An Open Letter to RSS Chief Mohan Bhagwat
You cannot be more 'right', pun vehemently intended. I am one of the many today outraged by your remarks that rapes happen only in India and not in Bharat. And that they happen because of the evil West. (Heard of fascism? Never mind.) I see a serious shortage of vernacular newspapers and TV channels in your Nagpur office. May I suggest, with utmost humility, an increase in their subscriptions? Also, the Swadeshi TV there may need a set-top box. You get more channels that way!
Dear Sir, in such a misinformed Nagpur air, I don't expect you to know (since you're also busy editing the 50-something shades of Paanchjanya or reading the latest on Swadeshi martial art technologies) about the numerous rapes and abuse of women in India's villages, tehsils, forests and coal mines. You may also choose to deny that sexual violence has been an essential tool of your organisation's brutalisation of its Muslims and Christians. Sir, you may also choose to look the other way when I remind you of your followers from the same Bharat who raped women of a certain community in Gujarat in 2002.
Look at what some of your comrades on the 'Indian' side are up to. A senior woman leader of your political outfit, the BJP, once famously declared that she would shave her head, eat boiled grams and sleep on the floor if another woman from your India (you and your organisation abhor her foreign origin) is elected India's Prime Minister. That she, with a stroke of genius, endorsed the inhuman ways in which the widows in your Bharat are treated, didn't rattle you at all. Another Bharatiya minister from a state you love, Madhya Pradesh, has just said that women in Bharat should be like Sita, only more careful. These men and women of yours seem to have learnt a lot from your ancient guru, Manu who exhorted the Hindus (which is the same as Indians for you and your organisation) to even beat them up if they did not fall in line. I am sure you have heard of the 'dhol, ganwar, shudra, pashu, naari...' conundrum. Of course, all of them reside in Bharat, and quite often in India too.
Your love for the rural Bharat, with its tribals, villagers, minorities and its poverty, illiteracy, social anarchy - in other words, a perfect setting for a reactionary agenda to bloom like a lotus - is well-known and documented. But I really wish you had not taken a unilateral ownership of Bharat and let others also claim it. But then unilateralism goes hand-in-glove with your other favourite ideas like patriarchy and chauvinism, doesn't it?
However, Sir, while you are too busy rampaging India's amazingly resilient harmony, the nation out there has changed, no matter what you want to call it. (Frankly, it doesn't even matter.) That it's now a nation with a median age of 25. That people of that age are young, aspirational and idealistic dreamers. They know the hypocrisy and futility behind any parochial idea and refuse to believe in them. They are the ones out on the streets, fighting for a better nation. They also (and this may break your heart) know your bluff.
I really, really wish you and your organisation knew better, Sir.
Yours truly (who also declares his freedom from your binary),
More about Nadim Asrar
After his repeated attempts at being an academic failed, Nadim decided to be a web professional. Before joining IBNLive.com as Editor, News Features in November 2010, he worked with the timesofindia.com as Assistant News Editor for more than two years. Nadim was awarded the MacArthur Foundation fellowship for his PhD in Asian Literatures, Cultures and Media at the University of Minnesota, US. He was also awarded the Ford Foundation-IFP fellowship in 2004 for his masters in Film Studies at the University of Kansas, US. He is the author of 'The Muslim Others of Indian Cinema: Questions of Nation and Narration', published in 2010 by the Lambert Academic Publishing, Germany. Nadim studied journalism at the Aligarh Muslim University. He was elected President of the AMU Students' Union in 1999.
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