“War Is Peace, Slavery Is Freedom, Ignorance Is Strength”: India’s New Normal

“War is peace, slavery is freedom, ignorance is strength.” This excerpt from Orwell’s 1984 is an apt description of the present regime of the world’s second-largest democracy. The present NDA government’s ignorance has become a tool of coercion to ensure the brutal imposition of repressive and communal dictates on people of its own nation.

When the Indian PM visited the US on September 22, 2019, he continuously reiterated the statementSab thik hai” meaning everything is fine in India, in the midst of a massive military crackdown in Jammu and Kashmir. The ruling party propagated the idea of restoring ‘normalcy’ in the Kashmir valley by suspending mobile internet operations for more than 100 days, and by confining thousands of people by restricting any communication and mobility.

The situation in the Northeast has been similar, since midnight of December 11, where internet and SMS services were suspended by the state governments in order to maintain law and order in the middle of massive protests against the recently passed Citizenship Amendment Act, 2019.

Image source: Gaurav Kashyap Dutta/Twitter

It has been termed as being anti-Muslim by various people, parties, and organisations, including the United Nations. However, ‘Big Brother’ has consistently claimed in the parliament that it’s neither anti-Muslim, nor against the welfare of the people of the Northeast.

However, refusing such hollow promises by the Home Minister, the people of the Northeast and Assam have been demanding the complete dismissal of the bill, now an act, through peaceful rallies and protests. But, through the misuse of the British era Telegraph Act 1885, this region has been completely left in the dark, under a veil of ignorance.

The government has been ignoring the recent happenings in the Northeastern states by turning a deaf ear to the concerns and aspirations of the people from the region. Snatching away the independence and freedom of the masses is an attempt to quash the aspirations and the desire of the people by silencing the voices of dissent.

Image Source: Makepeace Sitlhou/Twitter

Every kid in this country is taught that we are free citizens and we possess something called freedom that was achieved after a long struggle with external forces. But, the question arises, if ‘freedom only means freedom from external aggression? Does not it include freedom from internal colonialism and internal imperialism? If freedom only means freedom of certain sections or classes, then this freedom was there before 1947, and the situation has only changed little thereafter.

The recent legislation of the Citizenship Amendment Act, 2019, has made the imperialist tendency and ignorance of the government very explicit. The government has made the legislation to fulfill their party agenda, by bypassing the aspiration, emotions, and concerns of the states of Northeast India.

As a consequence, the Northeastern states are burning, and a sense of fear and suspicion is being inflicted upon the people. Several battalions of paramilitary troops have been deployed to curtail the freedom of the people, and 5 civilians have been killed in Guwahati only.

People have been locked inside their homes due to a curfew being imposed in many parts across the state of Assam. But, as always, ‘mainland’ India seems to remain ignorant about the current proceedings in the Northeast. In such a situation, not even the mainstream digital media houses, except few, have covered the stories, because the narrative has been created by the power-holders reiterating ‘sab thik hai’, evincing ‘slavery is freedom’.

Image source: Gaurav Kashyap Dutta/Twitter

People, however, have come onto the streets to voice their rejection of the Act even with the curfew that has been imposed. The state machinery has been clashing with the civilians and brutally lathi-charged the agitating masses. Paramilitary forces have been transferred from Jammu and Kashmir to Assam.

The army carried out a flag march on the streets of Guwahati. They opened fire inside the campus of Assam Engineering College. There is heavy deployment of troops in front of every university hostel, establishing the essence of normalcy. But, who cares for all these.

In this war-like situation, there is barely any coverage from the national media. The state machinery has shut the regional media houses that are reporting the incidents in an authentic manner, and a narrative of peace is being given to the rest of the nation. Yes obviously, it is peace, because, under this regime, war is peace.

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