Do you recall how an embarrassing situation in high school was enough to mar the million happy memories you had in it? Or how a single comment on your work makes you question all your hard work, dreams and vision? Or how even in your twenties you are scared of sleeping with the lights off because of the childhood fears? All these ramblings to prove a point, our worst feelings need a face and name. Be it our fears or hatred, we associate them with terms that didn’t cause them at the first place. For example, as a woman I have seen how an unfortunate eve teasing further propagates our fear of stepping out at night or makes us uncomfortable in a group of men. We generalise, even when we don’t want to.
The dreadful terrorist attacks all over the world have allowed a deep fuelled malice against an entire religion. A growing hatred that we don’t care to keep a check on, because we feel it is justified. And that’s how Islamophobia comes about. The downside being that the victims of this phobia are the innocent people who have to bear the consequences of the actions of the extremists.
But when we question another religion and its followers, why do we not bother to see the loopholes in our own faith?
As a Hindu I look at my own religion and see injustice at hands of Khap Panchayat, honour killings, moral policing bordering on hooliganism and other actions of Hindu extremists. A few years back, I had read about the rise of saffron extremists in a village near Gurugram, as an answer to the Islamic forces. I am still trying to understand how we allowed our deepest fears, anger, malice, insecurities and hatred to grow beyond words and get channelized into a force that is threatening to the entire society.
The growth of a population of youth who justify Islampophobia, homophobia, misogyny and casteism in the name of nationalistic fervour needs to be questioned. All of a sudden, there is a section of our youth population that shuns equality and secularism and feel that it is justified.
They justify Islamophobia to the extent that they attribute the sufferings of the victims of Syrian war at the brink of death, to their own religion, because that justifies the hate crime. Homophobia, because it is unnatural and a western ideology aimed at destroying our country’s culture. A polite misogyny on the face of equality; saying that, “respect is given to a person and not the gender”. They take pride in violent nationalism such that they have taken unto themselves the task of classifying people into nationals and anti-nationals based on people’s opinions.
The sad part is that this growth cannot be checked because these threatening behaviours and policies act as the backend of a strong face value.
How are we supposed to bring down a force when they are called the real nationalists who want to take back our country to its former glory? How do we keep this in check when doing so will label us as anti-nationals?