From Instant Noodles to Instant Justice, or at least the illusion of it, seems to have captured our imagination. The last couple of weeks have been particularly disturbing, with JCBs crushing dreams, aspirations and the thin layer of hope with which the poor and the unprivileged shelter their lives. 

Theatre of the absurd is playing out in the open.

It has become so difficult to separate reality from fiction. I sometimes wonder, is this the same country that I grew up in? Let’s spend a minute recapitulating all that has happened in the last couple of weeks. 

  • Controversy over Hanuman Chalisa chant, not in devotion to the benevolent Lord but as a tool of protest. 
  • Communal flare-ups in different parts of the country, at least 9 of them made it to the national news on the pious occasion of Shri Ram Navmi.
  • JCB crushing the hopes and homes of some of the poorest people in the country. 
  • Our state guest, the British PM posing with JCB.

What kind of a society are we becoming? 

Religion has been weaponized, the name of the Lord has been militarized and people who used to play on the same side are now up in arms against one another. Political pundits say this is a great diversion being masterminded by those in power to push under the rug the burning issues of our times. 

  • Out of control inflation. 
  • Record unemployment.
  • Fuel prices.
  • Coal crisis. 
  • Chinese incursion on our border. 

And whatnot.

Whoever crafted the master plan of the grand diversion is certainly winning!

I fail to understand, how can a nation that has still not fully recovered from the unprecedented economic damage and unparalleled loss of life from the deadly Covid virus, devote time and energy to create these not needed disturbances. Should a poverty-stricken nation be worried about a religious show of strength? 

Hate speech seems to have become the primary tool of galvanisation of supporters by the ruling party. Open threats of murder and rape are being shouted from microphones in broad daylight and in the presence of the police – how different is that scene from the mindless Taliban who, take a sou-motto decision to punish those who do not comply with their dictates? 

Think about it.

We’re as ancient a civilization as we’re diverse, there are bound to be a ton of unresolved cultural and historical issues. Instead of accepting the issues of the day and working hard on resolving them. We seem to have prioritized asserting the superiority of the majority and the rulers are happily presenting that as the sole way of resolving the issues of the past. 

Every single source of truth has been hijacked.

The deadly combination of: 

  • Media servile to the establishment, that is shamelessly spewing hatred and misinformation 24*7.
  • Agencies that have lost their moral compass and spine are willingly taking orders from those who decide their bonuses, next promotion and posting, and not from the constitution to which they swore allegiance to.
  • Absolutely uninterested, supremely lazy, utterly purposeless opposition. 
  • The less we say about the courts the better.
  • Misinformation campaign on social media platforms.
    • Whatsapp. 
    • FaceBook.
    • Twitter.

All of the above working in tandem are destroying the collective intelligence of the ordinary Indian people, like you and me. Most of us have long forgotten that our primary role is that of a citizen, influenced by the propaganda, we’ve now become missionaries.

There is hate and disregard for decency on both sides of the fence. 

No one is a mere follower of an ideology anymore, everyone is an evangelist. Voting preferences dictate everything that a person might or might not do. If you’re a BJP Voter, named Ashish then you can’t have Akram as your best friend. Even if you grew up with him and have shared a lifetime together. It is as true for Ashish as it is for Akram. 

We, the people of this great nation, have surrendered Individual identities for the badge of one tribe or the other. We are acting to please that one man who cares as little about us as we care about the truth. Progress can’t happen without peace and peace is an impossibility without co-existence. We will need to recognise the need to respect one another. We’re one people and our voting and religious identities should not define our life choices. 

The lawmakers have clearly abdicated the responsibility of promoting peace, harmony and coexistence. They derive extreme satisfaction from enforcing idiotic dictates. Let me share two, one from the largest and admittedly one of the most backward states of India and another from a city-state, that is WOKE.

  • The UP administration’s priority number one is to ensure that loudspeakers attached to places of worship should not be so loud as to be heard from outside the boundaries of the pantheon. 
  • Delhi administration ordered the closure of all non-vegetarian shops for 9 days, the Navratri time. 

I won’t go into the constitutionality of these arbitrary decisions but would like to certainly emphasize the below two points that these orders violate.

  • Right to practice and propagate one’s religion.
    • How do you propagate if your mics are gaged?
  • Right to livelihood. 
    • How do you feed yourself and your dependents, if selling non-vegetarian food is your only source of income?

It does not take a genius to know that these are dog whistles to appease the majority of this country. These actions win votes, we know how 4 out of 5 states that recently went to polls stamped victory on the bigoted.

This is the problem, what is the solution?

May I be so bold as to recommend Animal Farm, a satirical allegorical work by George Orwell?

It is our collective responsibility to stop our beloved motherland from becoming another Animal Farm, that grows inequality, disharmony, hatred and animosity. 

I am no expert at rescuing nations and societies from becoming poisonous and vile but I can certainly share a few things that I have been practising myself.

  • Break free from the shackles of algorithms. 
    • Quit Facebook – it is just evil. 
    • Quit all groups (WhatsApp or otherwise) that share political messages on all platforms. 
    • Unfollow, people who give you political views in support or against a certain side. 
    • Do not spread misinformation, check the source.
    • Stop consuming news. 
      • NO TV
      • NO Youtube 
      • No Newspaper (especially the Hindi newspaper)
        • I read ‘The Hindu’ because they maintain journalistic integrity.  
  • Judge the performance of the government by your own reality. 
    • Are you earning more?
    • Do you feel safer?
    • Are there more opportunities?
    • Be diligent in separating fact from fiction. 
  •  Do not associate an identity with religion. 
    • Those who worship other God(s), also want the same thing. 
      • Roti 
      • Kapra 
      • Makan.

Love people, be kind and build a nation that you’d like to leave your future generations in when your time to unite with the God(s) come.

Don’t let politicians and their self-servicing political narratives fool you!

With that, I end this. 

Stay safe, everyone!

By lavkush