How long will Sacred River Ganges, keep washing sins

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By Nazarul Islam, Copy Edited by Adam Rizvi, New Jersey, TIO: Uttar Pradesh, India’s hallowed land of sacred rivers and holy temples and sadhus and Muslim saints, has become a blot on the face of our planet. This land reeks of rape and death. The sacred waters of the Ganga will not wash the blood and cleanse the sins of the perpetrators of the rape of the Dalit girl in Hathras, nor all its holy waters purify the defenders of rapists and their lusty cheerleaders.

The rapists and killers may hang or may go scot-free under political patronage, but can those in saffron robes who wield power, where criminals under their watch have a free run, those leaders who sing Vande Mataram and end their speeches with zesty cries of Bharatmata ki Jai, can they go unpunished?

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Can any amount of worship in the temples of Kashi and singing and chanting of beads in Mathura to appease the Gods exculpate one from one’s dastardly crimes when they violate women with such cruelty? Can such a land ever aspire to establish the glorious reign of Ram Rajya?

Let us recall…..Did not the BJP ride to power promising to rid UP of violence and goondaism, on the promise of good governance?

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While Muslims as ‘enemies’ suit the BJP’s political strategy perfectly, alienating the Dalit vote could exact a heavy price. Uma Bharti has been openly critical of the Yogi government’s handling of the Hathras rape and assault. Others have commented that while Muslim lives might not matter for BJP, Dalit’s lives matter.

Activists protesting against gang rape and killing of a woman in Uttar Pradesh’s Hathras district.

Beware, that Dalit votes do matter. They have warned that Yogi is playing with fire, stoking it to appease the upper castes. Is this the time to descend to such depths, to dissect caste calculations, and vote bank arithmetic? We cannot be more depraved than this. Every life matters. Every daughter is inviolate. Be it a Dalit or a Muslim, a Thakur or a Jat, Brahmin, or a Baniya.

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When Nirbhaya was raped and murdered bestially during UPA rule, no one asked what caste she belonged to. The whole country rose in one voice against the brutal sexual assault on her. The BJP rightly joined the protests of students and the youth and held the UPA government to account and demanded that our cities be made safe. Maybe the BJP exploited the situation by dipping into the anger of the people and derived political mileage from the Nirbhaya episode and hastened the demise of the UPA regime. Congress, which is being accused of “politicizing” the Hathras rape and murder may be doing the same.

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What goes on in India, delivers a powerful message to her neighbors. Regardless, the fondness or animosity against sections of society that has continued. Look at the steep rise in the cases of rape against defenseless minors and women who essentially thrive in layers, below God’s poverty line. Is the madness in the societies, an attribute to dehumanize the poor and their godforsaken poverty?

Now, the rulers’ boot is on the other foot. UP’s Yogi government must be held responsible for the lawlessness in Uttar Pradesh. The writing is on the wall. UP is not safe for women. Any woman. Dalit women are bearing the brunt of it. The government’s own statistics reveal that UP has an unenviable record and tops the charts for crimes against Dalit women.

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The latest National Crime Records Bureau figures show that in India, 88 women are raped every day, out of which 10 are Dalit women. UP holds the dubious record, laying claim to 14.7% of all crimes against women in the country. Yogi was handpicked to emancipate the state and free it of violence against women, unshackle its people from the grip of the Samajwadi Party and its hoodlums. Sadly, the state has simply passed from the hands of goons of one party into the arms of the thugs of the next party. This has been the fate of the people of UP over the last few decades, with no respite from atrocities, from social instability, conflict, and strife.

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Can this be the land of Tulsi Das’ Ramcharitmanas, considered widely the highest essence of India’s culture, that eulogizes the noblest ideals and deeds of Rama, the very epitome of glorious Indian devotional poetry of universal love, where now terror reigns and rapists stalk the land and where women fear to tread outside their homes?

India’s mythology has placed women over men, gives them precedence as we worship and chant their names — Radha-Krishna, Siya-Ram, Parvati-Parameshwara, who is invoked as the embodiment of Shakti, Durga, and Kaali who ward off evil so that in flesh and blood, we may hold our daughters, sisters, and mothers in awe and reverence.

Tulsi Das wrote the epic poem in vernacular Awadh Hindi, shorn of high-flown poetic Sanskrit, synthesizing it from many versions of Ramayana and stories from the Puranas so that the ethos of Sita and Ram could reach and suffuse the common people and ennoble them in their daily deeds and prayers.

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It should be a people’s good fortune when a ‘Yogi’ becomes the ‘King’ of his state. For he is supposed to combine in himself the virtues of an ascetic and attributes of a just ruler who administers through Dharma.

Sometimes chaos is the very thing that is deliberately shaking up the subcontinent, and neatly ordered world’s— to get us out of the neatly ordered ruts Indians have got stuck. Is the antidote to the rise of toxic reign in India?

Compiled and Curated by Humra Kidwai

Also, Read More: By Nazarul Islam: Gandhiji, India has shrunk!

Nazarul Islam

Nazarul Islam

The author is a former Educator, based in Chicago (USA).

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