Pooja Poddar Marwah

No democracy no more!

It is said that when faced with a difficultsituation, sometimes you need to step back a little and gaze into it from theoutside. You need to reconfigure and replan to find a solution to overcome it.

Once a land known for its vibrantdemocracy, is India slowly turning into an authoritarian country? We teach ourchildren the importance of having an opinion and voicing out their thoughts athome, so as to strike a balance between the generations that live together.Peace and harmony can only be obtained if there is respect and freedom ofthought. So why is it that we are losing our own freedom of thought when itcomes to our country?

The Swedish V-Dem Institute’s DemocracyReport, spoke about thespeedy decline in democracy globally, and clearly mentioned that India “ison the verge of losing its status as a democracy due to the severe shrinking ofspace for the media, civil society, and the opposition.”

We sit back after dinner and watch The Trevor Noah show and oftenquestion his freedom to speak about the current political leaders in America,unabashedly. And when it comes down to us in India, sadly it remains but aconversation confined to a home. There is no point in speaking for if we don’tconform by the ideologies of the government, there will neither be peace norany future.

Ashok Lavasa (Former Election Commissioner) tried hard in voicing his dissatisfactionin 2019 but was firmly transferred and harassed; and this intimidation was feltby his family as well. Amnesty International, A Nobel Peace Prize winner wasforced to shut operations and quit India. Most recently, Infosys Foundation toofelt its wrath and sadly, one of India’s most respected businessmen, NarayanMurthy had to backtrack on his earlier views. He had openly said that there wasconsiderable fear in the minds of (the) minority in India. He spoke about Indiahaving “the poorest health, dirtiestrivers, highest pollution and (one of the) poorest primary education” systemsin the world. And he wasn’t wrong at that. So vehemently, he had stated thatthe Indian government was filling “textbooks with ideological fantasies andentrusting its top institutions with right wing fellow-travellers.” But sadly,he had to retrack. And this was considered a very humiliating reversal!

The global leaders are sensing this change anddeliberating on investments with us. And rightly so, for looking at thebacklash Twitter receives on “toeing the line,” what exactly do we have tooffer any of the multinationals, if we cannot even grant our own people thevery basic freedom of speech.

With the high profile saga of diamantaireMehul Choksi, does it not reveal the magnitude of secrets that are unfolding, whichperhaps also entwine our very own high profile leaders? After all, for all thescams that happen in India, it is no discreet fact that someone out there, atthe top of the ladder is well invested into it as well.

From shielding secrets to silencing words, ourdemocracy is on a sharp decline into the dictatorship arena and if we don’ttake a stand now, perhaps there won’t be a chance for us to even read thetruth.

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