When HATE Drives The Politics

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Couple of days ago, I was watching News on Television as they beamed pictures of ill-fated Malaysian Airlines’ Flight MH17. It was lying lifeless, after being blown into countless pieces, somewhere in active conflict zone lying in the area bordering Ukraine and Russia. Someone had shot missiles to take down the passenger plane that killed 298 passengers on board, it included young kids and innocent passengers belonging to different nationalities.

None of them deserved to die. Not in that violent way.

They were civilians, simply travelling from one country to another. But it ended in unimaginable tragedy, not only for the passengers, but also for their loved ones.

But that was not the end of the news that was only one of the headlines.

In another news item, the ground situation in Israel and Palestinian (Gaza) conflict has gone from bad to worse. Both warring sides keep firing missiles, bombs and bullets indiscriminately at each other. The number of dead and injured keeps rising with each passing hour. And again the dead included good number of young kids. Your narration of this bloody conflict really depends on which side you have picked to narrate the event, out of two nations; it’s either Israel or Palestinian sides.

The politicians from my country are trying hard to maintain equilibrium, as the Parliament discussed the ongoing conflict in a half-hearted manner. They condemned the violence in strongest possible way but remain hesitant on naming the alleged perpetrator of violence, that is killing the kids and the innocent civilians, this fact gets repeated again. As the Indian Government dither in condemning the acts of mindless violence; after all both are friendly countries.

How can we pick sides? After all it’s a fine diplomatic trapeze act.

The land of Gandhi has all but forgotten about the idea of righteousness. That is kind of expected behaviour. After all we do not live in the Black and White era; it has lots of Grey areas, to add complexity to the world of International Diplomacy. It’s an era of pragmatism and the cold business deals. And one’s world view really stems from one’s political roots at home and idea of nation’s interest usually take precedence over other subjective matters.

In Iraq and Syria, the new jihadist militant outfit ISIS continue to bring new areas under its political influence under its iron grip. This new radical ISIS has its conservative world-view that talks of uniting the Muslim world under the new Caliphate or Islamic State. Incidentally it has second grade place for people belonging to other religion in their new country. It’s not surprising that India had to lots of back-room diplomatic manoeuvering to bring its citizens back to the country from Iraq.

Closer home, the intermittent shelling and firing continues along the border areas of Pakistan. Once again the pictures of farmers, their wives and young children running away from their Khet (agriculture farm lands) towards safety of their Ghar (homes) sums up the story of two nations. These kinds of incidents have happened since 1947 and it shall continue for a long, long time. And that’s a bitter truth.

The hostility between two siblings, who were born a day apart, is here to stay, as long as hate-mongers are around, on each side. And the message of hate keeps travelling to embrace new people in its fold.

Isn’t it kind of expected?

Given the history of two nation theory based on Religion animosity, it was kind of expected future for two sibling nations. Perhaps the mutual hatred and suspicion is acting as glue and keeping a neighbouring nation together. It’s an ideal situation for its rulers, the politicians who want to keep the hate alive, as it helps them tighten their hold over their people, the subject, who are given extended lessons on hate and not love.

The idea of two nation theory of dividing Indian subcontinent in two nations based on two religions has been realized. One nation had gone ahead and declared itself an Islamic nation long time ago, while the other nation replies with its own version of Hindu nation in the 21st century. The propagators of hate are rejoicing on both sides of border. After all, their idea has finally won.

No doubt the hatred for other is the common mantra and the terrorism is the by-product.

Both have fought couple of major wars and then got themselves armed with most destructive nuclear weapons, yet they continue to throw punches at each other. The thought of nuclear weapons falling in the hands of Terrorists besides the spectre of impending nuclear warfare is worrisome for the entire world. Many security analysts believe that the Pakistan’s home-grown Terrorism threaten spread its tentacles to devour Pakistan first and then it may cross over to India to blurs our two nations’ boundaries.

In my city Ranchi, the NIA team regularly pay its visit to look for the members associated with the banned radical outfit named SIMI, allegedly responsible for the recent bomb blasts at Patna.

But terrorism is not the only by-product of this politics of hate.

In my state, the idea of extreme Left wing politics has taken deep roots. Couple of decades ago, it all started in the neighbouring state Bihar as the Caste-war erupted between the land owning upper caste and landless lower-caste labourers. For many centuries, one class of people have used caste-hierarchy (Varna or Jati) to rule and corner all the material benefits for themselves. But the advent of colonial rule, modern-education, social-reforms, freedom-struggle and the fact that India gained independence as a Democratic Republic lent a strong blow to the age-old practice of caste-hierarchy. However the society’s ground realities could not be simply wished away by the adoption of an inspirational constitution. The exploitation of lower caste landless labourers continued. Even the practice of bonded labourers (bandhua-mazdoor) continued in our country, more so in Bihar. Some of the landless labourers revolted against the landed gentry and they picked up arms against the exploitation in the name of caste-hierarchy. This was the beginning of left-wing extremism. To protect their interests and material benefits, the landed gentry too responded by forming their own armed group (Sena). The mutual hatred united the exploiters and the victims in two warring groups. The battle had begun and it continues till date. Now the repercussions of this warfare are felt across the different states, mostly in the mineral rich tribal population belt of central India.

Lest we forget the hate is common thread in all the above incidents mentioned in our news.

World recently celebrated the Nelson Mandela Day on July 18th, his birthday, I am reminded of his famous quote: “No one is born hating another person because of the colour of his skin, his background, or his religion. People must learn to hate, and if they can learn to hate, they can be taught to love, for love comes more naturally to the human heart than its opposite.” Incidentally, Nelson Mandela was a great admirer of Gandhian values and ethos.

His thoughts seem relevant when we are surrounded by the Politics of Hate, worldwide.

But will the world listen?

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Sameer Bhagat

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Social-Activist. Author of SALVAGING ADIDWEEP.


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