Will Modi be able to check these goons if he becomes PM?
Last evening, I attended an interesting talk at the Nehru Memorial library by Neema Kudwa who teaches at Cornell. She was speaking about the relationship of history and memory with urban planning, urging planners to delve deeper into how cities work and how people experience their urban environs over time. Her research in India looks closely at Mangalore, the second richest city in Karnataka and a centre for higher education.
At some point during the question answer session, an interesting discussion in the religious politics of this region. She spoke about the strong strain of RSS and extremist Hindu groups even as the area has historically had prosperous trading Muslim communities as well as Catholics.
Naturally then my eye was drawn this morning to this news item reporting the sexual assault of a Congress councillor by extremist Hindu groups in a town only 15 kam from Mangalore. Women like her, of course, are targets of a twin bias of misogyny and communal hatred but what diatribes me most was he threat by the goons that when Modi comes to power, we will teach all you Muslim lovers a lesson!
Of course, all those of us who are neutral about religion or refuse to believe that a Hindu is superior, all those of us who respect and love our Muslim friends because they are good people (not just because they are Muslim certainly!), are banded into this category by these people.
I shudder to think what sort of anarchy we are to expect when Modi comes to he helm, if he does. With polls coming nearer, the clamour for him gets louder and people like me fear for the future. Yes, even people like me who are Hindu by birth, who practice Hindu rituals, who are the so-called majority.
Will Modi be able to restrain these sort of goons? Will his plank of development, which also remains to be really tested, be strong enough to convince the muscle flexing crowd to reign themselves in and wait for economic prosperity? I fear for minorities and I fear for women, who can be assaulted for befriending a Muslim while the infamous bhartiya sabhyata simply looks the other way!