There’s a well-known story, often included in children’s story anthologies, about the legendary wisdom of King Solomon. Once a dispute between two women was brought to him to resolve. Both of them were mother’s of two small babies, and they lived in the same house. One morning one of the babies was found dead, smothered in bed. Then each of them claimed that the living baby was hers and the dead one was the other’s. The king listened to both carefully. Then he called for a soldier to draw his sword, saying he would divide the baby into two halves and give one to each. At this solution, one woman agreed at once. The other objected and said, “No, let her have the baby, don’t kill it”. King Solomon then handed the baby to the second woman. No mother would want any harm to come to her baby, even if it meant losing it. That’s because she isinvested in the baby as its mother.

The events of the past six months in India has shown a similar trajectory. Elements who have never invested in the freedom and democratic traditions of this country have acquired, bydint of various devious schemes, the power to run this country. Now they have no compunction at all in dividing up the country. It’s the original root of the “divide and rule” that they have always blamed on the British colonisers. In fact it is this Trojan horse force within Indian society which has divided us, a colourful and plural society, along the lines of gender, caste, occupation, class, religion, language and ethnicity, and taken over the reins of political and state power.

The flames that have engulfed the north and east of the country and protests being organised by students all over the country, and being met with the full force of state machinery, who are in fact being violent and thuggish, barging into university campuses and shooting teargas into libraries, setting vehicles on fire themselves to give them the excuse to set upon the students – are proof positive that they are the impostors claiming the ownership of a country they have never invested in building or, nurturing.

It’s we, the working classes, the lowered castes, farmers, workers, freedom fighters, tribals, Dalits, indigenous population, economic migrants, internally displaced, struggling to build our lives and our country who are invested in its strength and stability. Schemers who have come into power on false pretences and killings of the innocent,  are now looting the country of its wealth and enabling the flight of capital abroad, travelling abroad on official tours while arranging to enrich their crony capitalist friends.  They are attacking students and activists who are defending our human rights and democratic institutions.

These infiltrators have packed every important research institution, financial decision making body, policy body, and university with yes men and women with no knowledge, experience or.commitment except to the shadowy RSS, the ideological fountainhead of all the division, violence and lawlwssness which is trying to tear apart the sound secular, democratic, constitutional fabric of the country. These Machiavellian operators keep referring to the Emergency as an example of the abuse of political power in the past. The fact is the Emergency was brought in to prevent the Jan Sangh ( the precursor of today’s BJP) from perpetrating just the kind of lawlessness that we are seeing today. These RSS inspired operators managed to hoodwink the venerable, ageing and ailing Jayaprakash Narayan who later died of his ailments but not before the  hindutva forces gained political legitimacy from his legacy.

These chickens arenow coming home to roost. The auto drivers, taxi drivers, street vendors, construction workers, farmers, landless agricultural labourers, students, indigenous and tribal populations, the internally displaced due to Infrastructure projects – all those who struggle are dubbed Maoists by the facists who have now packed all the democratic institutions and hollowed out their value base. But the test ox the robustness of our “ largest democracy in the world” is now. The mainstream media has almost entirely crossed over and undermined their own voice and credibility. It remains for citizens  journalists, independent media working on the social media, and informal networks to continue to I form and empower. The time is now, like none other. It’s a call to all hands to come on deck to protect the superstructure of.our country, it’s foundational principles and our common freedoms and future.

Cynthia Stephen is a social activist


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