I bow to the brave teachers of the English Faculty of Lady Sriram College, New Delhi for standing up against vicious trolls, and stepping out for Gurmehar Kaur, one of their students who has presented a strong case against the combination of ultra-nationalism and vandalism we’re witnessing in India today.
So where do we stand? On one side are the ordinary people who don't believe that the present prime minister is the best thing that has happened to India since the glory days prehistoric aeronautical engineering / plastic surgery, those who believe the government is doing lots of terrible things, the primary among which are dividing the country on religious lines, increasing the gulf between the rich and the poor, and damaging our educational infrastructure.
On the other side, we have the thugs and vandals of the students' wing of the ruling party, semi-literate wrestlers and cricketers, and leaders, including ministers and MPs, who are just incapable of understanding the nuanced position Gurmehar has taken, whose boringly repetitive response to any criticism against them is: "YOU CANNOT SPEAK AGAINST THE NATION."
Oh dear! when did the ruling party and its goons become "the nation"? Then who are we? Who am I?
The physical attacks and filthy verbal abuses on the students and teachers of Delhi University don't seem to be a sporadic event. It seems part of a bigger agenda to limit the space for free thoughts. The strategy seems to be something like this: beat up protesters on the street (Ramjas College), harass / jail their leaders on fake charges (Kanhaiah Kumar), push inconvenient students to a corner from where they can never escape (Rohith Vemula), suspend, if possible, sack teacher who support free debates (Rajshree Ranawat of JNV University, Jodhpur), have an army of trolls who are led by some of the leading lights of the ruling party. Stop all forms of expression of dissent, hopefully, dissent itself will vanish from the minds of the people!
Why has the ruling party become so desperate?
For every autocratic political dispensation, the biggest threat is not the opposing political parties, it is not agitations on the streets, it is not the fear of losing elections, it is not even the possibility of a revolution.
It is the people’s ability to T H I N K!!!
Gurmehar Kaur, a girl all of 20 years, has the ability to put his father’s death in a war with Pakistan in a different perspective, she can say, “Pakistan didn’t kill my father, war did.”
Now, if a war hero’s daughter says that, it is difficult to sell the narrative of ultra-nationalism, the core of which is Pakistan bashing, which goes well with the agenda of whipping up passions against Indian Muslims.
So the ruling party has started a war to conquer the mind-space of the people. Whether they succeed or not depends on you, Dear Reader.
Bangalore / 1 March 2017