On Each Other’s Throat by MOHD. ZEYAUL HAQUE (JUNE 07, 2007)

It is extremely difficult to figure out why we insist on calling ourselves a civilised nation. Going a step further we have convinced ourselves that we are divinely ordained spiritual gurus of the world.

No day passes without some young woman being raped or murdered, or both. Sometimes the murderers are none else but the hapless victim’s husband, mother-in-law and sister-in-laws.

The war against women is declared the day a mother conceives a girl child. The foetus’s sex is detected through modern diagnostic methods like amniocentesis. If it turns out to be a female it is killed several months before being born, right in the mother’s womb.

The war against women is carried on in endless ways, from foeticide, infanticide to sati and widow banishment. One cannot see how and why at all a society which fosters misogyny on such a wide scale can call itself civilised. Despite tall claims to the contrary, the female to male sex ratio has been falling steadily since the beginning of the 20th century.

Everyday we read reports of murderous attacks on Muslims, Christians and Dalits -- people being hacked to death, burnt alive and murdered in numerous brutal ways. It will be extremely difficult for someone to find even five cases where such behaviour has been punished.

The latest example of our barbarity is the Gujjar violence unleashed over the length and breadth of Haryana, Rajasthan, Uttar Pradesh and the National Capital Region. Twenty-five people were killed, hundreds injured, property worth Rs. 8,000 crore damaged in Rajasthan’s banking and market operations alone. The losses in other regions are staggering. Besides that 50 per cent fall in tourism was recorded, 2,500 trucks were held up on borders of states and life was brought to a stand still.

All this came right at the heels of mass violence in Punjab which claimed several lives. Before that people were being killed and cut into pieces in Noida, like cattle in abattoirs. It happened for months and years on end virtually under the shadow of Parliament and the seat of national government. However, nothing seems to have happened to the perpetrators.

In the House of Horrors called India, nobody is called to account. An Ashok Singhal, a Parveen Togadia or a Bal Thackeray can incite mass murder and go home to his wife and children and relax as people die on the streets. There is every chance of the Gujjar movement culprits getting away without even a few years behind bars.

The Supreme Court has called the latest round a "national shame". But will that stop us from lunging for each other’s jugulars at every possible pretext?

                 
Mohd. Zeyaul Haque

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