Indian activists shout slogans against Prime Minister Narendra Modi during a protest in New Delhi on October 6, 2015, calling for an investigation into recent beating death of a Muslim man by a mob near the Indian capital in late September. The murder in the village 35 kilometres (22 miles) from New Delhi over rumours the man had eaten beef has fuelled concerns that religious intolerance is growing under the right-wing Bharatiya Janata Party government. Calls have grown for nationalist Modi to speak out on the case after colleagues in his party came under fire for appearing to trivialise the crime.   AFP PHOTO / SAJJAD HUSSAIN
Indian activists shout slogans against Prime Minister Narendra Modi during a protest in New Delhi on October 6, 2015, calling for an investigation into recent beating death of a Muslim man by a mob near the Indian capital in late September. The murder in the village 35 kilometres (22 miles) from New Delhi over rumours the man had eaten beef has fuelled concerns that religious intolerance is growing under the right-wing Bharatiya Janata Party government. Calls have grown for nationalist Modi to speak out on the case after colleagues in his party came under fire for appearing to trivialise the crime. AFP PHOTO / SAJJAD HUSSAIN
Vikas Saraswat
Manufacturing Intolerance

The hysteria about rising intolerance is an expression of  loathing for Modi.

Immediately after the Lok Sabha 2014 election results two things made rounds on the media. One was the series of church attacks and the other was Ghar Wapsi. While on Ghar Wapsi the established secular line on ‘Freedom to choose and propagate one’s religion’ took a shocking u-turn, the reporting of “church attacks” threw all propriety out of window. Almost all reported attacks on churches were found to be either acts of local malcontent or petty thefts. In one event it was Christian boys themselves who were arrested for theft. In another, it was a jilted Muslim lover taking out his ire on a Christian girl. In yet another incident of a nun’s rape, the accused were found to be Bangladeshi Muslims.

Nonetheless, a media in cahoots with “secular” intelligentsia, having no patience for facts, went ballistic with an orchestrated chorus of “church attacks”. For a fabrication so absolute, the propaganda was something Goebbels would have been proud of. Its political essence was the desperation to somehow paint a picture of rising hostility against the minorities under the Modi government. The absence of facts to support their contention wasn’t something Indian pseudo-seculars were willing to bother about.

The tragic but isolated killing in Dadri gave the “seculars” another opportunity. This same lot, however, didn’t even take notice of the brutal lynching of two Hindu brothers objecting to their sister’s molestation attempt by a Muslim mob in Muzaffarnagar last year. They kept silent on Prashant Poojari’s murder in Moodbidri. They didn’t tell us about the ugly community efforts to shield the kidnappers of minor Tuktuki Mondal. The gruesome, premeditated killings of five members of Hindu organisations in Tamil Nadu over a period of fifteen months by one Muslim outfit failed to move the Indian seculars. In Kerala, the BJP and RSS have lost the count of number of their cadres maimed, hacked and killed over the period of years.

Keen media watchers are not surprised by the total suppression of above mentioned tragedies and the indifference towards, of Indian intelligentsia. This after all is the same grouping which hasn’t acknowledged the Pandit genocide in Kashmir Valley as of yet. As for the recent outrage by secular liberals, over alleged intolerance, it is either that Hindu lives do not matter at all or that a story had to be spun regardless.

In a democracy, people are allowed to hold different opinions. They have the right to protest and agitate. Their terms of protest might seem variously- silly, foolish or even outlandish, but that still doesn’t take away from their right to protest. It is, however, a cause for immediate distrust and rightful concern if the degree of protest goes over the top.

It is to this effect that those returning awards have shocked the nation. There is no promulgation of Emergency, there is no 1984 like state-sponsored carnage or midnight cracks on protesting agitators. For whatever intolerance the secular eminences imagine, newspapers are free to publish them. Conferences after conferences, anchors after anchors and lectures after lectures continue to pour venom on the incumbent government and its support base.

The frantic reaction then can only be read as an expression of same intolerance or rather loathing for Modi which led Ananthamurthy and others to declare their desire to relocate from India. In their hatred for the incumbent government and its support base, “intellectuals” are ready to cut off the nose to smear the face.