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July 30: When 15,000 Indian ‘liberals’ paid tribute to a terrorist

The message is simple. Stay ashamed. Stay so busy apologizing for Holi, Diwali, sarees, rasam and Hanuman stickers that you never ask why 15,000 ‘liberals’ paid tribute to a convicted terrorist.

He finally came back to Mumbai after eight years, but not to give his daughter the promised hug.”

What is this? Perhaps the beginning of an account of the life journey of a tragic hero? Perhaps a quintessential Indian novel that will take us down the little known side lanes of India’s Maximum City. A good book is like balm for the soul.

I know you want to read more.

“….the sky remained overcast, mirroring the sombre mood of many thousand who would soon gather there to pay their last respects.

Such evocative writing. See how masterfully the author weaves together the scene with the emotions of the mourners. This could win a Booker Prize, folks.

So what is this? Well, it is a newspaper report on those who showed up at the burial of Yakub Memon.

Article by Times of India on Yakub Memon funeral
Article by Times of India on Yakub Memon funeral

You remember Yakub Memon. He and his friends carried out the 1993 serial blasts, in which 257 people were killed. In successive years, many other terrorists have tried to shatter his record. At Zaveri Bazaar, at Ghatkopar, at Mulund. At the 2006 local train bombings. At the Taj, Oberoi, CST Station and other places on 26/11. But all of them fell short of the benchmark set by Yakub Memon.

No wonder Indian liberals came out in full force to say goodbye to their favorite son.

A crowd of several thousand ‘liberals’ in India’s biggest metropolis, out to pay tributes to a convicted terrorist. But who am I to question their patriotism? I cannot question their commitment to ‘peace.’ That would not be secular at all. After all, we know terrorism has no ….

Well, you know the rest.

Meanwhile, think of the various things we have been asked to feel ashamed of over the last several years. Saying Vande Mataram or Bharat Mata ki Jai. Wearing Hanuman shirts or putting Hanuman stickers on cars. Saffron flag on the vegetable cart. Another liberal saw a Hindu conspiracy behind the lighting of diyas at lit fests. Then, there are international newspapers that cried foul over women wearing sarees. Another international outlet found that the word Bharat is “exclusionary” and potentially comparable to Nazism.

And let’s not even get into our festivals. Holi, Diwali, Rakhi, anything and everything is wrapped in guilt. Environmental degradation, patriarchy, sexual harassment: there is so much shame to go around that it is hard to breathe without giving offence.

Did I say breathe? The shame does not stop even when we are done with breathing. A top liberal outlet recently asked if Hindus whose ancestors were cremated have less claim to the land than those whose ancestors were buried in it. The question was echoed by a prominent Congress leader, who has served as Minister of State for Human Resource Development.

We come into this world, we breathe the oxygen, we pollute the air, the water and then we selfishly burn our bodies after death. Horrifying.

Don’t ask if anyone is ashamed of the 15,000 ‘liberals’ who paid tribute to Yakub Memon. As a Hindu, ask yourself what are all the shameful, patriarchal and selfish things you have done today.

And then there is the greatest shame of all: CAA. You want to bring more Hindus to this land? Don’t we have enough selfish Hindus here already?

No wonder a counter movement has started. Young liberals just won’t take it any more. They are out on the streets. They are heroes and sheroes ready to mount police barricades.

“Hindutva” ki kabar khudegi, they say. For now.

The Facebook timelines of these young heroes and sheroes flow with reverence for Yakub Memon and Afzal Guru. They call for Bharat ke tukde. They hold massive rallies describing how to tear India apart, starting with the North East. In between visits to the library, they find the time to throw stones … err, wallets.

On one side is the Indian state. On the other side, there is a crowd of Yakub Memon fans. Who is the Nazi here? Well, it is the Indian state of course.

One moment, these revolutionaries are throwing stones … err, wallets for their cause. The next moment, they remember all the homework they have. So they rush to the library and open their books. They are juggling so much, studying for a degree at public expense, family life, pregnancy, regular tributes to Yakub Memon and saving Indian democracy.

No wonder that media in India and abroad carry their images and their stories. Pulitzer prizes are handed out as a reward. One of the world’s top universities hires a BA degree holder as a professor. Because if there is one thing that her PhD students will need to know, it is about the inspiring struggle of Yakub Memon fans in India.

Other liberals take notice of this opportunity for career advancement through Twitter. One of them tweets out that “white lives don’t matter.” Wrong number! Twitter swoops down, deletes the tweet and it all ends with egg on her face. She tries again, this time by saying that lives of certain Hindus don’t matter. Bingo! Promoted to full professor.

The message is simple. Stay ashamed. Stay so busy apologizing for Holi, Diwali, sarees, rasam and Hanuman stickers that you never ask why 15,000 ‘liberals’ paid tribute to a convicted terrorist.

So why did 15,000 ‘liberals’ pay tribute to a convicted terrorist who killed 257 people? Well, for the same reasons as they paid tribute to the mothers and dadis of Shaheen Bagh who sat publicly, eating kudrati biryani as they dragged the life out of a four month old baby.

The ‘liberals’ who paid tribute to the convicted terrorist were never ashamed. The media is just covering for them until it is too late for the rest of us. Some years ago, an over-enthusiastic liberal leader had asked to remove police for just 15 minutes. But more mature liberals in media know that 15 minutes would not be enough.

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Abhishek Banerjee
Abhishek Banerjee
Abhishek Banerjee is a columnist and author.  

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