New depths of right-wing whataboutery in reply to the liberal voices

Lata Tauro

I am a retired IT professional. I had a business in that area for a number of years. But currently I am not professionally engaged. The recent rise in illiberalism has agitated me as it has others. Hence I felt the need to write about these issues with the hope that it might help to bring in the necessary change.

The recent uprising, by writers and others, against the State’s inaction regarding rising intolerance in the country has clearly ruffled a lot of feathers. As a consequence there has been a backlash of whataboutery rationalization from that quarter and I would like to address at least some of their arguments to show just how fallacious they are.

One such case being made is with regard to Sharmila Tagore. She is being questioned about her own antecedents and her claim to being a liberal is being disputed as a consequence.

It is being asserted that Sharmila married into a Muslim family and allowed the culture of that adopted family to be the dominant one rather than making sure there was equal space for both cultures. This is true and clearly there is room for wondering why she felt this was alright. However this happens to be a matter of personal choice and no one else really has the right to either question a person about or deny them the same. To juxtapose this as an argument that legitimizes the state’s intolerance is highly spurious.

The next incident being highlighted is the Dadri killing which is being compared to the murder of a Hindu man in a fallout over cattle grazing. While the first has no other reason beyond it being a state inspired one, created solely by bringing in false ideas about a beef ban and creating rumors of the same, the second is a matter of regular law and order which while reprehensible is not of the same kind even if the parties on either side of this fallout happen to be Hindu and Muslim.

The third is about the Poojary murder. Again though this murder is absolutely reprehensible it simply cannot be compared to the Dadri killing as in this case the man in question was creating havoc by going around meddling in the lives of members of the minority community interfering in both, the areas of their livelihood as well as their personal lives. He was making it his own personal mission to be a one man army against cow slaughter and ‘love-jihad’. I leave it to people’s imaginations to figure out how disruptive he must have been to their lives.

To compare these two instances of murder to the Dadri killing is highly ingenuous as the latter was of a man who was completely innocent of anything other than being the object of people’s imaginations bolstered by rumors. And all of the latter having a clear state driven agenda behind it.

I am quite quite sure we could come up with long lists of Muslims murdered by Hindus as we could of Hindus murdered by Muslims. But whether that has any bearing on the recent uprising against intolerance would be quite another matter altogether and as irrelevant as the two murders juxtaposed here.

While all murders are wrong and none can be justified, not all can be laid at the doorstep of the government in quite the same way as the Dadri killing can be. It is for that reason that there has been an uprising and why it tipped the scales for most people. To try and obscure this fact with rustling up lists of murders of members of the majority community simply will not wash.

There have been other instances of this kind of rationalization too and in each case if one holds it up to the light it soon becomes apparent that the argument does not hold water. But great attempts are being made to do this kind of thing and resist it with all our might, we must.

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