Extremist organizations have been baffled as to why there should be a hue and cry over the killing of Muslims, who according to them belong to 'Muslim' Pakistan and not 'Hindu' India.
By Vishal Arora
Hindu extremist organization Bajrang Dal gave a warning to cinema hall owners in Gujarat state in the last week of January that they should think of “the interest of the state” before taking the decision to screen “Parzania”, a film based on a true story of the anti-Muslim pogrom of 2002. Out of fear of backlash, the exhibitors refused to show the film despite the fact that it had been cleared by the Indian censor board. Unfortunate though it was, it made it easier for the people to see through the fascist nature of the organization.
According to former Columbia University Professor Robert O. Paxton, fascism’s essence includes curb of civil liberties, hyper-nationalism, belief that one’s group is the victim and justification of any redemptive action without legal or moral limits – traits that can be seen behind the Bajrang Dal’s opposition to the screening of the film.
Firstly, the Bajrang Dal apparently believes in curtailing of legitimate civil liberties for the sake of “the interest of the state”. This is why it issued an unspoken-but-clearly-understood diktat against “Parzania”, in defiance of Article 19 of the Indian Constitution, which promises freedom of speech and expression to all citizens.
Secondly, the organization seems to think that “the interest of the state” lies in protecting the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP)-led government against any possible criticism, irrespective of the interest of the people. This explains why it is opposed to the film, which is about the mindless violence that was supposedly organized, or at least allowed, by the state machinery. The Supreme Court had observed on April 12, 2004, “The modern day ‘Neros’ were looking elsewhere when Best Bakery (a bakery that belonged to a Muslim family) and innocent children and women were burning, and were probably deliberating how the perpetrators of the crime can be saved or protected.”
Thirdly, it is common knowledge that according to the Bajrang Dal’s creed, empathy and brotherhood should not be extended to “those who belong outside the political boundaries of the nation”. And who belongs to the nation is solely decided by the numerous “like-minded” organizations. This is why extremist organizations have been baffled as to why there should be a hue and cry over the killing of Muslims, who according to them belong to “Muslim” Pakistan and not “Hindu” India.
Fourthly, members of the Bajrang Dal seemingly see justice in redemptive violence based on their theory of the victimization of Hindus in the past, with no consideration for law and morality. The film, however, condemns the killing of Muslims, which they have always sought to legitimize claiming that it was a “popular, spontaneous reaction” to the preceding “killing” of “Hindu victims” at the Godhra railway station. They apparently follow the teaching of Alfred Rosenberg, a Nazi ideologue, who once said, “Justice is what the Aryan man deems just and unjust is what he so deems”.
However, the Bajrang Dal is as naïve as dangerous in its attempt to prevent the people of the state from watching the film, which will most likely be telecast by TV channels and made available on VCDs in the markets across the country. Even otherwise, thanks to India’s civil society and media, there are at least 145,000 entries of the word “Gujarat carnage” on the Internet. Therefore, the organization should rest assured that the memories of the untenable violence will continue to haunt the people of the whole country and other nations for decades to come, exposing the guilt of those responsible – which is indisputably in the interest of the state.
Vishal Arora, an independent journalist, can be contacted at [email protected]