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Mob Lynching in India

With the increasing cases of mob lynching in India, it's getting more and more important to reach at the root cause of the problem and to address it as passionately as it is being practised.

Meetali Asiwal

@ English content writer | Posted 22 Jul, 2018 | Current Topics

Posted By: Meetali Asiwal (Posted 22 Jul, 2018)

The Mob, the Nation, and the Nationalism

Mob lynching in India has become the new normal. A new case with each day, and the same old news, comments, firing by the opposition, and backfiring by the ruling party. Nothing new, everything normal. Anyhow, talking of firing and backfiring, let’s talk of the most recent event, the no-confidence motion, that happened on Friday.

Respected Prime Minister, Narendra Modi addressed the issue of Mob lynching in the no-confidence motion by calling it a heinous act which should be condemned and against which, actions should be taken all over the country. Meanwhile, on Friday itself, another case of mob lynching came forward in Alwar, Rajasthan. The irony! Upon this incident the Union Minister AR Meghwal comments, "The more popular Modi ji becomes, the more such incidents will happen. During Bihar election, it was 'Award Wapsi', during Uttar Pradesh election, it was mob lynching. In the 2019 elections, it'll be something else. The incident is a reaction to Modi's schemes.” The comment was called “bizarre” by a news report, reporting the event.

Too many facts in a go, indeed! Now let’s come to the reflections. So a mob lynching took place while our PM was condemning it, and a Union Minister says that it is because of the popularity of PM that these incidents are happening so frequently and on such a large scale. And the cherry on the cake is, his comment was called “bizarre”. Quite a complicated way of politicising a social event. But of course, this also is nothing but a norm in this democratic country. 

One wonders and questions the ideals of democracy and diversity on which our country is said to be standing when he looks at current incidents of mob lynching. What kind of Democracy is this? What kind of Diversity is this? And most importantly, what happened historically, politically, and socially, that our nation became such a horrendous site of bigotry? 

The first answer that comes to our mind, when we think on these questions is Hindutva Nationalism. That’s what Minister Meghwal’s comment points at. However, one would think that PM himself, along with the Home Minister, is condemning the unfortunate event and its frequency and therefore Meghwal’s comment holds no ground. This is exactly where one fails to see the gravity of the comment.

The ruling party sure calls mob lynching the act against democracy and the values of the nation, but consciously or unconsciously, the party’s ideologies themselves are the point of origin of this violence. No big group like RSS or Shiva Sena needs to participate actively to inflict violence on the people of different ideologies now, because they have been successful in conditioning the mind of the “nation” collectively. Even if it is only partly, they have become successful in making the nation essentially Hindu. They have created a collective consciousness which functions on its own now.

So politically, it’s not the state that is practising coercion on Muslims and Dalits who don’t follow the essential Hindu norms and want to follow their cultural practises unhindered. In its stead, it’s the subjects of the states whom the ruling party has won hegemonically by setting a few examples back in past, who use coercion and inflict the “extrajudicial punishments” for not following the norms of a Hindu nation. Call whatever you want to call it –an incomplete democratic project (which will always remain incomplete perhaps) or a complete Hindutva nationalism project (which is certainly different, even antithetical in some regards, from the Indian nationalism).   

The other reason of these mob lynching activities is the leniency of law and order and the mismanaged administration which again puts the Modi government under the lens of doubt and question. It’s deeply saddening that our nation has failed to ensure the justice, so much so that people are forced to take law in their hands collectively. This reflection however, also raises a question.

If mob lynching has a motive as innocent as punishing those who really ought to be punished by the law, then why don’t rapists are served with such violence as severely as Muslims, Dalits, and all those Indians who belong to minorities? Certainly, it’s not only about law and order, which is anyway weak and not cared for even by the aggressive mobs.

I wish someone could create such subjects hegemonically too who would punish the ones who really deserve to be punished. But no, this can’t be so. Because hegemony can only be practised by someone as popular as Modi Ji. And come on, why would he create mobs to murder the rapists. They don’t defy any Hindu ideal. They neither eat beef nor buy and sell cattle as a cultural practise. Alas! The real offenders of the nation, like rapists will have to do only with silent and ineffective candle marches.