A number of writers in India have recently returned their Sahitya Akademi (National Academy of Letters) awards in protest of government silence on violence.
An estimated mob of 200 Hindus recently lynched a 50-year-old Muslim worker Mohammad Akhlaq for presumably eating beef at his home in Dadri, a small village near Indian capital New Delhi. They also severely injured his son Danish.
Communication Minister Ravi Shankar Prasad in the Modi administration recently told the nation that the government has decided to discontinue the stamps of former Prime Ministers Indira Gandhi and Rajiv Gandhi stating that “[P]ostage stamps should honour leading lights of the nation and not members of one family.”
Every year Indian Muslim community celebrates Eid al-Adha festival in autumn and eats beef, and every year voices are heard in favor of or against cow sacrifice. This year is no different.
He goes out of India so frequently that it is appropriate to call him the frequent flyer Prime Minister. Since coming to power one year ago – 26 May 2014 – Prime Minister Narendra Modi, the head of a poor yet advanced India, has traveled to eighteen nations.
He dresses in the custom made attire, straps a Swiss made wristwatch, clips a German made pen on his shirt or jacket’s pocket,enhances eyesight with an Italian pair of eyeglasses, and sometimes adorns head with a modish headdress.
Recently actor Salman Khan made news, not for a role in a movie but for what he did in his real life 13 years ago one night after drinking alcohol: he drove a car (SUV), killed a man, injured four people, and fled the scene. His victims, male and poor, were sleeping on a sidewalk.
Not many days go by without people reading or hearing or both that somewhere in India someone is raped, or ran over by a vehicle, or killed by a killer.
Our human nature is such that we don’t like it when someone tells us right on our face, not diplomatically but sanctimoniously and rudely, that we are bad or have done something terrible. And when it is told in presence of many or by foreigners on television, it further compounds our hurt and humiliation.
We are diverse. We speak many languages, practice many religions, eat different kinds of food, and wear varieties of costume. Yet our some actions are similar: we complain less, we do not vet our leaders, and we trust our leaders and follow them patiently.
Some chief ministers are hungry for money, some for power, still some for fame, a few to punish enemies, and others for all of the above.
Three people are no longer with us. Two were killed and third one . . . well, we don’t know if the third one was murdered or committed suicide. What we do know is this: the third person has been in the news for a long, long time and may remain in there for the foreseeable future.
People who followed, or who came in contact with, Gandhiji say they learned one thing or another from his writings, speeches, work, life – or from all of the above.