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Xenophobic Delights


Narendra Modi made nationalism India’s national pastime. The kind of nationalism that he advocates is a very narrow-minded view which amounts to his personal conviction that India is the greatest country because he was born in it. Hand in hand with that narcissism walks xenophobia. Modi’s xenophobia is not so much fear as hatred of the others. He has succeeded in raising hatred to the stature of a virtue. In 2019, Time reported that 90% of the hate crimes in the past decade happened during Modi’s reign as PM. Today, three years later, that figure will be higher, no doubt. 99% of hate crimes in the last decade in India must have happened with Modi’s tacit support.

In 2016, an online dictionary cited xenophobia as the word of the year. The ascent of Trump with his kind of xenophobia is what prompted the dictionary to highlight that word. Trump hated a whole lot of people. He got along very well with Modi, however. Similar souls who had many things to hate and few to love.

Xenophobia is a serious problem in many parts of the world today. While globalisation opened up the borders of nations, it made many people wary of others who came from different countries. As Shashi Tharoor writes in his book, The Battle of Belonging, the complexities of globalisation created a lot of nationalism and xenophobia. You find their expression “in Brexit and the Hungarians sealing their borders, both Hindutva in India and the rise of Alternative für Deutschland in Germany.”

Hindutva hates not only people of other countries but also the minority communities of its own country. This kind of xenophobia is nothing new, of course. The 15th century Spain expelled Muslims and Jews because of xenophobia. The European conquest of America led to the extermination or enslavement of the native people. The Americans may pretend to be tolerant and broadminded. But the truth is that they are as bigoted as any others. They considered the Italian immigrants as racially inferior. They hated Irish Catholicism. Asians in America were subjects of many stereotypes. Hate crimes against Asians rose in America by 150% since Covid-19 broke out. Outside America, many of the genocides in 20th century owed themselves to xenophobia. India has joined that gang of xenophobes under Modi’s leadership.

There is something uniquely peculiar to xenophobia in India. It is a kind of entertainment here. Take this example, one among hundreds. A young man is tied up, bleeding profusely all over his body, hands folded, and is lynched by a mob that tells him to chant Jai Sri Ram and Jai Hanuman. Just imagine that scene. Can you see the fervour of the assaulters as they utter the names of their gods? Can you feel the horror of it? Can you see the mockery they make of their religion? This happened in Jharkhand on 22 June 2019. The victim, Tabrez Ansari, was beaten for hours until he died.

Pardon me for citing one more example. Two days after the attack on Ansari, a 26-year-old Muslim teacher was thrown out of a train in West Bengal. His attackers too chanted Jai Sri Ram.

I can go on with umpteen such examples. It’s horrifying. But every time I imagine such scenes, I find a tickle poking me between my ribs subduing my feelings of horror. The tickle tells me that I live in an India which has become more ludicrous than horrifying. My India is enjoying the delights of xenophobia.

PS. I am participating in #BlogchatterA2Z

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Comments

  1. All I can feel is pain in today's post. Many turning blind eye to such crimes pains me more.....don't know what to do....


    Dropping by from a to z "The Pensive"

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. It's deeply painful. What pains me more is that the Supreme Pontiff of this system is getting increasingly popular. I find that ludicrously painful.

      Delete
  2. Hari OM
    It really does ache deep within, does it not Tomichan? One does despair... YAM xx
    X=Xanthic

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Yes, Yamini. A thousand yeses.

      By the way, your comment to my last post disappeared as soon as i responded to it. My response too vanished. Mystery.

      Delete
    2. Hari Om
      Blogger/Google are trying to 'improve' on something that wasn't broken because it doesn't look current... comments are disappearing, or going to spam, and all sorts of peculiar things. Each day is different - it will settle. Eventually! Yxx

      Delete
  3. Violence makes me xenophobic. The perpetrators of the violence according me have no religion and unfortunately there are thousands on both sides, all sides of the 'non-violence' line. And no commune, no country in this world is free from such perpetrators.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Violence has religion, Anagha. As long as violence is committed in the name of gods, it has religion. To say things like "terrorism has no religion" is to blind ourselves to certain obvious truths.

      Delete
  4. Reading and watching such events are a big trigger for me like many, but I wonder how is that hate has been so easily able to spread its roots in the masses. Can we always blame the politicians? Why is it that the common man is so blind today?

    ReplyDelete

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