By Prem Verma* We are living in very challenging times. There are problems galore and new ones keep mounting. We have experts in creating situations which spawn fresh problems to face and solve. We are sliding down into an abyss from where escape will become increasingly impossible. The value of human life is of no consequence as long as individually the fortunate few at the top of the pyramid can continue to enjoy a lifestyle as if nothing has happened. Isolating yourself from what is happening around you makes you blind to the injustice and misery that the unfortunate have to suffer. It is as if God has ordained misery for the majority for the happiness of the minority and that is what it is. All our values of life taught over centuries by sages and benevolent leaders (Gandhi, Tagore, etc.) have been buried under the shroud of self survival no matter what. If people die they need to so that we can survive and enjoy.
Renowned historian Ramchandra Guha has very aptly described today’s situation in India of 2020 to Mussolini’s Italy of 1920. The similarities are astounding and they point to the same direction that Italy took under Mussolini. The future is frightening and stark violence stares us in the face. Is this what we bargained for when we got our independence from the British in 1947?
The situation is worse under our own present Indian leadership and despair comes easily. There is total disconnect between the reality on the ground and the comfort enjoyed by the top leadership. It is as if Emperor Nero is not aware that his Rome is burning to ashes.
Well-meaning voices across the country are warning us of the disaster ahead. Instead of listening to their sane advice, the top leadership governing the country is bent on silencing them through false charges and arrests under Sedition laws, Unlawful Activities Prevention Act (UAPA) and other draconian measures.
There is no appeal, no bail and prisons are filling up. Dissent, constructive criticism is not tolerated and any opposition is crushed through hatred and violence under the false garb of patriotism. Free speech is banned if it is against the Government and truth takes a beating if it hurts those in power.
The future is frightening and stark violence stares us in the face. Is this what we bargained for when we got our independence from the British?In this dark scenario what shall we do? Our Father of the Nation taught us to speak the truth and this we shall at the cost of our own physical existence. India has too many good souls and physical elimination will not silence the voices of protest. Majority still have a fighting spirit not to condone the evil deeds. There is enough sympathy and empathy in the Indian population that will not allow the dangerous path we are trekking under the present leadership.
We need to speak out, protest, write, organise and oppose the divisive methods of the Government and thus protect our holy Constitution that once promised equality, freedom, equity and brotherhood.
Today we are suffering a pandemic. On the top of this we have gaping unemployment, economic collapse, astounding inequality, rural neglect, etc. Let us shout from our roof tops that enough is enough. An insensitive Government has brought us to this dismal situation and has no clue as to how we can get out of this pit of darkness. When will we awaken and save ourselves from being eliminated?
We need a people sympathetic Government not a Government that sells this nation to the few rich hoping that the rest will disappear. This nation is as much ours as anyone else’s and therefore the majority must take back its rightful place instead of a handful of Hindutva minority speaking on behalf of this great nation.
The light at the end of the tunnel beckons us to proceed full speed ahead in dismantling the ropes that bind us and speak out calling the kettle black. Our nation is far superior to any leader or party and it is incumbent on us to save our country from ruins so soon after independence in 1947.
God helps those who help themselves and we know that our nation deserves better. The vast majority of Indians have waited too long for their cup of gold and we need to take concerted action for our deprived brethren.
To sum up, the Government should:
- Free all those arrested under draconian laws
- Listen to voices of dissent and promote democratic spirit
- Stop selling country’s treasures and corporations
- Create massive opportunities in rural employment through small and medium units in rural areas
- Promote communal harmony with strict punishment for those disturbing it
- Empathetic of all Indians and not only of their party members
*Convenor, Jharkhand Nagrik Prayas