The recent arrest of writer Kanwal Bharti unleashes another face of Indian Democracy. We must see this as a continuation of previous incidents in other parts of the country and not as a separate isolated incident. We have seen what happened with Cartoonist Aseem Trivedi, Prof. Ambikesh Mahapatra and many others over the past few years. These incidents clearly point out that it will be insane to think that we have democratically elected members representing us; rather we have a set of dictators ruling the country.
The Petty Dictators of India
Indian democracy functions in such a way that it gives rise to emergence of few people who have authoritarian values to govern. This is among the many problems our democracy faces. I’d like to term these people as ‘petty dictators’ as they have their constituency to dictate. Somebody is a dictator in Rampur, somebody in Nagpur, somebody in Gandhinagar. We must not think that we have only few dictators. In fact we have dictators at various levels- village level dictator, block level dictator et cetera. There are bigger dictators always protecting the smaller dictators.
The Not So Socialist Face of Socialists
The way Akhilesh Yadav and company is functioning in Uttar Pradesh it may confuse the younger generation to understand the meaning of Socialism. To start with the Yadav family claims to believe in socialist values. Give me one political example to show that they have an iota of understanding of what Socialism is! They have indulged in the caste and religion politics; have shown their communal face to the country by making religion and caste a bigger issue than poverty. The way they have promoted family politics- Bhai-Bhatijawad rather than Samajwad- shatters every belief that they are socialists. The atrocities they have committed on honest administrative officer, Durga Shakti Nagpal, divorces the tiniest relation of Socialism from the party.
As a matter of fact, this pseudo-political understanding of politics has worsened the situation. I am not blaming only Samajwadi Party for this. BSP or Congress has not helped in improving the situation. BJP too has many petty dictators, and also a big one for that matter. The problem is that we are not able to make these issues big. The political class has a superiority complex which has come with the power they have been bestowed upon with. We, the members of society, need to make it a bigger issue so that we are not forced to lead a life of subjugated class in the future.
Given the present scenario, this article has the potential to get me arrested. I will not be shocked to get arrested, and if my life is ruined (given the fact that media picks only selected few cases), because it is people like us who have shown apolitical behaviour in the past to ‘save’ them from the dirt of politics.
I am glad to see the power of Social media which has become biggest tool for the younger generation to raise the voice. The present case got momentum on social media and then was taken by the mainstream media as well. This is the power of communication. We need to communicate well and make sure that people understand that being apolitical is not the solution in a situation which is politically volatile. We need to fight back, not for others but for ourselves.
A poem by Martin Niemoller becomes very relevant to our times in India as well.
First they came for the communists,
and I didn’t speak out because I wasn’t a communist.Then they came for the socialists,and I didn’t speak out because I wasn’t a socialist.Then they came for the trade unionists,and I didn’t speak out because I wasn’t a trade unionist.Then they came for the Jews,and I didn’t speak out because I wasn’t a Jew.Then they came for the Catholics,and I didn’t speak out because I wasn’t a Catholic.Then they came for me,and there was no one left to speak for me.
This article first appeared in Youth Ki Awaaz on August 7, 2013