Development and violence

Violence is the antithesis of development. While the Prime Minister continuously harps on development – his main plank in poll campaign in Gujarat is Vikaas or development – his followers indulge in violence. The form of violence varies from physical to verbal to legal. The primary targets are non-Hindus but liberal Hindus are not being spared either. Hindus have to accept unquestioningly the Hindutva as defined by the bigoted. Despite the Prime Minister’s repeated warnings that nobody will be allowed to take the law in his own hands, lynchings by cow vigilantes continue. The latest incident at Alwar in Rajasthan where a man was killed  (his body was taken far away and left on a railway track to suggest an accident), his friend was critically injured and the driver of their vehicle went missing shows that the Prime Minister’s warnings are having little effect on self-appointed vigilante groups.
Vigilante groups are springing up in other fields as well. The latest row over the well-known director Sanjay Leela Bhansali’s yet-to-be released film Padmavati shows the extent to which intolerance and bigotry of a group of people can go. The film was certified to be released by the Central Board of Film Certification. A trailer of the film now being shown has raised a howl of protest. The protesters allege that the film has ‘distorted’ history. A case was filed in the Supreme Court to prevent the release of the film. The apex court refused to oblige the petitioners and said it could not take over the functions of the CBFC. It refused to ban the release of the film. Even then threats are being issued that muscle power will be used to prevent the release of the film and that the film’s director, Bhansali, should be charged with sedition – yes, sedition and nothing less.
A mass ‘movement’ is being sought to be contrived against the film. Those fanning the flames of intolerance are not deterred by the fact that the CBFC has found nothing objectionable in the film and the Supreme Court has refused to give a stay order. Obviously, they think they are above a government-appointed body which the CBFC is and above the Supreme Court also. They should have been unequivocally condemned by the Prime Minister and other leaders of his party and the police directed to proceed against them. This has not happened till now. The implication of the silence is obvious. Will this silence contribute to the improvement of the climate of development and investment?

Monday, 13 November, 2017