One has lost the count of sleepless nights spent since 15 Dec when the ‘police action’ against Jamia students started a whole chain of protests and reprisals across the country. Jamia was followed by AMU and scores of cities in UP and down south in Karnataka. The epitome of all this was the masked men attack on JNU students.
‘Police action’? Yes, the word may sound incongruous in 21st century, but the reality is that the powers that be, are using the same tools, which were used by the colonial masters in the 19th and 20th centuries. Another congruous point between the two is sabotaging any move towards unity amongst different communities in India and the words ‘Azaadi’ and ‘secular’. Anathema to both.
One lies awake feeling a sense of impotent rage, wondering to what state the country has come to. This definitely wasn’t the India envisaged by our freedom fighters and constitution framers.
One is at a loss trying to explain to children why all this is happening. My college-going daughter was so distraught by the gory images coming out of Jamia and AMU and JNU and uncalled for viciousness and brutality used by the forces who are supposed to protect us. She is participating in every protest happening in the city, not as a rebellion but as a sign of standing along with her fellow students.
The reality is that this is bound to happen when people who didn’t have any involvement in the freedom struggle of the country, come to occupy the seat of power, they will instigate what is happening right now since they don’t have any institutional memory of the struggle and sacrifices and any regard for the institutions set up once India became free.
Their single point agenda is making India a Hindu Rashtra, and chances for it being shaped so are very strong. The only consolation is the fact that what the powers to be wanted, their narrative was changed by their own doings. They wanted to portray the CAA-NPR-NRC trio as anti-Muslim and to a certain extent succeeded in building-up that narrative. But the people of India were quick to see through the real game plan of dividing the country first on the basis of religion and then regions.
For long the protests didn’t remained Muslim-centric, and very soon Indian citizens of all shade and hues came out to protest against the deadly trio. And this is the victory for the Indian masses, as now every one of us has seen through the real game plan of the powers that be.
The game plan was very simple. In their first innings the government subverted every institution worth its name, by appointing people who might not have made the grade on merits to the top position of every institution, the middle and lower machinery in those institutions was already sympathetic to them to a large extent.
What followed and is continuing in the second innings is, consolidating the actions to satisfy its goon followers by taking controversial and completely uncalled for decisions in a quick succession, so that any fall out could be managed during the last remaining years of power.
In the latest episode of imposing their will down everyone’s throat, the authorities faltered. They believed that everyone will take their narrative hook, line and sinker but what happened was that the urban upper middle class saw through their scheme and took to the streets. However, the divide which was created between different communities still persist in the rural areas particularly of north India where people have yet to realise the fissiparous and divisive tendencies of the ruling class.
The naked repression against students and civilians, in the name of protecting law and order is completely unprecedented. It means only one thing that no dissent will be tolerated and any dissent will be handled with an authoritarian heavy hand. Which makes one recall the dark days of Emergency, but this is an undeclared emergency being used for parochial gains in a most undemocratic and oppressive manner.
However, all does not seem lost. Even the close friends and sympathisers of the government have started giving discreet messages to it.
But what leaves one brooding is that a large number of educated friends, who wanted to give the BJP a chance to govern, are still adopting an ostrich like attitude and ready to give the party another chance, completely ignoring all mismanaged decisions by it like demonetisation, GST and psyche playing ones like triple talaq, abrogating Art 370 and constructing a Ram mandir. We can only pray for them to see the light of the day sooner rather than later.
We the people of India have every faith in the tenacity and longevity of our impartial, secular and independent institutions and we hope that all these subversive tactics will be defeated at the next polls, with an opening of the hearts and minds of every citizen.
Asad Mirza is a Sr journalist based in New Delhi. View expressed in the article is his personal.