Hate in the time of Coronavirus
Columns, In Black & White

Hate in the time of Coronavirus

February 29, 2020

Coronavirus brings death, but it sure is less macabre than the death brought by rioting mobs of Delhi. Coronavirus kills one with fever, unlike rioters in East Delhi who killed Ankit Sharma with hundreds of stab wounds or shot Mudassir Khan in his head as he simply stood outside his house.

May be the real problem, like it has been for centuries, is our blind obsession with religion. That is why it is said, “When one person suffers from a delusion, it is called insanity. When many people suffer from a delusion, it is called religion.”

No doubt, religion is the most dangerous virus. After all, like a virus, which only comes alive and replicates inside a living organism soon rendering that organism sick, religion also infects the mind, then replicates in a society soon rendering it sick.

No wonder then that the single most devastating weapon of mass destruction has been religion. Religion has killed more humans in history than any war, epidemic or natural disaster.

Ankit Sharma’s grieving mother Sudha Sharma.

In fact, sometimes even the most empathetic can be blinded by the power of religion. I say this because I remember in 1996 when the fanatically Christian nation, Ireland, held a referendum on whether its State Constitution should continue to prohibit divorce, a pro-Christian group flew Mother Teresa to Ireland from Calcutta to campaign for the “No Divorce” rule to be retained! Interestingly, the same year I read an interview of Mother Teresa where she said her friend Princess Diana would be happier after she “escaped” from a miserable marriage!

While Mother Teresa did not want ordinary Irish women to “escape” an intolerable husband, she wanted her “friend” to have that option?!

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Yes, a religious institution had forced this saint of a woman to campaign for a “repressive” rule, a rule she herself did not believe in!

Yes, religious institutions can make us do what we don’t believe in. That is why, French Philosopher Voltaire said, “People who can make you believe in absurdities can also make you commit atrocities.” And that is what is happening in Delhi now.

People have believed absurdities from both sides. While anti-CAA protestors have been convinced that BJP Government has the ability to relocate 200 million Indian Muslims, the population size of France, Germany, Belgium, Netherlands and Italy put together into walled detention camps, the pro-CAA protestors have been convinced that CAA will make India a real Hindustan. Both absurd.

Speaking of absurdities, the media since Feb. 23, when the East Delhi riots began has been unprofessional to a point of being absurd. One journalist tweeted a disturbing picture of assault without even checking its authenticity, then removed it and then re-posted it!

Mudassir Khan’s father breaks down over his son’s body before the final rites.

One news channel only showed the heart- wrenching video of Mudassir Khan’s young relative in tears but completely ignored the weeping mother of Ankit Sharma. Another channel did the exact opposite. Isn’t this one-sided report a way of inciting anger?

The bias was blatant. One section of the media displayed a photo of the now infamous body-builder brandishing a gun along with people carrying “something orange” and captioned it “pro-CAA” mob with saffron flags. But when it turned out the shooter was in fact from “anti-CAA” mob and that the saffron flags were just orange soft-drink crates, the news stopped appearing.

The now absconding infamous gunman during Delhi riots.

Meanwhile, another media which initially did not highlight the same picture was now  sensationalising it after it was proven that it was anti-CAA mob.

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Even worse, while one channel called for action against Kapil Mishra ignoring Waris Pathan, the other called for action against Waris Pathan ignoring Anurag Thakur. One international channel even took a short ride on just one street and made it look like Delhi had turned into Syria!

Media coverage has been biased at all levels. Yes, the editorial pages of media can have an opinion, but it should not creep into its news reports.

After all, journalism should be guided by the philosophy of British Journalist C.P. Scott who said, “Comments are free but facts are sacred.”

Even worse the media has not been generous in highlighting positive stories. No one was there to sensationalise when Hindus and Sikhs visited every Muslim household in an area called Laxmi Nagar assuring them they are safe and even stood in vigil as right wing mobs took a march nearby.

There was no prime time report sensationalising how in Chand Bagh, a temple was protected by Muslims of the area.

Aren’t these stories important for a society in these times of religious animosity? Instead even the so-called reputed media houses, including the international ones, turned one- sided. It seems most media houses have taken sides.

This reminds me of late Chief Election Commissioner T. N. Seshan, who  once while criticising the Media was reminded by a few journalists that it was the same media that spread word of his good work. Seshan curtly retorted, “If my chastity is being proclaimed by prostitutes, I don’t want such chastity.”

For now, with the loss of credibility of Media, the durability of our Democracy too will be destroyed. Meanwhile, may be if Coronavirus comes to Delhi there will be Peace along with Death of course… but unlike now there won’t be riots, arson, looting and ghastly murders.

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5 COMMENTS ON THIS POST To “Hate in the time of Coronavirus”

  1. The Congress under Sonia along with other power hungry Opposition parties are guilty of misleading the Muslim minority by spreading falsehood that the CAA passed by our Parliament is harmful to them.The treacherous conduct by Sonia and other Opposition leaders for political mileage should be exposed and punished as per law. Apparently the protestors were misled to block roads, and goaded to reject the offer of the law enforcement authorities to continue their protest at a different place not disturbing public movement.They were obstinate in disrupting civic life in and around New Delhi for weeks together.As such their tutored protest was undemocratic and amounted to sheer blackmail.It has given an impression that the Congress and the AAP had the greater design of denigrating Modi regime on the eve of US President Donald Trump’s visit.

  2. Krishna says:

    From Vikas in 2014 to Goli Maro in 2020. The country has made giant strides under Modi and Shah.

  3. Sam says:

    @Krishna -Did Modi or Shah say Goli Maro? This is line some idiot claiming that Gauri Lankesh was killed by Modi! What an Idiot! Opposition tried to spin Anti CAA demonstration as Hindu Muslim issue by inciting the riot so that It can get some international attention and they got it. Some day when Modi leaves you may have your favorite government but till them dont spew venom!`

  4. citizen says:

    Dear Sam, below mentioned personality representing Indian government openly says GOli MAROO is public gathering and still they continue in their good office, never such low third class politics seen in this country ever before and you seem to be justifying this.

    They are doing what is told them to do !

    Anurag Thakur, is a member of the Lower House of Parliament serves as a Minister of State for Finance and Corporate Affairs
    Giriraj Singh an Indian politician and the Minister of Animal Husbandry, Dairying and Fisheries

  5. Ashok says:

    yes, Nobody should say ‘Goli Maaro’ in Public. That is a punishable offense and Modi and Shah himself requested these hotheads to speak so and public and so Modi Should resign. Even he did not say, we could have located some low level goon saying something and used it instead to demand Modi to resign.
    But Tahir Khan did not say anything in public but did far worse things actually, so because his actions were anti Hindu, they are perfectly fine and every liberal, opposition parties line up to defend . That’ s the right way to do it. Don’t speak, just do it.
    This has happened in the past in’ secular’ governments. When Indira Gandhi Died, do you remember how many people just died like 20000 plus families . That is the way to do it.
    Kashmiri Pandits tragedy is a necessary democratic move right? There was no violence. if you do it the right way, nobody protests. right? All undemocratic things happened only Modi Gang.

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