Define and mute the narrative around the lynching

One of the terms that a section of the Indian media filled up after 2014 was “lynching”.

In the United States, the term is associated with the inhumane beatings and murders of African Americans by white supremacists, including those belonging to racist organizations like the Ku-Klux-Klan (KKK), especially during the civil rights.

The introduction of the word “lynching” in the context of cattle trafficking crimes, and then presenting it with community overtones, was one of the main accounts of a section of the media against the Modi government during its previous term. The campaign saw top media barons frequently use terms like “Lynchistan”.

White supremacists lynching African Americans are a well-documented part of American history. Thus, “lynching” necessarily evokes the image of one or more people by brutally attacking another. When the same model is applied to India, the white supremacists are replaced by the Hindu “right”.

Here it should be emphasized that this was a series of field reports from Swarajya which brings out the terror of the cattle smugglers and the struggle of the cattle owners and relativizes the events.

However, today, when at least two lynchings have taken place in the Punjab in the past 24 hours, there is a strange silence from the very sections that were pushing the “Lynchistan” story forward.

This is not the first time that human life has been lost due to the “desecration” of the holy book.

As protests by farmers and middlemen continued at the New Delhi borders, Lakhbir Singh, a 36-year-old man from the Planned Community (SC), was fseems dead October 15, 2021. His hands and legs were cut off; he was then tied to a metal barricade and allowed to bleed to an excruciating death. The umbrella farmers’ organization said it was the work of the Nihang Sikhs.

Earlier, in May 2021, six of the protesters had been arrested for gang rape.

In both cases, no one has explained how the lynching of a Dalit or the gangraping of a woman is more blasphemous and disrespectful to a humanist religion or ideology. There has been no “public intellectual” or “concerned citizen” condemning the inhumane murder of a person who was the father of three children aged 8, 10 and 12. There was no poster campaign, no editorial, no cartoon, no support-wapasi and no price-wapasi.

And lo and behold, another person has been lynched in the Har Mandir Saheb compound.

It’s annoying. Disturbing because it shows a tendency to devolve over Sikh socio-spiritual values. From Sat Guru Nanak Dev to Guru Gobind Singh, Sikh Gurus have enriched Indian spirituality with a global spiritual message.

Even in the face of Mughal tyranny, the gurus have never lost sight of the message of universalism. They adhered to it even on the battlefield. When a water carrier, Ghanaya, gave water to wounded soldiers on the battlefield, both Sikh and Mughal, the Sikh soldiers complained. Guru Gobind Singh, however, appreciated his act as that of a true Sikh.

In such a context, the latest events only point to a crisis.

Since colonial times, there have been constant attempts to remove the Sikh branch from the tree of Indian spiritual traditions. The colonialists naturally wanted to recast Sikhism into a Protestant monotheist movement born of Islamic influence. Armed with a strong army of learned indoctrinators, they have had significant but not complete success in creating this state of mind; among Sikhs and other Hindus. In 1947, however, the Partition riots showed civilizational reality.

What is not understandable is how many Indian politicians maintained the same fault lines, ultimately leading to the Khalistan movement and its dire consequences.

The same buttons were pressed again during the agitation of the farmer-middlemen, and the lynchings and mob violence were all treated lightly.

In the case of the ‘lynchistan’ media campaign against the Modi government, one aspect of the issue that most sections of the media overlooked was the close connection between cattle smuggling and jihadist terrorism. When the BSF was forced to reduce the use of lethal weapons against cattle smugglers at the country’s borders, not only did the smuggling of cattle increase, but the number of attacks against BSF personnel also increased.

An article studying the smuggling of cattle across the Indo-Bangladesh border before 2014 says this:

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