There are less harsh measures of Indian population control than imposed medical interventions. After spending considerable thought about the much disliked CAA legislation I thought of adding a few more clauses to it that would make its execution much easier and simpler simply by reducing the number of claimants for Indian citizenship even if they might have been encroaching on this ancient land for generations and millennia. A number of easy exclusions can do amazing mathematical wonders. Let me list the more prominent among them.
If I am not covered under job reservation for backward, most backward, scheduled castes and tribes etc. my chances of getting a good education or landing a good job stand much reduced. More and more states are passing legislation for job reservation for locals up to 50 percent and 69 percent and some states planning to increase it even further to a whopping 80 percent. Job expansion is slow but job reservations are increasing since it needs no investment. So my status as a citizen of India is becoming increasingly eroded and fellow Indians will see me not as in Indian but label me as a Telugu, Tamil, Bihari, Assamese etc.
If I am a tribal or a rustic living in remote rural and hilly areas my identity as an Indian citizen will be very much fuzzy as I hobnob with the digitalised, high flying urbanites who breathe and live mostly in the online world. Even the subsidised rations I am entitled to will take a heavy beating since I am not literate , let alone computer savvy. I have problems with linking my ration card with the aadhar card and so I am counted among those who hold bogus ration cards. My starvation death is not likely to feature in the register of births and deaths since I lack a digital existence.
If my food habits are not pleasing to certain gods and a certain community I had better cease to exist. I can’t afford mutton or chicken, so I consume beef for my nutritional needs. Even if I do this discreetly without hurting the religious sentiments of my neighbour I could still be hunted down and eliminated even though the Constitution guarantees me freedom of religion. It has not prescribed the national diet; it has been content with prescribing a national anthem.
Like the Nazis who were experts in the use of cruel euphemisms my government also has invented subtle words to hide unpleasant realities. In the German concentration camps prisoners taken for torture and death in gas chambers used to be told that they were taken for ‘special treatment.’ Similarly a few of our states have passed so called Freedom of Religion acts which limits this freedom only to one religion and denies it to those who marry into another or even sometimes to train travel, a proven icon of national integration. By this bill all conversions from Hinduism are banned. These bills have also made travel by the Indian Railways through certain fundamentalist states in India particularly risky for nuns, Christian women and girls. Even if you travel in reserved a/c coaches nuns accompanying young girls to formation houses like the Novitiate are liable to be accused of engaging in conversion work by members of fundamentalist groups who become judges and executors of these dangerous freedom of religion bills. Religious conversion alone is odious, but not political party conversions of MLAs to ruling party by fair or foul means. In our democracy politicians are a class apart from those whom they represent.
My nationalism fetters even my appreciation of arts and sports. If I find some Pakistani cricketer an outstanding player I must restrain my admiration for him on the electronic media. Such an unforgivable sin can be committed only by someone who devalues his mother land. So also it is taboo to appreciate great hospitality from Pakistanis who have no right to usurp this great Indian tradition. If you have any experiences to the contrary suppress them in your bosom and never verbalise them in speech or print.
Woe to me if I am born as a Dalit in a certain state which recently published its 75 wonders in a prominent weekly The Week. Here if you are a Dalit girl it may be your fate to be gang raped by politically connected goons, brutalised and even burnt. If your family feels otherwise and lodges complaints with the police you are likely to get first big brotherly advice not to press the charges in court if at all they oblige to file your FIR in the first instance. If you do not see wisdom in this proposed line of procedure threats will commence on the phone from those who value your family. If you are still stubborn and persist expect some case to be registered against your good dad who will be hauled to the police station for the tender mercies of the khaki-clad men. If your dad still resists expect him to be shot dead by the rapist out on bail or some good deputy of his.
If I am a social activist spending my energies and resources to defend the rights of the poor and oppressed I become a great enemy of the state since the corporates will see me as a great threat. This makes the government very alert in dealing with me as someone more dangerous to the state than terrorists and I am likely to have charges of treason slapped on me. In fact, it is much easier to earn a charge of treason today than any other offence. It is worse than committing colossal bank loan fraud, giving fiery toxic communal hatred speeches from the stage or becoming a turncoat MLA who joins whatever party he fancies for the sake of political spoils .
Becoming zealous vigilantes for parallel law enforcement , harassing women in public and having a hell of a time provided they belong to minorities are all contributing to robust nationalism. But protesting against harsh government legislation like farm bills or CAA bill , drawing cartoons about the government are all subversive activities. It is almost as if you joined a new Quit India movement against our own lawfully elected government. Government is government whether it is a foreign one or a democratically elected desi one. You can’t oppose it without courting trouble. If you are so adamant about it then throw us out at the next elections.
India still claims to be a land of tolerance at international forums. It is the land of ancient philosophies , a few world religions , a rich kaleidoscope of colourful cultures and rich languages. Yet this picture is fading fast as its status has deteriorated from a free country at independence to a partially free country. The very physiognomy of the nation is changing fast from an inclusive to an exclusive society. So actually the Census count can wait and the finer points of the CAA implementation fine tuning can be put on hold because the count of actual citizens of this great nation will undergo significant depletion. This drastic fall in population can also benefit all political parties who liberally promise mindboggling freebies to win elections even though the state may be staggering under colossal public debt.
(The writer can be contacted at: firstname.lastname@example.org )