Could there be anything worse than the Right linking #KeralaFloods to beef and Sabarimala?
Opinion

Could there be anything worse than the Right linking #KeralaFloods to beef and Sabarimala?

The answer would be a giant no.

By T S Sudhir

Published on :

The hate factory has taken over. Crept in even while Kerala is struggling to keep itself afloat and save itself. One of them, US-based author Rajiv Malhotra tweeted thus.

“Please donate to help Kerala Hindus. Christians & Muslims worldwide raising lots of money to help mainly their own people and agendas.”

Malhotra later deleted his tweet but it was retweeted by over one thousand people, including by the likes of Mohandas Pai, which shows the acceptance of such divisive thinking. It is a relief that Commander Vijay Verma of the Indian Navy and not Rajiv Malhotra was in charge of the chopper that lifted a pregnant woman whose water bag had broken and rushed her to the hospital from Kochi on Friday. Sajida Jabil delivered a baby boy within a couple of hours of being rescued. Wonder if she would have qualified to be rescued by the likes of Malhotra and his echo chamber.

What this pathetic lot does not realise is that Onam, Kerala’s biggest festival that is a 10-day affair culminating on August 27 will not be celebrated this year. Onam is not a religion-specific but a state-specific festival, with people of all faiths joining in. The people of the state could do without these peddlers of hate poison.

There is also a school of thought that believes Kerala deserved it. That the Malayalees invited it upon themselves for being unapologetic beef-eaters. The Right-wing has been peddling spurious stuff about how targeting Hindus and the cow has got Kerala into this situation.

Sample this tweet from Prashant Patel Umrao linking Kerala’s worst two floods of 1924 and 2018 thus: “Earlier natural disaster in God’s own country after massacre of Hindus in Mopla and now in 2018 after slaughtering of cows and disrespecting deities of Gods.”

Patel’s reference is to the Moplah or the Malabar rebellion of 1921, which was an armed revolt by the Muslims of northern present-day Kerala against the British authorities and their Hindu allies. The rebellion lasted six months and over 10,000 people were killed. This is considered one of the first cases of nationalist uprisings against the British in South India. Wonder which Hindu Gods were offended in Chennai in December 2016 or in Visakhapatnam when Cyclone Hudhud struck in October 2014.

The God referred to is Lord Ayyappa who is the presiding deity at Sabarimala in Kerala. The Supreme court is hearing arguments for and against allowing entry to women between 10 and 50 years of age. The insinuation is that Lord Ayyappa, a bachelor God, is unleashing his wrath on Kerala because of menstruating women seeking entry into the temple.

None less than the freshly-appointed director of the Reserve Bank of India, S Gurumurthy, waded into the Sabarimala issue. He tweeted suggesting that Supreme Court judges may like to see if there is any connection between the case and the rains, that have cut off Sabarimala among other places.

“Even if there is one in a million chance of a link, people would not like the case decided against Ayyappan,” Gurumurthy tweeted, arguing it is about people’s beliefs.

How will the judges establish as per Indian law if there is a connection or not, pray tell us Mr Gurumurthy? And if it indeed was Lord Ayyappa’s way of showing his displeasure, I would assume he would have ensured only women between 10 and 50 suffered, not the men who want to maintain status quo. Does Gurumurthy and his ilk want Hindus and India to believe that the Lord is keenly watching the Supreme Court proceedings and he is so vindictive that he would punish lakhs of Keralites for daring to make such a suggestion? What the Right-wing lot has done is to cast one of the most loved Hindu Gods in its own mould — petty and vengeful. Nothing could be further from the truth.

And if this vitriol was not enough, BJP’s Vaibhav Aggarwal drafted his own blame narrative. Taking credit for the swift response by rescue agencies and the aid of Rs 600 crore announced by the Centre, Aggarwal sought to blame the Left government in Kerala for the loss of over 300 lives. Clearly, there was an attempt to work on a political narrative simultaneously, to ensure the BJP came out looking like Kerala’s saviours and to suggest Pinarayi Vijayan slept at the wheel. What this armchair spokesperson sitting far from Delhi did not know is that at least so far, there is no visible outpouring of anger against the manner in which the state has handled the crisis so far.

In sharp contrast to this out-of-sync surround sound has been the Vice President and Ruler of Dubai, Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum who tweeted in Malayalam, English and Arabic that the people of Kerala have always been and are still part of his country’s success story, promising aid. He did not break down the people of Kerala on the basis of religion. Kerala could do with help from Dubai, which with its Malayalee expat crowd is as good as a second Kerala.

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