Skip to main content

Violence is permeating into key areas of Indian society, as is evident from authorities' actions and attitudes

By Fr Cedric Prakash sj*
We live in violent times! Society today is becoming more and more violent. This violence is augmented by the fact that those who are in power bless this violence and are even directly involved in it. The perpetrators of heinous deeds shroud themselves in cloaks of immunity and impunity. In a so-called civilized and modern world, violence has become the new normal, with an aura of sanctity and legitimacy. Facing the scourge of this violence are ordinary citizens: the poor, the marginalized, the excluded and other vulnerable people.
Attacking protesting farmers is violence! As India and the world observed the 150th birth anniversary of Mahatma Gandhi on October 2, thousands of protesting farmers from Uttar Pradesh began arriving at outskirts of Delhi There could not have been an uglier scene: police brutally attacking and tear gassing the farmers who were demanding their legitimate rights. Ironically, it was also the ‘International Day of Non-violence’.
Farmers committing suicide is violence! Sadly, they have no choice! In the three month period (March to May 2018), 639 farmers have committed suicide in Maharashtra. These are official statistics of just one State. On 10 September, a successful ‘Bharat Bandh’ was called by the Opposition parties to highlight the woes of the common persons of India including the plight of farmers. That day also happened to be ‘World Suicide Prevention Day’; at least in one city, a group of ‘high society’ people mainly women held a rally to create ‘awareness’ about suicides. Little did they realise that joining the ‘bandh’ and highlighting the suicide of farmers would have given some credibility to their concern!
Arresting and intimidating human rights defenders is violence! On 28 August, the Pune police raided the homes of several frontline activists like Vernon Gonsalves, Arun Ferreira, Gautam Navlakha, Sudha Bharadwaj, Jesuit Fr. Stan Swamy, Varavara Rao and his family members, Kranti Tekula and Naseem, Anand Teltumbde. Five of them Gonsalves, Ferreira, Navlakha, Rao and Bharadwaj were later arrested. Several other human rights defenders, like Teesta Setalvad, continue to be harassed and have false cases foisted on them. The ‘powers’ really feel threatened by those who uphold the rights enshrined in the Constitutions.
The Bhima Koregaon attack on Dalits is violence! The facts (including video evidence) is out there in the public domain. The police at once stage even filed cases against Hindutva leaders like Milind Ekbote (head of the Hindu Ekta Manch) and Sambhaji Bhide for instigating the violence on Dalits. However, Ekbote was released on bail soon after being arrested in March. Bhide has not yet been arrested; this inspite of a Supreme Court order demanding his arrest. Bhide, a hardcore ‘hindutvadi’, is close to several of the RSS leaders including PM Modi.
Rising prices is violence! Prior to 2014, the BJP was shouting hoarse about the ‘price rise’. In just about four years the cost essential commodities have sky-rocketed: petrol has gone up from Rs 62 to Rs 84; diesel from Rs 44 to Rs 63; cooking gas cylinder from Rs 382 to Rs 800; a Railway platform ticket from Rs 3 to Rs 20; milk from Rs 38 to Rs 52 a litre; and the indispensable ‘dal’ from Rs 55 to Rs 170 a kilo. The exchange for a US dollar has breached Rs 74- which is simply unbelievable. The purchasing power of the rupee has reached an all –time low! Whilst most citizens are affected, the poor suffer the most.
Demonetization is violence! It is because its effects are being felt even today. It was a sham on the Indian economy. It hit the common person the hardest and without doubt helped the BJP and their ilk to launder their ‘black money’. The case on the son of Amit Shah and his ‘overnight’ wealth through fraud companies has still to see the light of the day! Official data and reports from the Reserve Bank of India clearly indicate that the so-called ‘demonetization’ has in no way helped the Indian economy.Gita Gopinath, the Harvard Professor, who has just been appointed the Chief Economist of the IMF, has also been vocal in her criticism for Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s controversial note ban announcement in November 2016. In several interviews in December 2017, Gopinath had said that the Modi government’s demonetization plan was not macro economically sound.
Crony capitalism is violence! The rich have become richer in India and the poor poorer. A recent Oxfam report clearly indicates that just one percent of India today owns 73% of the country’s wealth. It is indeed a poor commentary of a country, which is supposed to be wedded to the principles of socialism and equity. The Government is clearly on the side of the rich and vested interests like the Ambanis and the Adanis, the Modis and the Shahs, those who have looted the country and milked the poor of what is rightfully theirs; besides, there are those who have escaped the country with full connivance of the Government. They have all also stashed their ill-gotten gains in banks abroad!
Corruption is violence! Blatant acts of corruption are mainstreamed as never before. One experiences it everywhere! The poor person has no choice but to ‘pay’ in order to get things done! Nevertheless, corruption has reached a new level of sophistication as seen in the ‘Rafale’ scam. It is clearly an ‘abuse in authority’ a key clause in the Prevention of Corruption Act. The Government from the Prime Minister to the then Defence Minister has thrown all propriety to the wind to favour their rich friends.
Buying and stock- piling arms and ammunition is violence! The Russians are here selling their weapons of violence; we have bought from the Americans, the French and from elsewhere! India today is the world’s largest importer of weapons with 14% of the world’s imports. In the past three years, India has imported arms worth US $ 14 billion. Against whom will these weapons be used? The Pakistanis or the Chinese? Or perhaps against the protestors at home! Instead of increasing the outlay to alleviate poverty, precious resources are being utilized for greater violence.
Sexually assaulting another is violence! The victims are women and children! From the apparent sanctity of Churches to the apparent safety of one’s home, they are at the receiving end of evil deeds committed on them! Some of these crimes are becoming known! However, lecherous, lustful men in a highly patriarchal society, which hardly respects the rights and dignity of women, stop at nothing: from attacking women in public places to molesting them in crowded buses and trains. Some of those in authority then conveniently blame the women!
Divisiveness is violence! People today are divided so easily in the name of religion and caste! Recently, three police personnel have been suspended after a video of them abusing and resorting to physical violence on a Hindu woman for being friends with a Muslim man, went viral in Uttar Pradesh’s Meerut. The ‘love jihadis’ take great pride in stopping people of different religious backgrounds from falling in love with each other!
Killing is violence! There is no doubt about that! So much has been happening all over! The lynchings because what another eats! The fake encounter killings: everyone is aware of who presided over these ‘fake encounters’ in Gujarat! The lynchpins of the Gujarat Carnage of 2002 still roam scot-free and are today in positions of power!
The list of violent deeds is endless! Violence has permeated into key areas of Indian society! It is a scourge. This is evident from the actions and the attitudes that are on display. If we truly want to live up to the legacy of ‘ahimsa’ given to us, we must eschew violence and ensure that the perpetrators of violence are made to realise that ultimately no good will ever come from any act of violence! Gandhi reminds us that, “non-violence is not to be used ever as the shield of the coward; it is the weapon of the brave!” Non-violence is the only way!
---
*Human rights activist. Contact: cedricprakash@gmail.com

Comments

TRENDING

Green revolution "not sustainable", Bt cotton a failure in India: MS Swaminathan

Counterview Desk
In a recent paper in the journal “Current Science”, distinguished scientist PC Kesaven and his colleague MS Swaminathan, widely regarded as the father of the Green Revolution, have argued that Bt insecticidal cotton, widely regarded as the continuation of the Green Revolution, has been a failure in India and has not provided livelihood security for mainly resource-poor, small and marginal farmers.
Sharply taking on Green Revolution, the authors say, it has not been sustainable largely because of adverse environmental and social impacts, insisting on the need to move away from the simplistic output-yield paradigm that dominates much thinking. Seeking to address the concerns about local food security and sovereignty as well as on-farm and off-farm social and ecological issues associated with the Green Revolution, they argue in favour of what they call sustainable ‘Evergreen Revolution’, based on a ‘systems approach’ and ‘ecoagriculture’.
Pointing out that Evergreen Revol…

Rejoinder: Inescapable to have Central Water Commission as strong technical body in India

By BN Navalawala*
This is with reference to Counterview Blog (December 5, 2018), "Modi govt 'shelves' water reforms report, shows 'no interest' in its recommendations", below mentioned are my comments/observations thereon:
A committee was constituted under the Chairmanship of Dr. Mihir Shah, Former Member, Planning Commission, for restructuring of Central Water Commission (CWC) and Central Ground Water Board (CGWB) for optimal development of water resources in the country in the backdrop of Integrated Water Resources Management (IWRM).

Some Hindu bodies in US defending BJP-RSS' divisive, violent activities: Agnivesh

Counterview Desk Last week, Washington DC saw speakers at a religious freedom roundtable, chaired by the US Ambassador for Religious Freedom, Sam Brownback, express concern over "eroding" space for religious freedom in India. Dr Mike Ghouse, executive director, of the Center for Pluralism in Washington DC, referring to the roundtable, said in an email alert that Indian-Americans have "a moral duty to prevent India from being labeled as a Country of Particular Concern by the United States Commission on International Religious Freedom (USCIRF)".

World Bank clarifies: Its 26th rank to India not for universal access to power but for ease of doing business

By Our Representative
In a major embarrassment to the Government of India, the World Bank has reportedly clarified that it has not ranked India 26th out of 130 countries for providing power to its population. The top international banker’s clarification comes following Union Power Minister Piyush Goyal’s claim that India has “improved to 26 position from 99” in access to electricity in just one year.

Preventing childhood deaths: India performs worse than Bangladesh, "equals" Pakistan

By Rajiv Shah
A just-released study, “The Pneumonia and Diarrhea Progress Report 2018”, prepared by the International Vaccine Access Centre (IVAC) at the Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health, has identified India among 15 other countries which are still far off the mark in achieving the targets of the Global Action Plan for the Prevention of Pneumonia and Diarrhea (GAPPD).

India's rewritten textbooks talk of demerits of democracy, praise Hitler, underrate Mughals

Counterview Desk
A detailed, 3,800-word review of the books rewritten under directions of the BJP rulers across India since Prime Minister Narendra Modi came to power in May 2014 has suggested that one of aims of the books is to instill a sense of doubt about India’s democratic polity among the country’s young minds. Reviewed in the prestigious US journal, “The New York Review of Books”, in its latest issue (December 6, 2018) by Alex Traub, the scrutiny insists, the effort has also been to paint Indian history from the angle of “Hindu triumphalism”, even as creating “Islamophobia”.

Govt of India "tarnishing" NGO reputation, dossier leaked selectively: Amnesty

Counterview Desk
Amnesty International India has said that a deliberate attempt is being made to tarnish its reputation by leaking a dossier, supposedly made by investigating agencies, to media without giving it access to any such information. The high profile NGO’s claim follows a Times Now report about proceedings launched by investigative agencies, including Enforcement Directorate (ED) against the rights body for “violations” of rules pertaining to overseas donations.

Four children die after poor UP Dalit, Muslim families forced to flee to forest area: PVCHR

Counterview Desk
Peoples’ Vigilance Committee on Human Rights (PVCHR) has said that the forest department police’s crackdown, allegedly without any prior notice, on Dalit and Muslim households in Dakhin Tola, Churk Bazaar, Sonbhadra district, Uttar Pradesh, beating up “children and old people, women, and men in an inhuman way”, has led to “forced displacement, starvation and discrimination”. This has reportedly affected about 350 people.

Social workers, architects, students, historians, common people come together, protest "politics" of renaming Ahmedabad

By Nandini Oza*
No sooner did the BJP leaders of Gujarat announce the intention of changing the name of Ahmedabad to Karnavati just before Diwali, on November 7, 2018, many people’s mood changed from festivity to heated debate and furor across the state. For many of us, an online petition, initiated by Bandish Soparkar, on change.org protesting name change came to immediate rescue.

Vedanta is out but corporate loot continues in Odisha: Local activists tell NAPM yatra

By Our Representative
Lok Shakti Abhiyan leader Prafulla Samantara, winner of the Goldman Environmental (also known as Green Nobel) Prize in 2017, has regretted that though Sundergarh in Odisha, like other forest areas, is a fifth schedule area, where Forest Rights Act (FRA) and Panchayats (Extension to Scheduled Areas) Act (PESA) is applicable, but these laws are being “outrightly violated to facilitate corporate loot.”