Barring BJP supporters, everyone else is ‘misled’ in the land of anti-nationals

In just about 7 years India has turned into a country teeming with traitors, separatists and anti-nationals conspiring overtime to defame country and its rulers. At least that is what rulers believe

Representative Image (NH Photo by Vipin)
Representative Image (NH Photo by Vipin)

Ranjona Banerji

Welcome to India, the land of anti-nationals!

Many others have compiled similar versions. But put them all together and this is what you get.

Muslims. Dalits. Students. Liberals. Writers. Intellectuals. Historians. Academics. Leftists. Scientists. Lawyers. Former judges. Activists. Social Workers. NGOs. Christians. Buddhists. Sikhs. Farmers. Former bureaucrats and diplomats. Former Armed Forces and Police personnel. People who don’t vote BJP. Supporters of all political parties except the BJP and their allies. All former allies of the BJP until they join hands again.

Non-Hindi speaking people. English-speaking people. Women. Lesbians. Gays. Transgenders. Women who fall in love. Men who fall in love. Parents who allow their children the freedom to fall in love. A smattering of Journalists. People who support democracy. People in favour of fundamental rights. People who want personal liberty for all.

Of course, as you can see, I’ve got this list all wrong, upside down. The right way of looking at this is to list India’s nationalists. And that’s really easy.

Everyone who supports Narendra Modi, his government at the Centre, the BJP, its governments across India, the RSS and all its affiliate associations. Right now, at the end of 2020, that’s the sum total of acceptable Indians.

Everyone else. Byeee.

Where do we go? As the farmers of Punjab, Haryana, Uttar Pradesh and Rajasthan found out this week, they don’t even have the right to march to Delhi, the national capital. But what you or I may assume is the capital of India is now the Modi Capital. All roads barred for anti-nationals. Farmers don’t have the right to protest against laws they think affect them badly. They don’t have the right to think. They don’t have the right to dialogue.

As the week unfolded, India’s farmers discovered, as have many other Indian anti-nationals, that they do have some rights. The universal right to police violence, to barricades, to water cannons and tear gas. They have the right to fall into trenches, carefully dug up out of our roads. Scratch that. The Modi-BJP roads of Haryana under the BJP government of ML Khattar. These roads are not for anti-nationals to cross. How dare they presume? Soon they will discover the right to be arrested under laws designed for terrorists where even more of their rights will be abrogated.

It might sound like I’m making a joke out of this. But that’s where we are. Laugh or cry. And once you start crying, you’re never going to stop.

Because the photographs are chilling. Of barricades and barbed wire. Of old men sitting on the road in the chill of a North Indian winter night with water cannons aimed at them. Of a policeman in riot gear raising his stick to hit a white-bearded farmer.

And the news is as bad. Of a young farmer who turned off the water cannon being charged with attempted murder. Of Sikh farmers being called Khalistanis by pro-BJP nationalists because everyone who is against Modi and the BJP is a terrorist. No opportunity is lost by the BJP and its universe to vilify and reduce any opposing voices to the realm of treason. For all the hot air spoken about the great love the BJP has for soldiers and farmers, one whiff of disagreement and the knives are out.

The more “reasoned” argument by BJP’s “Right Wing intellectual” (okay that is a real joke, not one born out of despair) supporters and by sections of the captive media is that the farmers had been “misled”. As the farmers have been “misled” for a few months now, since the legislation they are protesting against were introduced as bills and then rammed through Parliament, why let the situation escalate?

And coupled with “misled” explanation comes the accusation that the issue is being “politicized”. This from an ideology which has in the past six years politicized love, marriage, diet, faith, choice. Modi enablers who rant at the Opposition for not opposing enough are now deeply upset that the Opposition – every political party except Modi’s cronies are with the farmers on this – for acting like an Opposition.

In this India, only Modi nationalists win. The odds are stacked against everyone else.

Amidst India’s anti-nationals though there were glimmers of the Indian dream. Of Sikhs holding langars to feed everyone. Of a nearby mosque sending food for the farmers. Of farmers sharing food with the very police who threatened them.

Of the last bit of glue that might still hold…

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