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Dear ‘liberals’, stop blaming Chandan for his own murder

On the 26th of January, as the nation united to celebrate the 69th Republic Day, in Kasganj, Uttar Pradesh, violence had resulted in the death of a 22 year old boy, Chandan Gupta, following an altercation between two communities during a Tiranga Yatra. Meanwhile, the Lakhimpur MLC from the Samajwadi Party has stated that the environment was vitiated by the Tiranga Yatra. And Hartosh Singh Bal, known critic of the Modi government and famed liberal, made an attempt to justify the heinous murder of the youth by claiming that “provocative slogans” were responsible for the violence that ensued.

And exactly what were the “provocative slogans” you may ask. Well, they were very provocative indeed. Slogans such as “Vande Mataram” and “Bharat Mata ki Jai” were deemed ‘provocative’ by eminent intellectuals and certainly, members of a ‘particular community’ were so provoked by the slogans that they could not stop themselves from committing murder. And contrary to claims, the deceased youth was not a part of any ‘rightwing’ organization. Some like Hartosh Singh Bal seem to suggest that it is justifiable to murder a person associated with any ‘rightwing’ organisation for raising slogans such as the ones that were raised. Such pitiable justifications that are given every single time a Hindu is murdered by members from the minority community or communists, suggests that they are more concerned with absolving one community, or one political ideology of all responsibility, than they are about condemning the actual murder.

Social media is flooded every single day with liberals proclaiming their profound allegiance towards freedom of expression and battering the ‘rightwing’ for their supposed aversion towards it, and yet, whenever the real hard questions about the issue arise, liberals do not make their decision on the basis of the unique virtues of the case at hand but on the basis of base tribal loyalties. Decisions to endorse or oppose are made on the basis of whether the ‘rightwing’ has the potential to benefit electorally from the issue and not on the basis of any principle. On the issue of Padmavat, they loudly support the filmmaker’s right to expression and yet, when a youth is murdered for slogans which proclaim loyalty to the Indian nation, they deem them provocative and attempt to justify the murder.

The murder of the 22-year old Chandan Gupta raises serious questions about the future of our republic. A section of the society, evidently, finds chants of “Vande Mataram” and “Bharat Mata ki Jai” so provocative that they are compelled to commit violence as a perceived act of retribution. And the bigger concern here is that the entire bunch of intellectuals and a massive chunk of the political spectrum are perfectly willing to encourage such tendencies and scuttle efforts at reforming their society because it benefits them politically. On the day that the nation celebrated the 69th anniversary of it becoming a republic, a youth was murdered for participating in a rally that named itself as a celebration of one of the most fundamental icons of a modern republic, its National Flag.

Perhaps the worse part is, such criminal behavior is justified by large sections of the elite and no concrete actions are ever taken towards resolving the core cause of conflict between the two communities. The intellectuals seem to have taken upon themselves the burden of justifying every atrocity of the minority community, and guilt trip the majority community for their mere existence. At this point, the intellectuals are just acting as a PR agency for the most regressive, most fundamentalist, most radicalized elements of the minority community and one has to admit, they are doing a fine job at it.

How is a Hindu ought to feel under such circumstances? One fine day, he walks out on the road and inevitably ends up saying something that provokes some members of the particular community, then even if he suffers the most atrocious of crimes for mere words, there is an entire bunch of eminent intellectuals who will then take it upon themselves to offer deplorable arguments to justify his murder and defend the beliefs that led to his murder from all critique. And a Hindu often finds himself wondering, if they are willing to kill me for saying Bharat Mata ki Jai, what else are they willing to kill me for?

Tolerance is a two way street and compromise is a mutual agreement. Intellectuals fail to understand that cohesion really is not possible when one particular community demands that all of its eccentricities be tolerated while it concedes to none of the demands of the other section of society. And the cause is not helped when the entire establishment decides to either turn a blind eye to such woeful conduct and pins the entire blame on the community that demands equitable codes of mutual existence. Few weeks later, Chandan Gupta will become just another statistic, just another name that is buried under the sands of time, but another blow to the unity and integrity of our republic has already been struck. It is not the sign of a healthy republic that a particular community that wields a disproportionate amount of political power is incited into a fit of murderous rage by slogans and rallies that cherish the fundamental icons of our republic. These are symptoms of a republic that is tottering towards an undignified termination of its existence.

The liberals ought to ponder, if Narendra Modi and every devout Hindu is to be blamed for the death of Pehlu Khan, then on the basis of the same logic, aren’t they to be blamed for the death of that young man? However, I am not as morally bankrupt as they seemingly are, therefore I shall not blame anyone apart from the murderers themselves for the crime that was committed. However, they certainly are guilty of a moral transgression of grave significance. They are guilty of providing a dubious justification for the murder of a young individual. How would the parents who were robbed of the light of their lives feel if they were told that their beloved son deserved death for chanting Bharat Mata ki Jai and Vande Mataram? Some issues should be politics neutral, the death of a young man is one such.

It is really understandable that liberals oppose and criticise the rightwing on every single issue at every single step. It is only natural. However, when you jump the gun from “Rightwingers are bigots who will destroy the nation” to justifying their murder for chanting Vande Mataram, it is probably time to take a break and contemplate on the thought processes that has gotten you there. Liberals and the Hindu Right could indeed resolve their conflict sometime in the future, chances are really slim but Leicester won the premier league in 2016, so miracles still do happen. But that reconciliation has to begin somewhere. How is reconciliation even possible when liberals seem to think Hindus deserve to die for words uttered?

Yogi Adityanath has a herculean task ahead of him. Thus far, 49 people have been arrested for the violence in Kasganj but situation remains tense. The family of the deceased was initially refusing to cremate their son, however, after Yogi Adityanath personally talked to them on the phone and assured them of justice and that not a single person responsible will be spared, the family has conducted the last rites of the youth.

The distraught mother has said :

“If saying Hindustan zindabad even after staying in the country is a crime, then shoot us too”.

Hear her wails of pain, dear liberals. Here the gut wrenching cries of this mother whose son is never coming back, whose murder, you seek to justify.

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K Bhattacharjee
Black Coffee Enthusiast. Post Graduate in Psychology. Bengali.

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