Political Prisoners – Aliens in the country !

bhima koregaon arrests 1

‘Sense of Belongingness “ to the society he or she is living in is one key ingredient in a life of a civilian. This often tweaked with extreme dimensions. The perversion of “ sense of belongingness “ by ruling class leads to consider no sharing of collective interests but impose an intense and selfish interest on entire society. This causes the basis of “Majoritarianism “ in politics, which is relentlessly abhorred by Dr. Babasaheb Ambedkar during his entire life period. Prior to India considering a democratic rule for itself on the basis of its own constitution, it has , for ages, considered “ Majoritarianism “ , which was in the form of Brahminism as the “ core parcel of life “ as is evident from its history of feudalism. Brahminism never allowed any dissent in any form . It starts from the Gods like Rama it created to the Gupta kings it employed to the political parties in power, at present. It is thus normalized and is embedded in the culture in India that any political dissent threatening the thought process of ruling class is obviously considered as “alien “ and there is an urgent need to contain it. The Brahminical class does no look at containment of opposition to its philosophy, just as not a matter of garnering wealth in crores of rupees alone for itself directly, but gains to sustain its foundation in the Social capital it augmented  by creating an artificial acceptance without opposition. The critical point of existence is – “ acceptability “, preferably for a perennial period. The political dissent thus substantially corrodes  social capital of “Brahminism “  by diminishing its acceptability and presenting a logical view of how ridiculous actually it looks like. This is not the question of BJP politics alone. We need to note that BJP has preferred its play at the long end of “Brahminism “  and almost all parties keep their play on the line of brahminism from some mid-point to extreme points.  BJP being, at the extreme end of Braminical politics, looks at all others in the same line as their enemies as they slow down the process of their full hold of “Hindutva”  on the ruling position. This is pure dynamics of holding the Social capital in order to perennially seize the economic capital.

The forms of political dissent and the opposition and treatment to the same varies in various forms  across the globe. In 1960s, 40% of prisoners in Communist party led China are political dissenters labelled as “ counter revolutionaries “ ( as per an Amnesty International’s report ). People like Nelson Mandela, Ang San Sukyi etc have spent most of their life as political prisoners as victims of carrying a political dissent. There are definitely many political prisoners in almost all countries. Thus, the political dissent has a feature of “class nature “. In India, we suffer both. As Ambedkar rightly put it “ In my view, two enemies which the workers of this country have to deal with . The two enemies are  Brahminism and Capitalism “ .

Ambedkar considered a cap on absolute rights of any one in India needs to be restricted only when it affects the fundamental rights of fellow citizens. In 1949, Jawaharlal Nehru decided to ban a communist magazine “ Crossroads” on the ground that there is a threat to the security of the state, which , however, was overruled by Supreme Court. The noteworthy points here are – greatest freedom fighter and first prime minister of the state was no exception to this ideological threats. The silver lining in this incident was – Nehru did not get anyone arrested in the magazine office or its ideological proponents. The situation got substantially deteriorated eventually. As per original Article 19 , the State is not supposed to make any law in so far as the law imposes “reasonable restrictions “ , wherein “reasonable restrictions” , as agreed by Ambedkar, was clearly limited not to affect the fundamental rights of the citizens though the word “ reasonable “ has subjective broad meaning. However, Nehru advised Ambedkar to modify the provision looking to the blow he faced in case of “ Cross Roads” , which Ambedkar did not carry. The first amendment to it came in 1951 , moved by Nehru himself, after the death of Ambedkar, which was subsequently passed limiting Government considering ground to pass any law with regard to “ Public Order “ alone. Subsequently, various amendments took place to the well thought out democratic provision laid out in Article 19 of the constitution, to giving out unfettered freedom to the Government to consider restrictions that affect the “ Sovereignty and Integrity of the country “ through 16tth amendment in 1963, which came up in the wake of Kashmir unrest and Dravida Kazhagam’s aggression against Congress. And, the proponent to this ill-freedom to the state was none other than Jawahar Lal Nehru himself. The word “ sovereignty and Integrity “ is very broad and has any scope for any interpretation linking up everything against to it. Any minor deviation to the “status quo” can be linked up as against Sovereignty and Integrity of the country.  This prepared the field for TADA then UAPA and now its amendment too.

As per the latest UAPA Amendment in 2019, State gets all discretionary an unquestionable right to arrest anyone labelling them as “ Terrorists” who are supposed to affect the sovereignty and integrity of the country. This amendment is almost in alignment with the Rowlatt Act passed by the British Government which gets rights to arrest anyone on suspicion, which subsequently lead to Jalianwala Bagh massacre. The spirit of Article 19 was destroyed gradually by Nehru himself though he only took baby steps to curb dissent, which now graduated to giant leaps leading to draconian UAPA.

Article 19(2) made the citizens of India helpless. It left the scope for prerogative interpretation by Governments and Courts. Looking to the case of Bhima Koregaon, the meeting organised 35,000 people at one place commemorating Bhim Koregaon battle driven by Dalit regiment . The speakers were from wide spectrum of intellects, professionals and activists like Jignesh Mewani, Radhika Vemula, Umar Khalid , Retired Justice Kholse Patil etc. As the police alleged that it was organized by Maoist Party, they dragged Rona Wilson, an activist; Varavara Rao, a writer; Anil Teltumbde, a professor; Sudha Bharadwaj, a laywer; Vernon Gonsalves , a writer etc. and interestingly there is no single person who has held arms in his or her hands any time in his or her life. All these accused are from different geographical regions like Delhi, Hyderabad, Pune, Nagpur etc. having different professions of their own living in the midst of urban areas. Noone has history of waging any struggle from jungles. Apparently, thus, we failed to understand certain things carrying common sense in the whole episode. It is noteworthy to consider Prof. Saibaba, who is also a political prisoner. He was originally arrested under a theft case in Maharashtra. Noone had a clue how a wheel-chair bound man can travel to a remote place called “ ahire “ , that too, to steal someone’s properties.

Our problem is , now, law itself. The natural principles of justice are getting faded. We are contradicting with our own conscience – what makes a person guilty ? For example,  Varavara Rao is 80+ old man and carries his activism from Hyderabad and is a voracious writer too. He has never been to Pune before Bhima Koregaon or before his arrest. Possibly, his ideology is sympathetic towards the people who participated in the meeting. A person’s mind cannot entail him to a culprit. This country owed to itself that a person who is reading porn literature on the net cannot be arrested because he is likely to get potential rapist thoughts. As India, we failed to be matured enough to handle dissent. The amendments to Article 19 of the constitution makes every one not to consider any competing ideology with that of ruling class in India. Ironically,  we need competition to discover right price for consumer and , however, we do not need competition in ideology to discover what is right progress for a citizen. As the days progress, we see a complete dilution to the constitutional morality and courts too are getting handicapped to sacrifice their natural thinking and logical analysis of any issue. Certain laws are supposed to be imposed under unavoidable emergency conditions and, contrarily,  we are all driven to daily emergency situation under these laws. We need Dalit point of view, we need feminist point of view, we need Savarkar point of view, we need Nehru point of view and we need a free and fair environment to think over all of these. In the process, our eagerness to understand our imperfections through an art of conversation gets vanished. Ambedkar tried his best to, at least, ensure this,  barring few inevitable compromises while negotiating for the rights of marginalized in this country . We have lost Ambedkar for a natural death and are losing this democracy for a forcible death.

P Victor Vijay Kumar is an investment banker and writer 




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