28 November 2015

No, YOU fucking leave the country

This week Aamir Khan said a thing and the whole country went mad. Coming just shortly on the heels of the terrorist attacks in Paris—a time when you think citizens stick together and huddle up in cozy corners to fight against the madness that is the rest of the world—the whole Aamir thing was nothing short of several dogs at a single fight, all trying to pick at the one single bone.

I couldn't see what the brouhaha was myself. As I saw the story unfold it seemed like all the actor was accused of doing was making a statement about his wife and how she mused that maybe they should move abroad following day after day of terrible headlines. Can you blame her? Just off the top of my head: a Dalit family burned to death for not following Hindu caste politics, a Muslim man beaten to death under suspicion of having beef in his fridge, the crazy fringe right wingers becoming more and more centre each day as their absurd statements in the press got picked up and waved about. Like, “see this is what's going to happen to our country and you can't do anything about it.” I mean, we're tempted on a daily basis to leave, and we would flee if we had the money and resources, which Khan is not lacking.



But wait. And abandon our country to the crazies? I think not. That's just what they want—but remember, they can't make the rules for us. They threaten us with violence? We do what we did when the Brits were here and refuse to cooperate. Stop giving them a voice in the press. Block them immediately on Twitter when they start buzzing by your ears. Without a voice, what can they do but implode from muteness?

Instead of them sending us away, let's send them away. Far. Somewhere where they can establish this perfect idea of Hinduism they seem to be clinging on to. (Even in the Mahabharata, there was pre-marital sex, so I don't know what era these guys are longing for.) Better yet, they can all live in communities with other super orthodox religious types—Muslim, Christian, Jewish—and with all their perfect godly ways, I'm sure they'll have the country they're dreaming of right now. I don't see why the majority of (normal) people have to live by the rules of the (abnormal) minority.

Threatening to beat someone up for their views is the opinion of three-year-olds. If these mouth-frothers are going to act like babies, we should treat them like they are. Give them the occasional lollipop. Pat them on the head. Punish them by withdrawing our love and smacking them on the wrist. Put up big notices that say: SHARING IS CARING or NO HITTING.

Jokes apart though. Here's where the picture is messed up. We keep saying how they're getting stronger, but we are partly to blame for this. We are giving them a voice! We're making them stronger by looking the other way when they misbehave. The system needs to crack down on people like this: we need to punish them, and when that doesn't work, punish them harder. They need to know that we live in 21st century India and not whatever-century-it-was Kings Landing. We do not stone people, or punish adulteresses with rape, we do not cut off hands of theives, we have a long history of democracy and a law and order system that—when it creaks into place—can astound you with the way it works, and people doing amazing things every day, and all sorts living shoulder to jowl and villages from back in the day and cities that have seen dynasties rise and fall and languages that bind you together and food that you always miss if you're away from it too long.


Why should we leave because we want to speak our minds? They have a problem? Get out, get out, stop polluting our amazing shared history of tolerance and peace with your terrible, regressive words. 

(A version of this appeared as my column on mydigitalfc)

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