“Chilling and brutal,” to borrow an expression that appeared in The Hindu while referring to some student union clash at JNU earlier this month. But, I don’t want to talk about JNU. I am talking about this. In Jharkhand, bodies of 7 anti-Pathalgarhi tribals were found. Decapitated.
You might have noticed that this is not the top national news item on so-called mainstream media. You might have noticed that it is not even trending on social media.
But why? Were the 7 villagers who were kidnapped and decapitated in Jharkhand only yesterday any less citizens of India? Were they less of citizens than any student union troublemaker at JNU, or some A list Bollywood celebrity, or some frustrated yesteryear movie actor?
For friends who may not know, Pathalgarhi is an innocent tribal custom in the tribal belt of Jharkhand, Chhattisgarh and Odisha. Local folk heroes are honoured by putting up a headstone next to their grave and recounting their brave deeds. This innocent custom has been seized upon by Naxals as some kind of assertion of separatism from India. In June 2018, five innocent girls in Khunti in Jharkhand were performing a street play to raise awareness among tribals against such forces. These girls were lured into the deep forest, with the help of a missionary school principal, and then gang-raped as a punishment. So you can imagine the coalition of Break India forces arrayed against us.
The sheer scale and horror of left-wing violence in India is such that it beats every other challenge to us as a nation. Dr Manmohan Singh was right when he said that left-wing terror is the biggest internal security threat to India. The way the Congress party has reduced itself to an appendage of the radical left, I wonder whether he would stand by his statement today.
If there is one thing I have learned from the recent anti-CAA protests and the narrative around them, it is this: imagined fears, based on falsehood and prejudice, are everything. My real history doesn’t matter because it is just ‘whataboutism.’
But this massacre in West Singhbhum district is not from decades ago. I’m not talking about the bygone Communist era in Bengal when 28,000 political murders happened (by the Communist government’s own admission …. imagine what the real scale of the violence was). I’m not talking about the hundreds of lakhs of people left dead in the wake of terrorism across the world.
I’m talking about West Singhbhum district from yesterday. Still whataboutism? And we all know this horror is going to happen again, possibly even in the next week. It’s like left-wing terror is eating us alive. But we don’t notice it.
But how did we become so desensitized to the left-wing terror that we barely notice it at all? How have we handed over our minds to left-wing media and intellectuals that we barely acknowledge the violence that drives their ideological cousins?
What will it take for us to acknowledge the sheer horror of leftism?
What will it take for us to chant “Communism se Azaadi”? How many more decapitated bodies?
The 7 anti-Pathalgarhi activists who were massacred in Jharkhand yesterday were heroes of Indian democracy. They lost their heads defending it. We are the ones who have lost our minds. Unless we speak up. Now.
Abhishek Banerjee is a math lover who may or not be an Assistant Professor at IISc Bangalore. He is the author of Operation Johar – A Love Story, a novel on the pain of left wing terror in Jharkhand, available on Amazon here.