After prolonged silence, after much protests, after much of nervousness among the citizens of the country, after much criticism and comparison of Modi with MMS for his persistent silence on the violence against Dalits, Modi finally spoke putting an end to the wait. The speech has ended, the cause of worry has reached new dimensions after the speech. The speech answered a few questions and raised new ones. The speech by Mr. Modi showed how nervous he is and how he did not want to ruffle the feathers of his ultra right vote base.
Good Gaurakshaks & Bad Gaurakshaks
Good or Bad, both are not constitutional. They have legal backing to protect people from anything. These are non-state bodies which should be clamped down upon, instead of classification based on good and bad. Unfortunately, the Prime minister recognized the good gaurakshaks, instead of outright showering the faith on law enforcement agencies enshrined by the constitution and by law. This tacit recognition of good gaurakshaks by the Prime Minister is unprecedented for a democratically elected Prime Minister.
If you want to shoot, shoot me
By saying these words, Modi as the Prime Minister showed a lack of courage to call a spade a spade. Since the perpetrators of this violence, going by his pre-2014 campaign and VHP’s own words, are today the most voracious supporters of Mr. Modi, by saying, “if you want to shoot, shoot me,” he tried to appeal to the shooters. He has acknowledged their violence and he could not condemn or castigate these groups. To appeal to the shooters to shoot him instead of Dalits could very well empower the perpetrators of violence rather than to send a clear message to them that these acts will not be tolerated in India.
Modi famously called for an end to attacks on his ‘Dalit Brothers’, a term which Modi would have avoided before 2014, as by his own words, caste and religion, do not matter or feature in his definition of secularism as per his “India First” doctrine. To speak on caste lines, it’s a new first for the Prime Minister. To talk on caste lines showed the complete change in the lines of thought and also mirrors the ground reality of the growing resentment of Dalits against the ruling dispensation and the incapability of the administration to take action against the perpetrators of violence.
A complete silence on ‘Muslims’
Even as Mr. Modi attempted to give the olive branch to Dalits and completely leaving out Muslims from his speech and the equation, worst fears came true. The message is being sent out clear, it matters only when the victims of violence are Hindus and not ‘others’. Without mentioning or acknowledging the fact the Muslims have borne a considerable share of violence related to the cow meat, it makes everyone wonder what ‘Unity’ was the Prime Minister talking of. Why is the Prime Minister hesitant to say the word ‘Indian Muslims’ and how they were also the victims of the violence? Mohammed Akhlaq and his family who would have been very pleased to hear a word or two as their son were victim to a similar violence.
History against Modi
The cow, the beef and the industry which surrounds it, all were amply exploited by Mr. Modi during his campaign in 2014. It is very much possible, the self-proclaimed gaurakshaks have indeed taken some or varying degrees of inspiration from the speeches of Modi in the run up to the 2014 elections.