India – Authoritarian State or Democracy?
Posted by Agnivo Niyogi
For those firmly believe in the idea of India, the morning of 3 January was nothing less than that of a shocker. Triple blows punched the balloon of the myth of Indian democracy into non existence. The State yet again tried to over step its powers and dictate terms of living to the citizens.
The day began with the raging debate surrounding comments by Minister in charge of Women and Child Welfare, in the state of Karnataka, where he advised women to keep “skin show” in check to avoid being raped by men. To add fuel to the fire, the head of the “committee against harassment of women” in Bangalore University, endorsed the minister. She claimed, nothing short of a saree worn with full sleeved blouses qualify as modest outfit for women.
As people recovered from the “saree fatwa”, a new bomb exploded. News trickled in that the government of Madhya Pradesh has passed a law making eating beef a punishable offence with jail term of 7 years. Imagine, eating cow on the same pulpit as rape in the hierarchy of crimes!
These two events are surpassed in gravity by the tragic killing of a teenage student in the state of Jammu and Kashmir, a day before. Another example of high handedness of the state – an innocent life lost simply because he was a by stander at a protest against power crisis. The state has virtually become a graveyard for human rights, innocents sandwiched between the state and the militants.
These unrelated events that unfolded within a span on twenty four hours, expose the journey of India from a democracy towards authoritarianism. This ploy to gain complete control over public life, including their thought process, grimly transports me to “Hirak Rajar Deshe”, how uncanny is the resemblance of the present with the world depicted on celluloid!
Questions of morality and modesty of woman’s dressing have been answered by yours truly in various previous posts, which you can read if interested here and here. On the question of banning a particular meat because of religious connotations, i am completely baffled. Religion is a personal prejudice of an individual. The State has no business forcing its own notions on everyone, especially when many do not want to subscribe to the view adopted by the State.
I have always supported the repeal of draconian AFSPA and any law which gives absolute powers to institutions. From what i have heard from people residing in the state of Kashmir, it is clear that Army treats Kashmir like its Zamindari, for the “favour” it is doing India by fighting against militancy. Just like rich Zamindars have fanned the rise of Maoism in rural tribal Indian belt, the arrogance and indifference of State forces in Kashmir have fanned anti military sentiments across the province.
Until 2 July 2009, the State even wanted to control the private sex lives of citizens with draconian article 377 of IPC. Thanks to Justice A P Shah, has no legal sanctity anymore. But the continued efforts on part of Indian State to monitor the social life of citizens only evokes fears in my heart. Is India soon going to join the league of nations like China?