• Why Attack Children? The Loss of Innocence

    Ananya S Guha

    January 31, 2018

    Image Courtesy:Tito's Goa


    Once again, we are witness to barbaric acts going unnoticed or applied blinkers to by the authorities. I am referring to the stone pelting on a school bus in Haryana. Targeting innocent children is an example of the worst sort of mob violence. It is horrifying to watch the videos of the attack that are being aired on the news; scared children desperately trying to ward off the attacks. We, as a nation, are benumbed into silence by the violence, brute force, and the vicious malevolence of the perpetrators. Hatred seems to have become a reason to shout, attack, or kill. From Dalits, to scheduled castes, to minority religious communities, everyone is under attack and the perpetrators have found perverse ways to express their animosity. The world of protest no longer seems to exist. It is letting go unmitigated hatred, it does not matter who the victims are.

    Just take this example of pelting stones at school children. The perpetrators were also children once upon a time. By such attacks, they are making a murderous attack on their childhood, their relatives, and their friends. But they do not know this. This is their tragedy.

    The Karni Sena has been described as a fringe group. If they are merely a “fringe group,” how are they able to create such chaos over a movie? Why can't we eliminate such groups by a strong action by the state? We choose to remain silent.

    And all this violence because a historical antagonist six centuries ago was a Muslim? Is that enough reason to vent our anger on children and resort to violence in four states? While the state governments let the violence go unchecked, the central government watches in silence. And we talk of the importance of educating the child! We are inflicting the worst kind of injustice on them by instilling a fear of going to school. To make matters worse, it seems that educators could not care less. If we do not have a Not in My Name rally protesting against this incident, we are not bothered about preserving the innocence of children. We have tarnished it and the country is collectively responsible for it.

    The day it not far when it will become evident that all this was a well-planned political move. The choice of the four states makes this evident. So does the tacit support of the state governments. We are endangering our life in the worst ways. The politics of the times make this clear. Why have the opposition parties not called for a protest march? They met on Republic Day for a march to “save” the Constitution. These are their words. What about child rights?

    The India of the present is under the control of the politicians, who are only guided by their lust for power. They are only interested in appearing in front of the media for self-promotion. There is no innocence in our lives; the country, ruled by these people, has lost it; we are bereft of any sensitiveness. Whatever little we had left, we lost on 24th January 2018.

    The worst part is that the actual issue is not Padmavaat. The actual issue is a political one, and the “vote banks” that everyone is trying to garner, keeping in mind the upcoming elections. That is what makes such looting, burning, stone pelting, and violence despicable and diabolic. On the one hand, we project a fantastic picture of 21st century India on the threshold of development, but, on the other hand, we let such regressive attitudes rule.

    There are many Indias within this country; and they’re not in dialogue with each other, in fact, they’re pitted against one another. That is why India is a schizophrenic country. And all this is due to vote bank politics and the politicisation of life in every sphere. Writers are killed, books are banned, and films lead to violence.

    The film Padmaavat is a non-issue. It does not hurt the sentiments of the Rajputs. In fact, it adulates the Rajput valour. On the other hand, it lambastes the Muslim invaders of the 13th century, showing them as caricatures instead of as real people. If anything, it is anti-Muslim. Malik Kafur, Alauddin Khilji's slave boy, is shown as queer, and his character is lampooned, but his willingness to kill is clearly and gleefully highlighted. So, what is objectionable in the movie? Nothing, as far as the Hindus and Rajputs are concerned, then why this hue and cry?

    Obviously, to hold at ransom four states, the predatory Karni Sena has to create something out of nothing. Children crouching in the school bus as it gets attacked, cowering under the seats to save their lives, terror on their faces, scared out of their wits; these are pictures we cannot wipe out of our mind. But, has the government said anything? There’s not even a whisper. 

    This, then, is the real India. The India which is caught in a web of depraved politics, where, on the eve of every election, there is a storm of controversies which distract one from the issues of the public. No one shies away from using force, brute strength, and violence. There are the victims of cow vigilantism; there are attacks against Dalits; attacks against Muslims on suspicion of eating beef; controversies being stirred up regarding the history of the Taj Mahal; assaults on tourists; and now, a movie. The tragedy is that, in this game of politics, it is the innocent, the poor, and the children who suffer the most.

    The Incredible India that we talk about is only a projection for the outside world; it is plastic and totally out of sync with what is happening on the ground, threatening to tear apart the country; and all because of this insane lust for power, for votes. This is the worst part of it all.


    Ananya S Guha is a writer based in Shillong. He works at Indira Gandhi National Open University (IGNOU) as a senior academic.

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