With what appears as the deliberate use of ED against the leaders of the opposition, many critics feared that India was turning into a police state. What happened to Bilkis Bano seems to have taken us closer to what may be described as a banana republic for lack of words that can accurately describe, the condition of our country. It almost appears that we have lost our souls and have no moral qualms about the shocking release of gang rape and murder convicts. All this is done in the name of Azadi ka Amrut Utsav. India was not freed for this kind of release of lawbreakers. While we have several critics of the government who are either silenced and jailed and the media has become a cheerleader of the Government, we have a shameless release of convicts of rape and murder. India has truly changed. Although six thousand Indians have appealed to the Supreme Court to review the freedom given to convicts of rape and murder, the fact that these convicts were garlanded and ladoos were distributed seems to manifest that we have fallen into a deep moral abyss that has no comparison in the entire history of independent India. It appears salt is rubbed into our wounds when our PM speaks of Nari Shakti. Will our women president save Nari Shakti by reviewing the wrongful release of the convicts? This form of justice reminds us of old caste oppression that enabled the upper caste to rape and murder with impunity. This seems to suggest that BR Ambedkar was right in demanding social freedom/democracy before political freedom. The decision to release the convicts of rape and murder seems to indicate that we are still not freed from strangulating caste regimes. It shows that it is not the constitution but caste regimes dressed as a great religion like Hinduism with a salt of cultural nationalism that is ruling its roost in India today.
Gandhi, Nehru and Patel did postpone social freedom /democracy to a distant future while Ambedkar demanded it in his living present this is why we are still looking to cast out our caste demons. Gandhi did suspend his struggle for India’s freedom and took a march across the country to end untouchability. This shows that Gandhi did fight against the brutality of untouchability. Ambedkar thought Gandhi was going too slow while the Hindu Orthodoxy thought that Gandhi was going too fast and was a dangerous radical. We even have Hindu orthodoxy embodied in the Sankaracharyas collectively petitioning the British and seeking to declare Gandhi a non-Hindu. Given the way caste rules are rising in the name of Hindu nationalism, we may have to set our on the padyatra that Gandhi undertook to fight the ills of untouchablity. This is imminent because somewhere we find a casteist reasoning that argues that the eleven convicts of rape and murder have good sanskaras and therefore have reformed because all of them are Brahmins. We seem to be struck by the brahmin vaccine that offers moral protection even when one is convicted for heinous crimes like gang rape and murder. Such thinking is perverse but unfortunately seems to be increasingly becoming mainstream.
It appears that Gandhi convinced Nehru and Patel that Independence has come to India and not to the congress party and therefore, the first cabinet must have the best minds in India of that time regardless of political affiliation. We can see therefore Shama Prasad Mukherjee, an opponent as well as the founder of Jan Sangh that has become the BJP in today’s India. This idealism of seating with one’s opponent is a demonstration of India that was envisioned as a home for all Indians and was not going to become a Hindu-Pakistan. Ambedkar who was an adversary of Gandhi, Nehru and Patel also finds a place in the cabinet. The first finance minister was one businessman Shetty from Madras who was also an opponent of the congress. While the ruling benches seem to exhibit a kind of anti-Intellectualism, we have the challenge to get the best minds of our day to seek solutions to what ails our country today. Caste and nationalism for political power appear to be hiding in the episode of Bilkis. Hence, we have the challenge to cast out caste cancer hidden in cases like that of Bilkis. We have to fight the caste vaccine that provides immunity to caste oppression in our country