Our Take

Pilgrims regress?

Pilgrims regress?

We always knew this, but today the idea was reinforced, yet again. A group of kanwariyas unleashed mayhem when a car brushed against them in the capital’s constricted roads. Out came the rods and the attempt was to smash the car to pulp.  In a clip that has since then gone viral, the two women inside the car are seen running away to safety. Hooliganism in the name of faith is increasingly becoming the norm. And vigilantism in the garb of religion has become the refuge of the rogue. As if the periodic lynchings in the name of cow protection, the videos of which are often proudly filmed by the perpetrators themselves, were not enough, the yearly menace of the kanwariyas has now descended on the various parts of the country. And year after year the space they occupy, both in terms of physical and the terror that they let loose among ordinary inhabitants, seems to be multiplying.

While earlier the phenomenon was confined to some areas, with political patronage of the ruling dispensation of every hue, the malaise has now gone virulent. And the citizenry is held hostage to their whims as none dares to cross their path for fear of consequences. A heady mix of nationalism is added as a potent mix to religion as many of them are seen carrying the Tricolour astride bikes. Travelling in groups, something akin to the biker gangs of the West, while playing blaring, cheap rap songs is the new fad.  Of course, the idea that any religion talks about respecting each other’s space, sacrifice, respect and the Tricolour is emblematic of strength (and not muscle power), courage (and not bullying), peace (and not violence),  truth (and not untruths spread as gospel to justify violence), growth (and not superstition) has completely passed them by. Time that we reclaimed both – our religion and our flag – from people who do not have an understanding of either.



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