Bharatiya Janata Party legislator and Muzzaffarnagar riots accused Hukum Singh, recently backtracked and said the issue of families leaving Kairana, a city in Western Uttar Pradesh is not a Hindu- Muslim issue. He had earlier claimed it to be a communal issue where Hindu families were victims of a mass exodus. Reports by the Times of India, Indian Express and others suggest the claims of mass exodus is a fabrication. The Indian Express reported today that the title of the second list released by Hukum Singh of residents fleeing Kandhla, a city in the same region has the word “Hindu” missing. The title of the first list of names that Singh released last week of Hindu families fleeing Kairana was, “Kairana se palayan karne wale Hindu parivaron ki soochi.”(List of Hindu families who migrated from Kairana). This time it is “Kandhla se palayan karne wale parivaron ki soochi.” (List of families who migrated from Kandhla) Let’s hope that this backtracking means that the communal agenda has been thwarted as of now, but what was attempted at Kairana is a very dangerous and necessary aspect of Hindutva which is essential for its existence
When one brings up the 2002 Gujarat riots in a debate with a Hindutva supporter, he will usually not fail to remind you of the exodus of Kashmiri Hindus in the 1990s, the Godhra train burning leading to the 2002 riots, the treatment meted out to Hindus in Pakistan and Bangladesh and the destruction of temples by medieval Muslim rulers in the subcontinent. The reality of communal conflicts in post independent India where majority of the victims have been Muslims, necessitates the creation of the imaginary subjugation of Hindus in the very distant past without its historical context and the constant harping of the plight of Hindus outside India by the Hindutva right. Hence, the need to bring into focus destruction of temples by Muslim rulers and the plight of Hindus in Muslim majority nations.This is where the politics of Kairana becomes a fodder the Hindutva brigade desperately needs. A recent event in India where Hindus are the sole victims.
Hindu Nationalism, similar to Zionism justifies its existence by constantly manufacturinga sense of victimhood. Muslims ruled over us and destroyed our temples five hundred years ago, so we shall destroy Babri Masjid. When the sands of time ensure that same issues can no longer galvanise the masses, new tragedies are manufactured. What was attempted at Kairana by the Hindu right should not just be seen as an attempt to polarise the electorate ahead of the Uttar Pradesh assembly elections in 2017. It fits very well into the larger agenda of Hindu Nationalism of creating a false sense of victimhood.
Unfortunately, it seems as if some of the media channels in this country are at the forefront of running the Hindutva agenda.
Zee News, which gained national notoriety for its irresponsible coverage of incidents in Jawaharlal Nehru University, where certain students were charged with the colonial law of sedition is at it again. In a video uploaded on Youtube on June 9 by Zee News of their show DNA, the channel had no qualms about comparing the reports from Kairana to that of the mass exodus of Kashmiri Hindus in 1990, as the above snapshot from the footage suggests. The anchor Sudhir Chaudhary begins the show by saying, “Aatank ki wajeh se nabbe ke dashak mein Kashmir se Kashmiri Panditon ke palayan ke baare mein toh sab jaante hai, aapne bhi suna hoga. Lekin agar hum aapse kahe ki humein desh ki rajdhani Dilli se sirf 124 kilometre door bass ek shahar se 346 parivar gundagardi ki wajah se palayan karne ki khabar mili hai toh kya aap yakin karenge?” (“Everyone knows about the exodus of Kashmiri Pandits in the 1990s due to terrorism, even you must have heard of it. But if we tell you, that according to news, only 124 kilometres from the capital city of Delhi, there is a city where 346 families have been forced to escape due to gangsterism, then will you believe it?”) He goes on to mention how all the families who have moved out belong to the Hindu community. Their ground reporter at Kairana also constantly says how the situation is similar to that of Kashmir. It’s a desperate attempt to link it to a larger but imaginary circle of violence where Hindus of India are victims at different points of time and geographical locations.
Zee News was not alone in churning out this narrative in mainstream media. In a video uploaded by Samachar Pluson Youtube, they also did their best to manufacture the incident of Kairana in a larger framework of violence afflicting Hindus of the nation.
See the ticker above. “Uttar Pradesh mein panap raha hai ek Kashmir.” (There is a Kashmir flourishing in Uttar Pradesh)
The attempt of the right wing to communalise the incident in Kairana needs to be understood as part of a much larger framework of how Hindutva as an ideology functions.The “other”, which is the Muslim in this case needs to be constantly described as the aggressor. Not just as an aggressor situated in the past who once existed in the form of Mahmud of Ghazni or Aurangzeb. As an aggressor located in the present amidst the majority community and constantly engaged in marrying and converting Hindu women, responsible for exodus of Hindus where they are in a minority and as a constant threat to the existence of the holy cow.
It’s been more than three hundred years since Aurangzeb commissioned the desecration of temples and everyone is not gullible enough to get nightmares because of it. The narrative of victimhood can only be transferred to the present, if the atrocities are recent. If they are not, be rest assured that the Hindutva brigade will try to manufacture imagined tragedies. Fortunately, it seems to have miserably failed this time around.