In the run up for Lok Sabha elections 2009, Varun Gandhi an emerging young politician dominated the media for his speeches that were alleged to be hate campaign against minority communities in India especially the Muslims. Many social leaders, prominent citizens and common people voiced their grave concern over this and condemned the speech. But, Varun did not have any remorse for his speech, instead defended it. Later, he said he was victim of political conspiracy. He made his arrest a public stunt and even inspired violation in the city of Pilibhit.
Ideology and hate
Ideologies emerge in various historical contexts. They could be geographically defined. Very few ideologies have global appeal. The purpose of ideology is to mobilize people around a cause. The ideology should have intellectual appeal and emotional excitement to move people. The intellectual content has to be interpreted and communicated in such a way the people are excited about it. Love and Hate are two opposite but dynamic emotional mobilizing agents. Love and hate inspires, excites, calls people to be dynamic, daring, take risks and is also contagious. Leaders often choose ‘hate’ as the easiest option to mobilize people. It is easy to make people ‘hate’ rather than ‘love’.
Politics of hate
Let us look at the various social and political movements in India and around the world that could be termed as mass movements. The nationalist movements that brought independence to several nations around the world, identified the colonial masters as ‘hate symbols’. The Communist movement around the world needed ‘class enemies’ or the rich as hate object to move common people for their cause. The Dravidian movement needed ‘Brahmins’ as hate-objects to mobilize people and have dominated the politics for more than four decades. The Nazi movement needed ‘Jews’ as hate object to invade the minds of Germans. The Hindutva movement needs minorities in India as hate-objects to unite caste-divided Hindu society.
Power and hate
People give power to leaders who communicate hatred. These leaders are excellent communicators. They portray themselves as defenders of society or a particular group. Patting themselves, they take credit for identifying the problem facing the community and also the people (hate – objects) who are responsible for that. And they offer solution, which is most probably annihilation of the hate-objects, which obviously bring prosperity to the particular community. The promise of security and prosperity mobilizes people to rally around leaders who have hate as their rhetoric.
Cunningness Vs. Straightforwardness
The strategy used by hate based leaders is ‘cunningness’. They never speak truth, but use a variety of lies as their ‘truth’ and brand all opponents as false or pseudo. These leaders are expert in speaking lies as if it is truth.
Exploiting fears of community
There would be subconscious fears or feeling of insecurity in the depth of the minds of people. Leaders instead of assuaging such feelings, they want it to be exploited. They exaggerate their fears and make it a corporate frenzy. A mood of self defeat is created so that people look up to the leader for solution.
Gospel of love
While the world leaders generally tend to use hate as their motivating factor, Lord Jesus did exactly the opposite. He died on the cross of Calvary expressing His love to humanity, forgave his tormentors, prayed for his enemies and died without a trace of hate in perfect love. That inspired an army of love, down through the history who demonstrated Christ-likeness in various parts of the world. Some politicians took cue from this tried to imitate him with limited success – like Nelson Mandela, Martin Luther King Jr. and Mahatma Gandhi. The only ideology in that sense is the Gospel of Lord Jesus Christ that has transformed the world in a wonderful way. Christians should proclaim this gospel in adverse circumstances.
Identifying scape goats
The fear is exploited and channelized as anger and hate towards some ‘other group’ of people. May be a minority group: Jews in Germany, Brahmins in Tamil Nadu, Class enemies – rich in communist countries, minorities for Hindutva groups…etc., becomes scape goat. The other people are portrayed as villains who have deprived the community of their dignity, honour and prosperity. The ‘other’ community should be taught a lesson – by all means including violence.
Responding to ideology of hate
1. Be prophetic voice: It is the duty of leaders in the community to be prophetic voice, speaking the truth with authentic voice. Many time pseudo leaders gain attention, for they seem to speak with conviction. The Church is the only organic body that has mandate from God to be the Prophetic voice in the society.
2.Educate and motivate silent majority: The fringe elements are vocal and may not be even 10 per cent of the population. But, they take the whole society for ransom. The majority do not understand the situation and do not know how to respond. So, the people should be educated and motivated to raise their voice at the grass root level. Christians should be role models by being active participants in the society.
3.Compel Government to act: Many times the State Governments do not act, out of political compulsions. When the civilians – the silent majority raise their voice, the Government is compelled to act. There are enough laws to curb these unruly elements. The voice could be raised by writing to Government agencies like the Chief Minister, bureaucrats, police officials, judges…etc.
4.Condemn media for lopsided priorities: The mainline media is sensational driven and do not bother to consider the welfare of the society and long-term effects. Arrest of a person for criminal act is not headline news. Daily hundreds are arrested all across the country. But, media gives prime coverage and makes a marginal person a cultic status. The silent majority should express their indignation for such shabby media coverage and priorities to the editors of newspapers, magazines and television media.
5.Explore legal options: Lawyers from the silent majority should file public interest litigations (PIL) and request Judiciary to step in and put a full stop to aberrations in the beginning itself. Non Government Organizations should have a special department to do such things or there is need for such organization that brings such public issues to the notice of Judiciary for intervention.