The literate elitist Indians were shocked when they heard that a CEO, Lalit Kishore Chaudhury of Graziano Trasmissioni was beaten to death by the workers of his company at Noida, an important industrial centre of India. Perhaps they were even more appalled when the Union Labour minister Oscar Fernandes said ‘… this should serve as a warning to managements in other companies to respect the workers’ (an off-hand remark for which he later apologized).
To me, though that was indeed shocking, that wasn’t very surprising. The basic issue here is not about who is getting killed but about the basic impetus to do the killing – the principle which makes the killing an act of justice. The principle being that killing is justified not because the one killed did something wrong but because the one killed represented a force before which the killer feels powerless against. We have been used to this principle of resorting to killing people when one really does not know how to counter a force which seems unstoppable. The Hindu fanatics of Siva Sena and Bajrang Dal have been killing Christians to counter the seemingly unstoppable force of Christian conversions. When killings go on without any repercussions, acts of violence become the ultimate panacea to problems against which one feels powerless.
The Hindu fanatics do not know how to counter the force of Christian conversions. Let us face the fact, there have been cases where conversions were not genuine, there have been cases where conversions happened to gain material ends. But this is a small fraction of the conversions happening across India. The Hindu fanatics have no idea how to counter these mysterious conversions of the second kind which are much higher in number and more threatening than the first kind. They resort to violence and then justify killing Christians on flimsy ground that conversions are inhumane acts which deserves capital punishment.
The reason for killing the CEO was not so much about the wrongness of his decision to fire workers but the powerlessness the worker feel against him. The impetus to killing Christians is not the wrongness of the act of conversions, but the powerlessness one feels against the force of conversions.
The problem is this, once the idea of killing people becomes justified when one does not know how else to counter a force that is formidable and threatening, it naturally follows through that this principle will get applied to all spheres of life, including the communal, social and economic. Eventually, this principle of killing would also be applied to sphere of the economic disparities and what we have in our hands would be a revolution where the root cause wouldn’t be wrongness which deserves punishment but just a feeling of powerlessness which demands blood of those representing the indomidable force, to feel powerful against the force.
There are two ways to respond to a formidable force. One, is to give a cerebral response the other is to give a carnal response. When Emilie Zola in his campaign against the attrocities in the French army relied on the principle “Truth is on its march and nothing can stop her”, it was a cerebral response. When the Maximilien Robespierre started the French Revolution by appealing to the carnal inclinations of the masses, he set in motion a phenomena which had become a 800 pound ‘irrational’ gorilla and it turned back on him, it was the carnal response at its work. When reason is thrown out of the window and the basal instincts take over there is no saying who is next on line. The Shiv Sena and Bajrang Dal are creating a 800 pound ‘irratonal’ gorilla which when let loose will be unstoppable.
It is saddening that the Intellectual Elite of Indian seems to be very slow in awakening to the realization of the creation of this irrational self-destructive phenomenon which will shake the very foundation of freedom and democracy in India.
First they came for the communists, and I did not speak out–
because I was not a communist;
Then they came for the socialists, and I did not speak out–
because I was not a socialist;
Then they came for the trade unionists, and I did not speak out–
because I was not a trade unionist;
Then they came for the Jews, and I did not speak out–
because I was not a Jew;
Then they came for me–
and there was no one left to speak out for me.
– Martin Niemoeller (A decorated U-boat captain of WWI who later became a respected Protestant leader who openly spoke against the Nazi ideology and was sent to a concentration camp for his anti Nazi propoganda)