I have always been proud to be an Indian, partly because my childhood has been largely happy; apart from bullying which I experienced when I was around 9-10 years old. I am blessed to have a supportive family and relatives, and thus a good environment to grow in. However, I have also been sheltered by my parents to such an extent; that I have not had much exposure to the real world and its dangers. As a result, I have often been caught unawares in various situations especially as an adult. On the positive side, these experiences have made me rather liberal in my outlook. I will come to this later.
I have been a fan of cricket since the age of nine; and have been very vocal in my support for the Indian cricket team. When the team did badly, I would lose my temper and break things; or sometimes weep my heart out! When I witnessed the team winning the World Cup for the 2nd time (and my first time! 😉 ) in 2011, I couldn’t help jumping with joy and dancing; along with my relatives. As a child, patriotic fervour was strongly ingrained in me; as I would usually get excited at the Independence Day and Republic Day functions at school.
However, I am getting a very different feeling about India in the last 3 years. There seems to be a rising wave of right-wing fascism. There have been a spate of mob lynchings across the country, starting with the murder of Mohammad Akhlaq by a mob in Dadri, U.P in Sept 2015; on a mere suspicion of eating beef. http://www.bbc.com/news/world-asia-india-34409354 The worst part about this particular murder was that his elder son Mohammad Sartaj is a corporal in the Indian Air Force. Even worse than that was the fact that Mr.Akhlaq’s murderer’s coffin (after he died in jail) was draped in the Indian tri-colour by the villagers! http://indiatoday.intoday.in/story/dadri-lynching-accused-dead-jail-mohammad-akhlaq-tricolour/1/782037.html
Mr.Akhlaq’s brutal murder was only the first of many to follow. According to IndiaSpend, a public interest non-profit journalism initiative that uses data to tell stories; 86% of 28 Indians lynched by cow vigilantes (gaurakshaks) in 63 incidents from 2010-17 are Muslims, and as much as 97% of these attacks happened after the present ruling party (the right-wing BJP) came to power in 2014. http://www.indiaspend.com/cover-story/86-dead-in-cow-related-violence-since-2010-are-muslim-97-attacks-after-2014-2014 . This data clearly reveals that India’s minorities (particularly Muslims) have been targeted systematically for hate crimes, by mobs that enjoy the indirect support of the government in power at the Centre.
Apart from the mob lynchings, there has been a rising wave of intolerance; causing many rationalists – who have voiced criticism about the government – to be murdered. Gauri Lankesh’s murder in Bangalore last month was the latest in a string of murders of rationalist writers, including MM Kalburgi, Govind Pansare and Narendra Dabholkar. http://www.hindustantimes.com/india-news/gauri-lankesh-murder-here-s-a-list-of-writers-and-journalists-killed-in-recent-years/story-LEcs4gq18AIH3WXsalDdOI.html
Dissent seems to be equal to treason in the new India. Criticism of the government or whatever wrong is happening, makes you an anti-national instantly. A defamation case was filed against comedy group All India Bakchod for a mere meme on the PM in July https://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/city/mumbai/meme-on-modi-aib-founder-booked-for-defamation-obscenity/articleshow/59601920.cms . RJ Malishka was harassed with a defamation notice by the BMC for rapping about Mumbai’s notorious potholes and traffic jams. http://www.deccanchronicle.com/nation/current-affairs/190717/file-rs-500-cr-defamation-suit-against-rj-malishka-935-red-fm-yuva-sena-to-bmc.html
Brilliant student of Lady Shriram College (Delhi University), Gurmehar Kaur had to face rape threats from right-wing student organization ABVP (affiliated to BJP) and was trolled and harassed online by many prominent celebrities and politicians; after she made a protest against rising violence by ABVP in DU and a video of her history – losing her father in the Indo-Pakistan war. http://www.hindustantimes.com/delhi-news/meet-gurmehar-kaur-the-du-student-and-martyr-s-daughter-who-took-on-abvp/story-dScVooYNLGnhZiC4s3lE0H.html Most recently, Tamil actor Prakash Raj was booked with a case, for just criticism of the PM; on his silence after Gauri Lankesh’s murder! https://scroll.in/latest/852910/case-filed-against-actor-prakash-raj-for-his-comments-against-narendra-modi-report
All this is enough to make me wonder: is this really the India that I am proud to be born in? An India that systematically targets minorities and protects the majority community. An India that silences voices critical of the government and the wrong done by it. An India that cannot tolerate dissent. An India where women continue to face rape and domestic violence on an almost daily basis, and marital rape is still legal. An India that seems to have taken some inspiration from Nazi Germany.
As I have mentioned earlier, my various experiences in life have given me a rather liberal outlook. However, it is not good enough to be a liberal. A liberal is open and accepting of almost all viewpoints. In the current situation, which is dark and difficult; you have to take sides. You have to stand up against all the injustice. You have to speak out for the oppressed. It is the minorities and the voices of dissent that are suffering now. #AllLivesMatter is not going to help India. If you truly love India, it is time to support and empower women, Dalits and minorities first. The majority religion and majority gender is accountable for its actions and the consequences that follow, and is responsible for standing with the minority gender and minority religions, not against them.
You can now call me an anti-national, a pseudo-liberal, a libtard, a presstitute or any crap that comes into your head. You think I give a damn? I am ashamed of new India because I love India and I hate the way it is now. The “bhakts” can never understand that, because they have no true love for India – only sycophancy towards their masters (the present government) and hate for the minorities and indeed anyone who thinks differently. Only people who truly love the country will feel the anger, tears and frustration whenever something goes wrong. I can attest to that. Jai Hind!