What are the traits of a totalitarian regime? How does it take shape not just in banana republics but also in countries with matured methods of governance? Why does a large section of the elite falls in line and supports such a move considering it to be beneficial to the country in that particular frame of time?
History has a strange way of repeating itself and questions which were raised 75-100 years back are relevant again. In this modern world! In the age of social media, instant communication and at a time when many countries have adapted the Western concept of democracy.
There is another difference from the past. Today matured democracies are turning totalitarian with majority support of its population. By choice and not by force!
The signs are ominous and worrisome for a world that we may leave for our children. At such times, the silence of the lambs is hard to bear as the wolves take over the reins.
The phenomenon evolved with the right wing forces led by the so called ‘silent majority’ in the countries raising their voices against the policies of empathy, love, acceptance, mutual respect and dignity of life in their respective countries. Undue hate and divisive issues were mitigated where none existed to divide and rule over people by desperate political, religious and social interest groups.
Words of a disillusioned writer! Let us discuss the current scenario and in this article focus specifically on India.
Decades back in a secular and stabilising democracy like India which was focusing on national growth, an issue of Babri Masjid was taken as a stepping stone to launch the rightist forces into top gear. With the support of majority and lame duck governance the rightist agenda was nurtured well to become a force that it is has become now.
Today Golwalkar is more relevant than Ambedkar, even Godse than Gandhi!
India seems to have been taken over by self-declared nationalists, cow-vigilantes, religion bashing, hate spreading groups which seem to rule over the masses and at times even the government in power. It is difficult to speak anything against their agenda lest being declared anti-national and sedition charges or immediate jail being thrust upon you. Sometimes one does not even need to wait for that and the mob and the society deliver instant justice.
Words like liberal, secular, accepting our now labelled as abuses in India and so are such people distanced with. People love to carry their nationalism on their sleeves.
And yet at the cost of being subjected to the deepest of rebuke even from my own friend circle, I need to mention my thoughts clearly as we cannot allow India to go down the lines of a failed state like Pakistan or a cocoon like Saudi Arabia.
I am a vegetarian by choice and yet would support any person to eat anything that they desire including beef or pork and the state should not interfere over what one eats or drinks. And for the sake of sanity take action against the perpetrators of violence that take the law in their hand and are beastly enough to kill or torture humans in the name of protecting animals. The photograph of the body of a man draped in Indian tri colour who was charged for a murder of another man accused of eating beef is something which is the most horrific abuse of national flag that we could see in our living history. It has happened and has been watched in silent support by the political masters and blessed by their presence.
We have our political battles to fight with Pakistan and terrorists and not Muslims. So stop abusing Muslims at various forums including social media. Stop making fun of Shah Rukh, Amir or Salman because they at times speak out against the hatred brewing in the society. Hindus, Muslims, Sikhs, Christians-all are equal citizens of this country and no one has to prove their allegiance to the country every time a madman goes berserk or a hostile nation invades our soil. Or even if they speak against the evils of our society!
Questioning the government in power or calling people from hostile country as humans is not sedition. Stop perverts from putting any kind of censors on the thoughts of people like Ramya, Kulkarni, Bhatt, Karan Johar or the likes who have as much right to express their thoughts as the ones who differ from them. Stop throwing eggs on their cars, blackening their faces, putting frivolous cases against them in courts of law or throwing abuse at them at all forums. Above all stop showing your pseudo-nationalism by shouting at the top of your voice against such people.
Also even if India is at war with Pakistan and not just against a section of people branded as terrorists, let the government decide what is good for the state and what is not! Why should the people take the law in their hand? If the government feels that the relationship with Pakistan needs to be stopped then they are capable of stopping issue of visas to Pakistani actors, business man or common people. Or do we feel that the government is incapable of acting in the right interests of the nation?
Speaking for and against religious thoughts is the way this great nation has built on its richness. A Buddha could enlighten with his views which differed from the majority views and still be allowed to speak. Mahavir, Nanak, Dayanand, Ramakrishna, Raja Ram Mohan, Kabir, Osho all stood against the narrow boundaries of religion created in those times and broadened our horizons with their vision. Why Hinduism is at danger now if anyone speaks against some practices or rituals and why should a mob threaten people from expressing their view or the state thrust a case for hurting religious sentiments? Alas in today’ India a Jesus would need to be crucified before his message travels far and wide.
Hinduism is more than the religion and is a way of life. It sets you free. ‘Aham Brahmasmi’ or one himself is God is also accepted or you could revere a Supreme force ‘Ohm’ or even thousands of its forms. One is free to choose and live cohesively and yet call oneself Hindu. Hinduism enables choice and is all accepting. ‘Vasudeva Kutumbakam’ or the entire universe is one family is the foundation stone of Hinduism. One where everyone is welcome and diversity is respected as a way of life!
To all the soothsayers, India has survived for centuries, nay thousands of years being secular, accepting and has been a true melting pot of all thoughts and cultures. We speak multitude of languages, display various cultures, enjoy diverse traditions and yet are capable of living together. What has worked for ages will continue to work for times to come. Do not mitigate the atmosphere with your divisive, narrow and all controlling ways.
Let India live and let all Indians live in peace and harmony. Amen!
Printed in Times of India on 11th October 2016. Link below-