The fight between ‘your truth and my truth’ came out of virtual world and got ugly in the heart of National capital last Sunday. At IGNCA ground which incidentally is named after the former Indian prime minister who once declared emergency to curb opposing voices, another attempt was made to terrify a noted liberal voice of India.
Last weekend Delhi experienced 2017 edition of Jashn-E-Rekhta which is highly revered as the largest celebration of Urdu language in the country. Indeed what should have been a celebrated gathering of Urdu lovers turned out into a mob-justice coliseum on Sunday evening.
Acclaimed writer, broadcaster, secularist and liberal activist Tarek Fatah was pushed, beaten and haggled by an unruly mob of goons present at this festival of literature in New Delhi.
Tarek went there as an ordinary visitor and was looking forward to explore some Urdu literature when this unfortunate incident happened. A celebrity in his own domain, Mr. Fatah was making his way through selfie and autograph requests when few people started raising indecent slogans against him. They were allegedly offended by his rational views. He was called ‘Modi’s pet’ among other more vicious things.
Tarek Fatah, a 67 years old writer and liberal activist was soon surrounded by fanatic crowd who wanted to harm him through words and action. While noted orators on the main stage area were heaping praises on the inclusive nature of Jashn-e-Rekhta, a senior citizen, who also happens to be a guest of this country, was being pushed around few meters away.
The unfortunate incident must be condemned in strictest of words indeed what makes it worse is the place where this all happened. Jashn-E-Rekhta has often been cited as the epitome of “Ganga-Jamuni Tehjeeb of India”. However not a single organizer or office bearer made any attempt to stop the madness which Tarek Fatah was subjected to in their festival premises. Even festivals overactive twitter handle has completely ignored the incident despite thousands of tags and mentions.
The over-enthusiastic voices of Delhi media circles tried their best to downplay this mishap and no cries of Intolerance were heard from most mainstream media outlets even after a day of this incident.
Tarek has increasingly become the most notable voice of liberal Muslims in the nation. His suggestion of reforms and his astute view of problems in Islam have made him a popular target of many vicious Mullahs’ and their protégés.
Tarek Fatah was also instrumental in getting Aurangzeb Road in Lutyen’s Delhi rechristened to Dr. APJ Abdul Kalam’s name. He has never minced a word while narrating about the cruel and cowardly ways of Islamic invaders. His alternative outlook about some of so called Islamic heroes makes many uncomfortable.
It is because of this fact that most people who were rattled by recent Sanjay Leela Bhansali incident chose to remain numb on this issue. Many see him as a credible threat to the years of agenda perpetually created and nurtured to turn erstwhile oppressors into heroes of modern India. His immaculate knowledge of Islamic history makes him an undefeatable debater on the topic and not many co-panelists prefer his straight-talking demeanor.
Be it Tarek Fatah, Tasleema Nasreen or Salman Rushdie, our FOE warriors have always been very comfortable in denying them a platform owing to their sharp views on a particular common topic. Self-righteous brigade of pseudo-seculars isn’t anywhere visible in condemning this indecent act of cowardice.
However because of large section of people who know and follow Tarek Fatah for his crystal clear thoughts and nationalistic views, the attempts to rug this incident under the carpet couldn’t succeed. Despite attempted blackout by most news channels, people outpoured their disgust and condemnation for this assault on social media.
However the asinine division on this universally condemnable act is also clearly visible on these platforms. It won’t be an exaggeration to say that this is an Intolerance certified by pseudo-liberals of our country. No kashyap’s would speak against it, no Rajput will drop his surname, no Rana is going to return his award. For them somehow it is ‘we vs them’. For them the well-measured words and opinions of those disagreeing with them is the greatest danger to fabric of India, but the acts of cowardice violence against a common enemy is just a necessary retribution.
Tarek Fatah could have been the target of this particular incident but their frustration and anger is actually against all those who can speak without their consent. We are in an age where Intellectual terrorism and false propaganda is being answered in its own language. Those who one’s considered themselves the sole authority on every right and wrong in this country and have enjoyed clout to steer its paths are now offended with alternate views. The fact that their rivals have now adopted polished languages and are shredding their agenda’s with clear statistics and facts have made them angrier. It is this desperation that has made a particular segment go silent on this assault on free speech.
Yet muscles have never won over pen and now will be no different.