24 Saturday
October 2020
The poor BJP supporter.

You know the BJP supporter is not alone. There were a lot of Indians who got taken in by the larger than life saviour who’s image shone into our homes, minds and subconscious. The magical marketing which ran the Obama presidential election campaign was used to market Modiji as a 56 inch chested supremo who would save us from the clutches of the scam infested Congress party, would give us achey din and make all the dreams of Hindus across the world come true. It was a marketing gimmick that worked too well.

The bubble burst as bubbles do primarily in the demonetisation exercise. On 8th November 2016 many people thought that is was a brave new thing to do in India. But gradually as the anarchy followed one realised that it was a foolhardy mistake, there was a reason why world renown economists like Raghuram Rajan were totally against such a step.

The GST was touted as the next big thing but the complex taxation system simply broke small businesses working out of homes and backyards and now after 3 years the centre doesn’t have money to pay States their own dues.

It’s ok to be taken in by slick marketing. But one needs a certain honesty to accept errors in judgement. A lot of people saw through it and realised their folly – they made a mistake in believing and simply don’t buy his statements any more. But there are those who persist because accepting they were wrong also means seeing things for what they are. And the truth is scary.

The economy is in very serious crisis.IMF shows predictions for India are worse off than all developing economies. Every household has suffered financial losses and the real estate market has crashed. Almost all mutual funds are in the red. There is hope of recovery, but the policies of this government don’t encourage foreigners to invest their time and money into a nation which is sitting on a tinderbox of communal hate.

China has geographically surrounded India by making allies in Pakistan,Nepal, Bangladesh and taking over ports in SriLanka and Maldives. So much is their dominance that India could not even retaliate when China walked through miles of Ladhakh land and refused to budge.

What was the point of hugging Xi over and over again, or the Howdy Modi or Namaste Trump visits when all we get from the POTUS is “India is filthy, the air in India is FILTHY”. This might be true, the air quality is really filthy, but who talks about their allies in this way? Clearly we are not even considered USA’s allies even after being “tu tadaak friends”. In fact our silence on deadly attacks on Muslims have distanced the historic allies like Iran and UAE. Hate and divisiveness come back to bite the hand that spreads them, and as a nation , we are getting back what we have given the last 6 years.

When people tell me who is the alternative I simply tell them like the surgeon I am that when a tumour is spreading hurt and causing damage we simply need to remove it first. Then we find that the body heals itself, fibrous tissue comes in and new alternatives emerge. Narasimha Rao was not the alternative Congress presented when Rajiv Gandhi was killed during elections but he turned out to be fabulous for the Indian economy.

Please let’s not forget these are the people who were silent when Gujarat burned. His second in command was arrested for murder. The judge who was presiding over that case died in very strange circumstances. And no enquiry ever happened into his death.

We Indians have lived in bonhomie for centuries. We celebrate Diwali, Eid, Guruprab and Christmas with gusto and joy! Let us not allow the fabric of India to be changed. If we can’t make things better for our kids, atleast let’s not make them worse.Hinduism has been going strong for millennia, despite the invasions and attacks. It is because our tenet is to love and see good in everyone. It is our belief that God lives in everything.

I empathise with the BJP supporters. I refuse to call them names. I know they don’t show the same restrain. But I can feel your pain…. deep down, it must have hurt so much to be let down again and again…… Please know you are not alone. All Indians are my brothers and sisters.

Let us together dream to make India a peaceful, harmonious, strong and developed nation where even the poorest have basic amenities. Good education, healthcare for all and the absence of divisiveness will take us a long way on our path to greatness.

Warm regards
Dr. Sarika Verma
Ent surgeon Gurgaon

07 Wednesday
October 2020
Muted media and voiceless outrage.

In the four decades I’ve been on earth, I have led a sheltered life.A sense of fairness has been there all along. If something was not right, we have called it out. Justice has prevailed. But gradually I find that world we knew is crumbling before our very eyes. The world of controlled media and fake news is evolving ever so quickly that outrage is being replaced by a shrug of the shoulders. An acceptance that is scarier than anger.

Remember Jessica lall was murdered in front of a hundred people on 29th April 1999. When Manu Sharma was acquitted in February 2006 the newspaper headlines read “No One Killed Jessica”. There was nation wide outrage , Supreme court took suo motu cognisance and a retrial followed with a guilty verdict.

The widespread outrage following Nirbhaya’s terrible gang rape in 2012 December made me feel it was a watershed moment in the history of India. Harsher laws were made, a Nirbhaya fund was created. I had hoped that rapes would reduce in India, there would be speedier justice, more fear of the law, our women would become safer. After an 8 year delay the rapists were finally hanged but not before the mother of the victim went pillar to post in an unending fight for justice.

When does this end? A thousand Nirbhaya’s have happened after that. And Unnao happened. Kathua happened. Hathras happened. And every 15 minutes in between another rape happens in India. Crimes against women have in fact increased over the past 8 years. There have been incidents where there were rallies in favour of the accused- Kathua, Unnao and now Hathras. And that dear friends is why India is where it is. We blame short clothes, mobile phones, Bollywood influence, Music industry’s inglorious discription of women and as recently as yesterday the absense of “sanskar in girls” as the causation of rapes. We refuse to openly state it : our boys are raised incorrectly, they are raised with a sense of entitlement and are taught that women are inferior. Therefore rape is used as a tool of domination over any female who they think they can get away with – be it a month old baby, a 3 year old child or a 90 year old woman.

A picture that speaks a thousand words.

Rapes happen because they are justified. Because the police acts differently when the accused is an MLA or belongs to a higher caste. If the police was not under the influence of the legislature, if they were like the Army-an independent entity, if they collected evidence against every crime the way they are supposed to, India would be a safer country for 50% of the population.

In December 1992 all of us watched on TV the recordings of the Babri Masjid demolition. We watched as the country wide riots happened.We watched Godhra, the post Godhra riots when Gujarat burned. The mandir wahin banega narrative, the number of governments that came and went asking for votes on the mandir. Finally last November the Hon. Supreme court laid the Janmabhoomi issue at rest. They said it was wrong to break the masjid, but the temple could be made and the masjid would be made at another location close by. The whole country supported the move as we were done with mandir-masjid. We were done with hate. We were done with riots. We didn’t want any more bloodshed.

But soon after that the CAA-NRC legislation started in Parliament. And Delhi Riots happened when the capital was hosting the POTUS. And those who said “Goli maro saalon ko” have no cases against them, but those who said, “India is our country and we must protest in peace” have been languishing in jail for months. We are watching with a sense of disbelief as one after another person who has ever voiced an opinion against this government finds the NSA and UAPA being used against them.

This October we have been told No One Broke the Babri Masjid. No newspaper headlines expressed surprise, no television channel highlighted the miscarriage of justice. No public outrage. The courts blamed prosecution for not providing them evidence against the accused. No surprise because all the accused are now in the ruling party. Everyone has been honourably discharged. The only thing left for us is to carry out a silent cremation of values such as liberty, justice and equality promised in our preamble.

Farmer bills have been passed by voice vote in the Rajya Sabha when the constitution clearly states that it is illegal to have a voice vote when even one member of the house asks for voting. Opposition mikes were muted, live telecast was halted. Media didn’t speak about it. Opposition staged a dharna on the lawns of parliament, there was no coverage given. Farmers are protesting all over the country but mainstream media is using Sushant’s death, Rhea’s arrest, Kangana’s words to keep viewers distracted from everything that really matters.

When free press doesn’t remain and media becomes a tool in the hand of the government, the people of India are being subjugated into silence. It is infinitely better for you to keep watching mainstream media,it is better for you to believe that all is well, sab changa si.

Let not reality disturb you. Meanwhile, the rest of us will keep a silent vigil in our voiceless outrage.

Dr.Sarika Verma
Ent surgeon Gurgaon.