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I See You, India And I Grieve

In the last 7 years, we have been a party to rampant lynching and lawlessness in this country that has the silent blessing and approval of the current regime.

I am a 26 years old young Indian with uncountable dreams, aspirations and full of hope for immense possibilities. But each day, my dreams shrink, my aspirations are cut short and my possibilities are limited. I want to make my life in an India that offers kindness, is forgiving of my mistakes, lets me create my own path, speak freely, disagree with my government and people with respect and without fear.

But I look at the top 10 news from India and none of them speak to my hope and imagination. All news leads me to a sense of hopelessness for my country.

A Hindu Dharam Sansad (religious conclave) made a call for the genocide of Muslims. Another similar event made the same call.

Days before this vile event on 18 December 2021, a man was brutally beaten up and lynched in a sacred place of worship. This is the place and religion that are governed by the idea of generosity and forgiveness. On 19 December 2021, another man was lynched mercilessly in Kapurthala on the suspicion of an alleged sacrilege attempt. The deceased had 30 deep cuts on the chest, neck, hip, and head, according to the autopsy report.

This cold-blooded murder was justified on the grounds of mere suspicion and the 'idea of non-innocence' and therefore, the deceased deserved violent action. Even if both of these men were 'non-innocent', how does it give the freeway to anyone to punish them? Do we live in a country of lawlessness? What happened to the idea of rule of law? Why do courts and police exist?

In the last 7 years, we have been a mute party to rampant lynching in this country that has the silent blessing and approval of the current regime.

For the last few weeks, every Friday in Gurugram, just 25 kilometers from the national capital, Delhi, a group of people belonging to Hindutva groups block roads, park heavy vehicles, raise provocative slogans, and even clash with Muslims who come to offer prayers in nearby open public spaces. They call Muslims jihadis and even Pakistanis. The people who offer prayers are regular shopkeepers and factory workers.

The Chief Minister of the state who is constitutionally bound to protect the rights and freedom of the people of his state does not even pretend and openly sides with the warmongers and says that offering prayers in public places will not be tolerated.

Image: India Today

The city of Gurugram with a multitude of tall corporate buildings, metro lines, good roads, and often described as 'millennium city' offers no protection for its people to practice their religion enshrined in India's constitution.

On December 27, protesting doctors braved a brutal police crackdown in New Delhi. Many of these resident doctors were badly beaten up and detained by the Delhi Police. These doctors simply want the government to allot postgraduate seats without any delay. We must remember that these are the same doctors who are on intensive duty for about 2 years of the raging pandemic. Our hollow gesture of clapping and banging utensils in our balconies to pay respect to them was a hypocritic act.

Image: NDTV

Would the Indian State and the Delhi Police dare to beat up the protesting soldiers or meet them with the same heartless action? Is it not because the armed forces supposedly ensure national security and hence, they are pious? Would a national health crisis that filled the river Ganges with dead bodies not qualify as a case of national security and hence, make the doctors and nurses the most valuable asset for the crumbling health infrastructure of this country? It makes me think of our militarized approach to respect service personnel.

On October 3, an SUV which was part of a Union Minister's convoy ran over the protesting farmers and killed 8 people including farmers and a journalist. The investigation report says that it was a 'planned conspiracy' and the Union Minister in question is charge-sheeted and very well known for criminal records who had openly threatened protesting farmers with dire consequences if they continue to protest against 3 farm laws.

The Minister for the state, who is in charge of the Home Ministry and whose party is in power both at the national and state levels and who has all the possibilities to influence the investigation process and judicial proceedings, has not resigned to date.

Across 2021, Hindutva groups beat up and robbed a Muslim bangle seller in Indore for selling his wares in the 'Hindu area', wrecked a Missionary School in Vidisha, vandalized a Muslim dosa seller in Mathura, thrashed a Muslim beggar, forced a Muslim scrap dealer to chant 'Jai Shri Ram'....... The list does not end here.

On the other hand, my country has a Prime Minister who never forgets to mention that he represents 130 billion Indians. But he could not muster an ounce of courage and moral willpower to even condemn the open call for the genocide of Muslims, killing of farmers, or even pretend to assure his countrymen to do his basic duty of abiding by the constitution and protect fundamental rights.

I often wonder whether his glorified 56-inch chest has a heart and a soul. Though, it would be too innocent of me to think he has one.

There are several citizens, activists, and journalists locked up in jail just because they spoke against the current government or disagreed with its policies. Even a casual introspection in the case of Bhima Koregaon case or most cases under UAPA fails to explain the reason for several arrests made. It's been 4 years since their arrest, but all accused are still awaiting the trial and Indian Courts have failed to protect their basic rights.

When I put together all these events, it crushes my hope for possibilities. It tells me that: Do not disagree. Do not practice your religion without fear. Do not protest. Do not speak up against the government. And if you do not do what the Government of the day says, they will come after you. They will lock you up, lynch you in broad daylight, and will take away your inalienable claim from your own country.

All these sad events have not occurred in isolation and must not be viewed in isolation but as a collective action of this regime.

In one sentence, India of the day dictates me to fall in line with the government. It does not speak friendly and intimately with my dreams that my constitution promises to foster and nourish. It does not allow me to make mistakes and be forgiven. It fills me with an acute sense of despair and fear.

I see you, India and I grieve that you have abandoned your citizens.


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