Friday, July 30, 2010

Divisive Mindsets at Work

There hasn't been any posts on this diary since the one on Raavan. A lot of things happened during this time.

First there was an unfortunate incident of a college teacher's hand getting chopped off in Kerala. I wrote about it on Kafila. [A Dialogue with God and Dialogues that go missing, with Bobby Kunhu].

The frenzy created by the media and the ire against one community are still on the high. A couple of days back the honourable chief minister came up with a statement that said some Muslim groups are working with an agenda of making Muslims a majority in Kerala. (Numbers suggest otherwise -- The decrease in population growth rate between 1981-91 and 1991-2001 is 34.2% for Kerala. For Malappuram district, it is much higher: 40.4%. We can wait for 2011 census figures for the current trend.) I think that statement from a chief minister of a state was extremely irresponsible, in the mildest terms. He even hinted at a 'reverse Love Jihaad', of Muslim women 'trapping' Hindu men. (A report on the sources of the 'original' Love Jihad can be found here: "Love Jihad was no Farce").

Then there was news about how the induction of Dalit women as cooks for the mid-day meals in schools in Uttar Pradesh angered a section of people. A report on it on the India Today website was very funny, in a sad way. It was as if the schoolkids were all living happily together, and then some "Dalit cooks" came and divided them. I first wrote about it on The Hoot ("Casteist reporting" -- The report on India Today site has changed since then) and followed it up with a post on Insight young voices blog ("Dalit cooks expose divisive mindsets").

All this is certainly disturbing, even if it isn't suprising. It tells us how divided we stand. It tells us we have a long way to go in our journey to becoming a civil society. It tells us progress cannot be gauged in economic terms alone.