Why Can’t We Criticise The Govt Without Being Labelled As “Anti-National”?

Wall, a word that has multiple meanings and literary functions that sometimes the deepest of the meanings can be conveyed by this simple word. Remember that during the Cultural Revolution in Beijing? Chinese people put posters in public places expressing their views and speaking about their sufferings on a wall in Beijing that popularly came to be known as the Democracy Wall.

It seems like contemporary India, which has many similarities to Nazi Germany, like the slogan ‘Heil Hitler’ and its Indian avatar ‘Modi Modi,’ needs a similar democracy wall. But, who would give us this vertical platform?

PM Modi Ramlila Maidan Speech
PM Modi

Secularism Under Threat

Communal politics rules over secularism. The party in power thoroughly believes in religious ideologies, the principal cause of religious riots and lynchings all across the country. The set of communal, religious people, fundamentalists of any religion, not only hurt the sentiments of people from other religions, but they end up killing them in the name of God. Such incidents have put the very idea of a secular and plural country like India in threat.

Unprecedented Unemployment

It has become very easy to call someone who tries to perform the function of a democratic person in a free country, by asking significant questions, as an “anti-national” or an “anti-Indian”.

People who believe in democracy are really in distress. Under the NDA government, we saw that job creation, the essential job of the state machinery, did not reach even close to half its claims. However, when the then-president of the BJP, Amit Shah, was asked about this, he replied with an even less satisfactory answer, that it is nearly impossible to provide jobs for 125 crores people citing that self-employment is a big source of employment for people in the country.

At this point, I want to ask: if self-employment is a big source of employment, then, why did the unemployment rate rise to around 7.2% in February 2019, the worst in 28 months? Why has the number of employed people declined by more than 18 million?

False Promises

The rise of fascism is taking place. The new era of anachronism is taking place. A BJP minister spoke about the establishment of the Ram temples, where they got their way, but doesn’t talk about the establishment of schools, the establishment of hospitals. He sternly pointed at the very important fact that the main agenda of the ruling party is to create temples across India.

Another sector where the situation is worsening is agriculture. Our respected prime minister made huge promises of giving assurances to the farmers of more than 50% profit, but, it has been found that the income of the farmers has hardly incurred any noted growth over the last five years.

Representational image.

Let us recall an incident where our Mr Modi held a rally at Varanasi and delivered ‘inspiring’ and lengthy speeches. Thousands of people gathered to chant the ‘Modi’ slogans but nobody realized that the rally caused the destruction of the crops; the reason being the construction of two helipads for his special landing.

When the 60-year-old farmer Chamela Devi asked the officials about it, she was told that she would be getting compensation, or, in case, she doesn’t get it, she could claim the possession of the bricks. Later on, the bricks were taken away and her son was beaten up after he refused the government’s action of taking away the bricks.

So who were destroyed? Or is it just another brick in the wall, eh? A wall of false promises.

All these problems were not pointed out by popular media channels. Rather the campaign, along with the propaganda, was hugely portrayed through social media followed by advertisements at public places like petrol pumps. People are being subjected to misfortunes and lies regularly, and the government is leveraging the paid media to promote itself.

A Country Needs Its Youth for Development

Any country needs to be questioned by the young and liberal minds. It’s they who, through their critique and new ideas, shape the country. (It’s not the age; it’s anyone who has the power to connect with people and their outstanding humanity and valor.) Questions should be asked so that people get to know more from the liberal young and educated minds. But, for developing this ability to question, education is necessary.

However, it’s that very structure that the BJP-led government has harmed and ignored in order to stop producing ‘questioning minds.’ In propagating its policies of communalism, centralisation, and commercialisation the education sector was isolated, as profit-maximisation became the main motive for the private capital on whose support the government runs.

The Hindutva agenda is brought to the country, thereby leading to the destruction of the federal character of the Indian education and crippling it beyond repair. (Think about changing significant developments in the history notebooks, attack on the best of universities, and more.)

We must question why people are being influenced by this ‘nationalism,’ whose very notion the Nobel laureate Rabindranath Tagore warned us against. We must ask the PM, who promised a lot and when it came to delivering, said that “selling pakodas” will be a great self-employment exercise instead of proper employment.

We must ask questions: Why have voters been denied the right to know about the funding of the government? Who’s funding whom and how much? Why isn’t proper education given to us? Why education is costly and lives so cheap (mob lynching)? Why did demonetisation fail to curb the black money problem, for which it was rolled out? What happened to the “give me 50 days” claim of the 56-inch PM?

Over the last 5 years, the institutions of the state have been injured badly. They seem to be either singing praises of the government or made irrelevant. More than 10 million Indians lost their jobs. Unemployment numbers have hit an unprecedented mark in the last 45 years. Why are we not talk about these issues? Why is someone called “anti-national” when one questions the government?

The nation seriously wants to know answers to all these questions. Break this wall and ask questions.

Let us build a wall of democracy rather than getting trapped inside the wall of autocracy.

Similar Posts

A former Assistant Secretary with the Ministry of Women and Child Development in West Bengal for three months, Lakshmi Bhavya has been championing the cause of menstrual hygiene in her district. By associating herself with the Lalana Campaign, a holistic menstrual hygiene awareness campaign which is conducted by the Anahat NGO, Lakshmi has been slowly breaking taboos when it comes to periods and menstrual hygiene.

A Gender Rights Activist working with the tribal and marginalized communities in india, Srilekha is a PhD scholar working on understanding body and sexuality among tribal girls, to fill the gaps in research around indigenous women and their stories. Srilekha has worked extensively at the grassroots level with community based organisations, through several advocacy initiatives around Gender, Mental Health, Menstrual Hygiene and Sexual and Reproductive Health Rights (SRHR) for the indigenous in Jharkhand, over the last 6 years.

Srilekha has also contributed to sustainable livelihood projects and legal aid programs for survivors of sex trafficking. She has been conducting research based programs on maternal health, mental health, gender based violence, sex and sexuality. Her interest lies in conducting workshops for young people on life skills, feminism, gender and sexuality, trauma, resilience and interpersonal relationships.

A Guwahati-based college student pursuing her Masters in Tata Institute of Social Sciences, Bidisha started the #BleedwithDignity campaign on the technology platform Change.org, demanding that the Government of Assam install
biodegradable sanitary pad vending machines in all government schools across the state. Her petition on Change.org has already gathered support from over 90000 people and continues to grow.

Bidisha was selected in Change.org’s flagship program ‘She Creates Change’ having run successful online advocacy
campaigns, which were widely recognised. Through the #BleedwithDignity campaign; she organised and celebrated World Menstrual Hygiene Day, 2019 in Guwahati, Assam by hosting a wall mural by collaborating with local organisations. The initiative was widely covered by national and local media, and the mural was later inaugurated by the event’s chief guest Commissioner of Guwahati Municipal Corporation (GMC) Debeswar Malakar, IAS.

Sign up for the Youth Ki Awaaz Prime Ministerial Brief below