India may soon be the most populous country, but we are lagging behind in hunger, civil liberty indices

Do we, the people of this country get enough to eat in the backdrop of constantly rising prices? Do we have the liberty to cry out in anguish or anger?

Photo courtesy: DW
Photo courtesy: DW

Humra Quraishi

Our country would soon be the most populous country in the world. We are said to be on the verge of breaking population record of sorts! Too many humans. Never mind, don’t bother to ask how they are surviving, in what dismal-pathetic conditions!

Do we, the people of this country get enough to eat in the backdrop of the rising prices of just about anything connected to the kitchen and home and everyday survival? Do we have the liberty to cry out in anguish or anger? Are we living in the actual sense, with the affordable minimum basics in our grip? Can we protect our fundamental human rights and that of the fellow human beings? Why is that today we are seeing defenders of human rights getting hounded if not arrested? Why is it that those critical of the establishment are facing or may soon face the aftermath? Why the declining numbers of the champions of liberty, free speech? Why are activists and rights upholders made to shut up?

It does seem a crisis time. From all possible angles, political and also the apolitical happenings seem to baffle. In fact, the most baffling of it all is the rising prices of the essentials. Those who survived the coronavirus and also the new viruses up in the air are now struggling with the bitter question of how to cope with hunger!

Another crisis situation is the way charges are being pressed against activists and civil society members - be it Kashmir’s well respected human rights activist Khurram Parvez, or Teesta Setalvad and RB Sreekumar, who tried to come to the defence of the affected fellow human beings.

Of course, even right now there’d be hundreds of activists and defenders of rights in the country but there’s a growing sense of unease and disillusionment as the freedom to voice dissent is getting steadily trampled upon.

At this crucial juncture when we ought to be focusing on how to feed and educate and employ the hundreds and thousands of our citizens, we seem gripped by the political turns and twists. In fact, politics has intruded right into Malls too! Who all, which characters, from which religion, offered namaz at Lucknow’s freshly opened Lulu Mall, is getting probed.

While the Lulu Mall incident is still getting officially worked out, in the sense who all were the namazis, were they actual namazis or not, the aftermath of it seems equally worrying – the religious slotting of the employers and the employees of the Lulu Mall and the dissections and data floating around, along the frenzied surcharged communal format! So very typical of the communal climate we are destined to be living in!

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Published: 21 Jul 2022, 9:30 PM