India’s “inbox” is full

arshid-malikArshid Malik

 During school days we were taught that democracy is a government “for the people, by the people and of the people” and this definition was the simplest one could have as concerns a system of governance. As I grew up into a young man I realized that the definition of democracy I had been taught at school carried a lot of weight which made me realize that I was consciously very glad to have been born into a democratic society. I guess those we happy-go-lucky times and as time passed by I figured that definitions were not characteristically definitive of actuations especially in the sphere of politics. I understood that India was a democratic country but it had its own draw backs but there was a lot of hope too, for every young, developing mind, to see beyond the cacophonic contours of political rhetoric.

Being a Kashmiri I learnt, over the years, that democracies could choke freedoms and turn into fiefdoms. I learnt that the freedom of expression as guaranteed by the Constitution of India was not exactly applicable to Kashmir since we chose to differ from the idea of a secular India – that was a shade of our irony – but as time passed by I learnt to rationalize emotions and un-generalize the principles and pivots of democratic governments across the world, as also other forms of governance. I learnt that governance is “political trade” whereone has to give in order to take, which in other words meant that if an individual expects something from the state, the state in turn expects something from that individual and that is where the foundation of a successful, development oriented nation-state is laid. At the same time I understood that democracy, by virtue, was based on the principle of entertaining dissent and it was the latter which meant that a democratic setup would be successful in terms of its people and their aspirations. So being a responsible citizen was a conscious choice and more important than that was the need, as opposed to choice, to serve as a dissenting voice in a democracy, rectifying the bad, the ugly and the disorientated that over time could greatly hinder the prospect of a people’s government to the point of it turning into a nightmare.

Democracy is a live system of governance and one important thing that makes it run is entertaining dissent and for this India as a country was never an exception. Ever since India gained independence it survived, grew and flourished as a country since it entertained dissent and shaped itself to suit particular resolves of people which were focused on improving the actual state of affairs in the country. But slowly the very essence of independence, and the very crucial movement that carried India to the forte of independence, started shrinking while “power politics” adjusted itself to the assuming front row. It was political leaders, chosen by the people with all their blood and gut, who began shaping the “future” of India. The leaders of India pursued their own agendas, particularly those aimed at amassing party and personal wealth and well-being, overriding the basic principle of democracy – the people that is. Space for dissent started shrinking in India till it reached a point where it was apparent that almost all forms of dissent and dissenting discourse would be denounced as anti-national.What happened in Jawaharlal Nehru University recently drove home the fact that India’s “inbox” is full and while one should stand up while singing the national anthem, one should not partake in anything that could be accounted for as dissent since it would be eventuated upon as anti-national.

Yes, India’s “inbox” is full and the system does not need dissenting voices, which are politically deemed very crucial to its very existence and growth as a nation. India’s “inbox” is full and we can keep our ideas to ourselves lest we are venturing out to scam or gamble in the name of the nation. We, the citizens of India are better off brain-dead since the system has pulled itself to a halt and thus arrested all chances at surviving as a democratic country.

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