Saturday, June 9, 2007

An excerpt

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Every individual has the right to self respect and dignity, especially from its fellow countrymen. Irrespective of the religion, caste, creed and all other secular lingo, we all should be treated fairly. However, somewhere down the line I feel in the present modern setup of India, self respect of the Hindus has been taken for a ride by media and politicians alike. We have been considered harmless and so nobody cares if there is any sort of infliction on us. For them, it is more important to concentrate on issues which aim at pleasing the minorities. And make no mistake, minorities not only include Muslims, but also Christians and other non-Hindu religions. I have nothing against my fellow "minority" countrymen, for in all fairness I have never even thought of them as "minorities". For me they are as Indian as I am. They definitely need a change in their socio-economic conditions and we all should support the cause. Infact, we have mutual respect for each other and if not for petty politics, there wouldn't be an iota of doubt on our camaraderie.

The recent coverage of "Gujarat revisited" did make me think that Hindus have been sidelined into oblivion. Agreed, there were lots of Muslim casualties and it is a despicable act of barbarism to kill innocent children, women, and others. Rightly so they have been given coverage to show the ghastardly side of the politicians. However, was there not even a single Hindu who lost his life in the riots? Leave that, even the media coverage of "Gujarat revisited" did not for once make an attempt to sympathize with the karsewaks who lost their lives. That was equally shameful on the part of the murderers and those karsewaks were innocent too. All these days, media termed the Godhra train carnage only as "the aftermath of Godhra" and in a split second the news turned to the innocent Muslims who were killed in the riots. Even a common Muslim felt the pain of the massacre of the karsewaks so why couldn't the media capture the trauma their families went through? Why couldn't the likes of Barkha Dutt who were capturing possibly each and every house of the Muslim victims for the primetime news did not for once go to the karsewak's family? Why were all the cameras turned to the Muslim rehabilitation camps and none to the Hindu camps? I have also felt the pain seeing media bits of the way riots shaped into a deadly massacre. Infact, majority of the common Hindus condemned the shameful act of genocide and attacked the Gujarat government for poor handling of the situation. We all felt the pain of our fellow Muslim brothers and I am definitely sure they had also felt the pain when the karsewaks were burnt alive and helpless.

Then why did the media not capture that part of the riots? And to top it all, how derogatory it felt when the deaths of the innocent Karsewaks in the burning train were termed as sabotage by few men to induce polarization, to gain prominence. How shocking it was to see the politicians leaving no stone unturned to prove that the train carnage was accidental and not preplanned just for the sake of their insatiated urge for more votes. In just one action, they jolted the self respect of the Hindus. And it is not only Gujarat, the Kashmiri Hindus have also not got significant media coverage for reasons well known to the media. They and politicians awake on this issue only when assembly elections in Kashmir are about to happen. And in all honestly, why will they cover such stories? They shall not gain anything by inciting the Hindus for it has been historically proven that we don't really feel loss of self respect for anything and everything. We believe in the "sab chalta hain" ("everything goes") attitude. Why will the politicians talk about issues pertaining to Hindus? We do not form the chunk of their vote banks. And even if we do, we celebrate the voting day as a national holiday staying at homes.

We are not asking for favors. We also do not mind our dear PM to suddenly wake up and announce reservations for "dalit Muslims" as if dalit Muslims are not a subset of the larger dalit community. We have been seeing this for quite a long time and now we have become thick skinned. What we request is to feel for our sufferings in the same vein as others. We also have a sense of self respect and dignity and expect fair treatment meted out to us. It is high time that media acts responsibly and in an unbiased way. We have already lost hope in our politicians. Hence, media becomes all the more potent. I am not undermining the goods media has delivered. However, there is always some scope for improvement and this is definitely one grey area where the media needs to pull up its socks.

Hopefully, there will be an all out attempt on the part of the media to rehabilitate our Kashmiri Hindus just as they are doing for the Gujarati Muslims. At the end of the day, it is an Indian that will benefit and not a Hindu or a Muslim.

Vande Mataram

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