Indian democracy is in grave danger. First it was all about lynchings of Muslims and Dalits and killing of some selective activists but now the tide of intolerance and bigotry has entered the houses of all, including the urban intellectual class, labeled by present regime as “Urban Naxals”, which has derived widespread condemnation. No one is being spared now. Those, who are critical of the government policies are considered “threat” by the ruling class to their power. This ruling class is afraid of losing the power and is thus using every tactic to remain in power or to try everything, not to lose power in future (elections). Dissenting voices are being silenced and curbed.
RSS affiliated BJP is leaving no stone unturned to remain in power. “Love Jehad” slogan seems to be an old or outdated tactic now, though can be used at any opportune time which suits the ruling party. Lynchings have brought shame to India, and democratic system on international level. Some of the cases of lynchings have proved involvement of the government in these crimes and criminals are roaming free.
From last four years Muslims have felt the brunt of this regime. There have been killing of Muslims in the name of beef eating and cow smuggling going on without interruption. Mobs are ruling the streets with full state patronage. Another aspect of the Indian society is discrimination and suppression of Dalits on every front from villages to university recruitments. Lynching of Dalits on one pretext or the other have been also reported.
India is under BJP rule and BJP in Independent India’s history has for the first time came to the power with full majority. It has tried and tries everything to saffronise the country. From school syllabus to Higher education, it has tried to change the narrative of history in its favour. It has turned its “heroes’” lost battles in wins, where Akbar is defeated by RanaPratap at Haldighati.
The BJP has failed to fulfill its promises. Before election it had promised to reduce oil prices, creation of 1 crore jobs, of bringing back black money, but now it finds itself nowhere near the target. Its IT Cell is totally frustrated now. Fake charges against intellectuals, activists and writers has become a new norm in today’s India. They are jailed and humiliated on roads and on different forums. Killing of activists and journalist is continuing on regular intervals.
Television Media has also felt the brunt of this regime in one way or the other. Some prominent TV personalities have been attacked for for speaking truth to power. Advertisements have been stopped to various media outlets. Only those are allowed to speak who toe the line of government and ignore the plight of common masses and harsh realities of the society.
Another worrying factor is the falling value of the rupee against the dollar and rising petrol prices. These two have worried Indians. Demonetisation proved to be total disaster making people wonder, what demonetization was all about. Editor-in Chief of Forbes magazine Steve Forbes has called demonetization a theft of people’s property and has also called Indian bureaucracy “to be notorious for corruption, red tape and lethargy.”
Fear has engulfed the whole of India. Journalists are now scared to ask questions and some have taken the back seat and are keeping mum and some have turned propagandist for the government. No pressing questions are asked to government for the larger benefit of the Indian masses. Polarization is being done with purpose, to divide the society on communal lines for the vote bank politics. With 2019 elections nearing, the present regime is leaving no stone unturned to wash it from its failures and shortcomings. It is using different but dangerous tactics to woo the masses to its fold.
Indian democracy is in peril now, with only one man calling the shots on all important matters. The ruling dispensation is no mood to answer the questions of the media and the opposition. Intolerance is rising with each passing day with hate speeches against Muslims and subsequently with the lynchings of Muslims. Activists are arrested with no stoppage to these arrests. Media is being muzzled and media persons silenced and threatened. Questioning the government has become a crime now freedom of expression seems to be thing of the past. It is like “Elected Dictatorship” and undeclared emergency now in India and future of Indian democracy looks very bleak in present atmosphere of hate and bigotry.
(The author is perusing higher studies at Jawaharlal Nehru University, New Delhi)