The incident of severing the tongues of two priests of the Bhayanak Nath temple of Auraiya, Uttar Pradesh, should jolt Indians out of their slumber in which they believe all faiths have been peacefully co-existing in the country
Bhayanak Nath Temple.
Bhayanak Nath. Say it again.
Look away from this page for a moment. Just feel its name in your mind. Learn it. Know it.
Say it again, and this time, pay attention to the muscles in your mouth. Pay attention to the act of speech, the so-taken-for-granted human ability without which we would not have had civilisation as we know it today.
Close your eyes now, and count. We are going to go closer in this exercise in speech appreciation. Count how many times your tongue turns to utter that name, where it touches, where it bounces off. Naath. What a sound. What a word. Sung, uttered, chanted in prayer to Shiva, to the One we adore as our ruler.
Now imagine the fate of one who will not utter the name of his naath anymore; Bhole Naath. Pashupathi Naath.
No poetic hypothesis there about why that name will not be uttered.
Tongues cut out. A living, sentient, human being’s tongue ruthlessly pulled out and sliced off.
Tongues cut out. A simple temple priest tied up to his poor man’s cot in his own shrine, each limb to each corner, deliberate, elaborate, theater of cruelty style, and then violated with an intrusion into the mouth by which he chanted the names of Eeshwara, and most relevantly here of all, the mouth by which he raised an alarm to save the lives of what we simpler Indians might call a “mooga jeevi,” a mute life-form; an animal, a cow.
What enormous grossness crawls and festers freely in this world today?
Three human beings forced to endure inside their trapped bodies through a whole night in excruciating hell, bleeding, choking, gurgling, gasping…
Where is your trident O Shiva?
You were supposed to protect us. Will you now?
I abhor violence. I have no cause to justify it or excuse it when it’s done by anybody. The most I can do by way of thinking of force is to imagine my powerful father-deity, like Shiva, or Mother, like Durga, with their celestial armaments in some ethereal dimension coming to our rescue in some intangible way. Beyond that, I cannot put my words into the service of justifying anything causes pain to a living being. Even as revenge.
I can only imagine, and through my words, perhaps help you do so too, a very small portion of what those three human beings who tried to save a cow from harm have been through in Uttar Pradesh. Two of them are dead.
I abhor violence. And what I detest just as much is the business of protecting it. The foul, filthy, despicable death-dance of liars and professional deceivers who ignore it, suppress it, deny it, and go on with their wasteful, planet-leeching, truth-scouring careers peddling the occasional masquerade made up with fine words about violence when it suits them.
What is the world we live in today? Millions, maybe billions of people are injected with names, words, ideas, messages to make them think some kinds of violence are worth knowing about, talking about, and getting outraged about, but others aren’t even worth a drop of attention? Or worse, that they may deserve a snigger and a sneer?
What do you do with YOUR tongues, silver-tongued liars of world media?
Have you spoken one word to save a helpless living being for the pure, unsullied sake of averting his or her or its pain? Or is your tongue only a weapon of war, conditioned by its craven addictions to privilege and reward to bend into pleasuring your narcissistic delusions of moral superiority and intellectual certainty?
You hammered home a handful of words and names in your India-watching careers. Dadri. Intolerance. Something now, something else, later. You made sure everyone knows the name Dinanath Batra. Because (sputter), he pulped (or made Penguin pulp/ or made Penguin say they were going to have to pulp) a book which its author proudly claimed then made it reach “bestseller heaven.” Imagine the violence, you said. A book being pulped (or thought about being pulped)! For free speech! For speaking up for the Brahmin-silenced subalterns, reportedly.
Where are your tongues today for this ultimate, literal, bodily, bloody, sacrilegious violation of free speech?
Is there one editorial, one report, one tweet out from you about the three human beings who paid with their bodies and lies for an act of speaking up?
Your silence is sickening.
But you know what? Even that seems like an improvement on your hypocricy, which is what your words have been about till now.
We, on the other hand, never felt anything but sorrow for all the names you told us about. For Dadri. For Kathua. For Kalburgi. For Dabholkar. For Lankesh. For whoever else you will deem worthy of public retribution against one billion people who had absolutely NOTHING to do with it tomorrow because you are the theorists supreme, who know us better than we know ourselves, and have proclaimed it’s all “Sanatana Dharma’s fault.”
Oh yes, we note your courtesy, the effort your sullen tongues have made to travel from merely calling it the fault of “fringe groups” to blaming the shared cultural memory of the whole thousand generations or more of lives lived on this land. Yes. That is what “Sanatana Dharma” means to me. Thirty, maybe seventy, thousand years of life and thought, from Jwalapuram, from Sanganakalu, from Bhimbetka, to now. It’s living. It’s alive. It’s in the reverence for what you call a stone, or a mere hackable “natural resource,” or some other deadening brain-freeze tactic you mistook for science and progress.
It is alive. And it is alive in its relation, more than ever, and more than anything else, in that one being, that one species that three people had their tongues torn out of them for speaking up for.
And you dare peddle us your mendacious pedantry about Vedic beef recipes; even as you insult and hate the name “Veda” and the name “Hindu” and all that we are? Who do you think you are fooling? Do you think anybody believes you anymore?
Every writer. Every journalist. Every politician. Every woman and man who speaks of this world today, who speaks, period, ought not dare speak another word till they pause and bend their tongues in respect to those whose courage has been paid for by more than anyone should ever go through.
Let something end now, at least now. There is no voice for India braver than that which spoke for India’s gentlest, kindest species and paid the most gruesome price for it. May our tongues, breaths, pens and keyboards honor the names of Lajja Ram, Halke Ram, and Ram Sharan.
Something in nature has been unleashed. It will not be put back again.
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Last Updated Sep 9, 2018, 9:36 AM IST