August 15, 1947 is a memorable day in the history of the British Empire since from that day onwards the sun started setting on the British Empire and India received its independence from the clutches of the British. What dreams we had for the future; what aspirations were built up for a young nation who could breathe free after being ruled by the British for over 190 years. At last we were free to think for ourselves and chart our own course to adulthood. The Constitution that we gave ourselves talked of freedom, liberty, equality, equity, rights, etc. and we were no more subservient to a foreign master. We decided to build a secular socialist republic where equality and human rights were important elements of the future India we dreamt.
The first shock that we got was when in 1975 Indira Gandhi declared an Emergency and put the country under an autocratic dictatorship taking away the democracy that we had sworn to protect at all costs. Random arrests and putting all opposition in jails became an everyday affair under this Emergency and the country wondered how a young democratic nation so easily succumbed to the vagaries of a personal dictator.
Sri Jayaprakash Narayan stepped in and the succeeding election denied Indira Gandhi the approval that she was seeking. Emergency period was over.
Today however under the Modi regime we see another type of undeclared Emergency in which we are mute spectators to the destructive steps being planned by a single individual Sri Narendra Modi as per his whims and desires. What kind of democratic set-up we are living in and how unknowingly we have reached this despicable position? The Government of today is not interested in hearing the voice of the people; they already assume and know what is good for
us and this country. The Constitution has been treated as a mere piece of paper which can be thrown away since our PM only knows what is good for this nation.
We are living in dark ages where democratic traditions have been buried so deep that people have forgotten what democracy is all about. Dissent is punished by non-bailable prison and the Courts look the other way when our human rights are trampled upon. What is right is what Modi thinks is right; the rest does not matter. We are forced to live in an undeclared dictatorship and so-called success belongs only to those who support the Government. The population in this subverted democracy has only on right – the right to vote for Modi. God forbid if you vote for someone else.
From 1947 to 2020 – a span of 23 years – where have we come? How did we get here? Is worse still to come? Let us not fool ourselves that we are world’s largest democracy. We are in reality what we are – a nation of ‘yes’ individuals ready to bow down to an unscrupulous dictator who constantly is worried about how more power can be taken so that all the followers sing his praise on a hungry stomach and should be happy on doles distributed with no guarantee of continued employment.
The night is pitch dark and there does not seem that the sun will ever come out.
In this situation all we can do is to keep on fighting the powers to be to regain our real independence and freedom. Prisons should be our comfortable homes and another independence movement has to be launched to get rid of the current malaise which seeks to make a diversity rich India into a US colony of similar dress, language, religion, taste, etc. thus wiping out our rich cross cultural heritage and astounding diversity. We have to go back, wipe our current slate clean, and restart our journey towards what we dreamt in 1947.
I apologise to the coming generation for the mess we have created. In 1947 when I was 6 years old we received a country of endless dreams. In 2020 at the age of 79 we are leaving a nation totally in tatters and who else but we are responsible for this.
Prem Verma Convenor. Jharkhand Nagarik Prayas