Thursday, July 30, 2015

Let us not make the debate on Death Penalty, a Communal One!

The law may be an ass- an idiot; but it’s all we’ve got

                                                                                         - Modified 'Oliver Twist' Quote

Ever since the issue of the hanging of Yakub Memom came into public discourse, there is a raging debate on social as well as mainstream media that he was executed because the criminal justice system in India is Communal. Many liberals were swayed by this argument on two accounts. First, Why does the Hindutva rioters like Maya Kodnani and Babu Bajrangi are all out on bail and secondly, why did Bal Thackeray, one of the main protagonist of the Mumbai riots not brought to book and given a state funeral. On the face of it these two arguments looked valid. I agree, that Bal Thackeray should not have been given a state funeral and Kodnani and other criminals should not be left so easily without the state appealing for their execution. But this does not justify that why the one of the perpetrators of the Mumbai Serial Blasts should not be brought to book, according to Indian Law.

Our criminal justice system may be flawed because of unending delay in deciding cases, one can argue about the use of death penalty in 21st Century. One can vehemently oppose death penalty, but certainly one cannot make hangings a Hindu-Muslim debate. I am sure the Supreme Court has legal reasons for not awarding a death warrant to Maya Kodnani and company. If someone wants to see she and others executed, do file an appeal. I am sure so called liberals weeping in the name of saving secularism in India can certainly do so.

A Terrorist is a terrorist, No country should condone the acts of terrorism. Also no country should make a Tamasha in the name of hanging terrorists. The BJP Government in order to prove that Modi still possesses a 56 inches chest made a spectacle out of Yakub Memom’s hanging, which is the most shameful thing to do. Times Now anchors like Navika Kumar behaved like trolls and displayed a high degree of shamelessness in order to increase her channel’s TRP ratings. The media hounded Memom’s family members and the Government disgustingly hung him on his birthday. All this could have avoided by a silent execution like happened in the case of Kasab and Afzal Guru. The Congress Home Ministers like Chidambaram and Sushil Kumar Shinde never made a tamasha of this hanging.

Coming back to the communal debate point, It is utterly stupid to say that only Muslims are hung in India and Non-Muslims are free. A cursory look at the statistics provided here - will certainly change that. Facts speak for themselves.

Both sides of the divide are playing a dangerous game. Those who trend #GoToHellYakub, should be shunned and those like Owaisi who shout from the rooftops to communalise the issue should be shunned.

Communal Riots and Terror attacks cannot be compared. Although they have a very thin line of divide when it comes to the nature of the crime committed, yet if you attack innocent people of a sovereign country, by taking help from other country- then you should not be spared. The law may be an ass, the law may not have executed people indulging in communal riots, the way it treats terrorists. Then the law should be changed.

Congress led UPA tried very hard to get a Communal Violence Bill, in order to provide a closure to the victims of Communal Violence in this country and also seeking harsher punishment to those involved in these heinous crimes. But due to lack of consensus and a coalition government, it could not pass it.

The Congress is a party which represents the political centre. It is damned from the majority as well as the minority in equal measure. The country is going through a phase where polarization is becoming rampant, and perhaps that is why the Congress party is also losing ground. In a country which now has a full blown Right wing Hindutva Government, people are seeking to group themselves opposite to it in the form of Muslim fundamentalism. This is a dangerous process.

Those liberals who blame the Congress for not doing enough to stop Modi becoming the Prime Minister have themselves to blame. They did not align with the Congress- Modi’s most credible alternative and ditched it in the name of an anarchist movement. The Congress was punished by the people of India, and those liberals should suffer too. They give lectures of Liberalism, but get swayed by Anarchist movements.

Lastly, Abolishing death penalty in India is a very healthy debate. Sections from across political spectrum want that. They should, along with the civil society pressurize the Government of the day to change the law. But, please don’t make the death penalty debate a Communal one. Thanks.

Sunday, July 26, 2015

Now, Let's Awaken the Liberal

Indian politics has come a long way. Democracy has deepened and elections have become a 24X7, 365 days affair instead of becoming a 6 month campaign affair just before the 5 year term ends.
The socialistic liberal democratic ideals which governed India for decades have changed into a completely opposite conservative religious right governing the country in full majority now.

The fringe has become the mainstream. Bigotry is on the rise, so as political colouring of the institutions. Mediocracy in governance as well as in institutions is slowly creeping in. Religious right of all hues and colours are gaining dominance and the country is going through times which it has never imagined.

Marketing of governance has become more importance than actual governance. Without advertising and packaging the dreams and promises won't sell. People have also started buying this exuberant public relation exercises by governments.
Whether you govern or not is not really important, the fact that you seem to be governing should reach the masses like a 24X7 campaign.

Instead on focusing on real socio-political issues, some political protagonists have started focussing on simply exploiting issues in order to garner support.

The churning which begun in 2011, which political commentators believed would clean up the system and bring about some transparency has completely failed them.

Corruption and so called corrosion of institutions are still the biggest issues and have maintained a status quo.

So called mirage of cleaning up the governance by agitating and launching an anti-corruption movement has yielded no results. The only result it achieved was to change the nature of the regime, this attaining its political objective

In the past 15 months of this so called 'Change'; there is no real change which has transformed the lives of Indians. Instead it has further corroded valuable institutions, casted aspersions on important pillars of democracy like the judiciary and the media.

Authoritarianism has risen. Governance has been reduced to a business between the rulers and few cronies, with policies being drafted which will send the underprivileged into the dustbins of economic order.

Voices of reason are being suppressed. Illiberal voices are being encouraged. Hate in our society is being pandered. Rationalism is being punished. Civil society participation in governance is being throttled.

The liberal slept is watching all this. The sleeping liberal after its political and social defeat has till now remain asleep .

They remained asleep when anarchists took over, they remained silent when communalists took over. They remained asleep when the society accepted bigotry and fundamentalism in the garb of so called political 'Change'. They remained asleep when their world broke up by narrow domestic walls They remained asleep when the clear steam of reason lost its way. They remained asleep when there country needed them the most.

15 months down the line, it's time to wake up this sleeping liberal.

My father let my country awake!