Dissent agreeable not the disintegration of India, says Union Minister M Venkaiah Naidu.
By Sameer Manekar
“Liberty has never come from the government. It has always come from the subjects of it. The history of liberty is a history of resistance,” states the 28th President of the United States, Woodrow Wilson.
Humankind has acquired the rights to liberty, equality, speech, articulation, and several such others by countless rebellions against authoritarian systems. The freedom and autonomy we enjoy today and pride our nation for took no less than three centuries and millions of lives to acquire.
The importance of these principles in a democratic state can be disputed by no sane person, and neither would I dare to do so. It is the grease that keeps the wheels of a democracy in motion. And just as much important the impartation of these rights from the government to the public is, equally significant is their responsible and unprejudiced exercise by the public.
Thomas Jefferson once said, “Proper functioning of a democracy depends on an informed electorate.” While it is our, the electorate’s job to elect a governing body, it is also our sole duty to be vigilant about our democratic principles being upheld by it. People across the world and throughout time have revolted against governments; be it the Russian revolution or the American Civil War, India’s fight against authoritarianism during the emergency, or be it the ongoing Syrian civil war, whenever the civil liberties of the masses have been threatened, they have risen against the systems and seized them back. Therefore, evidently, opposition to the ruling body is crucial, and there from, political dissent arrives in the picture of a democracy.
It is certainly beneficial for an autonomic state to have differing views among its legislators. It is another element of that grease that is paramount. However, to impede the proceedings of parliament and create ruckus under the pretext of disagreement is pure opportunism, and unfortunately, that is precisely the purpose of our politicians these days.
For a handful, political gain, power and authority comes way before our nation and its citizens. It is undeniable that no country would move forward with a bigoted mindset, and hence, dissension is crucial. Be that as it may, when that dissension leans towards disintegrating the governing body to acquire political grounds, it no longer serves its purpose. The opposition, disaccord, protests to create an environment of insecurity and exigency cannot come under the umbrella of freedom of thought and speech.
India has been unfortunate enough to have politicians who have acquired total supremacy over the years while oppressing its subjects to poverty, illiteracy and casteism. A party that has been reduced to the level of a mere spectator questions the government on development while they themselves have been stalling it for seventy years.
For seventy years we have been revolving around the issues of poverty, illiteracy, employment, and corruption. Shamefully, they now have the audacity to oppugn the policies and reforms being carried out to clean up all the mess. The swift slash of demonetization over corruption, counterfeit currency, black money, and money funded terrorism was much critical; the success and impact of that policy are a matter of ongoing debate. But what is remarkable is that not a single opposition or alliance party stood firmly and publicly with the government in that war to cleanse the economy. A couple of politicians even joined the circus and carried out protests, evidently demonstrating it had hit them the most. Well, it does take a long time to stow up money in bathroom tiles and ceilings, or so I have heard.
Former U.S. President Barack Obama said, “Even the smallest act of service, the simplest act of kindness, is a way to honour those we lost, a way to reclaim that spirit of unity that followed 9/11.”
Not to underestimate those attacks, but India has experienced them numerous times over the years: the 2006 Mumbai train bombings, 26/11 attacks, 1993 Bombay attacks, or the worst, 2001 Indian Parliament attack. On that 13th day of December, we saw the worst injury being inflicted upon the temple of our democracy. We did get united; we did so every time such attacks were exacted upon us. But did we appear as one nation when a bunch of so-called liberalists condemned the hanging of a terrorist responsible for those attacks? Do we classify that protest as a freedom of thought, a freedom to support and thereby agree with the actions of that terrorist? How is a protest that vowed to destroy the nation a freedom of speech? How is it a freedom of thought to make a hero out of the mastermind of 1993 serial blasts that killed over 250 civilians? Why that savage beloved to the pseudo-liberalists is more than a soldier of our army who miraculously remained alive buried under 35 feet of snow?
The Dhulagarh riots in Howrah district of West Bengal failed to attract a single statement of criticism from these custodians of our constitution. The state government even forbade opposition parties and journalists from entering and inspecting the riot struck area; a FIR having non-bailable sections was lodged against three Zee News reporters for covering the riots – cites Wikipedia, but nobody blinked. Perhaps only the situations like Dadri present to these pseudo-liberals the prospect of gaining a better or rather “secular” vote bank.
One of my favourite Bollywood directors recently expressed his opinions, saying that being the head of the state, the Prime Minister is not to be feared but to be asked questions and argued with. I could not agree more with the talented filmmaker. The head of the state in a democracy is to be reasoned with, and his actions and policies scrutinised. But the justification behind deviating an issue to the point it no longer respects the head of the state, or for that matter, the nation itself, fails me.
Cunningly blaming a certain government for every incident, giving it a communal perspective and screaming at the top of twitter accounts has regrettably become a trend. Dissension, disagreement, protests, they are all parts of democracy, rather indivisible ones. But driving those principles with the objective of disintegration cannot serve the purpose of upholding democracy; instead only seek to destroy it.