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Modified Bharat?

P. A. Chacko P. A. Chacko
12 Feb 2024

In Modi's India, you are told what to dress with, where to pray, what to believe, whom to worship, whom to travel with, what to speak, what history you must accept, and the like. Over and above, you are told what food to eat. Non-veg is anathema for you. Only vegetarian meals smeared with butter, buttermilk, milk, and Patanjali ghee are allowed. Mobsters will be on your premises as food inspectors with sticks and daggers to dissect your food and issue licenses to eat or to get you arrested.

Such is an incident that was played out by Sanghi mobsters in Lucknow. A group gatecrashed the Navinta Pastoral Centre in Lucknow, where a Christian group was meeting. The mobsters demonstrated at the meeting venue, protesting that a nonvegetarian meal was served there. They alerted the police, and the police complied with the criminal gang by arresting the Institute Director, Fr. Dominic Pinto, and nine organisers.

Is one to believe that Ram Rajya is here where people of other faiths or communities will be banished into jungles for vanvas? As the Ram Lalla idol is installed in Ayodhya, only Hindu Rashtravadis have their citizenship and the rest, under NRC, will have to go down the drain as termites and cockroaches. Is this the new India with a Modified agenda to have moral police and cultural chauvinists, inebriated with the power of sticks and swords, to execute instant punishment?

Is this the Ram Rajya of Mahatma Gandhi, where himsa has no place, or the Modified Ram Rajya, where himsa, nonviolence and visceral hatred will rule the day? Maybe Gandhi has no place in the present dispensation, which encourages the venom of religious hatred and animosity towards the Adivasis, Dalits, and other minority communities.

In the age of Rashtravad or fascist nationalism, personalities like Gandhi, Ambedkar, Tagore, Abdul Kalam, Sarojini Naidu and such great men and women who lived by and taught us democratic and humane values have no merit or historical significance. In the Temple of Democracy, there is no place for our democratically elected leaders just because they exercised their Constitutional right and duty, in our name, to raise questions, express a dissenting opinion or challenge anti-people legislation.

We, the citizens of India, are being denied freedom of expression, freedom of conscience in following a faith or belief, right to equality and equity. We are asked to gulp down what is thrust into our throats, such as unintelligent theories, nonperforming promises and unscientific invocations.

We cannot question why our sacred cross is desecrated by hooligans who replace it with the Hindu religious flag. We cannot question why minority religious worshipping places are desecrated and destroyed,
and residences are bulldozed and pulverised. We are asked by Big Brother to shove our reasoning to Jehannum and to season our thoughts with half-baked ideas and mumbo-jumbo.

Our children are to learn only what is dictated to them without letting them use their mental power and creative thinking. Some hooligans jump into our path and ask us, at Trishul point, to shout Vande Mataram to prove our citizenship.

Ram has been projected to be Maryada Purush. Is this the Ram Rajya of this Maryada Purush where antyodaya, the rise of the last and the least, is a distant dream? Does this Maryada Purush inspire you to despise others, hate those who have a different opinion or belief, or do lynching operations with impunity? In this independent India, even as we proclaim from rooftops that we are second to none, sense and sensibilities have been given a back seat. Many are wondering if we are not facing a demolition raj and an abolition raj - demolition of the traces of minorities and a slow but agenda-based abolition of the Constitution.

The fundamental principles of the Constitution are under attack. Freedom of expression has been hacked. Freedom of religion means freedom of the majority community's religion. Some say that even more sinister things on the menu are in the offing.

Quite depressive and distressing, isn't it? Could there not be a way out? As the next General Election is at our doorsteps, isn't it time to get into action mode? Every adult citizen has a democratic weapon, their fundamental right to vote and to choose the right representatives. Time to sit up and reason about exercising our right to vote beneficially. We need to select our representatives who are men and women of integrity, not people with criminal records or history sheets. We must choose people who will not take us for a ride by mesmerising us with lies and false promises. We have had enough of such leaders who are outright liars, popularity seekers and who promise us the moon.

Aren't we aware that such leaders are digging the grave to bury deep our democracy, our Constitution, our fundamental rights and the nation's minority communities. Let us wield the powerful weapon of our vote to negate evil forces and say Yes to usher in restoring our country on a genuine path of development, peace and prosperity.

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