Disha Ravi. A week back most Indians would not have heard of her what to talk about the world media. Today she is the very emblem of the rage of Modi’s government towards dissent.
But why would a young, twenty plus climate activist focusing on improving the wellbeing of this planet for her generation and for generations to follow, create so much fear in the minds of India’s dictatorial federal government? Why the Police force from the national capital was needed to be sent to a Southern city to arrest her and take her to national capital under the very eyes of national and international media and put under custody?
Why such haste, speed and fury?
Oh they say that she was instrumental in editing a “tool kit” which was anti-government and was shared by a world renowned climate celebrity. The very toolkit which was labelled by Indian government and its lap-dog media as designed by ‘Khalistani’ supporters and not by some activists standing up for Indian farmers. That immediate action against her and the planned action currently against the now so-declared two absconding activists is being showcased as a façade to protect India from anti-national elements who are there to attack the sovereignty of India.
“Sedition, Sedition, Sedition! Death to the scoundrel, the anti-national, the ‘Andolanjivi’”, the war cry rises and grows louder with every passing minute in print, visual and social media. Exponentially multiplied by the government sponsored troll army! Hear to see the shrill grow louder in days to come.
In the last few years since the BJP government has come to power and has marked any protest against them as “Anti-Indian” and thrown their trolls and vultures after the protestors and their kith and kin, I have seen that a new terror now holds sway not just over the intellectuals and the writers but over the entire Indian population.
And this time the terrorism is not external or even from any internal strife. The government itself has become the largest symbol of terror. There is a fear that lurches over every single person that any dissent can lead to instant retribution.
The government uses all possible ways, calling dissenters crude names, issuing online and physical threats, converting government agencies as bull dogs and then unleashing them on the dissenters, curbing their rights of speech by controlling mass media,…. the means are endless and new mutation/innovation comes to light every day.
And when the government agencies are not enough to instill terror, help of Hindutava mafia is just a stone’s throw away.
Gauri Lankesh, Narendra Dabohlkar, MM Kalburgi, Govind Pansare and hundreds of journalists, writers, RTI activists, rationalists, thinkers have paid the price of dissent with their own lives since BJP government has taken hold over the nation.
These names and the sacrifices of people behind them do not surprise people any more. The irony is that they fought and died for the very person who yawns at their mention.
The death of activists is ‘normal’ in India. Their being charged for sedition is ‘normal’ in India. Their being behind bars without trials or with malicious evidences created and installed to create a false case is ‘normal’ in India.
So what is new in the arrest of Disha Ravi? Or of Noodeep Kaur? On flimsy grounds which would look clumsy even in a B grade Bollywood movie except to a Blind Bhakht who considers every fake story by Indian government and its heavily controlled media as the gospel truth.
In the last one year since the anti-CAA protest started, Modi government saw for the first time how the youth was turning against them and was using the power of social media to raise protest. These were not old leaders or activists who could be easily called “urban naxals, sickulars, libetards” and the likes and done with. Or whose death or arrest would not bother the herd.
This time it was India’s youth. Educated, knowledgeable and tech-savvy! They could look beyond the winning hate agenda of the ruling party and use the power of social media to voice their opinion.
During Anti-CAA time, it was not just the Muslims but the youth of India in colleges and universities, elite or otherwise, who rose in defence of secularism and raised voices against the government. In IITs, IIMs, JNU and hundreds of educational institutions not just in India but worldwide, the youth spoke, nay roared loud and clear. For the first time, Modi’s government faced tremendous international pressure and attention on a cause which they thought they can use to rule India for decades to come by dividing people on religious lines.
The government had learnt its lesson and was thankfully saved from further political disaster by the raging pandemic. Alas they did not rest and used the very garb of pandemic to bring out the three farmers bills which could change the face of Indian agriculture for decades to come and throw the little farmer into the claws of mighty corporates for them to tear apart. And used clearly undemocratic ways in the very halls of Indian democracy to convert them into laws!
Dissent erupted again. This time it was different. It was not on the favourite BJP territory of Hindu-Muslim divide. This time it was the average farmer and his supporters who came from diverse religious and cultural backgrounds and the revolt was far widespread than anticipated.
First they misjudged it as originating only from Punjab and tactfully labelled it a Sikh protest and called the protestors Khalistan sympathisers and defamed them. They failed as the protest spread far and wide and farmers from different regions of India including Haryana, UP, Uttarakhand, Rajasthan, Maharashtra and many other Indian states joined the protest.
They used excessive force, stoppage of internet services, road blockages, media blackout or rather media campaign to discredit the agitation and everything failed.
Why? Because the youth was again playing an important role this time and was coming out in droves to support the cause. Both in their physical presence and in building an online momentum! And then the fury of government erupted when the youth was able to draw world attention to the cause and enable powerful tweets from world celebrities.
The government was mad and used various strategies including ordering Indian celebrities popular amongst youth in film, sports and businesses to tweet in defence of the government. Even that strategy backfired what with most celebrities either tweeting verbatim the message dictated to them or using similar words letting the cat out of the box and showing clearly who was behind the message.
Now direct action was required. One that would create such fear in the minds of potential dissenters that they would not just think hundred times before daring to speak against the government again, but also ensure that they support all future diktats as silent spectators for times to come!
Disha Ravi is an EXAMPLE. A powerful example being set by the government for the youth of India! You dissent and we will pull you out from your comfort zones, your homes, your elite colleges and universities, your friendly neighborhoods and communities and put you behind bars and lay such libel against you that your lives would be destroyed for ever. That is a price you will pay for supporting any cause whatsoever, howsoever peaceful your ways may be.
They have thrown the gauntlet and now it is for Indian youth to respond.
As for me, the perennial dissenter against this oppressive regime, the ‘REAL text book definition of anti-national, urban-naxal, libetard, sickular and now even easily termed Khalistani in the eyes of Indian Bhakt’, the andolan or the protest will continue. Till this regime puts an end to the agenda of hate and oppression or runs its cycle and comes to an end itself. Or else otherwise till I meet my end, whatever comes first.
Toolkit! If the youth of India is ready for fighting to save India, here is mine to support current and any future cause which arises to fight this oppressive and divisive regime-
1. Continue with protests- Physical or online and continue to spread the word. Don’t stop even when directed to. The right to dissent and free speech is a right and not a privilege given by a dictatorial regime.
2. If the Indian government does not listen, raise the issue at world forum. It is NOT anti-Indian to speak against a particular ruling party in power and history is full of examples of dictatorial regimes who have backtracked in light of world opposition to their politics of hate and oppression. There is NO internal matter when it comes to human dignity and suffering in any part of the world.
3. Don’t be afraid of coming out of your comfort zones. The one small step that you may take may restore comfort zones of many more.
Rise India rise. ! Rise India’s supporters worldwide. We do not need any certificate of nationalism from these pseudo- neo-nationalists and are the real guardians of a true, secular India which still works for the ordinary farmers, workers and common masses and not for the corporates that dictate the policy of a dictatorial regime.
Glory will be yours in times to come as your cause is just. Amen.
Views expressed above are the author’s own.
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