Saturday, May 18, 2002
My first impression on reading Dilip D'Souza's Life and death: the pseudo-patriotic way was that it was very similar to the article by Rajeev Srinivasan earlier this week. The same politicially correct four words for the recently dead of the Jammu attack. And then, back to the rightist-bashing agenda. But, that was only my first impression.
Nevertheless, there is truth in many things he says. He recounts how a journalist shot off mails to all secular writers just hours after the attack accusing them and human-rights organisations of hypocrisy - even before they'd heard of the event itself! :
Nor was his the only such message -- it was only the first. Many others have since floated in, just as willing to flail at human rights organisations, pseudo-secularists, journalists like me.
I, too, have seen this happen - just after the Godhra attack. Here - on IIT's newsgroups. However, it surprised me to see that there was no such uproar after the Jammu attacks. No flurry of postings. No lambasting of pseudo-seculars. No cries of "Where are the secularists now?". Just silence. As though the people who most continually raise the Kashmir issue had not even noticed that 30 people had been killed. Or maybe it was because no brownie points could be scored against "pseudo-secularists" by quoting it.
His pleas to think before we rush off to war with Pakistan are also worth listening to:
So before gangs of pseudo-patriots -- whether the email jockey sort or the fire-breathing politician sort -- do their worst, let's try to think some things through.
Of course, his term "pseudo-patriot" is the fitting response to the right-wing label of "pseudo-secularist" imposed on secular thinkers.
And there is at least one way in which it is, arguably, more horrifying. The people who set Gujarat on fire were not some shadowy armed Pakistanis who were themselves shot dead eventually. They were perfectly ordinary Indians, most of whom have resumed their ordinary Indian lives. That is, in Godhra and Ahmedabad, the killers could very well have included your nearby ration-shop owner, your local optician, your friendly neighbours who lend you a few spoons of sugar when you run out. The people who burned your brother, or raped and killed your daughter, or slashed your father into bloody bits, are the people whom you lived with every day, whom you must live with every day even now.
And far from demanding action, we are actually rationalising away the slaughter. It was "inevitable", it "had to happen", it was the result of "general frustration" and an "apartheid" that's apparently in force in India: how many times have you read phrases like that applied to Gujarat? [What would you think if you read a column that made out that the Jammu killings happened because of "general frustration"?]
stand out in memory as excellent passages - ones that capture precisely the horror of Gujarat and immorality of rightist justification.
posted by Kensy |
I don't really know. But I don't really care either. Pseudo-patriots interest me minimally