Languages of violence

The Cauvery water dispute is back in the news because of Tamil Nadu’s decision to build a reservoir. If people applied their minds to the problem of insufficient water from the river, they would find that increasing population on all sides of the border means that a time will come when the entire water of the Cauvery would not be sufficient either for Tamil Nadu or Karnataka. Instead of planning for such an eventuality, these states are merrily fighting over a limited resource fully knowing that there is no verdict in the world that is going to satisfy both of them. Other than that, all I can say about this issue is that ordinary people should not be left holding political babies. Those responsible for the mess should sit down and clean it themselves. But that is an impossible ask from Indian politicians who have made a habit of this (Belgaum and Ram Janmabhoomi [1] [2] are great examples).

But this is less about Cauvery and more about the violence that seems to accompany any such flare up. As expected, Tamil films were disrupted and Tamil television channels have been blacked out in Karnataka, while Kanadda channels get similar treatment in Tamil Nadu. As news channels report, there have been cases of destruction of property in both states. So, an inter-state dispute has become an inter-language one, thanks to their organization on the basis of language. Who would have thought that language can be used for violent purposes.

Last month, Raj Thakrey ran a xenophobic campaign on the ‘sons of the soil’ theory; Bihari migrants have been frequently shot dead by terrorist outfits in the north-east since they are outsiders; Maharashtra and Karnataka are throwing around their political might in the case of Belgaum while the hapless citizens are caught between two fighting languages; Tamil Nadu politicians ran an anti-Aryan and therefore anti-Hindi anti-Sanskrit campaign in the 1960s-70s; quasi-militant subnationalist outfits in Maharashtra and Karnataka supported by their respective governments enforce the use of business signages in the local language; schools are forced to teach the local language (Punjab too has jumped on to the bandwagon, recently) as a matter of pride without considering the effect it might have on children or future job prospects.

Seeing all this, I am in no mood to believe in the India is a peaceful country – Indians are peace loving bull crap that is fed to people. Such open government-sanctioned violence, xenophobia and intolerance for people, their ideas and languages only goes on to prove that India is quickly becoming a country that will be remembered for being barbaric and nothing else. When we can’t live peacefully with our own countrymen, is it any surprise that a few thousand Britishers could so easily rule over such a vast continent taking full advantage of such mutual hatred and distrust?

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