I’m worried; gut-wrenchingly worried. For a country that meticulously plans, we are not fearful or even distraught about our country’s political future. In less than four years from now when the 16the Lok Sabha will have to be dissolved, we can’t blindly look to the BJP. Not again, never again.
Look at the state of our country. In today’s news, another youngster was in trouble for talking to girls of another community in Mangalore. This isn’t an isolated incident. It is the sum of all these isolated parts that will be impossible to be choked. There isn’t a day that goes by without bans (think beef, meat, porn) or BJP installing another of their puppets at various cultural institutes or even intolerance towards non-conformity or attempts to impose Sanskrit.
Streets in the capital are being renamed. Changing the name of Aurangazeb Road to APJ Abdul Kalam Road doesn’t change our history. We can’t rewrite it. If people had a problem with Aurangazeb’s rule, name the road Dara Shikoh. Either way, it’s a silly thing to do.
Atheists, or rationalists as they call themselves, are hounded and seen as a threat to society; anyone who leans towards socialism is termed a Maoist and hunted. Research scholars are not allowed to report the ground realities in Army-occupied parts of the country; if they do their visas are cancelled, voices stymied and accused of sedition. Our films are being white-washed and the Censor Board wants to us to pretend we still live in Victorian India.
How does one even begin to make people understand that the Hindutva movement is a slow and steady takeover of minds that we don’t even realise it is happening. One day, we will wake up and realise we can’t do pretty much anything other than pretend like our lives are hunky dory as ever. Only that it won’t be. Free speech has already been curbed.
Protests in the Capital are vanishing from collective memory. The FTII dissent is serious, only that most of the nation doesn’t seem to think so. Earlier, students form JNU and DU would be up in arms about one thing or another; there would be candle-light vigils. Not that these marches achieved much, but they were a sign of an objection and we were encouraged to speak our mind. Double standards are the order of the day. It’s time we matched our outrage over an Imam’s silly statements to that of a Hindu extremist. What are we worried about? A religious take-over of India?
My flatmate is a Muslim and the segregation begins when we step out. But my flatmate is always scrutinised and only because she wears a headscarf. And no, it is not a coincidence because it has happened one too many times to be brushed aside. Who do you fume at and where do you even begin? If you have doubts about the validity of these opinions, watch the documentary The World Before Her.
“Perumal Murugan is dead” or so the writer's Facebook page stated at the beginning of this year, only for the reason that his novel Madhorubhagan, published first in 2010, suddenly incurred the wrath of local Hindu groups (read RSS) because the content was perceived to be obscene. It is an old incident, but tolerance towards such bullies has only risen ever since the Modi government has come to power. And we refused to be outraged by this incident. This culture or conspiracy of silence bodes ill for all of us. We are being conditioned into silence and that’s how takeovers happen.
Being a Malayali, I’m fearful of the BJP even garnering a seat in my state. When some of the religious leaders like Vellapally Natesan of SNDP decide to meet VHP leader Pravin Togadia and BJP national president Amit Shah, it is the beginning of bad news. It means a hard-lining of stance when it is absolutely not required. Then the onset of ghar wapsi programmes in Kerala ring the death-knell for tolerance. Hopefully, the poor who converted benefitted and made money out of it.
The Hindutva outfits are already controlling what we put on our plate and now this slow form of political and cultural control is poisonous. We are already being trained to think let sleeping dogs lie, lest we invite their wrath upon us. Going back to where I started – BJP is making a mess at the helm; Congress stinks and the Left has sunk; AAP is an anarchist’s joke gone viral. So what then?