One can imagine that if the plan to provoke riots before Eid in Ayodhya would have been successful, how it could have easily spilled over to the other parts of the country.
It was the early 1970s when Bhisham Sahni, the legendary Hindi writer had penned the novel Tamas. It looks at the Hindu-Muslim riots in India in the backdrop of the Partition. Its central character is Nathu, who is Dalit and does the work of removing hides from dead animals. A local politician persuades Nathu to kill a pig; the act is later used to foment a riot in the city.
It has been more than 40 years since the novel was written, but it still resonates with today’s India as it throws light on the ‘fault lines’ of Indian society and shows the ease with which they can be weaponised.
A fortnight back, a similar attempt to provoke a riot was made in Ayodhya using a similar technique; however, prompt action by the district police averted a riot there.
Review of ‘Malevolent Republic : A Short History of New India’ by K. S. Komireddi
‘The idea of a peace-loving, nonviolent India exists, persists, as part of a selectively constructed and assiduously cultivated national self-image in the midst of a society pervaded by social and political violence…’ argued Prof Upinder Singh, in her well-researched voluminous book ‘ Political Violence in Ancient India’ which had appeared around two years back. She had also added that pioneers of independence struggle were instrumental in creating this ‘[m]yth of non-violence in ancient India which obscures a troubled, complex heritage.’
‘Malevolent Republic’ – A Short Hisotry of New India’ by K. S. Komireddi – a commentator, critic and journalist who has written for leading western publications, reminds one of this debate. The book tries to chronicle the trajectory of post-independence India from Nehru to Modi – and does not shy away from raising uncomfortable questions which demand broader contemplation as well as deep soul searching.