Days ago, I started an experiment to reach out to the other side and start a dialogue. Commenting for five days on the blog with a number of people was…interesting. After days of trying, I think I may have made matters worse. If you read the last 10 comments or so, they now seem to think I’m a bigger threat than anyone else! The 170 comments finally ended with an orgy of virulent bashing.
So much for that idea…
I think the sense of threat pervading these individuals is far too strong. They’re terrified that Islam is going to take over India and that the agenda of all Muslims is to kill them. As Sraboney’s article pointed out, when you’re threatened, you don’t let go of settled notions easily.
Incidentally, there weren’t any suggestions from anyone regarding what to actually do about this perceived threat though I gave them several opportunities to put some forward by inviting them to imagine what they would do if they were in power. So in the end, all the hatred etc seems to be undirected and not tilted towards any particular action.
When political leaders who have such individuals as their base come to power, one of the things that can happen is that they will foment communal violence by playing up the “threat” angle to get votes. In fact, this is what we have seen in the recent past. Everyone is out to “protect” themselves. The Shiv Sena wants to “protect” themselves from non Maharashtrians, and Hindutva types want to “protect” themselves from Islam. Paranoia and conspiracy theories run wild as they’re convinced that society, and the media are biased against them and are going to…what? The most interesting part is that the threat is undefined.
And in the end, there was a consensus that I was the biggest threat of all!
But still I’m hopeful. I’m an optimistic guy after all :) . I have confidence that our Indian democracy will survive all this and decades later we can just look back on all these problems we have and laugh.