When Silence becomes Dishonesty

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Can we keep quiet when the truth stands naked?  What does our silence tell us about ourselves? Do we prefer truth with clothes on? Are we getting white-washed or brainwashed under the intoxication of bigotry nationalism? Many among us are able to see the dark face hiding behind the mask of  ‘ache din’. Why can’t we open our mouth and speak?  Why can’t a large segment of educated in our country utter that which has suddenly become unutterable? Why can’t we say what we feel in the marrow of our bones?   Who will dare to speak? Who will bell the cat? Our silence seems to be fast pushing the biggest democracy in the world into doom.  It is surprising that a scandalous drama that plays out in the name of democracy escapes us.  The illumined among seem to have become as cold as ice. The way we are denied democracy has reached a point of no return.   Democracy is adulterated. It is invaded by the heartless imperial and fascist forces. We seem to see a hollowing out of democracy in the rise of the totalitarianism of the right.  There is no room for disagreement, dissent and debate.  Everyone has to fall in line under the pain of being branded anti-national.  How can we tolerate the sham of democracy that is played out in our country? Our silence seems to have become dishonesty.  

The poor of our country are hoping for the coming of the ‘ache din’. They are putting up with the pain of demonetization and other unfreedoms forced on them.  The promise of the golden future has become the opium of the masses in our country. Indeed, one has to admire the endurance of our simple masses.  The cult of a leader has stupefied us. We seem to have abdicated our responsibility to our democracy and let it be paddled by vested interest without any resistance. We can no longer stay silent. But we may have to ask difficult questions: Does our silence has already chosen whose side we are?  Do we wish to break the silence and burst the bubble in which we seem to stay in comfort oblivious of the fate of our democracy?  All is not lost. We still have a semblance of democracy.  This would require us to deconstruct reject the national/antinational dichotomy that borders on politico-moral space of loyalty and betrayal. As long as we accept the terms and condition of this pernicious binary (nationalism and anti-nationalism) that oversimplifies everything in our society, we shall stay trapped into it. Hence, they way out is to interrogate this narrow ‘either/ or’ structure that is constraining our thinking. 

The world is not to be seen in narrow racist categories of black / white. There are the grey areas that matters. The country that gave multiple logical systems to the world that includes the all inclusive ‘Shayad Vada’  of the Jains cannot  remain prisoner of the strangulating logic that is irrationally inclined to choose only two-valued options that close with a feeling of all or nothing. This means we need to resist the all (nationalism) and nothing (anti-nationalist) valued logic.   The illogic of all or nothing thinking that draws clear lines between ‘who is with us’ and ‘who is against us’ has to be shunted aside. The colonial virus of divide and rule has to be addressed.  It is urgent that we find an antidote to the anaesthetizing and numbing effect of the nationalist and antinationalist divide.  Somehow this uncritical submission to this logic has to be reversed. Life can never mask deep human realities. We can still see how the policies of the Government which parade as one that is directed to the supreme good of our country are mostly framed through outsourced foreign consulting agencies. How national was the act of outsourcing of image management of the tallest leader in our Government.  If we scratch a bit we shall be able to uncover how the triumphantly masquerading nationalism is sitting on foundations that are entirely anti-national. It is enough to find who is consulted by the top central ministries of our Government and the naked truth will look in our eyes. 

We might begin the (un)thinking of the national and antinational divide by framing it within the constitutional point of view.  Every Indian national becomes a citizen by birth and not by the narrow politico-moral narrative that others the authentic sons and daughters of our country as illegitimate ones.  This repositioning of the national and antinational binary within the constitutional framework might expose how nationalism of the fascist forces is hollow and un-substantive.  Staying within the constitutional framework, we will be enabled to trace our voice to say no. It will demonstrate how it is profoundly national to contest and interrogate the exploitative and oppressive policies of any Government.  We have a constitutional right to freedom of expression and it includes freedom to disagree.  We may have to ask: can the Indian citizen speak?  This question can explode the binary that is forcing silence on us.  Hence, it is time to say the unsayable. Utter the utterable and say the ‘blasphemy’.   Our silence can be very costly.  It can only push us into further depravity. It is time to reclaim democracy that is continuously being denied to us.  We have to break the boundaries that keep us silent.  We have to interrupt and even disrupt the reigning discourse and develop a counter-discourse that will bring back life into our democracy. When silence is dishonest, we have the imperative to speak lest we live comfortably under the illusion of a lie.  


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Hypocrisy is the tribute that vice pays to virtue.

- Fr Victor Ferrao