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MANIPUR: Yet Another Hindutva Lab

P. A. Chacko P. A. Chacko
15 May 2023

‘Fair is foul and foul is fair’ is the first song of the witches in Shakespeare’s Macbeth. This song, combined with their second song ‘Fire burn and cauldron bubble’, describes Macbeth’s evil mind, which is infested with ‘inversion of values’, turning good into evil and using evil as good, and the human soul trapped in an immoral and  morally corrupt world.   

We are painfully watching India’s north-east state Manipur burning. A state governed by the Bharatiya Janata Party. Not just in Manipur. All over India! The fire of dark desires, as Shakespeare visualised in Macbeth, is now engulfing India. The nationalist outfit is controlled by the Hindu nationalist Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh and the saffron family ‘Sangh Parivar’.   

It appears that the nationalist party wants to use the tribal-dominated areas as the testing laboratory to establish, with flourish, its Trishul as symbol of its national power. We have been witnessing the spine-chilling incidents in India’s central belt (mainly Chhattisgarh, Madhya Pradesh and Odisha) which has a formidable presence of tribals. Whipping up anti-Christian emotions in the party’s foot soldiers, destructions of churches and worshipping places, evictions of tribal Christians from their villages, killing of missionaries (Leprosy doctor Graham Staines and his two children in Odisha), denigrating Christian missionary saints like Mother Teresa, have been, among other things,  agenda based ‘Operation elimination’. The  infamous forcible ‘Ghar wapsi’ (return to Hindu-fold) programs have not only terrorised tribal communities, but also created wedges between Christian tribals and non-Christian tribals to the extent of creating  intra-community fights. 

In the midst of all these mindless killings and destruction, the so-called ‘God’s own country’, India’s southern state Kerala, is being shaped as another testing laboratory for establishing Hindu nationalist supremacy. Wooing Christian princes, namely bishops, with tempting offers, visiting Christian families by RSS foot soldiers for the first time with Christ’s resurrection picture alongside Modi Dada’s photograph, are strategies meant to get favourable electoral mileage. The hidden strategy of creating deep hateful chasm between Christian and Muslim communities in favour of the Saffron Parivar in Kerala is a new game plan played out. The British dictum of ‘divide and rule’ is being copied by Modi government literally by making minority and indigenous communities fight against one another. 

In addition, anti-minority legislations and regulations, muzzling the functioning of minority institutions, hate speeches by Hindu legislators and functionaries, publicly ordering minorities to get out of India, imposing cultural chauvinism on people by not even allowing people to follow their age-old food or dress habits are but reminders of German dictator Adolf Hitler and his Nazi party. The man who exterminated six million Jews in gas chambers in order to ensure the permanence of Aryan blood purity has not been forgiven by the world. 

But when modern day Hitlers spring up to create destruction, impelled by arrogance and unchecked passion, it is time to sit up and take serious note. When Manipur was burning, when lives were lost, media sources pointed out that Prime Minister Modi and Home Minister Amit Shah were trying to fiddle their way into the disgruntled hearts of the Karnataka voters as part of their frantic election gimmicks.  

Does this nation need a government that sows the seeds of hate and division, that creates terror in the hearts and homes of hapless minorities, that wants to rewrite Indian history into fables and myths? Can we entrust our governance with a party that produces in its hate factory foot soldiers to be on the rampage for lynching and burning, destroying and dehumanising? Can we afford to listen our democratically elected representatives spewing venom and visceral hatred and openly shooting at Mahatma Gandhi’s picture? Can we remain deaf and unprovoked when a fanatical nationalist says, ‘I prefer Godse (Gandhi’s killer) to Gandhi?’  What has the world come to?  Should not our conscience revolt at the moral depravity to which our nation is dragged down? 

If we keep silent, if we pretend to remain deaf, if our moral sense goes haywire at this predicament, we shall be silent collaborators of the insolent might. Tomorrow we shall be the victims. And who will come to our aid? 

“First they (the Nazis) came for the socialists, and I did not speak out because I was not a socialist. Then they came for trade unionists, and I did not speak out because I was not a trade unionist. Then they came for the Jews, and I did not speak out because I was not a Jew. Then they came for me, and there was no one left to speak for me” -- Marin Niemoller (1892-1984).

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