Garba Chaos


Seeing the vigilantism galore in his dream project, Mahatma Gandhi, whose biggest socio-politico-cultural plank remained an indestructible bond of unity between Hindus and Muslims living in India, must be rolling over in his grave. What had started from a bout of vegetarian nationalism on the account of a temporary meat ban pushed by right-wing Hindu nationalists has now bloomed into a full-fledged institutional shove to subjugate a minority. Mired in a communal row, Garba events (formerly known for their colourful outfits, thumping music and an overall positive aura), have now banned the entry of Muslims. Apparently, what’s shown in multi-million budgeted Bollywood flicks does not hold true in real life.
Warning signs in bold letters are said to accompany makeshift checkpoints for identity cards. By closing public spaces and forcing Muslim vendors to close shop, they believe to nip the so-called menace of “love jihad” in the bud. Irony never fails to strike back in this incredible land, but more depressingly, this brigade of saffron-clad extremists who hold their noses at the sight of Muslims in a pandal have had no issue whatsoever with creating ruckus outside mosques, hoisting their flags on the boundary walls and dismantling speakers in a bid to fan the flames of chaos.
The waves of the racial divide are well on their way to making the entire globe toxic; the aftershocks of which can still be felt reverberating a rather quiet town of Leicester. The tensions are not new. There’s no denying that. But a few isolated aggressive displays of hyped-up religious identities cannot even begin to create the same tension as policies undertaken with the blessing of those in power.
Something that used to be a matter of private belief has been shamelessly spilling over into the public space, just because the fears and reservations of the second largest population living in India do not matter. The message is clear: No matter what the secular constitution says, all Indians are not equal before the law. First came the meatless spell, then roared the bulldozer, and now, the grand spectacle of ghettoisation has cemented the last brick in the “us versus them” narrative.