Friday, May 21, 2010

Is Mizoram becoming a radical society?

By Paritosh Chakma


This is going too far. This morning I woke up to news of another shameful assault on two Buddhist monks in Mamit district, Mizoram.

As I sat silently on my computer waiting anxiously for my sister’s Class XII results to be declared by the CBSE at 8 am today, my phone began to ring. I thought somebody was wanting to know my sister’s result but it was not the case. My sister passed the exam with respectable 57 per cent but my heart sank as the person on the other side of the phone told me that two Buddhist monks were humiliated by two Mizo passengers while traveling from Aizawl to Marpara in Mizoram State Transport (MST) bus on 20 May 2010. It was only two days ago that Buddhist monk, Ven. Kacchayana Bhikku (also a Chakma) was brutally assaulted by unidentified Mizo miscreants in the same route near Phuldungsei!

Ven. Kacchayana Bhikku's case was different. He admitted to me that his vehicle slightly hit the rear view mirror of the Mizos' 407 vehicle -so they got angry and beaten up the Buddhist monk in a fit of rage. I was willing to accept that although violence on a Buddhist monk or Christian Pastor or Hindu Sadhu or Muslim Imam was unacceptable and heinous crime.

But in yesterday's case nothing of that sort happened. It was a cold blooded assault on the holy men. The Buddhist monks identified as Venerable Kabidananda Bhikku and Venerable Gautamananda Bhikku from Chakma Autonomous District Council (CADC) were on their way to Marpara in a MST bus. When the bus reached Phuldungsei town, 147 km from Aizawl, two Mizo passengers (aged between 25-30 years) began to harass them. The accused pulled the ears of Venerable Gautamananda Bhikku while the other monk was not allowed to sleep in his own seat.

The accused allegedly asked the monks, “Why are you wearing this kind of clothes” referring to the saffron robe of the Buddhist monks, and pulled the ears of Ven. Gautamananda Bhikku in a very demeaning manner.

All this was going on in front of other passengers but none intervened. This is equally shocking. This explains acceptance of the shameful act by the co-passengers who were mostly Mizos. Is Mizoram sliding into a society where shameful acts like pulling the ears of a religious teacher in full public view tolerated? Towards the transformation into radicalism the first thing a society needs is the silent acceptance or tolerance of attacks (whether verbal or physical) on minority community people or religion by the majority. Unfortunately, tolerance of hatred and violence (citing different grounds) by some educated, modern day Mizos is also visible in the discussions at popular blog, http://www.misual.com/ on this subject ( http://www.misual.com/2010/05/20/mizo-in-buddhist-monk-sawisa/) If we the people of Mizoram accept inhuman acts against people of another community or religion, I am afraid this state will be no longer different from any other states where the rights of the minorities are thrashed into the dustbin and minorities are persecuted with impunity.

Among the passengers were three Chakmas – one male and two females but they too could not pull up courage to protest. The victimized monks told me their ordeal ended only when the two accused passengers got off at Pukzing village about 18 km from Marpara.

This is the second case of physical attacks on Buddhist monks in two days. Earlier on the night of 19 May 2010 Buddhist monk, Ven. Kacchayana Bhikku was brutally assaulted by unidentified Mizo miscreants in the same route near Phuldungsei in Mamit district. Read the story I have filed: http://www.merinews.com/article/buddhist-monk-assaulted-in-mizoram/15812894.shtml

Mizoram is often rightly stated to be the most peaceful state in the North East India and I am very happy as well as proud of this. I was also happy when in March 2010, Vice Chairman of the National Minority Commission H T Sangliana, following a visit, found “no serious oppression and persecution of minorities in Mizoram”. But now I am having disturbing thoughts.

I am critically aware about the religious persecution against the Muslims and Christians in states like Gujarat, Orissa and Karnataka etc, but the recent instances of brutal physical attack on Ven. Kacchayana Bhikku, pulling of ears of Venerable Gautamananda Bhikku and harassment to Venerable Kabidananda Bhikku in a public bus (as all other passengers were watching silently) are making me uncomfortable. Is Mizoram, my beautiful state, too moving into radicalism?

These attacks, which are completely unacceptable in a civilized society, highlight the fact that the condition of the minorities in Mizoram is not hunky dory.

2 comments:

Maraland said...

Hi Paritosh, as far as my reading of the post at misual.com is concerned, most educated and elderly users have strongly condemned the shameful acts of the 407 passengers. They all say it is a blot on the image of Mizo people even though they should be rightly called as thugs. Miscreants are everywhere and you might have seen some of them on the website. But remember many Mizos sympathize with the victims and have called for the kind of incident to be never repeated.
I also strongly condemn the persecution of the two Buddhist monks. I sincerely hope that the state media - print, cable tvs and online website will highlight such incidents and how things like that is unacceptable to a civilized and modern society. It is truly very unfortunate that something like this happens.

KACCAYANA said...

I am Ven. Kaccayana Bhikkhu (who got attack on 19th night). I am very happy that my incedent was covered by many prominent news provider. It was really shocking for me that I can travel freely in whole India and in foreign country without any problem but in my own birthplace I cannot travel freely. For my incedent it is acceptable that our vehicle has slightly hit another vehicle where even no scrach came but what other two monks did whose ear were pulled? So this I say totally hateful thought towards other religious person. India is an Independent Country so every individual has right to choose one's own life style and what business the two person had who pulled ears and asked "why are you wearing this kind of dress, give away this monk (puithiam) life ...." After all these incedent we had to be quite bcoz there is no one from our side who dare to file up a report in police station against the culprits.
I also say that all Mizos are not same, some are so good that they fold their hands even in Aizawl city to give respect to monks.
I am happy to a post writer - Maraland, who atleast showed friendly and concern words.
Lastly I am still not fully recovered as they have kick and punch me everywhere, most serious is teeth imprint on my head and a kick at my left jaw because of which I still cannot chew any food and I am surviving only on Noodle(food) and going on medical theatment in my village.