History is replete with lessons that are enough to guide
FREEZE FRAME BY SYEDA AFSHANA
Turning point. Defining moment. Watershed. It slips in the realm just subtly, adroitly. However, the manifes¬tation is slow and gradual. Partition in the subcontinent was the product of an idea that was born in split second but fostered over a certain span of time. A paradigm move that changed the chronicle of events impetuously, partition remains a kicking ghost, destined to be exhumed and dissected over and again. The autopsy is yet incomplete. The cremation still unfinished. Gory scuffles and gashing sagas keep it up in the air.
Partition as a process led to many a makings. Widespread loss and agony apart, it carved out a few immutable historical specifics: Gandhi as a bolshie saint is an astute politician; Nehru a larger-than-size vibrant personification of Progressive India but a pampered young man; and Jinnah as a suave gentleman who became a pushy leader out of sheer situations.
Lines drawn and bounda¬ries lugged, theater of division was enacted, and rest followed. Bisham Sahni’s Tamas, Khushwant Singh’s Train to Pakistan, Bapsi Sidhwa’s Ice Candy Man, Attia Hussein’s Sunlight on a Broken Column, Rushdie’s Midnight’s Chil¬dren or Jaswant Singh’s contentious Jinnah: India-Partition Independence— the trauma reached beyond famed treatises. The characters weren’t confined to prose; prosaic realities smeared with blood percolated along the generations. Of course, people dwindled into symbols, and stories were fashioned out of continuing horrors, commu¬nal frenzy and the rising obscurantism.
More than 60 years down the line, today the fate of minority in India smacks of an abhorring nostalgia. The Ahmadabad, Aligarh, Meerut, Bhagalpur, Gujarat, and Kandhamal of yester-years, seems a minor hitch in the bandwagon of ‘diversity’ that India typifies. It is perhaps all explain¬able with reference to changing mindset of majority population. The pattern of hatred seems changed ever since. Today, it is determined and planned, carrying no parallels.
No melting pot, India as a unique collage of unwanted and untamed hate appears emerging cogently. The marked reluctance to proceed at law and a cynically manipulated demonization of minority religions, is nurturing the climate of spiraling violence and rampage. In the grip of unending nightmare since Gujarat carnage, the crazed goon squads have been stalking the landscape, leaving behind trails of blood, destruction and devastation. The bigotry and ugly intolerance have high¬lighted the collapse of political authority and the revanchist illogicalities budding in the name of some savage god of perverted patriotism or de¬monic faith.
Using terror as a strategy to seize the high ground ideo¬logically and ensure a constant setting and re-setting for a political gain, is fast turning the binding indicator of mainstream politics in India. The men ala Narendra Modi, Bal Thackeray, Advani or anyone of their ilk are only taking the dictates flatly. That did they ever had a brush with Mao Zedong’s idiolect of brute force (power flows from the barrel of gun) is an edu¬cated guess since the logistics of their ruling exercises reek a close veneer. The only differ¬ence lies in camouflaging of the same, which perhaps outspoken Mao and his Gang of Four was not cognizant of. Even intrigues of Nazi’s and their anti-Semitic pogroms lacked a mitigating approach. Goebbels’s mills couldn’t churn eternally convincing propa¬ganda. Though the most vigorous its influence was, it could not hide a flagrant injustice or induce the masses to reconcile obvious inconsist¬encies. The reason was plain: skillfully manipulated, the credulity of the public on minor matters seemed almost inex¬haustible, but on major issues like war, subjugation and rights, the limits of credulity were soon reached. No doubt, multitude of people died and the expansionist design of politics made deep inroads into history, but the dictators masquerading as visionaries were damned to deprecation.
Contemporary instable political scenarios in the world and aftermath, is receding to barbaric etiology but with a small change: the disquieting injustice and criminal insol¬vency are getting institutional¬ized. They are no longer debated, still less discussed. The calculated patronage is the unusual point. In this back¬drop, the saga of Partition and its long drawn corollary in India stands as a blatant vindication.
They say world has not gone to dogs yet. Right. But that dogs in human frame have gone nuts is also true. When minorities in any society become the victim of insane politics, it’s the beginning of decline for the society itself. The hooliganism that minorities face remains the last comment and the ensuing fate of any nation the very last presenti¬ment.
(The author teaches at Media Education Research Centre, MERC, University of Kashmir).
Lastupdate on : Sat, 21 Aug 2010 21:30:00 Makkah time
Lastupdate on : Sat, 21 Aug 2010 18:30:00 GMT
Lastupdate on : Sun, 22 Aug 2010 00:00:00 IST
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