The sub-continent has begun to simmer again. What happened this month is ghastly. The real horror of the growing hate culture is now immediately recognizable. Hate now is reflected in public attitudes and, worse, acted upon mindlessly.

Mob attacks were carried out on temples and homes belonging to the Hindu minority community in Bangladesh. This majoritarian violence, particularly during Durga Puja, sparked brutal violence against Muslims in the neighbouring Tripura (in India). 

A minister in Pakistan claimed that the victory against India in the T20 cricket match was a ‘victory of Islam’ while Mohammed Shami, the Indian cricketer who gave away too many runs, was trolled online for being a “traitor”.

There is growing hate for the ‘Other’, and the fault lines of land, language, ethnicity and faith are used to shape political narratives, rhetoric and mobilization strategies. What is happening signals a bigger crisis! 

A ferocious wave of hate is sweeping. Maybe it is imagined, and maybe it isn’t! However, religious minorities live amidst fear of the offensive replication of hate. The now thriving hate culture tells a story about us – our worst fears, dwindling hopes and majoritarian aspirations.

Hate comes in all forms, hues and sizes. Fake social media accounts and handles formulate messages that resonate with the imagined fears of people. 

Fake news has the potency to provoke something much worse than mere hate. People tend to uncritically react, having listened to only one/their side of the story. Worse, they recklessly place the blame where it does not belong.

Posting offensive messages and communally sensitive fake news on social media has a multiplier effect. For example, we know that the violent attacks on religious minorities in Bangladesh broke out after social media shared fake news. Moreover, internal documents of Facebook has also revealed how it fuelled hate speech and violence in India.

There are many dimensions to the hate that spills over into the streets. The trolls and physical attacks affect the vulnerable and the powerless. However, most people today deliberately close their eyes, conveniently look the other way or selectively respond to it. 

We live amidst a deepening fear of what is to come. It’s hard to make sense of this toxic culture of hate! Peace needs to be willed back at the earliest. We must put an end to this stranglehold of hate. There must be a ‘therapeutic intervention at a societal level’. We need to look within and reflect on what is going wrong.  Hate rules. Love is the answer. As it stands, we have no choice! 

And when you hate, then you're bound to get irate, yeah
Madness is what you demonstrate
And that's exactly how anger works and operates
Man, you gotta have love just to set it straight
Take control of your mind and meditate
Let your soul gravitate to the love, y'all, y'all
Where Is the Love? By Black Eyed Peas

Photo by Althaf S Ali on Unsplash

Samuel Thambusamy is a PhD candidate with the Oxford Center for Religion and Public Life.