Trolling of a prominent interfaith couple over the naming of their newborn is plain communal polarisation

By: |
February 23, 2021 6:30 AM

Policing of people’s choices in the 21st century as in the present instance—with an underlying narrative that deepens divides—is purely communal.

The Maratha invasions, under Raghoji Bhonsale, of Bengal subah left an imprint of brutalities inflicted in the minds of locals for generations, but a fair number of Raghus and Raghavs in the area today face no such public wrath.

The times are such that even a newborn—the prospect of their naming—can polarise. It is hard to read the trolling that greeted the birth of the second child of a prominent inter-faith couple in the country as anything but evidence of a fracturing of the country’s population along communal lines. This couple’s firstborn shares his name with the Turco-Mongol conqueror, Timur (or Taimur), who had led a successful campaign against the Delhi Sultanate in the early 14th century.

This choice of name had sparked a campaign of hate against the couple, spiked with generous doses of communal vitriol. This time around, the actual announcement of the name has been preempted by the trolls, with many asking if “it is Aurangzeb or Tipu (the Muslim ruler of Mysore)”; the subtext of such ‘humour’ is clearly a deep distrust—in some cases, outright hatred—of a community.

History is replete with stories of conquerors (merciless and benevolent) and the vanquished. Oral histories are rich in tales of suffering if these are of the vanquished. However, such policing of people’s choices in the 21st century as in the present instance—with an underlying narrative that deepens divides—is purely communal.

If it weren’t, there would have been no one named Asoka in swathes across eastern India; tales of his conquest of Kalinga are no less horrific than tales of conquest/rule by West Asian invaders. The Maratha invasions, under Raghoji Bhonsale, of Bengal subah left an imprint of brutalities inflicted in the minds of locals for generations, but a fair number of Raghus and Raghavs in the area today face no such public wrath.

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