An attack on an elected MLA is an attack on all of us. It is an attack on our democracy and the founding principles of our republic.
Bhima Mandavi was an elected MLA out on an election campaign, days before our General Elections, the largest democratic exercise in the world. He was a public representative out to meet the people to request their support at the polling booth. This is the most sacred part of any democratic tradition. It reminds the nation that those who govern are not masters but servants and must humble themselves before the people.
In this sense, BJP MLA Bhima Mandavi died while in the act of performing the highest and noblest of all rituals in Indian democracy.
And who killed him? Violent left-wingers who are enemies of democracy.
Except we are not hearing that in the discourse, even when we are hearing something at all.
No! No! No! No! A hundred times no!
This is not the time for Chhattisgarh CM to speak like a regressive patriarchal jerk who blames rape on what the woman was wearing, or how late she stayed out at night and in which part of town.
This is time for Indians, cutting across party lines, to speak in one voice against the Great Evil of left-wing terror. To speak against those in politics and public life who enable the leftist ideology of hatred, murder and violence. And those who govern have a special responsibility to do so.
This is hardly a partisan issue and nor should it be. Who can forget what happened at Jhiram Ghati in 2013 when top Chhattisgarh Congress leaders were killed by followers of the same violent leftist ideology? Among them was Mahendra Karma, a great man, a patriot and a hero who led the Salwa Judum resistance against violent leftism.
Leftism is a challenge to us as a nation. We have to recognize that.
Except that did not happen yesterday. Because the killers were leftists and the victim was a BJP MLA, the assassination was met with a chilling silence among sections of society that otherwise claim to be very vocal about civil liberties and democracy.
The artists, the journalists, the intellectuals, the academics were all silent. These people, who pretend to be thought leaders and conscience keepers, all refused to speak when it really counted. And their silence against violent leftism makes them look both complicit and suspect. Remember that an attack on an elected MLA is an attack on all of us.
Remember the liberal crowd that comes out on the streets against one angry tweet or some trolling on Facebook? Remember the people who write alarmist articles every time some quarrel breaks out in some neighbourhood over kids playing cricket? Remember the folks who rush to their Western paymasters screaming ‘intolerance’ and feeding them stories about the dangers of everything from sarees to Hanuman stickers?
Those are the people who have been trying to glorify violent leftist ideology as some kind of movement for civil liberties. And on the other hand, they have been trying to dehumanize members of the RSS/BJP to the point where the nation no longer cares about their deaths.
This dehumanization of RSS/BJP members has a long history. Can you name even a single person who was burned to death inside S-6 compartment of Sabarmati Express at Godhra on February 27, 2002? An entire coach full of people was burned alive in public view and the only thing heard from media and intellectuals was fake stories about how those people had refused to pay for tea, implying that they somehow deserved to be massacred.
Some counts suggest that nearly 1000 lakh people have been killed by Communism. Yesterday, BJP MLA Bhima Mandavi joined that unending list of victims. And yet when some student union goon flies the blood red Communist flag with the dreaded hammer and sickle, Bollywood celebrities descend to campaign for them. This is an outcome of a culture that systematically glorifies left-wing violence.
There is no celebrity whose PR agent will tell them to stand with a placard for Bhima Mandavi. There is no academic or intellectual who expects to get NGO funding by speaking up for what happened to Bhima Mandavi.
But the thing is that we the people have the power to make these propagandists irrelevant. We do not have time for photo shoots with placards, speaking at fake intellectual conferences or signing propaganda petitions. And they would not let us into the big Lutyens clubs anyway where the liberals gather to sip wine that is subsidized with taxpayer money.
But we do have the power to vote.
We have the power to start speaking among ourselves to counter the ideology of violent leftism. Let a billion voices emerge against the scourge of leftism. No celebrity, no intellectual and no academic could possibly drown our collective voice.
Bhima Mandavi died because he was participating in our most noble democratic tradition. The policemen who were with him died in the line of duty. If we do not speak and vote against left-wing evil today, we might be the victims tomorrow, every single one of us. Time to stand up and be counted.