R G Collingwood, professor of
metaphysics, regards civilisation as an attitude which enables ideal social relationships of
‘civility’. In practice, this means
becoming progressively less violent, more scientific and more inclusive. This
never happens, though. Most people remain savages at heart. Scratch any
civilisation and savagery will bleed out.
If there is a
little support from the government, even tacit support, then savagery will
become the dominant force in any nation. Savagery appeals far more to people in
general than civilisation. Let us take a quick glance at what is happening to
society and the polity in India have been transformed into sites of discursive
and physical violence, increasing fidelity to myths and superstitions, and burgeoning
hatred of certain communities – just the opposite of what Collingwood described
as characteristics of civilisation.
situation is largely a creation of the government at the Centre which is doing
all that it can to convert India into a Hindu nation. Making Gandhi a Hindu
icon, pitting Patel against Nehru, and designating 14 Aug as Partition Horror
Memorial Day are just a few examples of reshaping history and thus reshaping
the nation itself. Institutions, persons and practices that embody secular
ideals are attacked systematically one way or another. Savarkar and Godse are made
open calls for genocide of both Muslims and Christians, the former bearing the
larger brunt. The Dharam Sansads convened in Haridwar and Delhi in Dec 2021
pledged to exterminate Muslims from India altogether. The Haridwar Sansad started
with making a public mockery of the Indian Constitution which was brought on
the stage and lampooned. Soon the audience was exhorted to take up arms against
Muslims. One of the speakers said that if he was an MP in Manmohan Singh’s
parliament, he would have pumped bullet after bullet into Dr Singh’s heart for
defending the rights of India’s minorities. Another said, “If we have to finish
their (Muslim) population, we are ready to kill and go to jail.” In the Delhi
Sansad, 250 people took a solemn pledge to kill the minority community people
in order to facilitate the creation of a Hindu nation.
This is just
how Nazism ran its roots in the German soil. Collingwood cites the Nazi Germany
as an example of a highly uncivilised nation.
claiming to be the cradle of an ancient civilisation while perpetrating
atrocities against chosen people. Collingwood must be sneering in his grave.
the most conspicuous characteristic of the present dispensation in India. In
the first three years of Modi’s tenure as Prime Minister, a research report
found that 97% of all cow-related violence in India came after he came into
power in Delhi. The Indian Express reported on 20 Jan 2020 that offences
promoting enmity between groups more than doubled over 2016. From 478 case in
2016, the number rose to 958 in 2017 and 1114 in 2018. The numbers for the next
years will come in due course of time. Will we be shocked? Or will we feel
depends on what bleeds out when your civilisation is scratched.
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