[I self-published this article 8 months ago, in September 2018, and this article wasn’t published by Youth Ki Awaaz, where I posted it — of course, they must have their own reasons for not publishing this. This is the edited version of what I wrote that time.]
In what I’d call a sick book by a sick author (if this kind of compilation of distorted facts and a propaganda to impose an ideology can be authored, and the writer can be termed as an author) and director, Vivek Agnihotri describes Urban Naxals as “Urban naxals are the ‘invisible enemies’ of India, some of them have either been caught or are under the police radar for working for the movement and spreading insurgency against the Indian state. One common thread amongst all of them is that they are all urban intellectuals, influencers or activists of importance.”
Re-read the statement, “‘invisible enemies’ (emphasis in the original) of India” and “urban intellectuals, influencers or activists of importance.” What does this statement mean? And to whom is it targeting?
Simple answer: It targets people who are asking questions. And, Vivek and the political party who is funding his movies with “national” interest are scared of them.
In a series of arrests, recently, of human rights activists, public intellectuals, and journalists — Vernon Gonsalves, Sudha Bharadwaj, Arun Ferreira, and Gautam Navlakha, it has been proven beyond any scope of doubt that you’ll be jailed for progressive thinking. Stakes are high for speaking against the power. You will be bullied and trolled on social media for calling people out, hounded, killed, and/or die under mysterious circumstances, if you dared to speak against the establishment.
(Nine were in the radar and five were arrested, and then, the renowned political analyst and civil rights activists Anand Teltumbde’s [whose image was also maligned when he compared Hitler’s Germany and Modi’s India] was also dragged.)
The result of saying a single word against the Prime Minister — the architect of the infamous Gujarat riots, 2002 — and the political party in power, which is trying tooth and nail to come back in power with the same majority they enjoyed in 2014 by polarizing people is getting silenced then and there.
It’s a crime to think in contemporary India. (And I’m attempting a criminal offence by typing down a set of free thoughts right now!) Recently, I spoke against BJP in a family gathering and I had to be on the side of the receiving end of the moral lectures about, “how you should never ask questions.” I was told: “Just wait, he’s transforming India. It will take time.” If we wait till that time, I can envisage the tricolour changing to orange with a Trishul or Shankh, sexual minorities behind bars, women treated, yet again, like their family’s property, Muslims out of the country, and Republic TV as the only media house in the country singing praises of the PM.
But those are the products of my weird imagination. I can, with certitude, say that the PM or his party doesn’t have that strength to break either the idea of India or the plural India. And none of the above will happen; we won’t let that happen to be precise.
I wanted to write about the incident (arrest of intellectuals and civil rights activists on the charges of some links with Bhima-Koregaon violence in January, 2018) earlier. But I watched in silence and observed where this disgusting display of brute power was going.
Then I thought…
In a few months we will move into another term of Lok Sabha (2019 Elections), we can see it in black and white what the current political party in power can do to remain in power. It would be stupid (and even ridiculous to stay shut) to compile a list of the bizarre things that the PM or the party has done. However, we must ask ourselves, what have we not witnessed in the last five years?
From mob-lynching to draconian declaration(s), for example, demonitization. From attempt to enforce Hindi as the national language to perpetuating the idea of One Nation-One Language, One Religion there have been umpteen incidents of assault on free speech, freedom of expression, and freedom to love; rise in the number of rape(s) and murder(s) of uncommon nature (often inflicted to achieve or demonstrate a position of power), and what not!
Now public intellectuals are hounded from their homes and their background is questioned, their image maligned, and an attempt to virtually destroy their body of work by branding it as a “work of influence” is yet another attempt and conspiracy to change the narrative — to question the people who are questioning the government.
(What do we see now, as I reflect on my writing and contemporary situations, in May, 2019, it’s funny to point out that our PM has now started taken questions. But only “apolitical” questions. Like about his personal life, “humble” background, “poor” family, “chaiwallah”, Barack Obama being his friend, and his love for mangoes. There’s a catch here as well, only actors can do such interviews; who better than Akshay Kumar — the man who won the 2016 National Award for Best Actor. Sad that Manoj Bajpayee didn’t have relevant acting skills, which he exhibited in Aligarh to match Kumar’s performance in Rustom. Kumar is a brilliant actor. Modi is a brilliant politicians. Humble and very noble people.)
After analyzing all this, I thought something is cooking, I could almost smell it. It’s the recipe of the new Indian republic. And, here’s the recipe.
New Recipe of the Indian Republic
- Hail the Prime Minister and the political party he represents.
- Paint your home(s), school(s), and yourself in Orange.
- Drink urine of Holy Cow! — Sadhvi Pragya got cured from Cancer. And, stroking the back of the cow backwards helps in lowering blood pressure. Are you guys stupid spending your money in getting treated when the “Holy Cow” has all the cures?
- Don’t use anything except Patanjali products — Ramdev baba can even cure homosexuality by yoga.
- Respect one godman — Sadh Guru. Our Queen is such a huge fan of this enlightened being, she even hates liberals who question her Guru. What a woman! Wonder woman, I apologize.
- Only one lady should be the flag-bearer of Women Empowerment — Kangana Ranaut, her speeches, her views on Hindutva, her awe and admiration for the PM is exactly what we need today.
- Only one actor deserves all National Awards for his grandiose roles as a soldier, officer etc. — Akshay Kumar, the Canadian Citizen, the Khiladi who even beat the Undertaker in a famous movie that won Oscar.
- There should be One Nation — Hindustan, One Language — Hindi, and One Religion — Hinduism, One Party — no brownie points for guessing that, only orange flags and free marijuana during Kanwar season.
- And, that goes without saying, Kashmir is an integral part of India and Pakistan is our enemy.
- Also “Nation Wants to Hear” only Mr. Arnab. Or his Hindi-version, Suresh Chavhanke.
Doesn’t it smell amazing, tastes good, right? We knew that whatever pluralistic bullshit and secularism is, what we have been told, as the Idea of India, that is rubbish. Those 10 things above are going to make India a superpower, beat China in exports, win a Security Council seat, eliminate Pakistan from the face of Earth and reach Mars so that we can poop, out in the open, till Akshay’s movie Toilet gets released there.
My dear readers, it’s time to ask questions to yourself now.
- What do you think you will do in a country which kills you for eating a particular animal’s meat?
- What do you do when a person who calls himself a journalist stops letting a student, who is wrongly blamed just because he practices a religion or his names reveals one, to speak and to express his views?
- What do you do when every discussion on development is brushed aside and the topic is: Mandir Vahin Banayenge?
- When the PM promised to treat the problem of “Black Money” with demonetization, the President of his party, who happens to be in the board of directors of a cooperative bank converts hundreds of crores of black money into “pure white” like many of his other colleagues. Demonetization only resulted in mayhem, deaths and profit for Paytm, which is owned by a Chinese company now. But when you ask about this move’s success, you are silenced.
- What do you feel when you know that neither the political party nor the PM welcomed the apex court’s judgement of reading down of Section 377?
- How do you react when sexual minorities have a compromised citizenship in the country and the party in power wants to treat this “aberration”?
If you don’t ask these questions, you will see: a company (business group) whose name you never heard of being granted the contract for the largest solar power plant (in the world at the time, when it was installed); more of black money can be brought back into the system with proper channels; news anchors will make you believe and constantly feed ridicules definition of Nationalism; a baba’s brand becoming the world’s fastest growing FMCG; in a series of well-orchestrated interviews a man, Sadh Guru, is hailed as a spiritual leader with a scientific acumen (but can’t handle tough questions by a few students); a clever lady happens to target a select few individuals only — coincidentally of the same faith — and speaks vehemently a well-rehearsed line: “That’s what liberals do?”; Anupam Kher declaring that Freedom of Expression should be limited, and that sometimes he “doesn’t want to understand things” and would be pissed if someone doesn’t stand up for the National Anthem.
Be prepared for more such nonsense, if you don’t desire to question the establishment.
Which Ideology Are We Fighting?
Back to where we started, for the background of coining of this term, ‘Urban Naxals’ I would suggest you all to please waste two hours of your precious life to watch a stupid movie, which has nothing to do but to propagate an agenda well-supported by, you know who — Buddha in a Traffic Jam.
What a waste of money and resources! Just like the book which Mr. Vivek authored. This kind of branding of people who are way more learned than Mr. Vivek, way more qualified to discuss on the issues of National and International importance than him and a collective strength of the ruling party, and their supporters, should be condemned.
I must say that to under the difference between the ideologies of those propagandists and the people who are being put behind the bars is very crucial.
Being supporter of Mr. Vivek’s gang, you surrender yourself to the thought which is communal, creates tension and divide, and encourages you to silence, kill or rape one who opposes this ideology. And, people who are questioning Vivek’s gang, they will defend even the rights of people to the likes of Mr. Vivek to express their views till death, no matter what — even if its truth or falsity is not established, they will propose a dialogue and a debate instead of silencing their voice. That’s the fundamental difference in their ideology.
I recently read, The Palace of Illusions by Chitra Banerjee Divakaruni and this line got me thinking: time is a great erase, of both sorrow and of joy. I just wish that in my country time becomes the eraser of sorrow. But I fear. I fear.