When Muslims Are Demonised At Garba Events

Today, October 5, there will be many events to declare the victory of good over evil in the celebration of Dussehra with the burning of Ravana effigy. Elsewhere, there will be elaborate preparations for the immersion of clay statues of Goddess Durga after celebrating her victory over the demon king Mahishasura. These festivals traditionally involve Indians within and beyond the boundaries of India. The beautifully decorated pujas are visited by people from all over the communities, as well as the audience at Ram Leela’s performances including people in the communities. This is how it was in the past.

But will it stay that way? Will we soon have signs outside pandals that say “Hindus only,” like those in British India that forbid Indians from entering many public places? If a Kolkata vandal can indeed portray the demon king slain by the Goddess in the form of Gandhi-ji, isn’t the idea of ​​a “Hindu Only” sign too outlandish? The spokesman for the Vishwa Hindu Parishad, Chandrachud Goswami, took responsibility for the disgust, not being shy or defensive. He say“Gandhi doesn’t deserve respect. We want to send a clear message that we want a Gandhi-mukt Bharata Varsh.”

India needs to ask itself some tough questions – in our time, in our society, does evil triumph over good? Maybe not. The people of India, the working poor, the laborers, the kisans, historically, more often than not, have chosen the path of action for what is right, against the forces that want to enslave them. us, divide us, cause injustice. . But today, it is no ordinary war. Every day brings new examples of why the question is relevant. Look at recent developments on “garba” celebrations.


A group of Muslim men were beaten in the Kheda district of Gujarat over a dispute over a garba event.

The beating of Muslim men in or even around the vicinity of “garba vandals” by the private armies of the Hindutva brigade is like setting fire to the Constitution. The attacks constitute an unprecedented level of crude religious profiling. It’s a shame that an entire community is all about potential troublemakers, women harassers, like ‘love jihads’. In all of these attacks, police have admitted that there have not been any complaints of harassment by any of the women attending garba events. Accusing Muslim men of “seducing women” is also an insult to Hindu women, who must be considered brainless if they can be so easily “seduced”.

Such attacks are taking place in centers in Gujarat and Madhya Pradesh ruled by the BJP. Instead of arresting the attackers led by Bajrang Dal and, in some cases, the Vishwa Hindu Parishad, the police arrested the victims. Since there was no evidence of any crime against those arrested, the police used Section 151, an open clause that gives police the power to make arrests without any proof or evidence of any crime but to “prevent recognizable offense”. It reads “(1) A police officer who knows the design to commit any cognizable offence, arrestable, without a Magistrate’s order and without a warrant, designer, if applicable appeared to the officer that the offense could not be committed or would be prevented.” The Hindutva brigade was aware of its intention to use the present religious festivals to target Muslims, who are ‘as such’.” But none of them, not even easily identifiable in the videos shown on national television, were registered by the police. It is known that parts of the force The police force has been the community but the blatant bias in their actions in these cases is due to the governments of both Gujarat and Madhya Pradesh.

The leader of Bajrang Dal in Indore, Tannu Sharma, declared that Muslims would not be allowed to become garba vandals. He was quoted like saying”Pehle rokenge, tokenge pair, phir thokengePragya Thakur, member of Parliament and accused in the Malegaon bombing, stated, “Muslims are not allowed to become garba vandals”, and furthermore, “shops owned by those Muslims near vandals should be closed”. The Minister of Culture, Usha Thakur, told Bajrang Dal, say “Garba vandals are becoming vehicles for a jihad for love.” Next is statement of the State’s Interior Minister Narottam Mishra that “ID cards will be required to enter lovers”. In accordance with his statement, mandatory identification cards were issued by the district authorities in Ujjain, Bhopal, Indore, Narmadapuram and Khandwa. So what started with Bajrang Dal ended with the official approval of the government. Let’s not fool ourselves that these are “edge elements”.

Madhya Pradesh has a high crime rate in sexual assaults against women. If there are frequent goons, at public events where large numbers of women are present, the police must ensure their arrest and protection of the women. Identity cards don’t show a record of a criminal history – they only show the name and address of the person involved. The ID card order was not to protect women, but to humiliate members of the minority community. Many of the vandals are on public roads, so at any time, there could be members of the Muslim community passing by. According to reports, they were also harassed and physically assaulted. In Indore alone, 14 members of the Muslim community were arrested.

In Gujarat, the Hindutva brigade ordered the organizers of the garba vandals to assume government power. Hitendrasinh Rajput, spokesperson for Bajrang Dal and VHP, declare that “Earlier, Bajrang Dal instructed all organizers to ensure that no security personnel were hired from the Muslim community because they intended to attract Hindu girls. This is the word. His justification after his gangs attacked Muslim security guards at a garba function in Surat Bajrang Dal announced that their men would ‘check in’ to make sure no one was present. If the Hindutva brigade can act with such retribution, it hardly takes analysis by political scientists to show that this is a clear example. about state support for actions that are completely illegal.

All these decades, “garba” celebrations like those associated with other religious festivals have been celebrated by members of all communities. But after the introduction of the BJP government in 2014, the growing trend of religious festivals became occasions to create and deepen fault lines between communities. In Gujarat, where the garba tradition originated, Muslim musicians have long been associated with festivals. In 2015, there was an incident in Ahmedabad where Muslims were excluded from garba celebrations. At that time, it was not “love jihad” but “beef eaters” who needed to be kept away from vandals. Achyut Yagnik, a well-known author and analyst of Gujarat society in an interview (Economic Times, 10 October 2015) said that “The ‘Mir’ or ‘Langa’ community traditionally associated with music in Gujarat and their members participated and Played music in Hindu temples and festivals.In recent times Mir singers, male and female, have become very popular. and was invited to sing during Navaratri celebrations in various towns and cities.”


There has been increasing friction in the community around festival events in recent years.

Since 2015, the situation has worsened with attacks of various forms. With the commercialization of festivals, major garba events inviting Bollywood stars are organized by professionals, many of whom are Muslim event organizers. They are not allowed to hold such events. Events requiring security arrangements. Some of the guards are Muslim workers making an honest living. This is also stopped. Shops are closed because they are Muslim-owned, workers are prevented from going to work because they are Muslim, event organizers are prohibited from providing professional services because they are Muslim – this is it. a direct attack on livelihoods.

A few months ago, in the days of Ram Navami, we saw a coordinated scheme in place when aggressive processions of members chanting slogans led by the same organization – Bajrang Dal and VHP – deliberately provoked clashes outside mosques at one point. when the muslim community is observing ramzan. Hundreds of Muslims have been arrested and many are still in prison. Bulldozers were used to raze Muslim-owned properties to the ground while provocateurs fled government patronage. Today, navratri or puja is sought to accomplish the same purpose of massacring communities, dividing society, and destroying pluralistic cultures.

The symbolic act of burning an effigy representing evil makes more sense when we have the will and determination to identify, recognize, and resist the forces of darkness in our midst.

Brinda Karat is a Politburo member of CPI (M) and a former member of Rajya Sabha

Disclaimer: These are the personal opinions of the author.


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