Mainstream Weekly

Home > 2024 > Hate Speech in India: How to Promote Amity? | Ram Puniyani

Mainstream, VOL 62 No 9, March 2, 2024

Hate Speech in India: How to Promote Amity? | Ram Puniyani

Friday 1 March 2024, by Ram Puniyani


India has been ruled by Hindu Nationalist Bharatiya Janata Party for the last one decade. BJP in turn is progeny of RSS, which has a goal of Hindu Rashtra. It has many progeny, hundreds of associated organizations with lakhs of volunteers (Swayamsevaks) and thousands of senior workers called Pracharaks (Propagators). It has been pursuing its agenda of Hindu Nation with double the speed since BJP came to power at the center. Rise of BJP on electoral battlefield is due to intensifying of communal issues, Ram Temple, Cow-Beef, and Love- Jihad among others. Communal violence has been a major factor increasing its electoral strength. The violence in turn is founded on the ‘Hate minorities’. There are well placed mechanisms to create Hate; hate speech against minorities, the chain of shakhas; Schools, Godi media, social media and IT cell among others. Hate speech, which is a punishable offense, is used with gay abandon, more so when BJP is in power in states and also in Center. Those indulging in Hate speech do know that they enjoy a sort of impunity.

All this becomes ratified in the latest report released by ‘India Hate Lab’, a Washington DC-based group that documents hate speech against India’s religious minorities. The report with title ‘Hate Speech Events in India’, notes that while 255 events took place in the first half of 2023, “the number rose to 413 in the second half of the year, a 62% increase. The details are very revealing. As per the report nearly 75% of the events of the total (498), took place in BJP-ruled States, Union Territories (administered by the BJP-led Central government), and Delhi (here police and public order comes under the Union government’s purview). While 36% (239) of the events “included a direct call of violence against Muslims” and 63% (420) of incidents include references to “conspiracy theories, primarily involving love jihad, land jihad, and population jihad”. About 25% (169) featured speeches calling for targeting Muslim places of worship.”

The resulting events are very well known by now. We remember the addition of use of bulldozers and demolitions by BJP ruled states. These are done mainly against prosperities of Muslims. The demolition of the Mosque here and there is no more a big deal. Boycotting the Muslim hawkers and traders are occasionally propped up. Partiality done by the motivated administrative machinery is the order of the day. The impact on the Muslim community is an increasing sense of insecurity and ghettoization. The walls of Hatred are becoming stronger by the day. The Hate speech signals begin from the top when the Prime Minister, lately being called as the reincarnation of Lord Vishnu, when he gives these hints like, they can be identified with their clothes, Shamshan-Kabristan and Pink revolution. The next layer of Hate spreaders further intensifies the language and when it comes to Dharma Sansads, the Holy one’s; like Yati Narsinghnand, the message of violence becomes more direct and very despicable.

One of the peaks of this was witnessed in the Parliament itself when Ramesh Bidhudi used expletives of the worst kind against Danish Ali, ‘Mullah’, ‘terrorist’, ‘anti-national’, ‘pimp’ and ‘katwa’ (a Hindi slur against Muslims). Ramesh Bidhudi in turn was given additional promotion-responsibility. This makes it clear the way of going in the upward direction of hierarchy in the BJP-RSS combine is Hate speech. As Ramesh Bidhudi was let off by the Lok Sabha Speaker by saying that if he repeats it again, action will be contemplated.

We have seen the horrific Bulli Bai and Sulli deals to humiliate prominent Muslim women, celebrities. The culprits went away without any serious punishments. Lately the Haldwani mosque issue also disturbed the peace at the ground level. The absence of an impartial media is the worst thing in the present scenario. The anchors of the big channels find ways to blame the Muslims for every insinuation against them.

Apart from leading to acts of violence against Muslim community the present trajectory of events is leading to gradually intensifying Islamophobia. We can see a teacher Tripta Tyagi asking the class students to slap a Muslim boy one by one for not doing homework. Another teacher Manjula Devi told two Muslim students, who were bickering over a minor issue, that this is not ‘their country’. We also witnessed a bus conductor Mohan Yadav being sacked as he stopped the bus for a brief while during which some passengers eased and few Muslims offered Namaz during that time.

Hate speech was identified by our leaders as a curse for our society. In the aftermath of murder of Swami Shardhanand by a Muslim, Gandhi correctly identified the problem when he wrote in Young India, calling for “…purging the atmosphere of mutual hatred and calumny”, by “boycotting papers which foment hatred and spread misrepresentation”. Here Gandhi is talking about the negative role of Newspapers at that time. Later Sardar Vallabhbhai Patel in the aftermath of murder of Mahatma Gandhi in a letter to Golwalkar directly indicted RSS for spreading hatred, “All their speeches were full of communal poison. It was not necessary to spread poison and enthuse the Hindus and organize for their protection. As a final result of the poison, the country had to suffer the sacrifice of the valuable life of Gandhi. “

The clock has moved full circle. The same RSS has created layers and layers of Hate creating mechanisms. Apart from its own vast army of swayamsevaks, Pracharak and network of schools, the large section of media has totally surrendered to those in power and unabashedly using their influence to intensify Hate. The social common sense created through these mechanisms leads to Bulli Bai and Sulli deals. It is this which creates Trupta Tyagi and Manjula Devi who take it to the young children. Things are becoming difficult for Muslim children in mixed schools.

Today the Hate other has become the very antithesis of our Constitution’s value of Fraternity. It is also against the tolerance of the values of morality of Hinduism as practiced by the likes of Gandhi. This is the very aggressive attack on the dictum of Vedas, ‘Vasudhaiva Kutumbkam’ (World is a family), this is not only intimidating the religious minorities it is an attack on the values of our Constitution. To combat hate speech, Gandhi’s Hinduism, Vasudhaiva Kutumbaka and Fraternity of Indian Constitution are needed more than before.

ISSN (Mainstream Online) : 2582-7316 | Privacy Policy|
Notice: Mainstream Weekly appears online only.