Tip Sheet: Facts don’t justify violence

It’s a ‘liberal’ thing to argue ourselves into a corner. And to not get that in life, there are some absolutes. Saying no to violence — to the use of violence to suppress something a section of people dislikes — is one of those absolutes. See this @nilanjanaroy thread on the attack on Sanjay Leela Bhansali.

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PS: The head of the ‘Karni Seva’, the outfit behind the attacks, justifies it on the grounds that Bhansali is distorting history (not to mention gunshots no one heard). The argument is not what history says or does not say. It is not ‘How do you know, have you read the script?’ The argument is a simple ‘so what?’ It is a feature film, not a documentary; that it is fiction is implicit. There is no law against reinterpreting — or even reinventing — history; there is, however, a law against assault. And in this controversy, there is only one side unequivocally in the wrong.

Which brings me to this: In the aftermath of the attack, events followed a template. Media headlines. Talk shows. Outrage on Twitter at this newest manifestation of intolerance, and the predictable whataboutery in response.

What did not happen? This: the law and order machinery in Rajasthan was not questioned; the state government did not feel the heat. Therefore the government is under no compulsion to take action against the thugs. Which in turn licenses them to continue their thuggery with impunity — and also signals to similar thugs elsewhere that as long as they cloak their acts with the fig leaf of ‘justifiable outrage’, they can do as they please with no consequences beyond some passing breeze on social media.

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