Bye bye 2014, welcome 2015

Vikram Kilpady
Vikram KilpadyDec 31, 2014 | 18:01

Bye bye 2014, welcome 2015

Here’s to 2015. A whole new 365 days to enjoy, revel and waste in the pursuit of happiness. But before the champagne crowd pops the bubbly later, let’s bid bye to 2014, a momentous year for India. Voting in a government with a simple majority, whatever the vote share, has been a singular feat for the people who reposed their faith in development accompanied by multimedia vans with holograms and other wizardry. Holograms are fine but when the time to deliver promises made in crowd-pleasing jest and rhetorical flashes of finger-pointing and grandstanding, the government better not turn out to be hollow.

With the internet and social media becoming circus grounds for many to vent their spleen, India looked on as development made way for the debate on conversion and re-conversion. We’ll come to this theme later on.

Disasters are not made but happen. There are other kinds of tragedies that are entirely man-made. Like the Peshawar massacre where 132 children and their teachers were killed in cold blood by the Taliban. This is despite the Pakistan internal intelligence warning of such attacks a few months ahead of the incident. Callousness maybe a sub-continental trait but India, along with the world, mourned the killing which came just after the joint Nobel Peace Prize to Indian child rights activist Kailash Satyarthi and Pakistan’s Malala Yousafzai. Many posted un-publishable photos of corpses and body parts on social media, now that the media’s gatekeepers don’t decide what is fit to print in the 140-character world of Twitter. Many were outraged at the fundoos of Islam. Many blamed the religion for the fanatics’ act of wanton bloodshed. Many changed their WhatsApp profile pictures to a lone candle in solidarity with those parents whose children didn’t escape the bullets.

Students in Navi Mumbai hold candles and pray for the victims of Peshawar attack. PTI Photo 

But, as often the case is, many in this country would not have heard of Javkhede Khalasa-Kasarwadi in Ahmednagar district of Maharashtra. Nor did I. Until a Dalit family of three, a man, his wife and their 19-year-old son, were found killed and their mutilated body parts strewn on their land in October this year. The torso of the son, Sunil, was found in a well. Preliminary reports of the crime spoke of an alleged affair between an upper caste woman and a member of the family, attributed to sources. It seemed to justify the horror unleashed on the family since it seemed to insinuate that a member of the Dalit family was acting way out of line and had to be disciplined by hacking the whole family.

The killing occurred some ten days before Devendra Fadnavis assumed charge as the BJP’s first chief minister of Maharashtra. There were protests by Dalit organisations after the crime came to light but no one seemed to be interested barring Dalits and some others aghast at the crime. Some staged a protest when Fadnavis was being sworn in and were promptly cleared after a lathicharge.

How many candles were lit for Sunil and his parents, Sanjay and Jayashree Jadhav? I don’t know, I can’t see much in the darkness of silence. Can you, dear reader? The candle is a powerful tool to express sympathy, ignore the ills of the system and continue to carry on with our usual busy lives in the 21st century.

Someone should tell Fadnavis to find out what’s happened to the case. Have the killers been brought to book for killing the Dalit family? Or will they even?

The Sangh Parivar is all gung-ho to “reconvert” Muslims and Christians back into the Hindu fold. Someone should ask the leaders of the Sangh Parivar this: When you pitch for converting poor Muslims (usually Pasmanda) and Christians, do you tell them that any one of the castes in the varna system are “automatically superior” to the neo-converts’ caste since they will return to being outcastes.

And that they or their children can be killed and carved into body parts if they insulted or harmed the ways of Hindu society. In Peshawar, the Taliban gunned the poor children and their teachers. In Javkhede Khalasa-Kasarwadi, the anger was worse, the hacking gorier and deliberate. Will people re-convert to Hinduism after they know of the ghastly future that could await them? Are such crimes the best advertisements for your cause?

Last updated: December 31, 2014 | 18:01
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