The average Indian city-dweller of the seventies was curious, eager to learn new cultures, romantic and mostly upright. As India grows in GDP and economic glory, there isn’t enough largesse to protect the idealist everyman. Congested cities have been breeding a sort of desperate, clawing, frustrated and aspiring Indian who has turned away from his conscience.
This week, while Prime Minister Narendra Modi was being wooed in the US by Silicon Valley companies vying for market share in India, a curious mob murder was triggered by an announcement in a Hindu temple– recently a Muslim family had allegedly enjoyed a meal containing beef (after Mr. Modi’s government had banned it arbitrarily in the area, while allowing Hindu families to butcher beef for export). The family head, a 50 yr man, father to an Indian Air Force personnel, had his head smashed in by an angry mob of more than 100 Hindu men who also brutalized his 70yr mother and other family members. For now, I will put aside the fact that the police collected evidence, meat from the victim’s fridge to test for bovine DNA. I will also ignore the fact that the victim’s son is in the Indian Air Force. The murderer was a mob. In 2014, a perfunctory look at mob violence in India made me write the paragraphs below. It is emotionally exhausting to research this subject. Daily harassing peaceful human rights activist gatherings as mobs, the Indian administration has not named mob violence as a focus for law enforcement.
30th September, 2014, a scarce 2 days since Modi’s Madison Square rah-rah about India, I watched a video that captured a Delhi mob attacking 3 African men, even as they stood in a Delhi Police Booth. There must have been at least a hundred Indians wielding cameras on their phone, who were not participating, but who did not have the spine to intervene. The police were unable to take control of their own booth for at least 10 minutes. That the sticks and stones thrown at the African men came, not from one or ten assailants, but from every direction in the huge, ridiculous mob that chanted jingoistic exclamations of national pride, just proves that ultimately, Indians give quicker expression to their bigotry than ever.
28 September, 2014: American Congressmen and sundry celebrity flotsam paid their respects to Narendra Modi, the Indian prime minister who once mocked a Muslim man, Ehsan Jafri, on a telephone conversation. Jafri had called Modi to send law enforcement to protect him and his Muslim neighbours, who were in the path of a large Hindu mob that was killing Muslims. Modi taunted him, sent no police help, looked the other way, and Jafri and his neighbours were brutally dismembered soon after the call.
As a gesture of love for Modi, a mob of his Hindu supporters in New York assaulted a journalist who had documented the grievances of those who question his integrity.
August, 2014: A mob beat a woman, 55, to death, because she allowed her daughter to wear jeans.
July, 2014: A mob beat a man to death in reaction to a false rumour that he may have raped a 7 year old girl.
June, 2014: A mob of Shiv Sena supporters went on a rioting spree until they found a random Muslim boy to kill because someone posted distorted images of their Hindu leaders on Facebook.
May, 2014: A small mob of 9 men lynched a teenage boy for beginning a love affair with a girl from a higher caste.
Throughout 2012 and 2013, girls were publicly molested in pubs, resorts and parks by mobs on moral policing patrol. These mobs were most often members of Hindu religious groups, purportedly preserving Indian culture when they were assaulting the girls, sometimes with policemen and TV crew documenting the events.
There are so many lynchings in India that we even had this lynching that I think is ok, because the 200 strong mob of women, were victims of the the victim, who had been raping them and other women from 300 families for too long, with no police intervention.