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home > News/Analysis  > Archive: Selected Analytical Articles  > Because Words Can Kill

Because Words Can Kill
By Mukul Dube

[Originally published in Milli Gazette, issue dated 16-31 May 2003]

    Words kill, therefore lies must be challenged. Howsoever high and mighty, the liar is no more than a miserable, skulking cur.
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    When M.K. Gandhi was assassinated, official reaction was prompt and it was brief. All that was said was that Gandhi had been shot and that the assassin was a Hindu. The reason behind this course of action was that Hindus would have immediately assumed that a Muslim had fired the gun, and the one way to prevent a further bloodbath was to tell them that the killer was one of themselves.

    Under the Sangh Parivar dispensation, though, something entirely different happens in such situations. Statements are made which are calculated to inflame passions, not to calm. The bigoted Sanghis ever lie in wait for terrible things to happen – because the more horrific an event is, the easier it is to turn it to advantage by pointing fingers and making insinuations. The Sangh Parivar´s leaders are not statesmen in any sense of the word, their actions are not those of the leaders of a society, of a country. They start fires and stoke them – they never seek to put out a fire or prevent it from starting. They pursue only their sectarian agenda – country be damned.

    How did these leaders, so-called, react to the carriage burning of Godhra? There was no explicit denunciation, to be sure, no call to lynch all Muslims in the country, or even all Muslims in Gujarat; but it can hardly have been a coincidence that Advani intoned, in Parliament, "I am in constant touch with the Gujarat chief minister and am trying to find out who was behind the incident – if they were only the local residents or there was any other angle to it" (Rediff.Com, 28 February 2002).

    After this clear gesture towards the west, no one – least of all the rats who follow this malevolent Pied Piper – could have been in any doubt that this man was only repeating what he had said so often: that India´s Muslims are really Pakistanis who act on the instructions they get from Pakistan. "Muslim" and "terrorist" were practically synonymous anyway, after the months of propaganda which followed the 11 September attacks in the U.S.A.

    And what did "in constant touch" mean, what did it do? The Chief Minister in question did not warn the country´s Home Minister of his State´s proneness to communal violence. And of course this surpassingly irresponsible Home Minister did nothing about what he must have known. The inevitable bandh was called by rabidly communal elements – and the inevitable massacre followed. Not the slightest attempt was made to prevent it: indeed, all observers have held that it was officially encouraged and aided. That is to say, Modi and Advani did know what was to happen, because it was their own people who were to make it happen. No doubt Advani remained "in constant touch with the Gujarat chief minister" – so that he might accurately and promptly update the score cards on his wall and in his computer.

    Let no one object that I am speaking of old matters. Murder is a capital offence for which those guilty of it are ever liable to punishment. Over two thousand Muslims lost their lives in Gujarat in the Sangh´s mayhem. This we must not forget. The murderers, rapists, arsonists are still at large. They are guilty and we cannot rest until they are caught and punished. Everyone knows who they are, but Narendra Modi´s administration shelters them by placing obstacles in the way of justice. Lal Krishna Advani and Atal Behari Vajpayee, preening in their put-on statesmen´s act, pat Modi´s back. This too we must never forget.

    Therefore we must keep reminding Amit Shah, Gujarat´s Minister of State for Home, that he said, on the floor of the Assembly in Gandhinagar, that his government possessed evidence which proved Pakistan´s involvement in the Godhra carriage burning (Hindu, 14 March 2003). We must keep raising this matter until Shah either serves up the "evidence" of which he speaks – or else admits that he is talking through his hat or worse. The fellow must be made to realise that he cannot go around bad-mouthing a neighbouring country – and, worse, implying that his own citizens, whom he is pledged to protect, are his enemies – just because the pestilential notion is imbedded in his skull that he was born to wipe Muslims off the face of the Earth.

    Therefore we must keep reminding Lal Krishna Advani, Deputy Prime Minister and Home Minister of India, that he said, more than once, that "there appeared to be a terrorist-underworld nexus behind the killing of former Gujarat minister and Bharatiya Janata Party leader Haren Pandya" (Rediff.Com, 27 March 2003). We must not let the matter lie. If this man has lied, if he has spouted these words just to pursue his Parivar´s sectarian agenda, in the process urinating on his responsibilities as Home Minister, he must be made to realise that not even he may drop a noxious turd in public and then retire to his dark corner to lick himself. He must admit why he said what he did.

    Some dismiss the statements that these "leaders" make, holding that these people do not think before they speak. I disagree. I believe that they think very carefully indeed over the words they utter. They think very carefully about the effect that they want their words to have, about the foul air that they want them to create. They spend much time and effort in fabricating the untruths they emit, the insinuations they make. They cannot be called irresponsible in an absolute way: for are they not insanely devoted to their agenda of injecting the poison of hatred into the bloodstream of India?

    The one thing they do not have to think about is how they will deny their lies later: for the reason that no one ever challenges these lies. This cannot go on. The lies must be challenged, again and again. I began with Gandhi´s death and I shall end with that. In his obituary published in the Pakistan Times on 31 January 1948, Mazhar Ali Khan wrote, "The poor idiot or maniac who committed the crime was certainly not the only man responsible. Who had fed his mind with such fell hate for the weary old man seeking to purge men's hearts with love? What nefarious potion made him flex his muscles to lay violent hands on the apostle of non-violence? The answer is obvious. Every man who has thought and felt and spoken and acted as Gandhiji's assassin did, was his accomplice. Every violent word, deed, and thought went into the composition of the mind that conceived of the arm that executed the terrible deed."

    Words kill, therefore lies must be challenged. Howsoever high and mighty, the liar is no more than a miserable, skulking cur. I realise that, in saying this, I grievously insult canines.