Falsehood, Hate and Crime the Endangering Culture of India

“Make the lie big. Make it simple. Keep saying it, and eventually they believe it”. These words of Adolf Hitler, the fascist leader of Nazi party of Germany seems to be proving true for India by its ruling establishment. Historically speaking, Adolf Hitler was a German leader who joined the Nazi Party which later became the largest elected party in the German Weimar Republic. Adolf Hitler went on to be known as a feared dictator and ruthless leader. Hitler was a great orator who voiced his plans and reached out to the Germans who were influenced by his ideas. He had declared, “I use emotion for the many and reserve reason for the few”. He used his oratorial skills to motivate the Germans to indulge in one of the heinous crimes the humanity has ever known.

hitlerHistorical data bear testimony to this fact that he hated the Jews and held them responsible for Germany’s defeat in the First World War. Hitler invaded Eastern Europe in order to make living spaces for the ‘authentic Germans’. He formed an aggressive foreign policy that was considered to be the primary cause of the outbreak of World War II in Europe. Hitler was responsible for the largest massacre the world witnessed caused by his military rule and war crimes. Hitler took to falsehood, clever manipulation of facts and figures, undertook false propaganda against the opposition, utilised false promises to court the common and elite Germans to take to violence. He had claimed, “Through clever and constant application of propaganda, people can be made to see paradise as hell, and also the other way round, to consider the most wretched sort of life as paradise”. Due to this, Germany has not been the same from then onwards.

Indian polity, economy, society, culture, religion and traditions seem to be also undergoing huge and massive transition in the last ten years, especially in the last 6 years. An India which could boast of moving steadily from alien rule to self-rule; an India which was progressively strengthening its democratic principles and institutions; an India which was trying to combine tradition and modernity; an India which was making a leap from illiteracy to education and higher education; an India which tried to combine rural reconstruction and national development; an India which opted for a sovereign, secular, socialist, republic and made substantial progress in this line in the last six decades; an India which vouched on vasudaivakutumbakam, that is, not only Indians but all human beings are of one family; an India which due to the foresightful and farsighted vision of such statesmen of integrity like Dr. Ambedkar, Gandhiji, Nehru, Vallabhai Patel, Abdul Gaffor Khan, and Jayaprakash Narayan as well as millions of Indians were emerging as a global heritage of non-violent, swaraj, self-reliant and harmonious India is being torn into pieces by falsehood, hate, and crime today.

rallyLet us take the most recent case of falsehood propagated by the ruling elite of the central government. On 5th January, 2022, Mr. Narendra Modi was supposed to have addressed an election rally at Bathinda. But due to weather, he could not land at the site by the helicopter but had to travel by road. Suddenly, his coterie realised that all the chairs are empty and it would be disgrace for the PM to address an empty rally. His Chanakya’s devised a scheme to say that the road was blocked by protestors and hence the PM could not reach and the Punjab government did not make necessary security arrangements and it is squarely responsible for the breach of security protocol. But the fact of the matter was that the BJP orchestrated a protest and road block to show to the world that Modi could not attend the rally due to the road block. Falsehood and lies are used to propagate accusations against the opponents and to save ones skin. The reality was that the farmers had taken out a protest march against Modi and had refused to attend the rally.

The government has been asserting that Indian economy “is doing fine” despite the slump in GDP numbers. The proof Mr. Suresh Angadi, Minister gave was that people are getting married [Outlook. 16/11/2019]. On the same day the Consumption Expenditure Survey released  by the National Statistical Office (NSO) revealed the consumer spending in 2017-18 had decreased by 3.7 per cent, for the first time in four decades. Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s promise of a $5 trillion economy seems distant to most of the people, but not to the Union Commerce Minister Piyush Goyal. When he was asked how India will become a $5 trillion economy with these GDP numbers, Goyal had a quick answer: people should not indulge in maths.

Talking about the growth rate of India, Arvind Subramanian said his research shows India has changed how it measures growth – and this led to its gross domestic product (GDP) being overstated by about 2.5% annually. But Prime Minister’s panel of economic advisers has rejected his conclusions. A. Subramanian declared,  the GDP was used to be calculated based on the wholesale prices at which producers received their products. Now, it’s calculated based on the market prices paid by consumers. Changing goal post is one of the ways of hood winking and lying to the citizens.

When the nation and global community decried and denounced the Modi government for its handling of the migrant labourers as his government is known for it announced a grand ‘stimulus package’ of Rs. 20 lakh crore or 10% of India’s GDP. The Print writing about this in May, 2020 exposed the fact that barely a fraction of it is new money being pumped into the economy. What is made to look like a stimulus is mostly a grand loan mela. It also claimed that it is paying 85% of the fare of the migrant labourers while the state governments are paying 15%. This lie also was exposed since in effect, the migrants were being charged the usual fare, and in some places, even more.

The Print went on to argue that the Modi government has made lying an art form. This non-stop obvious lying was described by George Orwell as doublethink: “Every message from the extremely repressive leadership reverses the truth. Officials repeat ‘war is peace’ and ‘freedom is slavery,’ for example. The Ministry of Truth spreads lies. The Ministry of Love tortures lovers.” People are thus expected to believe as true what is clearly false, and also take at face value mutually contradictory statements.

covidFor the last 2 years, Covid brought life to a standstill to every citizen of this country. The daily wage earners, domestic workers, construction workers, vendors, etc. were and are immensely affected by the pandemic. But it is the migrant labourers who are first of all forced to migrate to eke out a living, who were forced to return home due to a totally unplanned and unprepared government who are devastated and destroyed. It is to this mass of people civil society provided some relief. But with the stringent FCRA rules imposed by the present regime, these NGOs are also destroyed and thus the migrants lost even small relief to survive.

modiNarendra Modi walked surrounded by his security guards in Varanasi railway station on 14th December, 2021 mid-night to show how he is supervising things at night. All the passengers were removed from the station. But he did not bother to make provisions for the returnees migrants then and did not visit the sheds on the ghats of Ganges where migrant labourers from UP and Bihar are huddling together covering themselves only with plastic sheets at night.

Paraphrasing Christopher Paul and Miriam Matthews concept, ‘fire-hosing falsehood’ in the Russian context, we can see something similar is happening in India. According to them, politicians model for propaganda can be called ‘the firehose of falsehood’ because of these distinctive features: high numbers of channels and messages; a shameless willingness to disseminate partial truths or outright fictions; entertain confuse and overwhelm the audience; rapid, continuous, and repetitive propaganda and lacks commitment to consistency. This is what happening in India at present and due to which a sizeable ‘andhabhakts’, people and media who subscribe to falsehood are taking the country to ransom.

Hate is another way of politicking in India today. Instead of addressing the pandemic, disasters, malnutrition, starvation and death that is destroying this country, the leaders are busy engaging in hate and hate crimes. Expressing grave concern over this, Anand Neelakantan (Indian Express, 26th April, 2020) notes: “Sooner or later, we will conquer corona too. The relentless progress of science will ensure that. However, science will not be able to cure the communal virus that is spreading faster than the corona. Religious bigots keep injecting hate in society. All countries are prone to such bigotry, but in India, much of this hatred stems from the way history is being taught in school.” Similarly, Aruna Roy, who led the movement that gave us the right to information, voiced the same concern. We will be able to deal with the corona virus but we are not sure whether we will be able to eliminate the hate virus from our society.

The controversy of calls for ethnic cleansing and genocide of Muslims at the ‘Dharma  Sansad’ organized at  Haridwar in Uttarakhand in December, 2021 had not subsided, another virulent  hate crime against the Muslim women were unleased. On 1st of January, 2022, as the world was celebrating the New Year with family members, friends and other people, hundreds of Muslim women woke up to deeply objectionable, obnoxious and misogynistic attack on them via the ‘Bulli Bai App’. Photos of hundreds of Muslim women, including prominent journalists, activists and thinkers, were secured and uploaded without their permission on this app and were subsequently ‘auctioned’.

This is not the first when such an outrageous public sale of Muslim women’s bodies has taken place openly. In the month of July 2021, a similar App called Sulli Deals app offered photographs of Muslim women as ‘deals.’ for virtual auctions. The perpetrators even had no fear of legal consequences as they publicly declared their intention to launch an application that facilitates the sale of Muslim women. ‘Auctioning’ women in this manner is a depraved attempt to commodify them and strip them of any personhood or dignity. This is a blatant violation of the very fundamental right to live with dignity and the right to bodily autonomy protected under Article 21 of our Constitution. The ruling power is engaged in doing away with the constitution itself and their goons are busy violating the rights provided in the constitution.

covid1Hate and hate crime in India is taking the centre stage of politics, society, culture, and religion. The hatred towards the Christians and their institutions are on the open these days in the run up to the elections. But this is not just due to electoral politics but this is in the deep seated wounded psyche of some individuals and communities in the country. Mother Theresa and hundreds of her institutions in India have been taking care of thousands of orphans, children thrown into the dustbin, widows, elderly, people with disability, battered women, abused adolescent girls, etc. But the present regime has decided to deny renewal of FCRA and thus put an end to this humanitarian commitment. At Kanpur, the officials sent out orphan babies with others from the centre in the name of the lease not being renewed. Those who know what an herculean task to get any renewal of lease done would know what is at stake here.

Long time ago, Ravish Kumar had warned the country to keep a tap on our children and youth and educate them towards responsible use of TV, Mobile and Internet. Also responsible way of responding to a situation. He had also warned that if this is not done, the nation would pay heavy price. Now this is seen. IIT student burst out saying that he would rape Kohli’s one year old daughter since Kohli supported the cricket player who is from a Muslim community when India lost in the T 20 world cup. The citizens are progressively becoming aware of the fact that each one has to take care of himself or herself. Because those who violate the rights and dignity of others are not just those who get protection from the powers and rulers of today but they themselves are power, rulers and dispensers of justice.

Prakash Louis is Founder of Indian Christians for Democracy

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