Indians are more frustrated today than ever,why?
2021 began with massive farmers’ protests in India against the anti-farmers’ reform bill. A second to anti-Muslim CAA last year. Both reforms have been criticized as anti-constitutional and without proper parliamentary proceedings.
Social media has been stormed with anti-government dissent while pro-government media find ways to support both bills and justify government action. Pro-government celebrities have come forward to please their right-wing political masters.
The growing job loss, increasing inflation, atrocities against minorities particularly against Muslims and diminishing economy gives enough to worry about for the average Indians. Yet Modi government continues to sell national assets to private companies affiliated to his party.
Right now, Indians are protesting against newfarm bills which benefit only the large cooperates and not the farmers. The farmers protests gained momentum and international support when celebrities such as pop singer Rihanna tweeted ‘Why aren’t we talking about this?’
Some right wing cricketers and Bollywood actors have come forward to save Modi, while majority of Indians loudly rejected them. This time Modi’s tricks to silence opponents do not seem to be working as well as in the past.
Protesters intensified the blockade asgovernment cut off internet and charged journalists. Frustrated Indians see these protests as the only hope to remove Modi.
Young environment activist Greta Thunberg tweeted that she stood in solidarity with Indian farmers. Ultra-radical Indian nationalists burntGreta-Rihanna posters blaming her for ’external interference’ and Indian police registered a case against Greta.
Observers ask: ‘Is Modi the only problem for India?’
Since 1947, India has evolved from a political model of hate, concocted stories against Muslim rulers of pre-colonial era. Colonial masters crafted such narratives to occupy the landsmainly ruled by Mughals and other Muslim kingdoms which had resisted British rule. As the new nation advanced, the hate steadily increased towards Indian Muslims, portraying them as anti-nationals at every opportunity.
India’s war against Pakistan and human right abuses in occupied Kashmir has silently empowered right-wing Hindu religious zealots. While secular parties passively agreed with the ultra-violent nationalism, unfortunately against which Indian Muslims failed to prove or protest.
Since 1947, consistent anti-Muslim riots and marginalization of young Muslims in general has created a climate of hate which has empowered the Hindutva political identity. Theprevious ‘secular’ governments introduced many draconian laws aimed at marginalising Indian Muslims and continues to arrest young Muslims on false terrorism charges.
The climate of hate increased and paved the pathways for Modi to come into power after the 2002 Gujarat anti-Muslim pogrom. Aided by awell written anti-Muslim script played and executed by Indian media,
Bollywood also helped further the agenda by creating Islamophobic hyper-nationalism making movies showing Pakistanis specifically and Muslims in general as generic malevolent embodiments of fear and terror.
Unfortunately, liberals and left-wing parties have failed woefully to maintain the secular credentials of the country.
Large corporates have craftily used the presentpolitical situation to convert profits and amass national wealth. The current ‘Farm reform bill’ is the last of its kind and will enable India’s large agriculture economy to be controlled by a handful of corporates.
Indians lost one opportunity to fight against anti-Muslim, anti-constitutional CAA, instead some liberal politicians hijacked it by criticizing Muslim identity while the anti-CAA protests.
Farmers protests may be the last chance for people to save their country if only they come out of the cocoon of Islamophobic politics of hatred.