Listen to the Grasshoppers!

I pen down these lines after watching ‘The Big City Debate’ in CNN-IBN, some minutes before. The debate revolved around the recent assaults on North Indian people (UP and Bihar migrants) in Mumbai. It should have been a surprise to common south Indians who have very less idea of the dialects and differences between the Hindi–speaking people.

Today morning had a glimpse of ‘The Week’ magazine hanging over in a shop, with the front cover depicting Raj Thackrey as Hitler. I seriously wonder whether it’s a condemnation or a flattery. Even I doubt what would be the feelings of so-called Mumbaikars while repeatedly watching the footages of hapless taxi drivers and paanwalas getting beaten up by Sena hoodlums. Will it incur remorse or a sense of celebration? After what Gujarat has taught to us, do the vague moral preach of restraint hold any value? When Raj Thackrey openly thanks Vilasrao deshmukh for not arresting him, yet another time proving that Thackrey Dons cannot be arrested for any reason, do debates make any point? What’s the purpose of a debate after they finish off all they want to do and what’s the result of such a debate? Is this not a part of the Tamasha? Do they give such a ‘democratic space’ to Naxalites, Kashmir and Manipuri fighters? When compared to Sena, these ‘anti-nationals’ have done less violence on innocent masses. But how come Sena is always credible for a debate? One of the panelists, rebuking the idea of ‘locals’, said even for the formation of Maharashtra, several Telegu and Kannadiga people have died in the fight. Does that make any sense to frenzied proud Mumbaikars?

What a farce? Why should Raj Thackrey fight for the ‘cause’ of Mumbaikars alone? What about the peasant suicides of Vidharbha for the last six years? Don’t they belong to his state? Which ‘North Indian’ is responsible for 4,453 suicides accounted by P.Sainath? Why there is a selective silence on farm suicides while such a hue and cry is made over Amitabh bachan opening a college? Now this is what perfect fascism is. In Gujarat Muslims have to ‘prove their sincerity’ to the state and Now, North Indians are slapped to ‘prove their sincerity’ to Mumbai. Growth is ‘Trickling down’.

First they came for the Communists, and I didn’t speak up,
because I wasn’t a Communist.
Then they came for the Jews, and I didn’t speak up,
because I wasn’t a Jew.
Then they came for the Catholics, and I didn’t speak up,
because I was a Protestant.
Then they came for me, and by that time there was no one left
to speak up for me.

– Martin Niemöller

Hearing the same words again and again from Gujarat to Nandigram to Mumbai…‘Insider’, ‘Outsider’, ‘Pride’ (Asmita / Garv), ‘spontaneous outbursts’, ‘Tarnishing the image’ ‘Development’ etc., etc., In her recent speech in Istanbul, Arundhathi Roy vividly captures the synthesis of Fascism in Indian and international context, the dangerous mix of fanaticism and ‘development’. She narrates the massacre of Armenians and how those naïve people sensed the bad omen days before, with swarms of grasshoppers arriving in their village. Grasshoppers fly all over India… Modi Masks in Gujarat…Mumbaikar Masks in Mumbai…Red Masks in Nandigram…India is a fast-growing nation. Indeed, growing very fast in Fascism.

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