These days awards are being returned, opinion pieces are being returned and hell is being raised in the TV studios in the name of protecting freedom of speech and expression. “Conditions are worse than the emergency days!” many are screaming at the risk of permanently damaging their vocal chords. “The country (read Hindus) is becoming intolerant under the Narendra Modi government,” many rue.
If you believe them you will think we live in this dark, dystopian world where you cannot utter a word without being beaten up or without being intimidated.
Let us assume, hypothetically, that Narendra Modi and his government are all that is being claimed by the award-returnees, the out-of-work artists, filmmakers, activists, NGO-racket runners, retired police commissioners and generals, opportunistic politicians and the media channels. According to the hue and cry
- Democracy has ceased to exist as of now and we are in the midst of a total civilisational collapse
- There is no freedom of expression
- There is creeping intolerance
- Upper caste ethos are being imposed upon the lower castes
- Dalits are being targeted
- Writers and intellectuals are being targeted for stating the obvious
- People are not free to express their religious beliefs
- Minorities are being targeted
- Majoritarian way of life is being superimposed on reluctant but helpless people
- The history books are being rewritten with “safron” ink
- The fringe extremist Hindu groups are becoming mainstream due to the silent approval of the Narendra Modi government
Of course there is no all-pervasive chaos in the country. These views are being copiously countered thanks to the Internet and social media. The normal person on the street knows that no such things are happening in the country. Yes, there are stray incidents of intolerance in all the communities. A Muslim man is killed by Hindus and a Hindu man is killed by Muslims and this has been going on for centuries in our country. It’s just like in America a white person is brutally killed by a group of black people and a black person is brutally killed by a group of white people. It happens. Shit happens. Wherever such shit happens it should be condemned vociferously, unequivocally, without ifs and buts.
In India, the difference is, to rake up communal tensions, the media and the vested interests try to create a scenario such as only minorities (read Muslims) are being targeted by an increasingly intolerant Hindu community.
Just for scholarly discussion, let us assume, hypothetically, what would happen if all the apprehensions, insinuations, accusations and allegations being levelled by the assorted group of liberals, intellectuals and Marxist activists were to come true. What if we were being run by an undemocratic, a fascist government? These things would have happened:
- All the conspiring TV news channels would have been shut down or heavily curtailed
- Threatening calls would have been made to all claiming that they are being threatened
- People would have been writing “open letters” from behind bars and those letters would have been read only if somehow they had managed to leak them out
- The government would have not only forced them to not just keep their awards with themselves, but also cook those awards and eat them as meals and then claim that they had eaten one of the best meals of their lives
- Writers, intellectuals and actors would have been forced to write laudatory articles and editorials
- People would have been forced to leave the country and live in exile
- People actually wouldn’t have been able to protest
- Midnight visits by the surveillance department would have been a regular experience for the unsatisfied elements of the society
- Many people would have vanished without trace
Help me expand this list. Use the comment section of this post and let me know what all would have happened had Narendra Modi been actually what he is regularly accused of being.