World’s two ‘biggest’ and ‘greatest’ ‘democracies are exhibiting their strength today in the most undemocratic way. Gun trotting policemen and security agencies will cover the entire Ahmadabad today particularly the routes where Donald Trump and Narendra Modi are ‘ road show’. Here, the people can’t come at their own but at the whims of the rulers and Trump is expecting 10 million people on the road, perhaps he wish to see and ‘cherish’ India’s millions as he narrated this on a number of occasions on his twitter handle and to the crowd of Republican party in the United States.
Both the leaders are loudspeakers and love themselves too much.
They speak of their ‘country first’ and nothing else. As Modi is a great Hindu, Trump is a great Christian and feel that India must favour America while Indians feel that they will do more than what they can to ‘please’ the Americans.
Indian right wingers even in the heydays of the cold war never liked our proximity to Soviet Union and always wanted to be ‘acknowledged’ by the Americans.
Today, when American president is here it is reflected clearly of what Baba Saheb Ambedkar long back said our society. He said, this society can’t treat any one as equal as it believes in ‘ascending order of reverence and descending order of contempt’.
President Trump would watch ‘Vasudhaiv Kutumbkam’ that India is ‘known’ for which always ’embrace’ the guests provided they must be ‘white skinned’ and have ‘dollars’ in their pocket. Our Vasudhaiv Kutumbkam is never meant for those who are considered to be ‘below’ us.
The wall of Shame and contempt that is erected from the airport till Motera Stadium only shows how we try to cover up our poverty. If Gujarat government was so worried about that Trump should not watch the poverty, actually it exists in the minds of the policy planners.
Stories of shame from Gujarat
For the last few days there were various stories of shame from Gujarat but neither media nor political leadership in Gujarat and at the national capital bothered about. The girls in a college in Bhuj were humiliated and the hostel warden asked them to remove their cloths so that she can shack whether they were menstruating or not.
Similar news report has come from Surat where Surat Municipal Corporation run state government hospital had a fitness test for Women Probationers after three years. And these women were humiliated in public as outdated and rejected finger test was done to them to check their ‘fitness’. The women were standing naked for nearly two hours.
Think of the trauma and humiliation they might have faced. It is reported nearly 400 women were made to suffer in utter humiliation.
Question is why there is not much hue and cry?
Why Gujaratis who are so ‘international’ don’t even feel shame over it? Why they keep quiet. They have been very vocal on Hindutva and defending it.
If reports are to be believed such humiliating practice of checking women’s fitness exists and it only got exposed when some of the women who felt humiliated and reported to some of their friends and colleagues while many refused to go for the ‘fitness’ test out of fear of humiliation.
The other day, we found reports of the same kind of humiliation on girl student in a technical institute of Bhuj being run by Swaminarayan people and it is their duty to explain whether they still feel that woman is impure because the menstruate.
We have heard that some of the parents defending it as they felt it is better to face some humiliation than their daughter getting into a relationship and then getting pregnant. It is deeply disturbing to hear such kind of narratives but what is more shameful is the silence in the state and media virtually not making it an issue. Political opposition has become virtually bankrupt in ideas as it does not raise these issues.
Violence against Dalit in Gujarat
Violence against Dalit is quite high in Gujarat and I have written many times there is a pattern to it in the form of Economic boycott so that people can’t raise their head. For many days, young SC-ST-OBC students and aspirants for the government jobs are sitting on protests at Gandhi Nagar against the failure of the state government to honestly implement the reservation policy but it has not got any support from the media and the political class.
Now, Gujarat is ‘welcoming’ Donald Trump and we say ‘athithi devo bhava’ but we can’t allow our poor people to come to the street and welcome the ‘guests’.
We only ‘welcome’ athiGujarat model is basically successful in hiding the dirty realities of the state, it’s below the standard education system, its highly caste prejudiced societies and how it has handed over the public land to a few cronies, some of whom may be in the dinner table tonight rubbing their shoulders with global business and political elite.
We hope one day international media will find time and space to discuss this ‘model’ of ‘development’ which isolate millions for the ‘happiness’ and ‘successes of a few.
Those who will be travelling in the cavalcade from Airport to Motera Stadium, should find time to just cross the wall and meet the people who are declared as ‘unseeable’ by the Gujarat government and listen to their pains and agonies. The wall constructed on the entire way is the wall of not merely shame but hidden apartheid that exists in our villages everywhere and must be exposed now. Democracy will only be a hypocrisy as long as such walls exists.
Vidya Bhushan Rawat
February 24th, 2020