Friday, October 31, 2014

THE CULTURE OF DEATH by Fr Cedric Prakash sj


October 31st 1984 and the days that followed, will be forever be etched in my psyche and memory,
In the wake of the assassination of the Prime Minister Indira Gandhi on that fateful morning,we were witnesses to one of the most violent and bloodiest chapters in the history of modern India.

It was unthinkable and totally unacceptable that any human being could be so inhuman! The way innocent Sikhs were butchered; many were hounded out of their houses which  were then  looted and razed to the ground. Remembering all this make one -even thirty years later -hang our heads down in shame!

The total collapse of civil society and the inability of the then Government  to deal with the situation with a firm hand-has definitely left not merely several unanswered questions -but make them also complicit in the act.

Some of us were involved in a kind of a response: identifying bodies from the Tis Hazari morgue, helping to trace missing persons and even in  the running relief camps;besides , we were also engaged in fact-finding: trying to identify persons who were responsible for the actual  murderous violence.

Very tragically for India, the wheels of justice have hardly moved. The persons behind this genocide were protected and were never brought to justice

So when the Gujarat Genocide took place in 2002 -presided over by those who rule us today- the constant reference point has been Delhi 1984..So in more ways than, one the horrendous massacres that took place in Gujarat post -February 27th 2002 , seemed to draw a legitimacy from what took place in Delhi post- October 31st 1984!

Two wrongs have NEVER made a right!For years now we seem to permit violence and the culture of death to permeate the very core and fabric of our country. The "big guys" easily get away with murder;being elected to power or to an office DOES NOT cleanse one of guilt nor absolve one of the crime.History has many examples to demonstrate this.

We don't seem to have learnt either from the lessons of 1984 or 2002! It's already very late- but there is still the possibility for us to wake up - to ensure JUSTICE for the victim survivors of 1984 and 2002; and above all,to move from  the culture of death towards a culture of life!

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