I woke up and realised it’s Independence Day because the gym was empty and I had an easy-breezy drive to the airport. I wondered why, and realised, long weekend, Independence Day, etc. And then I was inexplicably sad.
It’s day 11 of an entire state under lockdown, with all lines of communication cut off. Several of their elected politicians are still detained. It’s what the global media is now calling a form of colonisation. Closer home, we don’t have it in us to call it what it is — undemocratic. Few official updates to explain what is going on. Plenty of hysteria making it all look “normal” and “under control” on TV. But read the real news and it’s horrific.
All this while the prime minister who never makes himself available to the press, solidly avoiding answering solid questions about real issues, appears on a PR driven episode of Man vs Wild, as some wildly twisted way to show he is a champion of environmental causes.
Maybe if he actually did better we wouldn’t be the fourth worst country of 180 countries on the Environmental Performance Index. Maybe he could show us he cares by stopping the unlawful, brazen sanctioning of licenses to clear forests and ecologically sensitive areas for questionable infrastructural projects, and not exempting powerful industrialists and godmen from getting necessary licenses before putting up their next coal mines or industries or whatever else.
Maybe speak up against the gross spread of violence and hate being spewed by emboldened communally-charged elements? Maybe support the powers that be in giving justice to victims and survivors of this violence? Maybe stop the constant stream of aquittal of murderers responsible for some of the worst hate crimes. Maybe do something and lend his goddamned voice across any of the multiple channels of communication he has, to actually speak about the horrific atrocities being committed by self-styled cow-vigilantes in the name of religion and patriotism?
Maybe do something to show that the fast dismantling of minority rights that’s underway is not what we stand for as a country? Maybe show us that we needn’t be afraid. Because I am. The more I read the news, the more afraid I am. The sadder I get. The more hopeless and silenced I feel.
I’m not sure this is the country our ancestors fought tooth and nail, long and hard for, in the name of freedom and independence.