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India Not Shining: The Utter Mess in Uttar Pradesh Wrought by Modi’s Yogi-in-Chief

India Not Shining: The Utter Mess in Uttar Pradesh Wrought by Modi’s Yogi-in-Chief

  • How a state known for art, literature and culture came to be a hotbed of atrocities committed on women in general and Dalit women in particular.

The sheer barbarity of rape incidents coming out of India is enough to put Marquis de Sade to shame – Nirbhaya, Kathua, Hydrabad doctor’s rape and murder. I highly doubt one hasn’t heard by now of the Hathras rape case, a gruesome, horrifying incident in a small town of Utter Pradesh, India’s largest state. A 19-year-old Dalit girl was brutally gang raped, her tongue chopped off, strangled, her waist broken by unspeakable acts of horrors committed on her person by young boys and men of the upper caste. 

The horrors didn’t end there — after she was left a mangled mess, she was brought to local government hospital where she died. Her family wasn’t notified of her hush cremation by the state government henchmen and the police, her grieving and hurting family locked up in their homes and not even allowed to pay their last respects. Were it not for a brave journalist who recorded the surreptitious cremation, the world would have not even heard of this incident, her death one among the several, forgotten among the dusty files of mortuary.

Those of us sitting in America gasp, shake our heads and go on about our business. A segment of the population reaffirms their belief about the backwardness of that country where technology has reached villages but where men can behave like beasts, yet another section is outraged, social media lit up with comments and outrage. And another segment of our community ponders, questions the validity of the story and is quite clear about their conviction – yeh saab zhooti khabre Modiji aur Yogiji ko neecha dekhane ke leye hai. (All these stories are made-up, to make Modi and Yogi look bad) To them, these unspeakable acts of crime must have “dhoosa pehlu zaroor hoga” (there must be another reason behind this incident) – and life moves on for us all.

Conspiracy Against Upper Castes?

Sure enough, the Uttar Pradesh government has now hired a public relations firm to spin the barbaric rape incident and are already calling it a murder that happened to create chaos in the state by his opponents. News reports say there was no rape actually, it was a crime to discredit the upper caste (read Brahmins, Thakurs and the hundreds other sub-castes that claim superiority over the Dalits, the “lower castes” (who didn’t ask for but were labelled such by centuries of deep-rooted societal system that a “Hindu” society developed and perpetuated and Hinduism as a religion kept up with it in order to keep a grip on the population). 

I am flabbergasted when folks say Hinduism is not a religion, it’s a way of life. Well, every religion is a way of life, people.

I am flabbergasted when folks say Hinduism is not a religion, it’s a way of life. Well, every religion is a way of life, people. The Dalits didn’t ask to be Dalits. I can bet my last dollar that if they were asked again after centuries of subjugation by the Brahmins and Rajputs and the Baniyas, they would say “bhai, lets change places, for the next few centuries let the Brahmin or the Thakur be the Dalit. 

For centuries rape has been used as an instrument of avenging honors and winning wars – men strike that section of a community that is most vulnerable. The horrific wars in the African continent earlier in the 1990s comes to mind, the years of infighting between the Tutsis and the Hutus where women were routinely kidnapped, raped and maimed. I won’t even go to the countless grotesque crimes committed by colonists against the “natives.”

How did Uttar Pradesh get this notoriety of being the most unruly state in modern India? Bihar for long was the butte of every ridicule because of its years of law and order problems and poor economic conditions through decades of mismanaged rule by successive political parties. Now it’s UP or Uttar Pradesh with this claim to fame. 

A Culture Gone With the Wind

A state that gave us literary doyen such as Vyasa and Tulsidas, Munshi Prem Chand, Kabir, Nizamuddin Auliya, Salim Chishti, Malik Mohammad Jayasi, Mahadevi Verma, Firaq Gorakhpuri, pillars of India’s Independence movements like Asif Ali, Pandit Nehru, Chandrashekhar Azad, Rafi Ahmed Kidwai, Govind Vallabh Pant, Ram Manohar Lohia, Madan Mohan Malviya, Lal Bahadur Shastri. It has given us superstar Amitabh Bachchan, the oh-so-rumani Muzaffar Ali, Bismillah Khan, Naushad Ali and Majrooh Sultanpuri, Sitar Maestro Pandit Ravi Shankar – the list is miles-long and too many to cite here.

Uttar Pradesh Chief Minister Yogi Adiyanath.

Uttar Pradesh has also given us the nuanced nawabi culture that produced Kathak as a dance form, the refined Urdu language, the melodious chaitis and birahas of Banaras, and being a UP-ite and a Banarasi to boot, I like to claim the sensuous Thumaris as originating from UP as well —  though many a purist may pooh-pooh this idea. But I digress. 

After centuries of leading and being a cultural bastion of arts, literature, producing hundreds and thousands of statesmen and women, sports personalities, intellectuals and ordinary citizenry who lived simple lives and took pride in being an Allahabadi, a Banarasi , a Lucknowi or a Barelli ka babu teasing his damsel who has lost her jhumka in the bazar – what did it take to turn UP into one of the most reviled state of the county, some even calling it the rape state of India? 

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Is it political chaos, mismanagement, rampant patriarchy that still exists, greed, unemployment, lack of education in some cases, or just plain and simple a deeply entrenched caste system that exists to this day. The answer is all of the above. It took decades of lawlessness and an inability of a society to change with the changing times that allowed sons and husbands to continue to see women as a commodity, a possession and an inferior gender. 

Federal-funded reservation system compounded this animosity between the entitled upper caste and the Dalits who grabbed the lifeline thrown at them and tried to be upwardly mobile. That did not sit well with the Thakurs and the zamindars of yesteryears who saw this as a threat to their place in the society. Cases of Dalit men punished severely, hands chopped off, beaten to death, legs broken or in some cases murdered gets reported from all over India but in smaller towns and cities and villages, the crisis is supreme.  

Latest news from India is that per the PR agency hired by Yogi Adiyanath, the Chief Minister of UP, the rape is actually no rape. It is an honor killing by the victim’s brother – and they suspect foreign hand in the murder actually to discredit the Yogi’s government. We may find it incredulous but those who don’t want to see what is out there will lap such misinformation up. Until next time…! The pro-Modi media has gone to town with this version, while people who are supporting the Dalits can’t visit the grieving family and the Yogi has slapped Article something on the city to prevent any one from getting direct information from the family.

But talk, we must. If we are passionate about human rights and social issues here in the United States, it’s imperative that us desis continue to keep the focus on such horrors in India as well because such stories not only muddy the image of India that Modi bhakts try so hard to keep, an India Shining, but most importantly such horrors are human rights issues and may soon get to the United Nations if things don’t improve for women in India. I shudder to think what the Modi followers will do then. It will all be “libtardsand “sicularists” fault, I’ll bet.

Kuhu Singh lives in Eden Prairie, Minn., a suburb of the Twin Cities. Bidding adieu to journalism a decade ago, she nonetheless loves to write and express her very strong opinions on social media and blogs and sometimes in a few Indian publications. She is a Senior Digital Marketing Manager for a broadcast retail company. Race relations, diversity, social issues fascinate and roil her into action. She volunteers her time with certain political organizations and community organizations.

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