Silencing the Alternative voices


The likes of Dabolkar, Pansare, Kalburgi & now Gauri are the few lonely voices in our societal landscape, who had sounded different from the popular narrative, they all had sternly & firmly stood for the causes of very people, who have been pushed to the margins in the name of caste, religion and superstitious beliefs.

It is widely known, observed that mainstream media in the country is least bothered to take up the issues of these marginalised, ostracised people living in an atmosphere of fear and hopelessness. The motive to crush those lonely voices is nothing but an act of fascism to define an archaic idea of India which never falls into the premise of our constitutional principles of pluralism, freedom of expression, equal treatment for all.

Ever since Modi government came to the power with a strong majority, right wing forces have gathered the confidence to silence every voices those they believe has never fit into their idea of India. The dangerous trend of selective targeting of people who challenge & raise opposing views is being brought down by bullets.

The liberal space for such intellectual to discuss, to bring the valid issues to the limelight are being treated with disdain. But the real fact is that these attacks on such people are nothing but an effort to contain them with brutal force. The role of our mainstream media in today’s environment is limited to browbeating what has been propagated by the govt, instead of questioning the govt tendencies media amounts to create a climate of an unnecessary frenzy on issues like nationalism & patriotism. In the hindsight, underlying larger societal issues which are at play have been sidelined.

The intellectuals like Gauri spoke sense and fought for those class of people who have been living under constant fear and insecurity, it is the responsibility of journalist-cum activist like Gauri to bring such issues to the forefront for the Govt of the day to address it sensibly. I think most the issues raised by these liberal intellectuals are getting brushed aside with a scant regard of not getting heard. As an agenda to oppose anyone with such liberal voices are not through serious discussions, but finds an easy route of resorting to violence, vandalism and murder.

The idea of India has been inclusive in nature not exclusive. If we continue the way we are doing right now would turn our country into a theocratic state, which is against the principles enshrined in our Constitution. The fundamental existence of India as a nationhood doesn’t lie on the idea of majoritarianism, but an idea which takes everyone in the society together with an objective of empowering all to build a strong nation which celebrates its vibrancy in unity in diversity.

It is very sad to see how insensitive we have become as a society, the ideas and values these espoused by liberal intellectuals ought to be right normal which we as a nation need to imbibe. The idea of divisiveness, communal politics, the illogical embarrassment of past culture is not going to take us anywhere if we really aspire to become a powerful nation in the coming decade.

The culture we have inherited as a society thrives on accepting every faith & beliefs inclusively. In contrast to that what we witness today is nothing but the blatant violation of silencing them with out constructive engagement. The systematic destruction of institutions of excellence in the last three years clearly point towards a singular idea of a new normal, with limited possibilities of voices of dissent, Our strands of defining nationalism today is very skewed & myopic. The intolerance towards opposing views, alternate ideas needs to be promoted more than getting wrapped as anti-nationalist.

The one-dimensional view through a particular prism would turn our country into a bunch of aberrations. The ideas or voices should be three dimensional and should be allowed to be discussed and deliberated in a central space, because you cannot view or govern a nation with narrow-minded ideas, silencing those with opposing views, who tries to bring issues plaguing us into the forefront for a very long time. If we really want to take the nation forward to greater heights, the need for accommodating the sensibilities of each and every one in the society is a must. As a society needs the patience to hear their concerns with empathy, not as an enemy of the state.

In the contemporary society, or as a nation with a multitude of practices, belief systems and food habits, the responsibility of the govt ought to be the role of a facilitator in providing the space for them to debate, survive and sustain. The role of such individuals who raises their voices, concerns needs to be welcomed with an open mind. I believe in today’s India extreme leftist ideologies or extreme right-wing ideologies are dangerous to our nation’s existence, the relevance of strong personalities like Gouri need to be heard, welcomed, but the recent series of actions against them proves that as a society we have been becoming increasingly intolerant towards individuals who take up issues of wider importance, which I believe is a very dangerous trend.

 

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​Manual Scavenging : A Real measure of progress as a society.


imagesIn spite in last 65 years since independence , we as a society still lives and breathes the old practices of treating , discriminating people on the basis of caste and creed, The old practice of Dalits as a marginalised community being who are being heckled and brutally treated still continued without any change . We all are living in a highly technocratic environment with more advances in technology happening everywhere across the world , we as  a nation is largely following the trend of a free flow of information, access and use of technology to improve one’s life for better. But I feel  so ashamed that we as a society still feels the same in the way we treat marginalised communities like Dalits.  They are still being allowed to all those menial and risky jobs like manual scavenging , I heard no politicians   expressing  in strong words against this decade-old practice , we call ourselves as an empowered society who knows how to fight for their rights . But so far society has not stood to fight against the practice of manual scavenging.

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Bezwada Wilson and his movement Safai karmachari Andolan

Bezwada Wilson from Karnataka a Dalit by himself  stands apart , he   has started  Safai karmachari andolan which fights against the manual scavenging , the removal of human excreta using their hands  and disposing the waste to disposal sites by  carrying  it on their heads, sometimes their predicament is so bad they have to get themselves immersed in sewage canals for long hours to drain the waste from it, they often  involve in this activity  in bad light with lesser oxygen to breathe , by putting their own lives at huge risk . But we care very less about the plight n of such people who daily fights for their lives  by scavenging the human waste to earn their living. Don’t we have a  better system still  in this country to dispose of human waste ?

Swach Bharath Abhiyan & Cess

Our  Govt takes pride in the Swatch Bharath Abhiyan  and celebrities from all walks of life openly promote the need  for having a toilet in every household , To build toilets  across the length bad breadth of this country we as a society is in fact paying an indirect cess to the govt  .  But we as a society never felt the importance of highlighting the issue of manual scavenging , No celebrities or the media has shown interest in stopping this practice and empower those people who are involved this activities generations after generation.  So-called sophisticated, elite or upper class treat those people with contempt , insanity.  When are we going to get way from the shackles of this oppressive system  of caste and creed create,  divide within the human beings?

Govt is the biggest culprit

The  2016 Magsasay award winner MR Bezwada Wilson is fighting for the cause of around 180,000 thousand households cleaning 79,0000 dry toilets in which mostly are women folks who deliberately pushed to this profession as hereditary , see the biggest violator is the successive govt  in spite of having constitutional rules and laws prohibiting this practice , but govt failed miserably to enforce the rights of this people.  The biggest irony is that this problem is faced not  by majority community , but a lesser cross section of the population who are very many minorities , who are sidelined . So their rights for a better living  don’t have much value for the society as a whole.  I think as a progressive society we should have collectively fight this practice , stopped by all means if anybody saw promoting this. It is shame collective as a society that we are still allowing this to continue even after having suitable protection under the constitution for a decent living with dignity and respect. As per the 2011 census shows , UP tops the chart with more no of dry toilets.

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