It’s imperative to speak up against divisive forces out to tear Indian society’s fabric before it’s too late

2022-04-26 08:26:40 By : Ms. Castiel Li

‘Never whisper in the presence of wrong’ is a quote attributed to Dr Bernard Lown, the founder president of the International Physicians for the Prevention of Nuclear War (IPPNW) from 1980 to 1993, who said, “The ticking of numerous time bombs demands critical re-examination of the existing world order. The new way of thinking must be a final awakening to our common origins, to our shared problems as well as to our common fate. If we all are to prevail, we must never delegate in the presence of challenge and never whisper in the presence of wrong”.

Lown said it in relation to the nuclear weapons, but it is true for several other situations as well. Any type of violence is a cause of concern as it causes both physical and mental trauma.

Violence is not just a law and order problem but an issue of public health importance. The world saw catastrophic impact on human health in 1945 when the US dropped atom bombs over Hiroshima and Nagasaki. The Second World War led to loss of over 50 million lives and left over 90 million wounded. The USSR alone lost 18 million people.

The conflicts have not stopped thereafter. Dr. Barry S Levy, Adjunct Professor of Public Health, Tufts University School of Medicine in a presentation at an event organized by the IPPNW on February 19, 2022 pointed out that the studies have revealed that since 1990-2017, there have occurred 50000 direct deaths annually as a result of armed conflicts while the indirect deaths have been more than one million.

Many a times the conflicts are engineered by forces bent on using divisive ideology to spread hared in the society. They incite violence while harping on nostalgia of past glory and hyper-nationalism. In recent years, pushing society into violence has become a tool for some to remain in power.

Ethnic strife between the Hutu and Tutsi tribes was the cause of death of nearly 800,000 people in Rwanda. Such was the extent of the hatred that in many cases, husbands killed their wives who belonged to the other tribe.

Nearly 2.5 million Hindus, Sikhs and Muslims were killed in the communal violence following partition of India in 1947, causing a serious humanitarian crisis. The Taliban’s religious fundamentalism is a danger to the society. We don’t know how the Russia-Ukraine conflict will pan out.

Fearing a catastrophic situation in our country due to on-going acts of some bigots, supported at many places with overt or covert support of the State machinery, saner elements have expressed anguish at the events. Numerous videos have been circulating on social media condemning moves by the ‘Hindutva’ brigade to target minorities, especially Muslims, in many places. They have been appealing to the Prime Minister to break his silence on these incidents.

The right wing today seems to be faithfully carrying forward the agenda put forth by the second Sarsanghchalak (chief) of the RSS, MS Golwalkar who in his book ‘We, or Our Nationhood Defined’ clearly states that whenever they come to power, first of all hand over government property, State land and forests to 2-3 trusted rich people of the country. Make 95% people beggars and after that power will not be lost for seven generations, he said.

He also said that he was ready to be enslaved by the British for his entire life but did not want freedom which gave equal rights to Dalits, backward classes and Muslims.

Under the circumstances, it would be naïve for PM Modi to heed appeals to take such elements to task.

It is time to stand up and fight against this kind of ideology that splits the social fabric. This is not the time to be silent, but to speak up, always keeping in mind the quote: ‘Never whisper in the presence of wrong’.

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