If Asiya Andrabi had been a Hindu in an Islamic country and had she tried to assert her religious right, she would have been Supurd-e-Khaak by now. She must thank her stars that she was born in a Hindu majority country where mocking and insulting Hindu sensitivities is not only tolerated by the state, but also encouraged by those vocal and media savvy Hindus identified as "seculars".
Think of those like us who have been brought up to worship the cow as their mother, who have been continuously fed stories by Hindu leaders and their ideological mentors that killing a cow is a sin, who were told by them that Shivaji never tolerated killing of cows and had the butchers put on a death row when they did so. Today they choose to keep mum, silently watching something they never imagined.
Some showcase their meat eating habits in a bazaar, standing with a knife and watching blood ooze out of the slaughtered animal. This is considered a rightful, legitimate act - made acceptable to a secular nation by a just, fair, objective and secular media.
We had heard of such incidents only when an invader wanted to teach a lesson to the subjugated people. We had heard that when a Muslim assaulter wanted to humiliate us, he had the Harmandir Saheb, a holy pond in Amritsar, filled with cow blood. Everyone condemned it and now it is a sad, reprehensible act in our collective memory. Maharaja Ranjit Singh too banned cow slaughter and all the Sikh Gurus held it sacred.
Today, the vagaries of political expediency ensure that even Sikh authorities keep silence on this issue, even though there is a coalition government in Punjab.Hindus standing against Hindus has cost the community a Somnath in every period of our history. A studied silence on assaults in the hope that the slaughterer will have mercy one day has resulted in the majority becoming refugees in their own land.
It is astonishingly surprising how Hindus have learnt to live with their assaulters in a meek way since we gained independence. The demographic invasion by the neighbours, the last forgotten days of the founder president of Bharatiya Janasangh in Srinagar, the mocking of the highest revered book, in fact the very first book of the world, Rgveda, the caricaturing of Hindu monks into some kind of foolish, outdated junk, the fossilisation of Hindu organisations into semi-literate, anti-women, anti-minorities and against all those human values that make a person acceptably civil - all this has become a trend in a fashionable, rich society, with the people often getting close to the ruling elite, whatever their colour or belief may be.
We forget the recent history when Hindu temples were looted and images of their deities burnt, while the seculars turned their faces the other way. When an octogenarian Laxmananand Saraswati was silenced forever by alienated violent groups professing another faith. Such incidents never become an issue of public debate. Rather, they are shown as false, fabricated stories by Hindu zealots. When a celebrated music composer works on a Sufi theme, he is a great hero, but when he receives a threat from Islamic clerics, silence is the norm adopted by the secular sirens.
Some did write a few books on the assaults suffered by the Hindus, though a bit apologetically as if we are in a Saudi land, and so much was the marginalisation of the persecuted Hindus that such a literature remained limited to the assertive groups only, never gaining a mention in the secular magazines' pages. They were forced to leave their homes, orchards, their songs and festivals - forced to die and an entire generation lost a part of their land and sense of belonging. Nothing happened to make their woes a national concern.Like air-crash victims or sufferers of natural calamities, some received compensation, some relief material, some admissions in schools and colleges on compassionate ground. But life remained normal as ever. The nation remained busy in other important work - elections, disruptions and again elections and then the formation of the new government, terror attacks, bomb blasts, and again swearing to end terrorism. It's now a routine exercise.
Some thought there are traitors in the Valley who demand secession and flock to meet the Pakistani high commissioner. It's another kind of a Jiyarat for those who want to have another Partition.
Still some think they are honourable political Satyagrahis. They get all the government funds to travel, enjoy a strong security bandobast and regular health check-ups at the expense of the patriotic Indian taxpayer.
The demand to have the bovine cattle slaughtered in Kashmir valley - openly at Lal Chowk - has nothing to do with the supposedly irresistible taste of cow meat or a presumptuous religious dictate not enshrined in the Quran or the Shariat . Beef fest during Eid is undoubtedly aimed to tease and hit the Indian state and send a message to the rulers in Delhi - look, we are openly challenging your sovereign authority and defying the high court orders. Do whatever you can.
Beef eating, as a challenge to India, and its public display as an act of bravado is like destroying the temple at Ram Janma Bhoomi - which was meant to humiliate the subjugated Hindus and show them their place. It's a political act that has nothing to do with culinary practice or religion.
The deafening silence of the Hindu outfits and preachers on the nauseatingly hateful statements of the Asiya Andrabis from the north to the south of this country arises from some noble wish to keep peace. Hindus must leave the Valley to make peace with jihadis. They must keep mum as they watch their icon of religious reverence slaughtered openly, only because it helps to keep peace. Hindus shouldn't demand that the national anthem be sung in the Valley's schools and they have a greater responsibility and shouldn't provide the slightest chance to provoke assaulters.The powerful decide the rules. Like we saw in Chennai Express, the station is where the goon wants to disembark.How media moguls mock at the innocent and accurate depiction of women power during Rgvedic times. The intellectuals of the secular shade pounce upon statements of RSS-inspired history organisation. These are the "know-it-alls" who have "read" the Vedas, the Upanishads, the Puranas. They think those who speak anything favourable about Indian culture must be as vehemently countered and mocked at as was done during the British. They know Gargi, Maitreyi, the rebellious Janaki, mother of Nachiketa- the challenger to the god of death. They even know about the annihilator of the wicked Durga, Andal, and Velu Nachiar - who descended on the earth from Mars and Venus. They had nothing to do with the ethos and culture of this land.
So Aurangzeb, a ruthless father of the ISIS we see today must be defended. A nationalist icon of a resurgent nation, our prime minister must be opposed in foreign lands like modern day Mir Jaffers, the reprehensible acts of violence against left-wing authors must be blamed on Hindu organisations even before the probe begins, and defenders of the Hindu faith must be put on the defensive using the powerful tools of journalism in a partisan manner.
There remains not a single newspaper in this country - a part of the mainstream media - that would agree to publishing the views that differ with their own. So much for free press and its objectivity.
Roads and power lines do not make a nation. Remember the fate of the Soviet Union. It is the core values a nation represents that must be safeguarded - for India, this means we respect the sensitivities of all citizens and protect the rights of the minority, irrespective of how small they are.
Pluralism doesn't translate into the display of your animal instincts to a religious group that has suffered exodus at the hands of Andrabis' cousins. What is most shocking is the silence of the so-called "liberal, secular Muslim intellectuals" who had progressed not only because of their talent and brilliance but also because Hindus supported them.