Are we facing the killer's embrace?

By Prabhakar Timble
16 October 2019 08:32 IST

It is disturbing and agonizing to observe India and the majority of Indians becoming not only mute spectators but cheering leisurely the death of democracy, their constitution and icons, parliamentary institutions and the decay that has inflicted the mass media. The national scene today is a depressing picture of economy in doldrums where sane and professional voices are silenced by political bulldozers. The political landscape is gripped by powers who value vengeance, intolerance and dictatorship. It looks like the nation is engulfed by a syndrome where killers have embraced democratic institutions and the constitution with a pre-meditated plan to slaughter the same.

Mahatma Gandhi is a world icon as the apostle of peace, non-violence, truth and compassion. The hidden link of the nationalist paramilitary volunteer organization,   Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh (RSS) and the undeclared think-tank of the current ruling dispensation in the assassination of the Mahatma is an open secret. It is established that Nathuram Godse, an advocate of Hindu nationalism, an activist of the political party the Hindu Mahasabha and a past member of the RSS pulled the trigger. The Father of the Nation was dead with ‘Hey Ram’ on his lips and heart. It is said that Godse bowed down to Gandhi in reverence before firing the shots and later did not flee from the scene and voluntarily surrendered himself to the police. The fringe forces who aim the trigger are getting bolstered in the country today. These are the same ‘army’ groups behind the killings of rationalists and social activists--- Dr. Dabholkar, Comrade Pansare, Prof. Kalburgi and Gauri Lankesh. The only difference is that the person who pulls the trigger runs away and the self-anointed nationalists carry forward their drill of hate, intolerance and lynching.

At the same time, the killers hug the Mahatma on anniversaries. The ruling powers take to public streets to celebrate the 150th birth centenary with a microscopic image of Gandhi and a gigantic print of Prime Minister and Home Minister. The quintessence of the Mahatma is in tolerance and compassion.  During the riots over partition in 1947 Mahatma Gandhi was approached by a distraught Hindu whose son had been killed by Muslims. In revenge he had killed a Muslim child. The man asked Gandhi in great despair what he should do. Mahatma thought for a while and said: "Go forth and find a Muslim child orphaned by the riots. Take that Muslim child in your Hindu home and raise him as your own son, but as a Muslim". Our rulers consign the Mahatma to Clean India Mission and make him an icon of “Safai”. At this rate, with years, the world will remember the Mahatma and the future generations of India will associate Mohandas as a symbol of ‘safai workers’.

The current rulers clinch the Constitution with the design to squeeze it. The manner of abrogating Article 370 speaks for itself. It is bombarded as the integration of Jammu & Kashmir with India as if the state was not the inseparable mix in the Indian cake earlier. Any visitor to this State brings the message that the average citizen is despicably poor, God-fearing and highly hospitable despite subsistence existence. However, the macro image that we have created is that the people of Kashmir are intolerant, killers, terrorists and worshippers of Pakistan. We have made a mockery of the protection and preferential treatment clause for the educationally and socially backward by initiating reservations for Brahmins and forward castes. This is something vacillating and unthinkable. Sedition is the pet market phrase for dissent against the executive and expression of displeasure over covert acquiescence of government in matters of communal terror and private policing. The undeclared emergency has hit the All-India services thereby politicizing the administrative executive. The crumbling pillars of the state and communalization of statutory bodies are the foundation stones for the eventual bridge towards ‘constitutional’ dictatorship. The otherwise competitive and vibrant privately owned TV and print media is today a meek monopoly of the ruling classes in practice. It is largely serving today as the lubricating oil of the government and for the government. Instead of a “feel good” factor for freedom of choice and expression, it is a “feel fear” syndrome in what is considered to be the world’s populous democracy.

We are told that our nationalist rulers have a design in place for “One nation, one political party”. Since democratic elections are free and open affairs, this thought apparently looks quixotic. However, the right-wing political and social forces are working with committed zeal and determination in each and every direction. The money and muscle required for such an exercise is at their command. The priority before the government machinery seems to be to crush the political opponents by invoking whatever laws relating to criminal and economic offences are available. Even if there is no concrete final outcome, the intermittent benefits are to immobilize the opponents and also damage their public images. The tablets of nationalism, patriotism, national culture and national language serve as vitamins for a majority conglomerate. Add to this the new kitten released by the right-wing propaganda machinery that in future elections would not be required meaning that the landslide victory of these forces is a foregone conclusion. The post-election entry of opposition MLAs/MPs into the BJP fold at national level and the states is expected to gradually erase the confidence of people in alternative political parties and further in elections and democratic politics itself. The hypothesis that politics and elections are ugly affairs and can take any uglier turn is being established. Politicians have unrestricted powers of political ‘trade, commerce and business” are the current BJP rules of democratic governance. So, let the citizens, voters Beware! Stay away or embrace us.

Indian parliamentary democratic electoral system is first-past-the-post. BJP has decimated the electoral opposition on these criteria but a little over 50% of population has rejected such politics and are not with the rightist narrative. This vote share should guide opposition unity and strategy.

 

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Prabhakar Timble

Mr Prabhakar Timble is an educationist and a legal expert. He has served several educational institutions, especially as the Principal of Government College at Quepem, Kare College of Law in Madgao as well as couple of Management Institutes. He was also the State Election Commissioner of Goa.

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