Testing people's patience
Government’s preferred method of deflecting opposing criticism over its flawed rulings and actions using nationalistic bluster has run its course
However much Modi government is not concerned about people's health in reducing the budget year after year, they are wary of two serious diseases. A massive mandate clouding their wisdom, they presumed that people had the affliction of untreatable Alzheimer's and went about working on the open-secret agenda of the RSS. But, with series of electoral reverses and recent turn of events in the uprising of the youth against NRC-CAA-NPR, they have begun suffering from Parkinson's disease themselves.
People voted massively for the BJP, trusting the illusions of an El Dorado created. They trusted promises of Rs 15 lakh in everyone's account, two crore jobs a year, development in every corner of the country and high decibel slogans of 'Sabke saath sabka vikas', corruption-free government and black-money-free country, namo Ganga, 'Rama rajya' and many more. The country looked at Modi with admiration when he bowed to the Parliament as he entered, to show his reverence to democracy. At that time no one could imagine that it was all a facade to conceal falsehood and the hidden agenda of the RSS.
The degenerating brain cells in Alzheimer's disease cause the early signs of forgetting recent events or conversations; as it progresses, there would be severe memory impairment, apathy, distrust, delusions, etc., before the inevitable death.
Showing off his 56-inch chest as bravado, he went about with a swagger. Gradually, the truth began unfolding when democracy entered the dark days of fascism; the patience of people was being taken for granted.
It was a grave mistake. As falsities were getting exposed one after the other, disillusionment, mistrust and anger began spreading, showing it off in electoral reverses of the BJP. Still, in the national elections in 2019, another chance was given to mend ways. Or was it EVM magic? Anyway, with this mandate entered wholesome fascism. Now, with the NRC-CAA-NPR, the mood of the nation has changed completely. A printed text that is going viral on social media speaks about it: "First, they came for minorities, thrashed and lynched them. Next, they came for Dalits, brutally attacked and isolated them. Then, they came for tribals, passed laws to snatch away their rights. Later, they came for historians, intellectuals, writers, and artists, calling them 'urban naxals', and 'tukde-tukde' gangs. Now, they have come for students of institutions of higher learning. Unmask the marauders." While there is truth in every sentence, the text is short of several other realities, the most important being the democratic traditions, in which India has slid in three years by 50 notches to be at 91 among 180 countries.
Never had the PM interacted with the media to take questions about government's policies and decisions; there are only one-sided 'maan ki baat' or rhetorical speeches about nationalism, like those of the Big Brother. There are no debates or discussions in the Parliament. Dissent and opposition are anathemas; historians, intellectuals, activists, lawyers, etc., who raise questions are termed as 'Urban Naxals'. Using Pegasus software, their privacy is intruded and they are arrested in dramatic ways, like in the cases of Bhima-Koregaon matter, Ramachandra Guha and the sedition charges filed against one-fifty intellectuals who wrote an open letter.
Systematically, they went about bridling institutions, like fascists. One after the other, bureaucracy, RBI, CBI, ED, IT, CAG, CVC, EC, fell in line to pulverise the Opposition leaders. Even the media was made to parrot their slogans. Shockingly, even the mighty SC was subdued to favour the government in matters like Birla-diaries, Judge Loya's death, Kashmir, etc. The police has been made to stand in attendance. Religious bigots, like cow-vigilantes, are given the tacit support of abusive institutions.
The abuse of police machinery is too evident in policemen setting buses on fire and the government propagating the photo to tell the country that the students of Jamia Millia did it. Or the case of masked goondas of ABVP entering the JNU to cause mayhem, while police remained mute spectators. FIRs were lodged against the students for damaging the computer information system, which was later proved to be a false allegation as revealed in RTI-collected information. It is all in pursuit of the exhortations of Amit Shah about 'Tukde-tukde' gang. In UP alone, 19 people were killed in the anti-CAA agitation and a central minister gloated about the action saying, "People were shot like dogs." The country is witnessing a Nazi-style of governance for hiding failures and falsities.
There is no sight of either the Rs 15 lakh promised or the creation of two crore jobs every year. On the other hand, demonetisation that was touted to wipe out black money has robbed the livelihood and jobs of millions of people and filled the coffers of the BJP along with the dubious Electoral Bonds, to enable them to use such money liberally in elections and political defections. Along with this, mishandling of the economy has plunged the GDP growth from the projected 8 per cent to 1.5 per cent as being claimed by BJP's Subrahmanian Swamy. Obviously, unemployment is the highest in five decades. Every sector – automobile, agriculture, real estate, etc., is bleeding. NPAs and bank frauds have gone up to a lakhs of crores of rupees each. Crony-capitalists are flourishing at the cost of PSUs and people. One per cent of the population is pocketing most of the country's wealth, leaving the majority in dire poverty. India has become an El Dorado for the rich.
As a result, Oxfam International's 'Commitment to Reducing Inequality Index' ranks India at a pathetic 147, among 157 countries. Social Mobility Index places us at the bottom of the list. We are among the unhappiest of countries – 140 among 156 countries.
"Na khaunga, na khane dunga" was the slogan. But, Yediyurappa and the corrupt defectors are saints. SC judges are made to toe the line with the government, intimidating them with CBI cases. Mukesh Ambani's Rs 50,000 crore fraud and corruption in the KG gas basin stand suppressed. Instead of taking legal action against Anil Ambani for his insolvency of Rs 45,000 crore, he is honoured as the off-set partner in the Rafale deal, by sideling the state-owned and experienced HAL. PC Act stands amended to thwart even initiation of enquiries by anti-corruption agencies against such people.
Namo Ganga project is still at the take-off stage. But, "I lost Ganga," were the last words of GD Agarwal before he died after 112 days of fasting. And, none of the sustainable development goals have been reached. Instead, deforestation was indiscreetly done with the clearance of projects. Bullet train takes precedence over Aarey trees.
As against this dismal performance, their communal agenda has been getting a liberal flip. There were over 120 incidents of mob lynching by cow-vigilantes, in which 40 people were killed. Subodh Singh, SHO, who tried to conduct impartial investigations in the case against cow-vigilantes, was shot dead by the religious bigots. People assaulted Mullas and pulled their sacred beard and made them chant Jai Shri Ram. Also, a whopping 1,900 encounter deaths, mostly Muslims, occurred in one year in UP. Dalits have also been victims of these Manuvadis. There were gruesome incidents like a gang of armed people killing innocent tribes-people at Dhond.
Then, practically all accused, wherein Muslims were the victims, were set free to bail out the RSS and kindred outfits, be it the Sohrabuddin, Malegaon, Ajmer Sharif Dargah, Mecca Masjid or Samjhauta Express incident. All this is no surprise, since bench-fixing is possible even in the SC, as alleged by Justice Kurian Joseph.
Even women are not secure. Rape and murder are everyday occurrences. Powerful criminals of BJP, like Kuldeep Sengar, who had raped a teenage girl at Unnao along with his gang and serial sexual offender, godman-politician Swami Chinmayand, get patronage. No key BJP leaders ever condemn such actions.
Religious narrowness has nullified all the work done by CSIR to promote a spirit of enquiry, the culture of questioning assumptions, etc. Superstition, legends, myths and animalism are driving society into medieval times of witch-hunting. In this pursuit, NCERT literature is being amended with orthodoxy and the past and institutions of higher learning, like JNU, are being deprived of free-thinking, with intimidating methods.
When failures are staring them in their face, patriotism, nationalism, surgical strikes, etc., are brought to the fore to divert the attention of the country, while not losing sight of the agenda of the RSS – Hindutva, Kashmir, CAA, etc. Even the SC toes their line by not hearing matters of Habeas Corpus and communication shut-down in Kashmir, etc., on priority.
Now, CAA, NPR, etc., would be another phase of trauma like demonetisation where people have to struggle in producing documents, like birth certificates, to prove their citizenship. However, in the face of country-wide protests, Modi and Shah are trying to create confusion with contrary statements.
But, people have realised all their games and protests are only gaining strength every day. For Modi and Amit Shah, issues like Ram Mandir, etc., and their Jekyll and Hyde faces are no longer working as antidotes. People's patience has been tested enough. With their presumption of Alzheimer's proved wrong, the duo has begun suffering from Parkinson's disease.
The symptoms are getting increasingly evident – tremors of limbs, stiffness of muscles, impaired posture and balance, slowing down of every movement, slurring of speech, thinking process, depression and swallowing problems. Staring at a huge drubbing in Delhi polls, they are truly worried.
Dr N Dilip Kumar is a retired IPS officer and a former Member of Public Grievances Commission, Delhi. Views expressed are strictly personal