Very loud silence after the Gujarat revelations. Surprise, surprise, looks like nothing is going to happen.
I have been reading various random blogs on the Tehelka expose and its aftermath and the vehemence and ugliness of the comments posted, the virulent support for Modi (especially from Gujarati readers), the very disturbing anti-Islam tone of a lot of comments left me not a little perturbed. Because unfortunately, this is what a lot of young Indians are thinking. That Islam is a religion of hate and terror and that Muslims deserve anything that hits back at them.
Apart from a few comforting voices that actually expressed regret over the gross subversion of law, the loss of lives and the select targetting of Muslims during the riots, an overwhelming majority of comments I came across put forward the viewpoint that Modi is a hero, that what happened in 2002 is actually what the people wanted, that the Tehelka sting instead of knocking Modi out of the elections might just bring the BJP back into power, that if Muslims don't like it they can lump it, and the ever famous proclamation: 'they' [Muslims] can go (back) to Pakistan.
One gets a very negative feel from assessing recent blog commentaries and this casts quite a gloomy pall over India's Gen Now and Next and its thinking. I was really hoping that this lot here on would have somehow gotten over the 'Hate Pakistan' (why, no one knows, just go for it), the "Muslims, get outta here" (yes, even now) attitude, which was pretty pervasive throughout India's post-Independence era and continued alongside the various border skirmishes with Pakistan. Instead of these 2 views subsiding, there is now the additional widespread nonsense post-9/11 opinion that Islam sucks, all Muslims are out to kill everyone else, and that Osama is a great hero for Islam and Muslims world over [now, really. He's nice-looking and bloody intelligent maybe, but no single man has ever managed to tarnish the image of Islam like this dude and his guerrilla super-commando followers all over the world. Or at least to have his name associated/credited with this new easy-to-attack image of Islam. Whatever. Media games, political conspiracy, whole different blog required about this issue] .
In my own friend circle, all voices are the voice of reason. We have long, fruitless discussions about what has just transpired, we share the exact same feelings on the twisted use of religion by man and communal division by politicians for their own ends. We say silly and comforting things like "Oh, come on, obviously I don't judge all Hindus based on what happened in Gujarat" or "Oh, come on, obviously because a handful of people are killing mindlessly and saying they're doing it for Islam, doesn't mean they're right and we label Islam as a religion of terror." Yadda yadda yadda. Much as these coffee table outpourings and shaking of heads and meeting of minds is desirable, my fear is that religious tolerance and understanding is rapidly waning. And this is scary because young people today are probably the most aware and well-educated generation that India ever has seen.
So, are the comments on blogs an accurate yardstick to judge contemporary opinion with? I hope not. That would be really depressing.
There is but one ray of hope. That more often than not, when a person disagrees with a blog or a writer's opinion, he/she is more likely to leave a comment, dissing the writer and/or the blog, leaving nasty remarks , getting personal, saying really offensive things related or unrelated to the topic of the blog. And a corollary to that, if a reader agrees with the content, he/she may nod and move on and not really leave a comment or add his/her two bits to the page. I know I do this, especially when I'm on random blogs. If the blogger is someone I know or have communicated with earlier, I'll probably leave a line or two. Or if the post really moves me. But more often than not, unless I disagree with the content and take offense to it, I just read and move on.
I hope this is why I see more unhealthy opinions than sane, level-headed, educated and articulate commentary.
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