By Soroor Ahmed
Two wrongs do not make one right. This proverb can be understood with a cricketing analogy. If a batsman hits a good shot on a bad delivery, it would yield him runs – may be a four or a six. But if he hits a poor shot on it, he may end up giving a catch and thus ending his own innings. Not only the commentators, but the spectators in galleries and those viewing it on the television sets would criticise him for getting out on such a bad ball.
In the same way, there is no scope for tit-for-tat in a healthy politics. If a political party or group indulges in the politics of hate, the rival camp cannot succeed by adopting the same strategy. It would have to take a different line.
When recently army-aspirants went on warpath, destroying the public and private properties, some journalists and social media activists, in a moment of heat, taunted the government whether it is going to demolish the houses of all those who took law into their own hands between June 15 and 20.
No doubt, the scale of violence perpetrated by the youths aspiring to become soldiers was much bigger than what had happened during June 3 and June 10 rallies organised at different places in India over the remarks made by the spokesperson of the ruling Bharatiya Janata Party, Nupur Sharma, on Prophet Muhammad ﷺ.
As various BJP-led governments in the states had demolished the houses of those alleged to be leading the earlier rallies, it was argued that the houses of those who went on rampage in protest against the Agnipath policy of the Narendra Modi government should also be pulled down.
Not only that, these youths – apart from torching trains, police stations and ransacking railway stations – also targeted the leaders and offices of the BJP. The ferocity against the elected representatives of the BJP was much more strong in Bihar, where the saffron party is sharing power with the Janata Dal (United). This led to a war of words between the two ruling constituents of the National Democratic Alliance in Bihar.
In spite of all these facts how fair it would be to demand or even think of demolishing the houses of all the army-aspirants who turned into hooligans for at least four to five days? The maximum one should ask for is that they should be treated as per the law of the land as they have violated it.
Similarly, if one really wants to cancel out the impact of the politics of hate, one should demand that since a wrong has been committed in the first place no such thing should be repeated in the second case.
As razing houses to the ground was not a just step, the victims should be compensated and the authorities who had indulged in such a practice should be treated as per the law. If those who had participated in June 3 and 10 rallies too had violated the law, they too should be treated as per the law – neither more nor less.
Any such rational approach is the need of the hour if one really wants to neutralise the prevailing politics of hate. But unfortunately this is not happening. Very few people are prepared to take a high moral ground at this point of time. Even if they really hold such a view, they do not muster enough courage to say that an eye for an eye is no solution.
True, those indulging in politics of hate are very powerful yet any such exercise can be countered with the politics of love and justice.
The problem is that in such a charged atmosphere there is hardly anyone to undertake the charm offensive and bring back normalcy in the society. There are some people but their number is negligible.
After all Prophet Muhammad ﷺ never took revenge and always ignored those indulging in hate speech during his time.
The politics of hate is not a new phenomenon. Its history can be traced to long back. The only difference this time is that after the advent of electronic and social media it is easy to polarise the society on communal line and spread the message of hate. But there is still scope for using the same digital media to cancel out the impact of hate being spread day in and day out. There is no other alternative left.