JNU and “Jai Ho”, a voice of dissent!

Present India sucks!

It is becoming a reflection, a mirror image of the failed state of Pakistan.

Freedom of expression! That is becoming a joke in India. Used by the powerful to enjoy a hearty laugh over drinks while discussing the next phase of their Machivillean designs.
“Sedition?” Unbelievable. Can you even imagine that a college student protesting against the evils of the current society and of its reigning political ideology be arrested on charge of sedition?

So what exactly is going on in JNU university that has got the entire nation so agitated. JNU has been a platform of dissent for decades where budding intellectuals have nurtured leftist ideology and have spoken against the religious and capitalistic forces and also against the various evils including caste system, bonded labour, and the likes. It had always raised the moral fibre of generations and even while studying in IIT, we would always look up to the sentiments emanating from there with deep reverence.

It is common knowledge that religious forces and political parties which derive their strength from religion, find it easy to rule the heart of the masses than anyone who recognizes a head over his heart. It is much harder to corrupt the ideologist. No wonder, JNU has always been a fortress that was detested by BJP and its student wing, ABVP and it gave them immense pleasure to mark even a small dent and enter the hallowed walls of its campus. What was not possible by force is being recreated by a farce.

Yet why are we discussing college and college politics? Because the ruling national government has made a mountain out of a mole!

What was marked as an event to express dissent and extend support to the ideology of Kashmir, is now being portrayed as an act of sedition with the main speaker and the head of the student union, Kanhya, being arrested on that charge and Cabinet ministers of India’s national government, ex-army officers, media, coming out in support of ‘Bharat Mata’ as if she needs their support in this hour of crisis.

I am positive that 99.99% of the people supporting ‘Mother India in distress’ would have not even heard the speech of Kanhya, the main accused. It is a simple voice of dissent against the current administration , typical of a speech of any good student leader who knows how to deliver the message. Should you wish to listen to it, the link is here-https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=KMi0D__l7IE&feature=share.

If at all, it portrays the pain of a young boy who has to prove his love for the country at all times, just because his ideology differs from that of the party in power.
“History repeats itself, first as tragedy, second as farce”. Unfortunately this farce is getting vulgar now.

I was very young but I still remember the scars of emergency and how it affected the very foundation of our nation. “Indira was India and India was Indira” and if anyone dissented, he was branded as anti-national, jailed for dissent and his voice crushed by the ever powerful state.

Today’ India is turning more and more like that. In fact much worse since today two major differences exist- the power of instant communication read social media and the emergence of pseudo intellectual, middle class which has started equating its wealth and education with knowledge.

We grew up in a country where knowledge was liberating. Where our parents, teachers, preachers instilled a value in us to think and act on our own. Where we accepted dissent as a natural offshoot of an open mind and respected people for expressing one.

We grew up in India respecting Gandhi, Nehru, Jaiprakash Narayan, Vajpayee, Swami Dayanand, Osho, Krisnamoorthy- all believing in the concept of Hinduism, even India, which was strong enough to withstand any difference in opinion.

Even though our family had always voted against the sycophancy and corruption of the Congress, yet for the first time, in the 21st century, I was scared of the demon which was getting unleashed by the Hindutava forces in the name of making the majority rule. I was seeing India being pulled back to the dark ages with an alarming force.

Today the voice of majority is crushing the voice of reason. The middle class, is enjoying its new found status with wealth and college degrees, with social media which continuously beams stories from various supportive feeders which compound and strengthen their views, with knowledge surfed through internet where pulp draws as much word space as facts and perceptions are easily portrayed as truth. This middle class feels more secured in ensuring that the majority view prevails. Unfortunately the majority is being made to turn more religious and draw lines where blurs could work more beautifully, viewing everything as black and white forgetting that shades of grey is a reality in all modern societies.

I have seen differences in opinion come up among brothers when anything is said against BJP or Hindutava. I dare say that I can have a simple discussion on politics or religion even in my own house.

I have seen strong arguments and extremely hateful messages being thrown back at me on social media as and when I have raised voice against the acts of aggression being carried out against dissenters, be it an author, an actor or a student.

I have actually seen some people in the Indian community, treating me as a pariah, an outcast, here in Canada whenever I have expressed ‘tolerant’ views or spoken against some of the ‘Hinutava believers’ who thunder with pride their closeness to the ruling elite in India or their dislike for the Muslim community. The brew of hate is high and stinks thousands of miles away.

Godse is the new Gandhi. Tolerance is the new dirty word in India’s dictionary. Reason is dead.

Today I denounce India version 2.0 laced with Hindutava agenda.

If expressing views on Kashmir and discussing the life of Afzhal Guru is sedition then I too am guilty of that crime. In the past too, I have written in support of Afzhal Guru as it is perceived in many circles that he was denied justice and even his execution was shrouded in extreme secrecy. His execution only stroked further anti India sentiments in Kashmir and did no good to the cause of a peaceful settlement. Kashmir for decades has been an unfinished agenda and will remain one in a climate of heady nationalism.

I salute the Indian soldiers who have lost their lives in Kashmir fighting for our nation. And yet, deep down I feel that the political masters of India and Pakistan have genuinely never cared for the lives of their armed forces and have actually used them as pawns to play their own power games. If at all they would have respected their lives, then they would have ensured a political resolution of the problem rather than letting thousands and thousands die. Every time I see our soldiers toil on the glaciers of Siachin, my head does not rise high with pride but feels the pain their bodies suffer in such an inhospitable terrain and I pray to God that the political leaders and their families who spew venom are made to live there instead, till such time they can bring forth a workable solution in Kashmir.

If saying that I am afraid to tread and live in India today because of the prevailing political and religious climate is an act that marks me as anti-Indian, then yes I am one.

If speaking out against bans of any types, be it a beef ban or a book ban or a movie ban or a sexual orientation ban makes me anti-Indian, then yes I am one. I would rather live in a nation which bans the bans and allows all views to be practiced peacefully than supporting the majority.

I declare myself free from the bondage that modern India wants me to carry in the name of following its ideals. I also promise that I will come back to India and face any punishment desired by the powers to be for dissenting against the India of today, whenever they want.

No my friends. It is time for us to rise from our slumber and for once, use reason.

We are intelligent enough to look beyond the rabble rousing of people like Rajnath Singh and Smriti Irani or their cronies and understand that Mother India does not need such vicious power mongers to defend herself.

I know I am fighting a difficult battle and that my voice may also be crushed as of many others.

Yet I know that there are many more like me and that WE are right and that India succeeds and is tolerant and works because of people who do not feel the need to carry their heart on their sleeve or display their love for India at the drop of a hat.

India has survived many tyrants and will also survive these divisive Hindutava forces.

‘Acche din’, the Good days, will surely come back and a Gandhi, Shastri or Vajpayee will rise again to take back the country. Hey Ram, I only wish to see that day in my life. Insah Allah!

Posted in Times of India on 14th February 2016. Link below-



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