Throughout the Middle Ages, Islamic invaders in India have executed genocides, mass murders, and destruction of public properties and have embarked upon setting the foundation for supremacy of the Abrahamic race, well before the British set in. Their brutalities were as much religious as they were political, duly glorified by their court chroniclers and historians.
This sanction of Jihad which set its precedent in medieval India has been whitewashed, religated to the moderation as mere politics of the time. That was a given as when the ‘founding fathers’ of Independent India championed secularism for integration with Islam, they negotiated for subsuming the Islamic tyranny and Hindu glory of any kind.
Centuries later, it is not Mohammed Ghori but Mohammed Riyaz Akhtar and his aide, who gathered the courage to behead Kanhaiya Lal in his tailoring shop in Rajasthan’s Udaipur in broad daylight. The two Islamist assailants, who were brought to their knees by Police had published a video taking responsibility for their gruesome action, in the name of ‘Allah’.
Kanhaiya Lal was murdered after his 8-year-old son shared a social media post supporting ex-BJP spokesperson Nupur Sharma’s comments on Prophet Mohammed, which accounted for ‘blasphemy’ in the Islamic worldview. While the Central Home Ministry has initiated action against the horrific crime, it is imperative to investigate the lines which have been crossed by Islamism, trickling down from the fundamentalist bastions to roadside radicalism of the worst kind.
The two murderers entered Kanhaiya Lal’s store disguised as customers and grab him by his neck to insert a knife and hack him to death, attacking him multiple times. Much like Makhan Lal Bindroo’s neighbours, who revealed his location and paved the way for Islamists to enter his house to butcher him during the Kashmiri Hindu Genocide of 1990. How and when did these footsoldiers of Jihad gather the audacity to wield their power with violence?
It is to be realised that much like how the Turkic invaders who sit on high horses today in the public discourse, radical Islamists of the modern age have similar grandstanding and intellectual backing for their crimes. They have a legacy to behold and an act of new revenge to carry out behind every offensive deeply taken. Their heinous acts are covered up by the Indian ‘secularists’, who refuse to identify these culprits with their religion.
More than the dissociation with their religion per se, it is this certain clique of politicians, political commentators and self-appointed intellectuals who play a role in detaching the Islamic angle in the acts of the Jihadis. They present the freshly-baked propagandist version of every tragedy every time when a Muslim is a culprit, as merely yet another act of communal hatred.
A case to be considered here is when the Times of India, reported the Udaipur incident with a headline, “Two ‘customers’ behead Udaipur tailor for post backing Nupur, both arrested”. This is the secularised version of the Islamist crime against a Hindu for not conforming to their worldview, which often finds a way in the deracinated public discourse.
The fundamentals of radical Islam that have plagued Indian society are systematically treated as natural. The technique to subdue rampant Islamism which is reflected in beheadings, rape and death threats to sleeper cell attacks and bomb blasts is carried out by whitewashing the incident as a normal communal incident at the outset. At the later stage, the blame is shifted from the religious warriors to someone else, at times even when the victim itself is blamed.
From being sympathetic to Islamic terrorism to becoming the enablers of it, the intellectual justifications of these public commentators have entrenched deep into every stratum of the society. With this normalization of the tyrannies of radicalization, they bask in the light of being ‘liberal’ in the public discourse.
Victim blaming, blame-shifting
Congress Spokesperson Pawan Khera used the beheading of Kanhaiya Lal to target his political rival PM Narendra Modi by blaming him instead for the same. “Modi Ji, see what atmosphere you have created in the nation. The seeds of hate that you’ve sown over the years can be harvested in the deaths today,” Khera insinuated while writing an abstract assertion.
While it was very clear that it was the Islamic radicals who killed the tailor with an intent to avenge his death for alleged ‘blasphemy’, Khera found an opportunity to shift the blame upon Modi’s Hindu Nationalism from Islamic radicalism. Next, it was TMC leader Saket Gokhale who attempted to shift the blame of Kanhaiya’s killing to Times Now, the channel on which Nupur Sharma participated in a debate as an erstwhile BJP spokesperson.
Gokhale has theorised that more such instances will happen because TV channels will keep airing Prime Time TV debates. Another “journalist” on Twitter asked for Times Now to have exercised ‘editorial responsibility’ (all of a sudden) when Nupur Sharma was making her comments. In this worldview of secularists, it is not radicalism but the TV channels which are platforms of expression, to be held responsible for disturbing the law and order.
This is a primary step to enabling rampant radicalization in Islamic society. When a spade is not called out, and the blame upon it is shifted to someone else – at times upon Hindus themselves, it creates an empty ground for more militant religiophilia that contests the multicultural fabric of countries like India.
It is this sympathization that has promoted assailants like Mohammed Riyaz Akhtar to be unapologetic about their stances.
Whitewashing the tyrant
The criminalities of Islam are covered up in many ways. The ‘enablers’ of this rampant radicalism spanning across the society blame everything but the fundamentals that inherently promote or sanction these violent acts. For example, Bollywood music composer Vishal Dadlani could be seen here blaming ‘religious extremists across every religion’ for the beheading of Kanhaiya Lal at the hands of two Islamists.
It is certainly not the case, that charlatans like Dadlani are incapable of fathoming the video put out by the assailants confessing that they were waging a war for Jihad, but they choose to gloss over the idea of ‘Sar tan see Juda’ that is championed as a treatment for the ‘blasphemer’. While it is amply clear that no religion beheads for blasphemy minus one, controversial Carnatic singer T M Krishna too was hell-bent upon whitewashing the Islamist crime while blaming the extremists on ‘either side’.
The psychological coverup wielded by these commentators to cover up the religious angle in every case of Hindu apathy and ironically highlight the same at the time of Hindu cruelty is unapologetically partial. The ideological world takes sides and asks Hindus to ‘condemn extremism on every side’ even at a time when the whole community is victimised.
To extract sense out of Swara Bhaskar is challenging, but when effigies of Nupur Sharma were hanged by Islamist mobs in Belagavi, Karnataka, the self-proclaimed feminist was busy diverting public attention to ‘beef lynchings’ from history. While with the effigy presentations of Nupur Sharma being hanged in open gave clear signals of mass violence in the name of the controversy, the likes of Bhaskar were asking us that ‘our horrors should not be based on identity’.
Clearly for Bhaskar, when the assailants invoked ‘Allah’ upon their butchering of Kanhaiya Lal it was not about identity. The culprits were standing on a moral base created by those like her and Dadlani because they knew when they will commit such gruesome acts, ‘extremists across religions’ will be blamed.
Much like what the ‘left’ historians do to whitewash the tyrannies of Islamic atrocities in the past, political commentators and parties in consideration here, gloss over the same in the present. The subtleties of whitewashing flame the brutalities on the road, and the cycle repeats.
Politicizing the religious war
Many have argued, after the incident, that Blasphemy as a principle is problematic and has no place in a pluralistic society like India. Those who have taken this stand, also argue that it is the absolutist principles like blasphemy, Kafiriyat and violent Jihad that are the roots of the aggrieved expressions of supremacy today. However, time and again, we have seen that it is not the war of ideas but of identities at play.
Clearly, it is political Islam contesting with unorganised Hinduism, when ‘revenge’ is taken for the acts of supposed blasphemy. Temples are attacked not because they are privy to looting but because idolatry is a sin in the religion of the perpetrator. ‘sar tan se juda’ too has a religious sanction. For the benefit of political correctness, one often reduces the religious angle in these cases to the margins.
In turn, a picture is painted that this is a political war, but not religious. The intellectual justifications for the gruesome acts, including the recent beheading, shows that one side always perceives this as a religious war, played with religious principles. By glossing over this fact, the unapologetic aspirations of Jihad become an enigma in the deracinated public discourse.
When such arguments are laid, citing political correctness or upholding ‘secularism’, the acts of terrorism which have a religious sanction are glossed over, whitewashed and eventually covered up with an intellectual justification. The ideologues who often come around as sympathizers of hate become enablers of extremism and radicalization while being often complicit in it.