I grew up in a secular India, a democratic India, an opinionated, poor,
confused yet beautifully diverse India.
Today, it is united.
But no one asked the ones who were integrated overnight, whether they wanted the unity.
If you are celebrating the abolition of Article 370, I ask you to kindly consider the implications of the way it was done away with. If you ever believed in democracy, kindly listen to the faint voices of dissent trying to get themselves heard. Because when the same force will try to force a solution down your throat that you wouldn’t like, there will be no opposition unless you make space for opposition voices to be heard today (First they came…). Rather, there will be no mobility, no telephone, forget internet. If you are a high-profile enemy of the state, you will be put under house-arrest.
Remember the British rule? (Can you draw parallels?)
This is not the India the freedom fighters dreamt of seeing one day. This is not an inclusive India. This is a united India blinded by sweet-sounding solutions to complicated problems.
The very Constitution of India that we are talking about, defines a dream of the state: of a socialist, democratic, federal, republic. Today, this dream stands violated, the very essence of what makes India what we have grown up in: dismantled. Each of these four words are under violent attack, and at an alarming pace.
I am scared by the rise of a fascist India.
You should be too.
If you are not, I am scared even more.
Even the democratic voice, the voice of the people, is under attack! If you are not worried now, when will you be? When the whole country starts speaking in हिंदी? When anyone who doesn’t want to can be officially deemed as a terrorist and picked up by the national police without notifying the state government? When no people of any state has the right to determine their own future? Or when all states have been dismantled into Union Territories? Or when cows have identity cards? When lynchers, rapists, murderers walk free in the name of a religion that was never meant to be a religion but an inclusive way of life? When, if the army attacks a certain neighbouring nation with the pretext of “national security,” you will have to prove your patriotism to the government by shouting slogans against that nation? And when if you do not do so, you can be officially labelled a terrorist?
Remember Nineteen Eighty-Four? It might be a reality in India, much sooner than anyone had ever seen it coming.
If you ever felt proud to be a part of a secular country built on the values of diversity, of democracy of its people regardless of their social and economic status, of secularism despite the neighbouring nation (two separate nations from 1971) carved out on religious grounds, or merely felt proud just to cast your first vote, be afraid. Be afraid of the rise of a fascist India that is supported by a blinded majority.
I am shocked to the core to see the rise of a fascist India. A few days back, an elected Member of the Parliament in her maiden speech drew parallels of the current affairs in the country with signs of early fascism. Within a few days, it is not “early” fascism anymore: it is well and truly fascism. Call me whatever you want, but I will protest against this fascism because I know what it can do. I live in a country that still feels sorry about its election of a fascist that led the world to a war, and is since then doing every bit to truly embrace diversity. Which pains me even more: the contrast of where I live with my homeland.
Before you grieve the death of the former Foreign Minister, think about the deaths of farmers each year, in hunger and through suicides, the statistics of which remain undocumented/unreleased by the government precisely because it is a shame to the nation.
Her life was precious.
So was theirs.
And so is the life of a rape survivor who exposed the heaps and bounds of lies of a government, its police, and a political party that protects rapists and murderers. Pray that she survives this brutal attack on her life.
Grieve for सुषमा स्वराज, but also grieve for the father and aunts of the उन्नओ victim.
Grieve for the rise of fascism, and pray for the survival of democracy in India.
Pray that it doesn’t become “हिंदुस्तान.”
I can fill up this article with references, which I deliberately chose not to in order to prevent hindrance to readability. Let me know if you do not understand certain sentences or their parts, I will be happy to provide you with references of facts.
P.S. I asked my friend, “What is happening to our democracy?” He replied, “We elected ourselves out of democracy!” So true, and so saddening.
P.P.S. I asked another friend, “Are the Indians who are celebrating the integration of J&K with India aware of the implication of what is going on at the moment?!” She replied, “I think they are. I guess people lack empathy and don’t really care because they are not the ones being affected.”