Countdown Has Begun

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They have seized our country and taking it away from us. Our lush forests,rolling plains,our upstanding hills,our majestic rivers,fruits of our toil, future of our children’s children.Our freedoms,our dignity,our past,our cherished heritage,our hearty laughter and our rousing songs. All that our fathers had fought and died for,all that our mothers cherished and nourished with the warmth of their breast. But we have no eyes to see.We see well-tailored lawyers and robed judges,we watch on TV ceremonies of state with persons of authority in full regalia and hear their droning platitudes.We read of business deals worth billions and statistics that cover up suicides of hungry families and distraught youths losing all hope of future with bland iffy statistics.And we stand irresolute, undecided,still waiting for a silver lining in the louring skies.

Look at what the Supreme Court had delivered into our outstretched hands.The vicious and enslaving Pegasus riddle remains Sphynx like,unsolved.Why? Because the government who had the answers refused to answer queries. Supposing there was an eyewitness of a savage murder and mutilation,and he refused to testify Would the courts have exonerated him or let him melt into the crowds?The Gujarat riot files are getting worn and brittle after long years of inaction. Should they be shredded? The SIT’s report is the last word and no gaps or silences in it need be open to fresh scrutiny?Was not the murder of Mahatma Gandhi the subject of a commission of enquiry thirty years after the trial was over and sentences were passed?Have not modern America expressed remorse three hundred years after extermination of native tribes?Do not colonised people today demand apology and compensation from former colonists? Major and urgent constitutional issues are in the backburner and there is little hope they will ever be settled.One day we shall hear time has made them abortive.Should justice be a steady flame or a blinking light?

There are signs everywhere that our state is under threat of a major makeover,legitimising all the robbery we began our long plaint with.Energetic and systematic preparations are afoot all around us.And opposition leaders are preparing to meet them with conventional parliamentary methods.But conditions are not the same.Pray which democracy in the world will accept the steamrolling of bills and ordinances across a prostate parliament?Where in the name of democracy shall we find the likes of the drama in Maharashtra where majorities are fixed by sleight of hand of outside players?

Is it because like the early leaders of Congress,before the coming of Gandhi they cannot imagine a strategy that fits the exceptional challenge of the moment?

Are they at all aware of what they are up against?It is not only crony channels drumming up the success of the regime and dazzling prospects of the time ahead.It is not only tamed institutions working flat out to please the masters by tweaking norms and fudging goals.No,it is not even the ED and the CBI carefully skirting corruption and misdemeanour in ruling circles and homing on to targets in the opposition.It is not constant clamour in different regions of the country to plant the banner of Hindu spiritual superiority on holy grounds of other faiths.It is the deep roots struck by organised fanaticism in rulral areas vacated by older political outfits that got drawn to contracts for public works or touting for welfare benefits in return for a share of it.

Traditional parties lost their support base which they thought could be maintained by throwing bread crumbs from their tables.Meanwhile common people were losing one after another all the wealth they thought naturally belonged to them.From their rivers to their carefree laughter.

In a typical village in Assam RSS cadre or their equivalent keep close tabs on voters and do their best to ensure they vote for Lotus.Periodically they visit every household,ask if they are missing out on one free service or good doled out by government and should there be one left out make sure it reaches his or her doors.But strictly in return for his or her vote.Never mind if such freebies do not allow a free and decent life.

Meanwhile leaders and ministers constantly tour the length and breadth of the state,promising more goodies and swatting down all allegations against the government with flamboyant arguments that leave the listeners gasping for air.Meabwhile the government,constrained for funds and denied both agreed compensation as well as due share of GST borrow from the market at high rates of interest Rs.86000 crores so far and are borrowing more at every turn to make both ends meet.But who ever listens to economists and serious journalists warning of imminent bankruptcy? All that matters is sweeping up votes for the glorious new chapter of proposed future .

No. Our precious wealth,our heritage,our conditions for a healthy life,our freedoms cannot be won back with rallies and vocal speeches and tapping into sectional loyalties before elections. Neither should we expect international outrage against our domestic barbarities to deliver us from our peril.Their denunciations are fine sentiment but noble international sentiments have not brought beleaguered and ravaged Palestinians an inch nearer their dream of freedom. The people must be brought into the streets from now onwards,led by the young,disdaining communal divisions,forsaking fear,scorning bogeys conjured by rulers and stoutly reclaiming what has been taken away from them.

Hiren Gohain is a political commentator


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