I remember questioning the term sometime during high school, regarding its usage erred on the side of violence. Because nowhere in my childhood I have heard the stories of hostility between religions. No lessons were taught to me about this fumes, instead our textbooks had the illustrations of temples, mosques and churches. Though now I do question about this same curriculum which was predominantly occupied with mainstream perspectives, let me keep it aside for time being.
The idea which I earlier couldn’t absorb has now become very familiar and visible to me. No doubt, my first reaction upon the knowledge of the communal idiocy would have been of shock and disbelief. But since then there has been a processing worked out by the media, politics, local and national events, experiences, and thus goes on the list. Today I was watching this documentary on Al- Jazeera and felt very indifferent towards the ideas and message conveyed. Every single frame, every single faces which appeared and their woes and intimidation were familiar to me. In to my fool’s paradise where I questioned the validness and rationality of the idea of communalism, this very dampening phenomenon entered through the news of communal riots, both national and regional, and now it has caught up with me along the slices of my beef platter. It is everywhere now, I can see the ripples in ordinary experiences of everyday life. It’s dreadful knowing that the reason behind cold stares at my hijab is not unfamiliarity to the culture, but uneasiness arising from intolerance towards the culture I represent. The implied conversation about hidden intentions of minorities to invade this nation through population explosion are no more strange to me. Giving shots to newer forms of venom by throwing up older ones, making use of sufferings of one community to afflict worse scourges on the other has become natural and acceptable at surprising levels. I am no more shocked to have confronting questions regarding Pakistan and Saudi Arabia,nations which I am no way related to. I have some how become indifferent to the nonsense that I am alien and predatory in my own country and therefore have to abide by the major.
One uneasiness I had while watching the documentary was about the fact that these frantic repercussions under the label of religious intolerance is no more a rare occurrence and that it has become so typic even for the victims. Normalization has become the new norm in case of communal violence. It has become an acceptable part of India’s contemporary political landscape. For instance, when issues like these come up for discussions in social media platforms where tweets, posts or articles brings in a reaction like ‘Oh, the same communalism shit, anything new?’. This normalization is indeed very much difference from acceptance. But remember, this is not the first time we are into this phenomenon of being at the cold end! We bear the scars of having normalized sexual violence, misbehavior to women in public spaces, even the heinous crime rape!
Before we reach the point of no return, we definitely have to take a flight back!