Independence Day! Are You Independent in Modi’s India?

Narendra Modi addressing the Nation on the occasion of 72nd Independence Day from the ramparts of Red Fort, in Delhi on August 15, 2018. Photo: PIB
Narendra Modi addressing the Nation on the occasion of 72nd Independence Day from the ramparts of Red Fort, in Delhi on August 15, 2018. Photo: PIB

As Modi government has failed on all social and economic fronts, most Indians are living like slaves in their own country as they do not enjoy socio-economic freedom.

By Rakesh Raman

Today, India is celebrating its 72nd independence day. As usual, the Prime Minister (PM) of India Narendra Modi delivered his independence-day speech. His speech has no meaning at all for the people of India who have been suffering for the past over seven decades under all governments that ruled here.

Today, India is standing at the crossroads where the country’s 1.3 billion people are facing a grave threat from their own political rulers who have been exploiting them after India got independence from the Britishers in 1947.

While the celebration of independence day has become a dark ritual for all those people in India who live with a herd mentality, there is no social or economic independence for almost all Indians. Then how can you celebrate the independence day?

Although the blame goes to all politicians who could not put an end to the miseries of Indians, Modi proved to be the worst political leader that India has ever seen. During Modi’s 4 years of rule as PM, the country has gone back by almost 40 years.

While the religious persecution against minority communities is rampant, unrestrained inflation, severe unemployment, dwindling economy, and political corruption have become pain in the neck for commoners in India.

A large number of Indians are using social media platforms such as Facebook to offer their comments and share their views about corruption and lawlessness in the Modi government.

Global organizations are equally concerned about the increasing problems of Indians. A new “Freedom in the World 2017” report – released by Freedom House, a Washington-based independent watchdog organization – highlights rampant political and bureaucratic corruption in India. It reveals that corruption has a negative effect on government efficiency and economic performance.

“Though politicians and civil servants at all levels are regularly caught accepting bribes or engaging in other corrupt behavior, a great deal of corruption goes unnoticed and unpunished,” the report said in its findings.

Similarly, global anti-corruption organization Transparency International has lowered India’s rank from last year’s position of 79 to 81 this year. It is being observed that Modi himself and almost all politicians in Modi’s cabal are facing serious corruption charges.

Since Modi government has gagged the press and most journalists in India are also corrupt, there is hardly any press coverage of corruption cases in Modi’s government.

Last week, the Editors Guild of India (EGI) had censured the BJP government headed by PM Modi for its repeated attacks on press freedom in India.

Earlier, the global media watchdog Reporters Sans Frontieres (RSF) had for the first time issued an Incident Report on press freedom in India and it had warned Modi to protect the freedom of the press, as journalists who criticize Modi’s work are being harmed or even murdered.

Similarly, there are rampant human rights violations. The UN High Commissioner for Human Rights Zeid Ra’ad Al Hussein has voiced his concerns about the increasing human rights violations in India. He said that he is disturbed by discrimination and violence directed at minorities, including Dalits and other scheduled castes, and religious minorities such as Muslims in India.

As the Modi government has failed to ensure law and order, India is struggling with a surge in mob related violence that has claimed many lives. In the last seven months, there have been over 70 mob attacks, where close to 33 people have been killed.

The New York Times (NYT), the world’s top newspaper based in the U.S., has said in its new article that “it has become the year of the lynch mob in India.”

It is being observed that under Modi government, the already deformed democracy in the country has become a plutocracy or perhaps kleptocracy (the rule by thieves) controlled by the corporate bigwigs who hobnob with Modi.

The sorry plight of Indians indicates that India has already become a politically unstable banana republic with rampant lawlessness, corruption, and exploitation of the ordinary citizens. It is expected that soon India will formally appear in the list of banana republics such as Botswana, Guatemala, Nigeria, Zambia, and Cuba.

If the situation is not controlled immediately, it is expected that international sanctions will be imposed on India because of Modi government’s failure to stop increasing crime and corruption in the country.

As the government has failed on all social and economic fronts, most Indians are living like slaves in their own country as they do not enjoy socio-economic freedom. Then should you celebrate the independence day? And are you independent in Modi’s India? Think before you comment.

By Rakesh Raman, who is a national award-winning journalist and social activist. He is the founder of a humanitarian organization RMN Foundation which is working in diverse areas to help the disadvantaged and distressed people in the society.

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Rakesh Raman