Some highlights from this article by Aakar Patel.
Those who claim shock at the event in Kathua should know: this is exactly what majoritarianism looks like. Shock indicates surprise at a thing unexpected. That we choose to look away most times doesn’t mean
it doesn’t happen all the time.
- Muslims are second-rate and possibly third-rate citizens of this republic. It shouldn’t take one event for us to realise this. I don’t want to bang on about Hindutva again, it having become our official religion, but the drip drip drip poison that it has injected into our polity has done the job fully.
- Much hand-wringing has happened among the great and good, including the PM again, after the firestorm over the Prevention of Atrocities Act. It was a fine law that the Supreme Court has undone in more ways than it realises. The government has asked it to reverse the decision, but there is no conviction in the demand. Not because of anything specific, but that the record of Hindutva on Dalit rights doesn’t inspire confidence.
- This government can side either with its core constituency, the urban upper castes whom we call the middle class, or with Dalits. The middle class is fundamentally anti-Dalit, even though it will resist this formulation. The litmus test is to ask yourself: ‘Do I support reservations?’ This will produce clarity, and of course the answer from the middle class will be ‘no’ (accompanied by a lesson on ‘merit’).
- At the moment it is doing what it accuses others of: tokenism. “Ambedkar doesn’t need any honouring. What have you done for Dalits?”
- The Bhim Army’s leader Chandrashekhar Azad ‘Ravan’ resisted the Thakurs. In a state where the chief minister, Yogi Adityanath, is Thakur, this meant that Azad would be acted against and he was. The incident happened last year, but he remains in jail. A day after he got bail, and the court said that the charge against him was politically motivated, he was rearrested under the National Security Act.
- To empower the oppressed, the strong must be forced to give some way. This will sting but it will mean progress.