Since childhood we are taught to respect the dignity of other people. But I wonder what goes so wrong that we lose the capacity of differentiating between right and wrong? In the first week of January, I read about the Bulli Bai app and Sulli deals in which prominent Muslim women of India who are independent, famous and vocal, were being auctioned online. Not only were they being auctioned, but absolutely demeaning remarks were being used against them.
This news made me question our values and teachings. I questioned myself and wondered what we are turning into? What is that being injected inside our brain that is making us hate others based on their religious identity? At first, I thought it was a matter of hatred against women but as I read about the app, I realised it is not just about hatred against women, it also reflects their hate against the Muslims in this country. I questioned myself, is this the India I am proud of? At that moment, I knew what I had to do next.
The same day, I posted an Instagram poll asking my friends about how many of them were aware of the app and I am disheartened to admit that many of them did not. So I posted another story explaining to my friends what the app was about. I asked my teacher if we could have a session about it in the next session of the symposium, which is a culture, philosophy and ethics society in my school. I hoped that the management would allow it because it was a matter of great importance but the management refused and as the content head of the society I could not do anything. But I had an unofficial discussion with my friends about this where we discussed India under the Narendra Modi government, Soft Hindutva, Islamophobia in India and its relationship with politics.
India under the BJP regime
Since 2014, the Opposition has been rushed ruthlessly and India is no longer a democracy. Preventive detention laws like UAPA and sedition have been misused under the BJP government. Journalist Siddique Kappan and his associates Atigque-Ur-Rahman, Masood Ahmad and Alam were arrested on 5 October 2020 when they were proceeding towards Hathras village where a 19-year-old woman died after allegedly being gang-raped. He and his associates were charged with sedition, conspiracy to incite violence and outraging religious feelings and are in jail to date. This reflects the freedom of the media under the Modi government.
Another problem to worry about is that since 2019, Hindus seem to have become more radical. I think Hindus and Muslims have always been in a fight with each other but since 2014, this hatred is clearly visible. We see it every day, especially in the religion-based politics played by the Modi government. One prominent example is the issue of demolition of Babri Masjid and how fake news spread like wildfire via ‘WhatsApp University’. The cases of lynchings against Muslims and lower castes have increased dramatically since 2019. Several attempts have been made since 1949 to ‘free’ India from Muslims and make it a Hindu Rashtra, which include the horrific anti-Muslim riots of Gujarat in 2002 and in Muzaffarnagar in 2013.
As a class 11 student, what could I possibly do? I could only tell my fellow classmates about what is happening but it is up to them to form an opinion. So I do what I can do— talk about current happenings and discuss some serious issues we should know about as youth of the nation.
How are we supposed to preserve and protect our nation from the enemies of democracy? We study, we learn, we evolve and we change. We not only learn but inspire others to learn and form opinions on matters that concern India as a whole. I want to reach out to as many people as I can and explain to them about these problems and make my little contribution to the betterment of the nation.
The author is a student at City Montessori School, Lucknow. Views are personal