Wednesday, April 17, 2024

The Bagga Saga: Why our democracy is now meaningless

Is this free-for-all in India now?

It appears every pillar of the system is flexing its muscles as per its own interest and common citizens be warned if “freedom of expression” is your thing. 

You take a political or a religious stand, and use the social media platforms to express them in public and chances are you could be booked by a faraway State on a complaint by some obscure entity and dragged from your home. 

It has happened with Tajinder Pal Singh Bagga now, as it was with Arnab Goswami or countless others, who fall foul of powers-that-be for a cartoon they made, the swipe they took at a political biggie. 

Judiciary does step in but by the time your bail is secured, the fear of system become your default position as we see in countless cases, one of Arnab Goswami famously, who is no longer interested in Sushant Singh Rajput or calling Sonia by name. 

If you are a BJP or Narendra Modi supporter, your first reality check would be social media where suspensions and bans seem only reserved for those who call out the fraud of Left-Liberals and globalist forces. Ask me who has had several such brushes, to the point where I am now even not contesting my current Facebook ban which has been in force for weeks now without any explanation from the enforcer. 

Those who slip through this censure are then presented with a far more intimidatory challenge of political forces, irked as they are by a chatterati who is gaining traction. All parties have such characters—Sanjay Raut, Saket Gokhale even Bagga etc—and all face the music when the law and order custodians are set in motion. Many a cases appear as if State, police and judiciary are acting in concert on them. 

 Opinions are inflamed since the Media is no longer neutral. They are split along parties line who promise goodies in return, what if these parties themselves are fronts of imperialist/Islamist/Conversion forces hell bent on Balkanizing India. 

(The BJP president, JP Nadda, today has accused Kerala’s Pinarayi Vijayan government of nurturing Jihadi Islamist forces in the State but trust your Media to gloss over such a grim charge which could drown India in the river of blood and splinter it in near future.)

Unfortunately, judiciary doesn’t inspire much trust either. It takes inconsistent positions, gift-wrapping it with verbosity which frankly appears juvenile. On occasions one feels that it’s preventing the Executive from taking actions, such as on issues of Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s security breach in Punjab or on the matter of Jahangirpuri violence recently. 

With the system failing to take positions where lines are drawn and the breach is punished, where regulation of daily life isn’t disrupted by anarchists, it appears India is descending into a Jungle Rule where Might is Right. 

However, this Might isn’t limited by your geographical extent, the federalism and inane laws enable a faraway State to press its punishment agencies (police etc) and silence a troubling voice. 

Your shot at fame, idealism, Just Cause are all tested with a few nights spent on a jail floor with the whirring of mosquitos to keep you company. The societal shame, not to say the worry if a chargesheet hurts your chances at job or a visit abroad, also weigh against the idealism you espouse. 

All of this is too scary. It makes your democracy meaningless. If one doesn’t trust the three Pillars of governance (Executive, Legislative, Judiciary), the fourth—Media—is no better than a courtesan, the mob blocks your roads, muzzles expression of your faith, sooner or later either you slink away in your privacy and abandon your duties of a citizen or you join the mob itself to empower and shield you from an embittered power as Bagga managed to do where two hostile political parties fought a proxy drama on his behalf. Or you are one of those faceless, rotting in prison cells, either on sedition or communal charges, with no help in sight. 

So till you are strong, keep your idealism stored away. An individual stands no chance against this rigged system. You either play the game of a mob or a political party. Or stay at home, attending to your job or escorting your grand-child to the school bus. 

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