Everyone needs to Unite Against Dictatorship

  • Prakash Pohare

People have to face multitudinous problems in their daily life about which no ruler says anything. People are all aware of the intentions of the politicians with the aim of changing the flow of votes, keeping the elections before their eyes. There will be constant disturbances, unnecessary issues, people’s energy will be wasted and this pattern will continue and especially when elections come, hate issues will be raised.

Thinking of dictatorial states, Modi seems to have gone and sat with leaders like Xi Jinping (China), Vladimir Putin (Russia), Recep Erdogan (Turkey)! That is, he usurped power twice through personal charm and dishonest administration. Reckless centralization of power is the specialty of the Modi government and it is well known.

Economic and social system is not strong in the country of any of the above-mentioned leaders. All of them made constitutional changes as soon as they came to power and silenced the voices of the opposition, so that they could never rise again. Modi also does the same, but the difference is that now he allows voting in a free environment in a democracy, but the reality is the same. For example, during demonetisation, many people died in the stampede that followed, standing in ATM queues day and night.

During the times of Corona, not only ‘labourers’ but also ‘intellectuals’ lost their jobs in the lockdown after just 24 hours’ notice, even their salaries were reduced. When thousands of laborers were returning to their homes on foot with empty stomachs, their legs were being torn to pieces. The laborers who sat on the way while travelling with their wives and children, who met with an accident, who died on the way, slept on the railway tracks, many people slept on the tracks thinking that the train was closed, but then who got crushed under the same trains. Still, most of these ‘labourers’ who reached home were stopped at the border of the village itself and died there.

For 13 months, farmers staged a sit-in at the Delhi border against the oppressive agricultural laws. More than 700 farmers died due to the wrong policies of the government, but the Modi government did not care a penny about them.

Overall, the Modi government has failed miserably in all areas and has become incompetent. What is the essence of schemes like Ujjwala, Uday, Jan Dhan, Smart City, Start Up, Jalyukt Shivar, Digital India? Farmers’ suicides have increased, unemployment rate is the highest since independence, violence against women has increased, tribals have been denied their rights, corruption has not reduced, rather has increased like never before. Corruption has not stopped in any government office. All the voters are meekly accepting the situation worsened by demonetisation and GST. Nationalism, terrorism, Pakistan, security, Hindu-Muslim - these issues have become more important than the issues of food and water. ‘Sangh Parivar’ analysts are now saying that people’s attitudes towards voting and elections have changed. Some sycophants have started saying that India has been strengthened by Modi. If we look at the headlines of the media, they are like‘Gharmeinguske maar dia’, Modi has increased India’s reputation in the world and the country will soon become a superpower - the media is flooded with such headlines. That is, all material problems have succumbed to the pure, formless spirit. By removing Article 370, Modi has taught such a great lesson to Pakistani citizens, now Modi ji should be voted for. Modi Ji’s supporters believe that before him, Muslims were not under the control of the government, but Modi ji has brought them under his control. In short, Modiji’s supporters believe that when a fearless, forceful, aggressive, uncompromising leader is fighting, why should we talk about futile issues of hunger, unemployment, suicide, oppression, deprivation, etc.? Most of the voters would have thought the same!

Still there is no end to the gimmick. The sages were seated on benches in the Parliament House on the occasion of the inauguration of the new Parliament House established by the Constitution of the Sovereign Secular Republic of India. So, has India become an undeclared constitutional communal or its pejorative term ‘Hindu Rashtra’? It is very important to raise this question in the minds of aware and informed citizens. Wherever ‘home-havans’ took place, the Prime Minister of the country himself was seen doing ‘Dandavat’ (Obeisance) on the screens of news channels. The ceremony took place on Sunday, May 28, 2023, the day of Savarkar Jayanti. A day before that, May 27, was the death anniversary of Pandit Nehru and a day before that on May 26, 2023, Modi had completed nine years as Prime Minister. The fact is that Nehru Ji laid the foundation of the Indian democratic system, although the Sangh and the BJP do not accept it at all, while Indian democracy is recognized worldwide. On the contrary, how much Savarkar believed in the democratic system of government can be a matter of research.

If indeed the country’s new Parliament building had to be inaugurated objectively, it would have been appropriate to do it on the day Modi completed nine years as Prime Minister, but it was deliberately done on May 28, the day of Savarkar Jayanti. This ‘Grand Vista’ project worth about Rs. 18,000 crores and an expenditure of Rs. 3,000 crores on the occasion of its inauguration! News channels and other media houses were competing with one another to give credit to Modi for the construction of this expensive Parliament building in three years. Actually, the ‘Parliament’ is meant for the whole country and as there is a ruling party in the Parliament, there are also opposition parties. Therefore, if a new building was to be constructed, it would have been a part of the parliamentary practice and tradition to discuss it with the leaders of the opposition parties, to discuss the plans of the new building, its facilities etc., but nothing of the sort was done. Modi Ji visualized this project and he completed this project by taking along Amit Shah and Hardeep Singh Puri, a former diplomatic officer who was the Union Urban Development Minister. The BJP deliberately brought up the issue of ‘Sengol’ when the opposition started criticizing the government for not inviting the President and the Vice President for the inauguration of the new Parliament building. ‘Sengol’ which means sceptre, (actually ‘Dharmadand’) was also an issue deliberately raised by the BJP. The Home Minister of the country always says, ‘Just understand the chronology’. If we put these words into practice, what do we find?

In fact, as per Article 79 of our Constitution, the President is the head of both the Houses of Parliament and the Vice President is the Chairman of the Rajya Sabha. Interestingly, the invitation letters sent for the inauguration of this new building of the Parliament did not bear the name of the President and the invitation letters sent to the members of the Rajya Sabha also did not bear the name of the Vice President. But the opposition parties raised a controversy on the issue that why the President and the Vice President were not invited to the inauguration ceremony of the new building of the Parliament? The opposition decided to boycott the event. After that, by taking up the ‘Sengol’ issue, the country once again witnessed the typical use of the Modi-Shah duo to give a different direction to a dispute. The pro-government media contributed to Modi-Shah’s efforts to divert public attention from the core issue by giving wide publicity to this experiment.

A video was provided by the government to all news channels on the occasion, showing how Pandit Jawaharlal Nehru spoke to Chakraborty Rajagopalachari, a senior Congress leader and Nehru’s aide, after the British decided to grant India independence in 1947, to ask about the procedure which was to be followed. Then Rajagopalachari consulted some people and told Panditji that during the Chola rule in the south, when a new king was crowned, he was given this ‘Sengol’ which means ‘dharmadanda’ or sceptre! Accordingly, the sceptre was sent to Mountbatten and he handed it over to Nehru Ji. But later Nehru got it kept in the Allahabad Museum. This is the story told in the tapes released by the Modi government. Rajagopalachari and Mahatma Gandhi’s grandson Rajmohan Gandhi has rejected the entire development. Rajmohan Gandhi, who is also Rajagopalachari’s biographer, has said in a related article, “In all the documents I have seen while writing Rajagopalachari’s biography, there is no such mention anywhere.”

According to the news published by the Chennai daily ‘The Hindu’, on August 14, 1947, the head of a ‘Dharmapeeth’ in Tamil Nadu and his associates went to Delhi and presented this ‘Sengol’ to Nehru Ji at his residence after smearing ashes on his forehead and covering him with a shawl. The tapes released by that government also stated that this ‘Sengol’ was specially brought to Delhi by the Government of India from Madras at that time. The English daily ‘The Hindu’ has also published a picture of the time when the head of the ‘Dharmapeeth’ and other associates were leaving from Madras Central Railway Station for New Delhi with this sceptre.

BJP leader Ravi Shankar Prasad criticized Nehru Ji in a press conference saying that Nehru Ji used it as a walking stick without considering the importance of ‘Sengol’ in Indian culture and later it was sent to Allahabad Museum. Modi repeated the same allegation in his speech after inaugurating the new Parliament House without mentioning Nehru by name. Modi government itself spreads countless wrong news, which is called ‘fake news’ in today’s times. Think for yourself how wrong was it to boycott the inauguration programme by Congress and other opposition parties? However, the government did not reveal why the President or the Vice President was not called for the inauguration of the new Parliament House. In other words, it was indirectly accepted that the objections of the opposition parties were correct.

Wrestler girls and their supporters are protesting at Jantar Mantar from April 23, 2023, regarding the arrest of BJP MP Brij Bhushan Singh. These players allege that Brij Bhushan Singh sexually assaulted them. But the Delhi Police was not ready to register their simple complaint. Finally, the Supreme Court took notice and a complaint was filed. On one hand, while the new Parliament building was being inaugurated, on the other hand, the whole world saw that the woman sportsperson who brought laurels to the country, who had been sitting on a dharna for justice for 40 days, was dragged away from the dharna site by the Delhi Police on the same day.

Prime Minister Modi said in the new Parliament, “It is not just a building, the aspirations and dreams of 140 crore people are included in this new Parliament. It sends a powerful message to the world about India’s unwavering resolve.” In a BJP-ruled state, the perpetrator of the rape of a Muslim woman is a BJP leader or worker, so he gets acquitted, he is honoured, on which even the Supreme Court poses questions. A case of sexual harassment is not registered against an MP just because he is a BJP MP. Despite such serious allegations, the accused MP is seen walking gracefully in the inauguration of the new Parliament. What message is Modiji giving to the world? Modiji’s attitude towards women has also not been very touching from the beginning. This was again exposed by the misbehaviour meted out to the women wrestlers, who were on strike, by the Delhi Police.

Finally, before the Constitution was ratified, Dr. Babasaheb Ambedkar in his last speech had said, “If one governs keeping the structure of this Constitution as it is, leaving aside the parliamentary and administrative procedures, one may rule the country like India as a dictator.’’ This is what we are experiencing today. Modiji is not like other party leaders and he himself hails from Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh. He was once a staunch campaigner of the Sangh and as soon as he came to power, he showed the country how he implemented it in Gujarat from 2001 to 2014, the country has experienced it well. The so-called ‘Gujarat model’ was actually a model of centralization of power and misuse of investigative machinery and weakening of all democratic institutions. So, everyone needs to unite and gear up to oppose Modi’s countrywide monopoly from 2014 to 2023.

(The author is the Editor of Marathi daily ‘Deshonnati’, Hindi daily ‘Rashtra Prakash’, weekly ‘Krishkonnati’) The author can be contacted at 9822593921