Anupam Kher’s Hitleresque tweet continues the right wing strategy of dehumanizing opponents

The past few days, Anupam Kher’s twitter account has been abuzz with tweets about the alleged issue of ‘anti-national’ slogans having been raised in JNU. This includes a couple of retweets where he propagates the doctored video which tries to portray that JNU student union president Kanhaiya Kumar shouted anti-national slogans. Here’s a screenshot of the 2 retweets:

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On the basis of this false video which was widely shared, a process in which Anupam Kher had a significant contribution considering that he has over 6 million followers on Twitter, Kanhaiya Kumar was first demonized by various news channels and subsequently arrested. After the actual video of Kanhaiya’s sloganeering surfaced, it turned out that the slogans he shouted were in fact as follows:

Hai Haq hamara….Aazadi
Hum leke rahenge…Aazadi
Dangaaiyo se… Aazadi
Samantvaad se…Aazadi
Sanghvaad se…Aazadi
Bhukhmari se… Aazadi
Punjivaad se…Aazadi
Manuvaad se…Aazadi
Brahamnvaad se…Aazadi
Hai Haq hamara….Aazadi
Hum lekar rahenge…Aazadi

Is raising one’s voice against rioters (dangaaiyo), casteism (brahmanvaad), poverty (bhukhmari) now considered anti-national? Possibly it is according to Anupam Kher as he has neither bothered to issue an apology nor express regret at his act of propagating misleading videos. In fact, not only does Anupam Kher have no remorse, in one of his latest tweets, he now equates the students of JNU to cockroaches and insects. Here’s a screenshot of his latest tweet.

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For those who cannot read Hindi, the rough translation of Anupam Kher’s tweet is as follows:

When pest control is done at homes, cockroaches, insects, etc come out. The house gets cleaned up. Similarly, these days the country is going through pest control.

While this is yet another tweet which exposes the crassness of this newly minted Padma Bhushan awardee, it also continues the dangerous trend of dehumanizing opponents which was started by Mr Narendra Modi himself when he compared victims of 2002 genocide to ‘kutte ka bachcha’. In fact, Anupam Kher’s tweet almost seems inspired by Adolf Hitler’s Mein Kampf. Quoting from the book “Worlds of Hurt: Reading the Literatures of Trauma”, here’s their observation of how Hitler used to compare Jews to insects and called for ‘Pest Control’.

A few noted that the phrase “Pest Control†resonated unpleasantly with Hitler’s rhetoric in Mein Kampf, where the metaphor of vermin and insect infestation was invoked with great regularity and Hitler expressed his desire to exterminate [vernichten] the pest.

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This follows VK Singh’s comments stating “Not Government’s Fault If One Stones a Dog” on the burning alive of 2 dalit kids and Anupam Kher’s comrade-in-arms and bollywood singer Abhijeet who had compared those who sleep on the footpath to dogs while defending Salman Khan.

This strategy of dehumanization has been used repeatedly in many genocides whether it is that of Tutsis in Rwanda or Jews in Germany. Dehumanization overcomes the normal human revulsion against hate crime. It is ironic that Anupam Kher, a vocal voice in support of the Kashmir Pandits, uses a genocidal technique to berate those whom he considers his opponents.