rights of the people guaranteed by the Constitution and press censorship was imposed. Only Ramnath Goenka of the Indian Express at that time stood against loss of freedom of the press; others were toeing the congress Party line as they are doing today. The kind of stability the country had seen earlier was lost for long. Indira Gandhi was assassinated. Her son Rajiv Gandhi too was assassinated. A period of minority governments led to complete decline in democratic values, climaxing in the horrendous corruption of the Man Mohan Singh led UPA government, which was struck by policy paralysis and became  dysfunctional.  Dual centre of authority created a situation where Sonia Gandhi (widow of Rajiv Gandhi) came to exercise real power, pulverizing Man Mohan Singh in to just a signing machine. The Indian press & electronic media exploited fully such decline in governance and approved of everything it did.

The journalists were not alone to get disproportionate benefits out of these developments. Poets, writers, novelists, film producers, academics, scientists and everybody who could take advantage, made a success of triviality, mediocrity, faked qualifications, sycophancy, servitude, feudalism, arrogance, vindictiveness, conflict with law and loyalty to the party chief over values. Unfortunately for such people and fortunately for the people in general, the invisible power of correction of the ills in society came to the rescue of the poor people of India. Narendra Modi, from nowhere, suddenly descended on the scene, most unwelcome by the Congress Party, English press, television channels, contractors, middlemen, fixers, wheeler dealers, black marketers, black money, parallel government, extra constitutional authority of Sonia led NAC (National Advisory Council), beneficiaries of the largesse of the government, undeserving occupants of various autonomous institutions of national importance (Sahitya Akademi,Lalitkala Academy, Sangeet Natak Academy, National School of Drama, Film & Television Institute of India,Indian Institute of Mass Communication,  Indian Institute of Social ScienceResearch, Indian Institute of Historical Research, Indian Institute of Philosophical Research, Centre for Molecular Research and hundreds of such other organizations), national awardees of civil or literary honours like Padmashri, Padma Vibhushan etc. They find themselves in a highly uncomfortable position. They are no more in their comfort zone, fixing appointments, transfers, postings of officers or defence deals, machinery purchase, highways, ports, airports, medicines etc. They don’t trust Prime Minister Narendra Modi. How can they? Unlike the culture of corruption in the Man Mohan Singh led UPA government, Prime Minister Narendra Modi, has already threatened them by declaring publicly that he would neither indulge in corruption himself nor tolerate others to do so. It is this  INTOLERANCE of the  Prime Minister Narendra Modi, which some journalists, writers, poets, historians, film makers and scientists are opposed to and protesting vehemently and loudly before the global community. Their foreign partners in guilt are busy giving it added spin. They need to correct their blurred perception of India, Indians and Indianness. Carrying the vilification campaign any further will lead to World War –III ultimately as no other intolerant group excepting India is going to stop its nefarious activities and practice naked intolerance against the minorities, weak, old, girls, youth, elderly, men and women. The country of the Buddha needs no lessons in tolerance from the practitioners of wretched violence and Inquisition elsewhere in the world.  India is the only country in the world whose Emperor, The Great Ashok, vowed never to start a war, prohibit killing of animals, promote non-violence, peace and love more than 2500 years ago. India came under Muslim rule only because of such a high level of TOLERANCE! Who can claim greater tolerance than India? Can those who started two world wars or those creating conditions of the third world war claim to be more tolerant than India? What do they want? Do they want India to lose her freedom once again so that they can prosper? If peace in India is disturbed, peace everywhere in the world will be disturbed. When India was trying to draw the attention of the global community to Pakistan sponsored terrorist attacks in India, the world chose to turn a deaf ear. Who paid the price? America on 9/11? Europe later? Middle East now? If the global community repeats their response of the past, and fails to rein their hyper intolerant vilification troops, they should be ready to pay a greater price.

The chorus of the Indian slave dynasty-II about intolerance is perverse, mischievous and motivated. The government must enlarge the field of choice to promptly replace all these dated heads of all autonomous institutions. There is no dearth of experts of high integrity to render the necessary services. They were marginalized during the reign of corruption because they refused to partner them in sins against the public. They should not be expected to approach people to exert influence on the government for their induction. This is the country of the saints, sanyasis, rishis and yogis. Modern day public servants are their modern version, if the government values them. India has a rich pool of talent. If there is anything most difficult in life, it is “service”. The breed of such public servants started getting marginalized as explained herein before. Their numbers dwindled because their services were not availed of. But that doesn’t mean their supplies dried up totally. The government will have to go strictly by merit alone and see plenty of public servants of this quality. The tamasha or charade of protests in the garb of intolerant atmosphere will disappear in no time if the government is able to replace all such elements forthwith. Their departure is already delayed.

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