Civilisation is an attitude. It is a sophistication of the mind. Very few people acquire such sophistication. The vast majority remain as barbarian as the ancient savage was. There may be one difference, however. While the ancient savages inflicted physical violence on real enemies, today’s savages tend to assault the individual’s self-confidence psychologically projecting the individual as a perceived enemy.
Physical violence has not vanished altogether. Most terrorist attacks are physical annihilations. Attacks on the Dalits and Muslims in India by the so-called vigilantes are often both physical and psychological. Tying up people and lashing their buttocks before a crowd is more a psychological attack than physical. So is urinating on someone’s face or forcing someone to eat cow-dung.
PM Modi has publicly admitted that 4 out of 5 of these vigilantes are criminals taking advantage of the situation. RSS has taken exception to the PM’s statistics. It may be 3 out of 5, instead of the PM’s 4. One is left wondering what the other two of the five are and what drove them into the company of criminals.
Whether we define the vigilantes as criminals or volunteers or whatever, one thing is certain: their barbarism is often both physical and psychological and sometimes only psychological. What is only psychological may be done by the minority among them whichever statistics we may accept.
Psychological violence is an assault on the self-confidence of the people.
Right from the time Mr Modi became the PM, there have been various forms of assaults on the minority communities and Dalits. The assaults are designed in such a way as to undermine the self-confidence of the people belonging to those identities. It is an attack on the identity, in fact. The victims cannot even defend themselves because their very defence will immediately be projected as antinational.
These nationalist vigilantes are nothing but savages at heart if we look at what they do to their enemies. There have always been savages in every society in any period. Which kind of savagery comes to the forefront is determined by the prevailing ideology. So the Sangh Parivar can take pride in all the buttock-bashing, face-urinating and shit-feeding that is being perpetrated across North India.
Civilising savages is an impossible mission. However, we may at least make them understand that the kind of parochial nationalism they espouse is antithetical to the spirit of globalisation that their leader, Mr Narendra Modi, has embraced. How can the followers erect communal fences around little fiefdoms when their leader is out there most of the time, far beyond the national borders, inviting people to come in with investments and technology?
It is high time that the cow-vigilantes are taken to the government primary schools most of which are vacant and given a nice spanking on their bums before making them squat and learn the basic lessons about their leader’s internationally vaunted goals and objectives.