Article: Thank you, Modiji, we now know what is the biggest danger to our democracy

Badri Raina

This August 15 of the Amrit Mahotsav time will go down as truly incomparable in India’s post-colonial history.

The nation owes a debt of gratitude to the prime minister for telling us in his customary ringing tones what constitutes the biggest danger to our democracy.

And, it is none of the things you and I, in our insufficient nationalism, might have thought:

It is not a party system that has now succumbed to profitable chicaneries;

It is not the ruthless drive of the ruling BJP to cannibalise other parties in order to turn India into a one-party state like China;

It is not an electoral bond system that funnels moneys from corporates, ostensibly to parties, but actually to the powerful ruling party in the main, wherein the prudent donors remain properly anonymous;

It is not a PM CARES Fund which is either a private trust or a public body as and when it suits it, and which remains outside the ambit of the Right to Information law;

It is not the investigative and prosecutorial agencies of the state that 90% of the time pursue not their “own course” but rather a “known course’;

It is not the unauthorised and clandestine use of software like Pegasus to pulverise citizens by robbing all their private data, even conversations, or to plant incriminating data into their instruments so that their journey to jail could be hastened;

It is not 90% of the print and electronic media that has heroically woken up to loyalty and compliance;

It is not a parliament in which the opposition is reduced to howling most of the time because none of their notices or motions are admitted for discussion;

And it is emphatically not a famous organisation which claims to be apolitical but manages to have its satraps placed in influential slots in the education system, the bureaucracy, the security services, as ombudsmen in media organisations, and which patronises energetic “voluntary” youth brigades who fix social and community “problems” with a pat on the back from the said organisation (parivar) and the governments filial to it.

Even more emphatically, it is not a numero uno who never holds a press briefing, lest the even advance of democracy from his office suffer embarrassing disequilibriums.

And it certainly is not the ever-increasing numbers of citizens hard put to manage a meal a day, numbering some 90% of the population, since those who earn 25,000 rupees a month fall within the top 10% of Indian earners!

So what is the biggest danger to democracy? Now we know at last: it is dynastic politicians!

But, wait a minute: if you thought this profound formulation included the dynast of all political parties, you are again behind times.

The biggest danger to Indian democracy is the memory of Nehru, now thankfully ejected from an ambitious poster that lists all the worthies who made the freedom of India from British rule possible, and it is Sonia Gandhi, Rahul Gandhi, and Priyanka Vadra Gandhi who now conspire to hold back the march of Indian democracy.

Question Easily Done, as only we and the world of which we are Guru trust only the serendipitous Modiji to do, where others – scholars, historians, critics of social ideas, political pundits – fail to do because of their debilitating allegiance to complexity, fairness, and facts.

Prime Minister Narendra Modi gestures as he addresses the nation from the ramparts of the Red Fort on the occasion of the 76th Independence Day, in New Delhi, Aug 15, 2022. Photo: PTI

Remission

This here Independence Day is also notable for another exemplary achievement.

The 11 men in Gujarat who had been so unfairly jailed for the service they had rendered in 2002 to consolidate the nationalist cause by venturing to murder 14 of the five-month pregnant Bilkis Banu’s family, including a three-year-old baby whom they pulped by tossing her to the ground, and by, at great cost to their own sense of piety and morality, gang-raping Bilkis Bano, their neighbour of old, have finally been let out by an enlightened turn of remissive law.

Less deserving convicts in other jails who have also spent over 14 years behind bars, however, not having the same sort of denominational and ideological credentials, remain duly incarcerated.

But the release of the 11 aforesaid alone is the least part of this expansively laudatory story.

At a time when hate has been so rampant among all sorts of people, the residents of Dahod where the heroic nationalists were let off have demonstrated how truly tolerant and loving and grateful Indians can be.

The 11 warriors-come-home were duly felicitated; their holy feet were touched, flowers were sprinkled over their incomparable heads, vermillion was dabbed on their foreheads, and sweets were offered to them one by one for what they has accomplished at a time when vicious conspiracies were underway against the then chief minister of Gujarat.

This moral side to our democracy, again unsurprisingly sourced in Gujarat, has understandably received due exposure on electronic channels, although there are the bleeding-heart liberals, at bottom horribly dangerous communists, who have begun muttering that the courts must be approached to cancel the remission granted to these republic-saving scions of Hindutva.

We have little doubt that their customary babble will be suitably dealt with by the sentinels of the media and patriotic opinion-makers and sundry vigilante brave-hearts.

Let us, therefore, on both counts remember the momentous standing of this particular Independence Day, and vow to take that selfie with the tiranga and upload it as well so that others may be enthused and so that the IT companies, really the hero among them Jio, make a needed killing from the flow of messages among loyal citizens back and forth.

Gujarat’s elections are due in months and nothing is more important to the BJP than winning them; thus appeasement of the majority has been an imperative they could not have resisted.

Vande Bharat.  Courtesy The Wire

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