It is almost a month now since a college lecturer in Kerala had his hand chopped by Muslim fanatics, for framing an exam question about a literary character, whose name happened to be Mohammad.
Despite the outrage and anguish triggered by this incident, the fact remains that the police are still on the "look out" for the main suspects. Perhaps they will never be caught, or even if they are arrested, the court case is likely to drag on for a couple of decades.
Is there a pattern or method to this madness? Are these merely the actions of a handful of bigots? Or is there some truth in the allegation that the compulsions of coalition politics is allowing criminals to get away lightly? - especially if the criminals happen to be members of the Hindu rightwing or Muslim religious organisations?
While we wait for the truth to emerge, it is useful to remember an acidic verse penned by Fehmida Riaz about how India is beginning to resemble like Pakistan:
‘Tum bilkul hum jaise nikle?(And so you too turned out like us brother? Similarly stupid, wallowing in the past - where were you hiding until now? The easy ignorance, the rabid delinquency we nurtured for decades [in Pakistan], is knocking at your doors now? Congratulations, many congratulations.)
Ab tak kahaan chhupe thay bhai?
Wo ghaamadpan wo jaahilpan jisme humne sadi gawaee
Ab pahonchi hai dwaar tumharey?
Arey badhaee, bahot badhaee.’
Wikipedia - 2010 Hand-chopping Incident in Kerala
The Waning Romance of an Idea By Jawed Naqvi, DAWN Thursday, 29 Jul, 2010
Not in my Country by Tavleen Singh, Indian Express, Sun Aug 01 2010