India’s Journey from Colonialism to Fascism
“At the stroke of the midnight hour, when the world sleeps, India will awake to life and freedom.” Seventy-three years ago when India broke free from the chains of colonialism, Prime Minister Jawaharlal Nehru delivered these lines as India’s ‘Tryst with Destiny’ began. An independent India, a free India, a new India was born after two hundred years of the freedom struggle.
With the passage of time, Indians saw many achievements and many heartbreaks alike, and they stood together united through these moments of victory and grief.
Asia’s first nuclear reactor Apsara, India’s first space satellite, the first woman PM to hold office, a state of emergency for the entire country, bloody riots, deaths of freedom fighters, an exodus of an entire community, assassination of politicians, industrialisation, commercialization of crops, a woman President, Nobel laureates, winning the Cricket World Cup twice, becoming one of the biggest exporters of the world, making Hindi cinema famous worldwide, famines, floods, sending a rover to Mars, and a pandemic, our country has seen it all.
Despite a pandemic, Indians are all geared up to celebrate the 74th Independence Day with great gusto. There’s a lot of things to be proud of but many things need to be worked on, this responsibility rests upon the shoulders of the youth to make India great again.
All seems shiny on the surface but one can see things falling apart if they look closely enough.
The war between patriotism and nationalism is raging, the lines between them are blurred. Patriotism is defined as the love of one’s country and identification with it whereas, nationalism is the obligation of loyalty or allegiance to the nation which outweighs other individual or group interests.
Love for the country does not mean to turn a blind eye to all the atrocities that happen and to pretend that everything is fine. It means to love the country for what it is, accept its faults and strive to make it better.
(Before expanding further, I would like to clarify that I am an Indian and not an anti-national.)
- As the health crisis worsens, the easing of the lockdown at such a time, while being told to become “Aatma-Nirbhar” or self-reliant, is the government’s way of telling its people that it is incapable of handling the cases. While an ill-timed lockdown was announced with a four-hour notice, and an entire community was terrorized for spreading the virus by the media when cases were still in its hundreds, a “Bhoomipujan” attended by the leaders was glorified by the very same media when the coronavirus cases had already passed the two million mark.
When most of the privileged class was busy making Dalgona coffee, thousands of migrant workers had to walk in the sweltering heat to reach their homes without food, water, transportation, or relief from the governments for days.
Doctors do not have proper PPE equipment, the mortality rate is the highest amongst the doctors’ community. The doctors need equipment, the hospitals need ventilators and staff, they do not need ‘taalis and thaalis’.
George Orwell in his book ‘Animal Farm’ wrote, “All animals are equal, but some animals are more equal than others.” Is this what we have come to? Are doctors’ lives not important? Do migrants’ lives have no value? Are all people not equal in this country anymore, where some lives matter more than others?
In his book ‘1984’, Orwell talks about totalitarianism and the subservience of the state.
Today, anyone who dares speak up against the government, whether its climate change activists, poets or historians speaking against the discriminatory CAA protests, artists and writers talking about the government’s illegal occupation of Kashmiri land, Dalit scholars who talk about prevalent casteism, all of them are charged under the UAPA and are detained like a traitor.
It seems as if curbing dissent and snatching away the right to speech is a new trend which the government is following. This is a sign of a majoritarian government, one which wants to dictate the lives of crores of people who are a minority and place them in a detention centre if they fail to show ‘papers’ which prove their nationality.
The government builds a firewall and censors internet sites and communication lockdowns are a part of its “normal” routine. The people have become puppets in the hands of these very leaders who have done nothing but inconvenience its citizens.
This fascist government is based on religious extremism, one which propagates the idea of Brahmanical patriarchy, a population consisting of a pure race (like the Aryans in Nazi Germany), a place where minorities, Dalits, Adivasis won’t be welcome. They have already started with their Hindutva rule which was their topmost priority in their election manifesto.
Millions of people on the streets have died due to hunger, farmer suicides are on an all-time high, female foeticide and infanticide are still practised, Delhi is the “Rape Capital”, Dalits are still being beaten up and socially ostracized if they enter temples they are not “allowed” in, casteism still exists, students are committing more suicides than ever, minorities are feeling unwanted in their own country and living in constant fear, a new record of mob lynchings and police brutality on the rise are just some of the things which occur daily now.
Communalization of issues by the media, and fueling the fire to the hatred by the media which is no longer unbiased, the media which disguises extremism as “national welfare” and fascism as “neo-liberalism” further enunciates that the government does not hold itself accountable to the people. This threatens the secular fabric of our nation. Quelling dissent, using police forces and ‘lathi’ charging the protestors isn’t how a democracy functions. The discrepancies, lack of transparency and altered truths being fed to the public by the media is a shame for India.
The jingoistic and ultra-nationalist behaviour which is being encouraged today, a ‘Hindutva’ narrative (which isn’t a Hindu narrative) whose ideals are bigotry, religious fanaticism, sectarianism, fascism, xenophobia, racialism, casteism, intolerance and oppression of the weak, to establish a theocracy. These vices threaten the very ideals on which our country was formed.
As the midnight hour strikes again, and India wakes up to a new dawn, as Indians we have to strive to make our India a secular federal democracy again. We have to make a new India. A resilient India, one which is compassionate and non-violent, one where India stands united in its diversity and co-exists in peaceful harmony. An India which is free from the orthodox ideologies of any fascist, an India made of revolution and the voices of its people. We have to become the freedom we want and dream of. We have to become the India we want and dream of.
Inquilaab Zindabaad. Jai Hind!!!