Aanchal Khulbe, 23, research scholar, Gender Studies, Jamia Millia Islamia, New Delhi
A few weeks ago, I shared a cab with two middle-aged men, each to be picked up separately. In the quiet and anonymity of the vehicle, one of them played a communal hate speech on his phone. It was a loud video of a man yelling hateful remarks, filled with threats to kill and rape Muslims in India and drive them out of the country to exact revenge for all the ‘wrong’ they have done to innocent Hindus over the centuries.
The problem of Modi government in the past few years is that it has given legitimacy to such so-called foot-soldiers of Hindutva, who publicly, and shamelessly, release their disgust for communities that are marginalised or are in minority. The Modi regime has made them believe that they are superior and can get away by spewing hatred.
Hate speeches and arguments that are communal, misogynist, anti-Dalit, anti-LGBTQ in nature, have become a part of everyday conversations. These people have no fear in shouting hate slogans, or starting misogynist or communal arguments in trains, autos, metros, buses, and even shared cabs. In the four years of Modi’s prime ministership, sexual crimes have increased and so has the tendency to shield the perpetrators.
I am worried about the increasing attacks on minorities. I am worried about the atmosphere of hatred and intolerance that is being fanned by the government. I am worried about the hateful language that is being used; about lynching; about farmers, who are losing their livelihood, and about sexual violence that SITs claim never happened. Real issues are being conveniently brushed under the carpet, and the only issues that are discussed both in mainstream and social media are the manufactured ones – like cow vigilantism – that only facilitate polarisation among communities.
Does anyone talk about the education sector? The sector has witnessed huge cuts, both in terms of budget and content. The very spirit of research in social sciences is under threat. Free speech, free thought, and free research have come under attack. What survives is hate-mongering and populist, vote-bank politics.
The 10 per cent reservation in jobs for upper caste poor is nothing but vote-bank politics, as upper castes not only account for 49 percent of the population, but are influential people in the politics of India.
In the upcoming Lok Sabha elections, I would like to vote for the National Women’s Party. It is a new party contesting on half of the seats this election. The party is very new, and it is difficult to analyse the party’s motives, its constitution and actions. But we know for a fact that presence of more women or any other minority community in Parliament, will only strengthen the democracy.