Courage to Choose between Freedom and Slavery

Fear is an industry. Fear feeds into our life and fuels our motivation to a large extent.  Often we act out of fear of God. Others act of fear of loss of health, job, relationships and what  we deem  as good life.  Fear has been used as a social control mechanism from time immemorial. Fear is natural to us. It is part our process of growth. But excess of it is dangerous and crippling. Flight and fight are natural reposes to stimuli of fear.  Industry has milked this natural fear in us for the promotion of its interest. We run after insurance companies, the best of hospitals or educational institutions lest we have a failed tomorrow. This fear of a failed tomorrow has brought us to fight our very own. It has often transformed us into rivals. We have lost our innocence. Often to live for a dream of a better tomorrow we have ruined our today.   Maybe it is important that we come to reflect on the role of fear in our life.    Today fear is employed as the main stay of politics. Globally the right wing is thriving on the politics of fear. Brexit, Trumps tantrums etc exhibit how a world order based on fear is gathering momentum around us.    Politics of hope is waning across the globe and India is no exception. No one has to be a genius to read the signs of our times.

Fear has become a powerful political tool. The Indian state is steadily emerging as a ruthless police state. Even Media  has lost it teeth. It has been bought and often used to justify terror employed on the innocent citizens. Guns and gods seem to have joined together to form a machine like system that is generating mindless terror in our country.  Therefore it has become difficult to condemn it. The victims have the discomfort of hurting the religious sentiments of our people. There is no place to shout and protest. The Indian state seems to have become a watch dog. It seems to police its  citizenry through  Gau rakshaks, anti-Romeo squads,  love jihad, watch-keeping cameras,  bring about biometric surveillance through aadhar numbers etc. The surveillance    through aadhar becomes exponential as it can keep a watch on personal freedoms that includes  economic and some social liberties. But the same state that seems to have become a watch dog has left the aadhar  unconnected to the election card of the citizens. This raises the question: who benefits by keeping this important political information out of the purview of surveillance which is otherwise possible with aadhar? Maybe an answer to this question will insult the intelligence of the readers.  GST could be seen as an extension of policing apparatus of the Government. All surveillance is done in the name of security. But unfortunately, one can clearly discern its excesses.  The coercive apparatus that we see in active operation in our country has led to the concentration of power in the hands of few. The debate between the nationalists and those considered the anti-nationalists exhibit which side is holding the power in our country today.

The suppression of higher education, particularly, the social sciences in the institution of higher learning is another index that manifests how  the police state desires to hide its poisonous fangs. The banning of the NGOs, the slowing down of dissemination of the information (Right to Information), non-appointment of the Lok Pal, the harassment of the activists, killing of the rationalists and  some fire brand journalists, the misuse of the law of sedition shows how we have been slowly and steadily pushed in a mode of undeclared emergency. It has been  largely a one way ‘man ki baat’ Government that mainly talks top down and do not seem to care to listen to the people, bottom up. The co-opted and paid media feeds us on a diet of guilt inducing narrative of the sacrifices  of our military, sense of lack  political alternative producing propaganda that magnifies  the childishness of Rahul Ghandi,  corruption of the congress etc., anger producing despotism of Pakistan and violence of the Moaists as well as the under-cover activities of the minorities etc. We seem to be socially engineered to take out all our frustration on a demonised other. This demon is effectively  the congress that has ruined our country while ruling the country for the major part of our independent existence.  The so called enemies of the nation are our already publicly identified. We know who they are. They are the minorities, women, dalits, children, tribals and  of course Pakistan.   The state seems to say ‘if you are not with me you are against me’.

Thankfully, Indians have shown signs of resistance.  Several Indians did launch ‘not in my name’ andolan which contested the exaggerated surveillance of the state through non state actor that run the lynching spree. Some Indians have begun to dissent against the exaggerated excesses of the paternalizing Indian Police State.   Besides, the Supreme Court also did not abandon the victimized people. It rightly declared the right to privacy as the fundamental right. This brought a sigh of relief to every Indian. Non-state actors like the Gau Rakshaks and state actors like the anti-Romeo Squads suddenly began to look like intruders invading into the privacy of our people.   Thanks to the right to privacy, Indians can now eat, dress and think without any fear. Is this really so? It does  not seem to have materialized on the ground. We still have to walk a long tedious path. The eugenics of the Government that divides us into good citizens and the bad ones on the basis of nationalism has to be resisted. The declaration of right to privacy as a fundamental right is indeed a welcome move of the Supreme Court. It has certainly upheld democracy and liberty of all Indians.  But we have to fight to restore our several freedoms. The power that seeks to become unaccountable under the mask of a narrow religiously tainted nationalism has to be brought to accountability.  The Corporates that have teamed up with the Government to prey on the resources of the nation have to be derailed from their anti-people goals. Freedom comes with a price while slavery comes for free. Shall we take courage to choose freedom for all?


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Hypocrisy is the tribute that vice pays to virtue.

- Fr Victor Ferrao