India does not exactly live up to the title of being the epitome of ‘unity in diversity’ - even though we supposedly swear by it. Anyone in doubt regarding this statement can pick up the nearest newspaper or simply switch on the television and watch the constant tug of war between different communities over various issues ranging from reservation quotas to names of cities, historical narratives and more.
In such an atmosphere, we introduce to you a deeply problematic question that was published in a third semester exam paper of law students from Delhi’s Guru Gobind Singh Indraprastha University (GGSIU): “Ahmed, a Muslim kills a cow in a market in the presence of Rohit, Tushar, Manav and Rahul, who are Hindus. Has Ahmed committed any offence?”
This question was part of the Law of Crimes-I paper that was written by students of the ten colleges that offer the LBB course and are affiliated to GGSIU on last Friday, 7th December, 2018.
When the pictures of the question paper began to be widely circulated on social media the Delhi Education Minister, Mr.Manish Sisodia claimed to have ordered an inquiry into the matter. “It is very bizarre and seems to be an attempt to disturb the harmony of society. We won’t tolerate such misconduct. I am ordering an inquiry, and if found true, strongest action will be taken,” he said to the Indian Express.
Despite such a question being derogatory to those belonging to the Muslim community and violating the very values listed in the preamble of the Indian Constitution by being non-secular in nature, the principal of one of the affiliated colleges stated that she did not see the necessity of escalating this matter to higher authorities because of how the question was actually based on something that could take place in real life.
‘Saffronisation’ is a process that not many Indians are aware of in theory but in practice it is something that has been so ingrained into our attitudes today that it reflects in our opinions and actions. When we have political leaders across the country making claims like,
“If the other side does not stay in peace, we will teach them how to stay in peace the language that they understand”, it is then not surprising to see how desensitised we as individuals have become to regular acts of violence and micro-aggressions in the country.
While most of the time this process takes place in subtle ways making it seem almost invisible to the naked eye, it is once in a while that incidents like this make us break out of our reveries and give a thought to how big of a role propaganda is beginning to take in our lives. The GGSIPU Registrar, Mr. Satnam Singh stated that the university ‘regrets the error’ and talked about how one cannot connect things like this to religion. “As of now the question stands deleted. No marks will be given for it, either for those who have attempted or for those who have not attempted. In future, we will also give an advisory to the examiners, that such questions should not be asked,” he told The Indian Express.
Looking at it from a different perspective – do we now live in a time where cases of religious tension, cow vigilantism and lynching have risen to a point where the law regarding such a specific situation needs to be learned be all incoming lawyers?
Although we feel assured for now, such occurrences should be ringing alarm bells in the minds of peace loving Indians considering how the combination of education and fundamental ideologies has never brought pleasant results even in the past. Let’s dig up a little bit of the Germanic and Chinese histories, shall we?
Feature image credit: Saraswationline.com
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