Tolerating Intolerance !

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Since day one of the BJP coming to power, expectations have been replaced by apprehensions. People were optimistic about India’s future and its endeavors under the new elected government. The much hyped motto of ‘Make in India campaign’ with developmental agenda on its forefront has somehow lost its charm. Our country is becoming intolerant to free speeches and demonstrations. There has been an increase in communal tensions across the country. Issues like Ghar Wapsi, Ram Janum Bhumi, Gaw Mata politics, beef ban, vandalism of minority religious institutions and attacks on Dalits have increased. It seems as if the parent organisation of the BJP, known by the name RSS, and its sister wings Bajrang Dal, Vishu Hindu Parishad have been given a free hand and so are taking the law into their own hands. This is because none of the issues mentioned above were even condemned by the BJP’s top leadership. New issues and attacks on minorities only keep on increasing. People are forced to tolerate the intolerant behavior of RSS and its youth wings. Even the opposition has failed to put pressure on the BJP leadership to resolve these issues. The lynching of youth in Udhampur district of Jammu and Kashmir over allegedly transporting beef, the well-known Dadri lynching where a man was brutally lynched to death by a mob on mere suspicion of having beef in his refrigerator, which of course was proven wrong in the investigation, and the most recent hanging of two youth in MP for allegedly trafficking cattle. All these incidents cannot be overlooked. It seems that if you want to live in this country, you have to be an ardent worshipper of the RSS ideology since they find fault in anyone not adhering or even agreeing to their rules.

The recent JNU controversy where it was alleged by the youth wing of BJP, the ABVP, that the students belonging to the Left wing and some other unidentified students chanted anti-India and pro Afzal Guru Slogans has further added fuel to the fire. Isn’t it ironic that the same BJP which considers pro-Afzal Slogans to be anti-national is forming the government in coalition with PDP in J&K, a state that considers Afzal Guru a martyr? It was alleged that students were commemorating his third death anniversary and chanting anti-national slogans. JNU is considered as an elite institution in India because of the great academicians it has produced during the course of its existence. It has also produced a large number of the country’s bureaucrats and civil servants. It was founded by Indira Gandhi on the pretext of producing bureaucrats who will help run the country better. JNU too has become a victim of the blame game. The prestigious institution has been dragged into dirty political conspiracies. 

Politicising the death of Rohith Vemula of University of Hyderabad and imposition of unconstitutional provisions in governing academic institutions are becoming routine happenings. Being a research scholar of International Studies, I am a bit scared of studying Pakistan and praising its military, constitutional set up, robust feminist and civil society as compared to India, openly. The fear of being labelled as anti-national or a traitor is really scary. Students should be given that space where they can praise or critique any country, be it arch rivals or natural allies.

The national and anti-national debate has just started. It will haunt us till the time BJP is in power. Minorities’ demands of a special status are considered anti-national and if you happen to be a Muslim then GOD save you. You have to prove your loyalty, patriotism and nationalism for the country at every step. I think Jinnah was right when he said that minorities in South Asia and in particular India will be oppressed by the majority community. I am not generalizing but am referring to only those who, on the pretext of defending their religion and pseudo-national pride, hurt the sentiments of the other communities. This is the country where people demand reservation to remain backward. The way in which the current regime is dealing with sensitive issues, I must say we are heading once again towards the dark ages. 

Recently a new controversy ignited over the introduction of Aadhar Bill as a money bill in the parliament during the Budget Session. If a bill is introduced as money bill, the Rajya Sabha cannot amend or recommend any amendments to the proposed bill. The fundamental law of the land should not be abrogated to achieve unethical ends.

If the current regime foresees itself ruling 10-15 years down the line, the leadership should take note and deal with these grave issues comprehensively. Government should be tolerant of the views of its citizens, be it criticizing its policies or initiatives. It should not be infringing on fundamental rights of its citizens. 

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