An Unnatural Politics and the Madness of the Indian State

Manash Firaq Bhattacharjee in The Wire:

There is an anecdote in Salvador Dali’s Diary of a Genius, where he recounts telling three men from Barcelona, nothing that occurs in the world astonishes him. Upon which a well-known watchmaker among them asks Dali, if he saw the sun coming out in the middle of the night, wouldn’t he be astonished? No, said Dali, it wouldn’t bother him the least. The watchmaker confessed, if he witnessed such a thing, he would have thought he had gone mad. To which, Dali replied with witty assurance, “I should think it was the sun that had gone mad.”

The modern counterparts of Dali’s watchmaker believe there is something mad about the student protests against the Citizenship Amendment Act (CAA). In fact, the madness lies elsewhere.

Muslim students, finding their place as equal subjects under the law shrinking drastically after the CAA was passed by both houses of parliament last week, have reacted sharply. Protests were spearheaded by two Muslim educational institutions, Jamia Millia Islamia and Aligarh Muslim University. The logic of the government had reached them. But more significantly perhaps, what reached them was a sense of suffocation.

Since 2014, there has been an unprecedented attack on Muslims in social spaces. It started with the lynchings on rumours of beef eating and transporting cattle. The territorialisation of the Hindu nation had begun with that move.

More here.