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Thursday, June 1, 2023

‘The Print’ and its false equivalence and ignorance

A recent article appeared in The Print by the title “ A naked Jain monk spoke in Haryana assembly, but a Muslim can’t offer namaz in public?”

I too personally dislike religious processions or loudspeakers blaring at full volume every other day and I totally agree with the author even though that I am religious that religion is a private matter. But after this instance, the entire article reeks of bigotry and ignorance.

First and foremost, the headline itself is a false equivalence. A Jain monk speaking in the Haryana assembly doesn’t disrupt public order or encroach upon lands but muslims offering namaz on roads and plots of land do so. This accompanied by the fact that namaz is offered 5 times a day creates disruptions 5 times a day.

And there is always a fear of Muslim fundamentalists encroaching upon the said lands, once they get used to them. This recently happened when Muslim fundamentalists encroached upon the land of Allahabad High Court (yes of the court itself) and built a mosque there. Agitated, the HC passed an order stating that no religious activity will take place on its premises. If the land of an High Court is so easy to encroach upon, just think what would happen if an innocent poor or middle class family has to go through the same ordeal. It will take years to settle the case in court especially owing to the sensitive nature of the issue and the costs incurred by the family will be huge.

The article also shows how the left-wing is growing more intolerant day by day and the hate it reserves for different communities. If we look carefully the word “naked” and “nude” has been used to denigrate the Jain monk. We live in a democratic society which has constantly struggled to stay away from private matters of individuals. We as a nation have always tried to establish personal freedom above all. And personal freedom includes the choice to wear whatever an individual likes and by extension no clothing at all. The same “media houses” and “liberals” who get enraged and rightly so when people denigrate women excercising their choice of clothing, found it perfectly fine to denigrate a Jain monk. Hypocrisy at its finest. This is the hate which the left harbours against those who do not share the same views as them.

Another interesting thing is that though the author accuses her “right -wing friends” of indulging in whataboutery and at the same time exonerates herself, the very headline of the article is classic whataboutery. Then in the following line the article says So, I won’t point out the ruckus Kanwaria Yatra causes every year, or how the waters around Mumbai are muddied and ruined every Ganpati visarjan.” If this is not what whataboutery, then only god knows what it really is. But for mere mortals like me and you, the dictionary surely doesn’t vindicate her stance.

But there is another thing on which I completely agree with the author and that is “separation of state and religion is clearly something we will never learn” though the grounds differ. Yes, it is true we have not learnt secularism and it is not because a Jain monk was invited to speak in the assembly, but rather the continuation of pandering to Islamic fundamentalists and laws based on religion including triple talaq, nikah halala etc, and the existence of sectarian laws which allow State to control only Hindu institutions like schools, temples etc.

The very foundation of secularism as an ideology is that everyone is subject to and governed by the same laws irrespective of his/her religion. The very fact that we have laws based on religion (family laws) like the discriminatory triple talaq and outrageous nikah halala which the so-called liberals have remained tight-lipped on, falsifies our very claim of secularism.

In a world where liberals instead of being a force of change and mordenisation, start pandering to Islamic and muslim fundamentalists and stroke communal anger for their petty gains, truth needs to brought to the forefront. Though our voices have been silenced time and again (Charlie Hebdo) and usually silenced and forgotten in Bharat (RSS worker killed or TJ Joseph), but we will continue to fight for the truth, and people will find solace here in a world where hypocrisy and ignorance has become a virtue.

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