By Tony Afejuku
India and Nigeria our country are two intriguing countries – although they are dissimilarly intriguing, I must say.
No country in the world can be compared with these respective Asian and African countries in terms of their multi-ethnic, multi-lingual, multicultural and even multi-religious diversities.
A conservative calculation would put the linguistic groups in each of these countries above five hundred.
What this estimate indicates is that there are as many as at least five hundred different linguistic languages in India and Nigeria.
This must be troubling for students of languages and linguists researching on the current living languages of the world and particularly in the Indian and Nigerian sub-regions of our world.
How are the diverse and varied peoples of India and Nigeria coping as compatriots and as citizens of their respective countries?
How have their respective linguistic differences helped – or have not helped – to cement their oneness in diversity?
This is an intriguing question. India is the second most populous country (of 1.38 billion people), next to China (of 1.44 billion people), in the world. Its political leaders over time have endeavored to tag along as one country.
Even when the people of West Pakistan and East Pakistan (since 1971 Bangladesh) broke away in 1947, India has lived as a uniquely astonishing country where its politicians strive day by day to commit themselves to the vision of their founding fathers.
They have tried as best as they could to guarantee every ethnic group’s existence and identity in their one country of India through recognition of each one’s language.
In fact, each ethnic language is encouraged to live as a language and promoted as such through vigorous strategies.
It is intriguing how, as we speak and write, every language in India is being effectively spoken, written and learnt in the respective regions of the country. (Any time I am fortunate and privileged to visit this country of mysteries, I am always introspectively intrigued by their genuine acceptance of one another’s languages, which they respect unflinchingly).
Can we make the same claim for our country? Certainly not! Our so-called political leaders of now especially are too patriotically blind – that is if they are mindfully patriotic – to do what they must do to promote our respective languages in manners that help our respective peoples to appreciate their unity in diversity through the art, culture and science of language promotion.
The less said about this the better for us at least for now. But how selfish, greedy, blind and unpatriotic are our political leaders so-called.
The real reason of my merging India and our country in this column today pertains to what I have called here and entitled above as “India’s beef politics and Nigeria’s water politics.”
I want to focus on and emphasize briefly how the intriguingly creative spark of stupid superiority and greedy greed in the attitude or feeling of the ruling or political classes of the two countries can rupture the interplay between currents of moral tradition and rational political faith.
Today in the State of Assam in the northeast of India, what is generally known as “beef politics” championed by “rightwing extremist forces” is coming to the fore.
In the delicate society of India where the Hindus and their Hindi religion dominate everything and every sphere of Indian life, it is a taboo to consume meat or meat products.
The consumption or non-consumption of meat and meat products constitutes beef politics.
Non-Hindus especially who don’t belong to the Hindi religion abhor the non-consumption of meat.
The Christians and Muslims in particular frown at the religious morality of Hindus that debars beef consumers from consuming beef.
Now as if the ban on beef consumption by humans alone is not concerning enough, the extremists have come out openly and as never before to condemn and reject the consumption of beef by even big cats – tigers and other meat-eating animals – in a zoo!
Recently, the extremists demonstrated in Assam State Zoo demanding that no more should the big cats be fed on beef as was the case before the mob of extremists began their demonstration.
A self-appointed Hindu leader has said that “Zoo authorities and the state government should be ready to face consequences if feeding beef to zoo animals was not stopped.”
Soon protests and counter-protests in this regard would float and happen everywhere in mysterious India.
If you ask me, I would say what the powerful Hindus are demonstrating is the act of carrying their power of number too far.
And may I inform my compatriots that beef food constitutes all fish, chicken, snail, lobster, crayfish, pig, pork, etc. products. Christians and Buddhists have denounced Hinduism and its regressive caste system.
By the way, what will tigers, leopards, lions and other big cats now rightfully feed on even in zoos if not beef?
The Hindu right and its extremist forces who are popularly seen as political oppressors/repressors in India even discourage and disallow people from rearing poultry.
Those who do so or feed on beef receive death threats – and if they are females they receive rape threats to boot.
Now what is the relationship between India’s beef politics and Nigeria’s water politics?
To state it plainly, it is the question of repressive or oppressive power endorsed and practiced by those in political power from a particular section of our country.
They dominate Nigerians from outside their base and region in all facets and in all walks of Nigeria’s socioeconomic life.
Most of the highest offices and positions in public/government institutions are controlled and occupied by them. Simply, as Brahmins of India do, they heedlessly and hideously dominate everything.
They lack the values of egalitarianism and communal and selfless social values of patriotic sharing and cooperation.
What does not even belong to them they take and wish to take without qualms from those who rightly, rightfully and divinely own what they own from the beginning of time.
We are all familiar with the water resources bill that some so-called powerful forces and oppressors wanted (and still want) to smuggle into the register of passed bills in our national assembly.
The water mass of rich natural resources outside their zone and region from the middle-belt to southern Nigeria catches their attention as never before.
For example, they greedily and selfishly want the rich Niger Delta water mass in addition to their own.
It will NOT happen, no matter what they do or say or do not do or say. Mark my prophetic lips. Be it known that the Niger Delta “has the highest number of rivers and waterways in Africa” – and the richest to boot.
What kind of politics are they playing and practising in the present time of our country’s tortuous history?
May their water politics and their other atrocities not snatch Nigeria from being a nation to broken pieces of china or ceramic wares.
This will be negatively intriguing. But he will come, the one divine, to get rid of the unpatriotic water politicians- neck and crop.
He will come, the divine one. He will drub and drowse them neck and crop. You better me.