Why blame only Modi-Shah when we all have blood on our hands?
There is blood on my hands. And I know from Lady Macbeth that “all the perfumes of Arabia couldn’t make my little hands smell better.” So, I will turn to Madame Defarge instead and knit into words my indictment – make manifest the complicity of my fellow travelers who refuse to smell their hands as carnage spreads across some of Delhi’s most disadvantaged areas.
The Ring Leaders, Prime Minister, Modi’s government and the Home Minister, Amit Shah, it takes no genius to know this could have been nipped in the bud: a task force formed, the police force instructed to step in and put a stop to rioting, reinforcements sent where needed, rescue and relief operations run effectively. This is the nation’s capital, for god’s sake. This is happening under your nose. You have the power you need. You got this. Except you don’t want to. You want the city to burn. And your complicity runs deeper.
BJP, You Let Blood Lust Slide For Your Quest for Power
Days after you gently criticized extreme polarizing statements made by your party leaders during the Delhi election campaign, another one of your party leaders, Kapil Mishra, made comments that arguably incited this round of violence. Now we all know you rule with an iron hand so there can only be one explanation for why he has not been prosecuted – he is your mouthpiece.
Members of the BJP, I know for a fact that not all of you believe in murder, in bloodshed, in criminal intimidation, in completely tearing the fabric of the society asunder. You simply went along with polarization in your quest for power – letting it slide as long as there was promise of votes, seats, influence, money. And now the poison your fellow party members pumped in is spilling on to the streets rendering blue and lifeless all that was good and great about India.
Delhi Police, You Have More in Common With Mercenaries Burning Down the City
Delhi Police, we get it – you are not always free to carry out your duties faithfully. It is a sorry existence. You are underpaid, ill equipped, under-trained, and at the mercy of your political masters. But this time around you can no longer hide behind these excuses. You did not follow the SOPs, perhaps willfully. Your brutality on ground is not simply the banality of evil. The video evidence is for all to see and it tells the story of your evil intent, of your own vile bigotry, and of your unpardonable inhumanity.
The mercenaries and ideologues who have relentlessly poisoned the hearts and minds of young Indians – fed their fears and insecurities, honed their worst instincts, and put them on the streets to fight against their own people, to burn down the idea of India that ought to have been at the root of their nationalistic pride, to wage a battle that no one is going to win, to risk their lives for a false cause - while their handlers reap the bloody fruits of what they have sowed.
Kejriwal, You Could Not Muster Political Will
The newly-elected Delhi government and Arvind Kejriwal - believe me, we know you don’t control the police – you have never let us forget that. But your jig is up. Why were the central forces not asked for in time? What were the District Magistrates doing? They report to you, right?
Where are the Mohalla peace committees you could have formed using the goodwill have with your voters for having done good work with infrastructure, health and education?
Where is your bit for rescue and relief and for supervision of hospitals bursting to the seams with the injured? Your election victory weeks ago was proof that where there is a will, there is a way. Your grievous acts of omission as Delhi burns make it amply clear that you could not muster political will when it mattered the most.
Congress, Where is the Nehru in You When You Need Him the Most?
Sonia Gandhi’s press conference did more to make the government react to the orchestrated violence underway than deafening pleas for help from across the city. What took her so long? The Congress is no longer politically relevant but is power the only raison d’être of an organization so intrinsically linked with the very being of this country?
You never tire of claiming Nehru’s legacy, making social media infomercials on his achievements. You know what else Nehru did? When he was going around Delhi in 1947, he found a communal clash breaking out near Connaught Place. He jumped out from his car, broke his security cordon, ran into the crowd, intervened and stopped the clash.
If there is nothing else you can do just go into the streets and try to stop the clash, put your bodies where your mouth is.
Then do some more - send your cadres out to help, organize your student members, make more noise. And while you are at it, make a solemn pledge to not give Rahul Gandhi another chance.
Bigoted Media, You Have Fed the Monster
Armchair journalists who made entire prime time shows out of asking if the BJP was finally course correcting because the home minister belatedly condemned extremist statements in the wake of the BJP’s defeat in the Delhi elections. Your naivete borders on wilful denial. Hate is a powerful emotion. It does not come with sophisticated temperature control settings. There is no thermostat. It cannot simply be turned off or dialled back. There is only one thing to do once you have created the monster – feed it.
The editors and media owners who have turned the fourth pillar of democracy into a product factory run on the singular principle of profit. There is no dearth of brave and brilliant journalists in this country but there is complete lack of infrastructure and monetary support for on ground reportage and investigations that allows heavily funded propagandist TV channels to dominate the discourse and fan the flames that are coming for us all.
We, the Lovers of Revolution, Have Provoked the Defenceless to Fight
The civil society that showed up in hordes at protest sites such as Shaheen Bagh egging the poorest of poor to protest, giving them a sense of hope and security that the country stands behind them – that they are not alone. Except they are. Today as Muslims are being beaten up, brutalized, killed, their financial lives destroyed, their homes pillaged for demanding their Constitutional rights ‘Hum Dekhenge’ assumes a whole new meaning. Ensconced in safe spaces in the more privileged areas of Delhi, we the lovers of revolution, are able to do nothing to protect them except watch and virtue signal on Twitter.
The commentators who will begin to heave sighs of relief and laud the government for acting when it finally does – as it surely will sooner or later, believing it to be a victory of their outrage. There is method in the madness. There is a target for the unrest. Kristallnacht was but one night but it set the stage for the Third Reich. The message was sent, loud and clear. Jews were to be second class citizens, live or die at the mercy of the majority of the population as led by Hitler, and if they dared to protest their fate would only get worse.
Judiciary, Your Nibs Are All Broken
The judiciary has so completely abdicated its commitment to the rule of law. Too little comes too late. You want things to go back to normal before you even begin to hear the pleas. You have let down the victims so many times that we are now a democracy only in name. That the perfectly regular acts of a few good judges seem revolutionary. That there is nowhere left to go to ask for justice.
The lifeblood of our Constitution flowed in the nibs of the pens of the judiciary. The nibs are now all broken. The final order for the country is a collective black warrant.
Our Hands Are Getting Bloodier With Each Drop of Blood Spilling on Delhi Streets
Every single artist who is silent. Your expression has no moral authority left. Hang up your tools.
Every single citizen who is looking the other way.
Never before has the impact of geography been so obvious as it is today. Life in the cafes, the bars, the gardens, the schools, the workplaces of South and Central Delhi continues unaffected while a stone’s throw away the same city has been turned into a gruesome spectre. The potential of human apathy and denial is boundless–as is the ability to turn one’s face away from what is at one’s doorstep and the imminent tragedy of believing that doors of privilege will never give way. I could go on because we are all together in this tapestry - divided by our egos, united by our complicity.
But so long as there is life in us, there is possibility of redemption. All those who believe that life just goes on – this once stop it in its tracks. Do every single thing you can to change the course of history, to turn the destiny of your country, to save lives, to help the victims of hate – both those poisoned by it and those at the receiving end of it. All of us who sleep tonight, let’s wake up and smell our hands. With every drop of blood shed in Delhi they are getting smellier and bloodier.
Originally published in The Quint.