Manipur is in severe turmoil yet the rulers of the day are flying abroad, saying that all’s okay in the country! The deadly strife has left hundreds dead and survivors economically & emotionally ruined
Around this time of the year, June, there’s that sudden frenzied focus on the declared Emergency of 1975. Ironically, today, in 2023, there’s an undeclared Emergency on! Hitting hundreds and thousands in the country, yet we are going along as though oblivious of the disasters unfolding every single day.
Today, as joblessness and price rise and crime are thriving, in a communally surcharged atmosphere, the situation stands absolutely dismal. There’s a definite unease hovering around, as violence takes over.
Look, Manipur is in severe turmoil yet the rulers of the day are flying abroad, saying that all’s going okay in the country! Hundreds have died in Manipur and the survivors economically and emotionally ruined, not sure what the future would hold out for them. How do they survive?
Look, the minority groups and the disadvantaged communities in the country are sitting as though silenced and compelled into accepting their fate! Not to be overlooked is the fact that a large percentage are subjected to discrimination and humiliations. The situation is grave to the extent that for an Indian Muslim even going to the local masjid to offer namaaz could prove to be challenging as Right-Wing goons could attack and assault!
Look at the crime graph. Crime on the rise. Criminals on the prowl, in various hues and forms. Many masterminds get away, whilst the foot soldiers apprehended. Rapists and molesters and tormentors could be let off. The situation gets rather too obviously blatant if the culprit is from the so called who’s who category.
With this in the backdrop, there’s not just sheer disappointment but utter disbelief when rulers of the day whilst travelling to those foreign lands, talk of growth and development and whatever else they can package in their well-crafted speeches. In fact, contrary to their claims, never before have we witnessed the blatant destruction of the human being.
Not to overlook the killings by the State machinery, the so-called encounter killings. And where is the required transparency and the much-needed accountability to get to know the profiles of those killed by the State machinery?
What is the role of the State in killing its own citizens? What is the State trying to achieve, bypassing the traditional ways to settle crime and the so labelled criminals? Why this new form of terrorizing tactics on the citizens, who are anyway surviving amidst tough challenging circumstances?
Till about a decade back, the term encounter killings seemed reserved only for those living in the so-called conflict zones of the country or for those fitted in the underworld, but today the State seems to have adopted this strategy to ‘settle’ just about any rival coming in the way. Victims could range from political opponents to personal enemies to those who are not part and parcel of the very nexus controlling the very system.
Also, why should political characters in a democracy raise and nurture their own private brigades? In these recent years, the who’s who in the Right-Wing political parties are seen pampering their private senas! And nobody dares to ask why they are raising these brigades, when the police and the paramilitary and, of course, the Right-Wing cadres are all there!
Who gives them the sanction to maintain these brigades? Who pays for their upkeep? Who controls them? Who directs them? Who trains them to target the ‘enemy’? Who all are fitted into these brigades and what for?
Today, State tyranny has reached campuses. Hired political goons are made to enter campuses to cause rifts and much more. The unruly incidents that had taken place on the campus of several universities were grim reminders of the level to which the State machinery could be used to crush young rebellious voices.
Why don’t we talk of the terrible hunger pangs killing hundreds. Malnutrition deaths could frighten you and I, but for the rulers these are just about numerical numbers. These rulers can talk of vote-banks and money-banks but not of roti or milk banks, from where those basics could flow out, to help save lives of hundreds of our dying malnourished children and men and women.
In fact, the biggest irony of the day is that farmers who feed us are hanging themselves because they cannot cope with the daily round of struggles. And what has the sarkar done for the kisan – well, nothing very much except fed them promises! The reality is that our farmers and cultivators are in deep distress yet nothing concrete is coming up to lessen their struggles.
We are living in dark times, where one is not too sure what the next day would drag along, unfold, hold out! Violence has been accelerating in these recent years, peaking as never before. Today you and I can be lynched on any possible alibi – right from selling cattle to trading in beef. Not to overlook the other much-in -circulation alibi: the Right-Wing crafted term ‘love jihad’, where a Muslim has to think a hundred times before daring to fall in love and marry a non-Muslim friend! No explanations or counter explanations are sought and, of course, no hope of protection by the political rulers of the day who seem hell bent on following a divisive agenda.
And see what’s happening in the jails and prisons of the country. Isn’t it time that overcrowded prison cells pave way for open jails where those imprisoned could survive in dignity! Jails are there to reform the so called wrong- doers but see what’s been happening.
Name changing sessions are in full swing! Names of towns and townships and cities are getting changed! Why should new names come up and those historical names get going, discarded and crushed! Why?
Entire chapters on the Mughals are getting deleted from text books! Why this sudden aversion for the Mughal Emperors, that entire chapters on them are getting removed!
Ending the column with this verse of the last of the last Mughal Emperor of Hindustan – Bahadur Shah Zafar ( 1775 – 1862):
‘Ode to Hindustan/
Matchless is the soil of Hindustan/
In it grow love, compassion, fidelity/
As sure as the sun rises from the East/
So surges from this land sincerity./
This is the true seed of Hind and from its earth/
These fruits have spread across the world, far and wide.’