THE tender fabric of a living democracy thrives on a society which adheres to non-violent ways while carrying one’s right to protest. Expression of political ideas and ideologies must pass tenets of democracy and constitutional methods. Violent protests are a straight stab in the heart of democracy and has no place in a matured society that constantly aims to achieve social and economic objectives. In wake of the protests that have broken out in the country to oppose the constitutionally passed Citizenship (Amendment) Act or the CAA, the invoking of Mahatma Gandhi’s gift of Ahimsa (non-violence) by the President of India Mr. Ram Nath Kovind is a timely reminder to the lumpen elements in the society who have adopted dirty methods to fight for a cause (if any!). Mr. Kovind’s address to the nation to mark the 71st Republic Day was an ardent appeal to the protesters to introspect on Gandhiji’s message of truth and non-violence which has become all the more necessary in the present times.
The appeal points to the wrong methods of certain rogue elements who are using the democratic right to protest against a constitutional process as a means to foment communal hatred, dividing the society on religious lines. Such actions have no place in a free country which is on an upward trajectory and is being counted among the top performing nations globally. Unleashing of violence during the anti-CAA protests are clear indicators of the handiwork of anti-India forces that have found proxies within India to peddle their filthy agenda. Opposition to an idea or a legislature can be or rather must be expressed in a way best-suited to a vibrant democracy.
Opening of a dialogue is the hallmark of a democratic process but the way things are panning out in the anti-CAA protests, an uneasy feeling pervades in the society. Since the day both Houses of the Parliament passed the Citizenship (Amendment) Act and made it a law, machinations were on by a section to paint it with the colour of religion. Despite total clarity on the process granting citizenship to the persecuted minorities in Pakistan, Afghanistan, and Bangladesh the CAA was being presented as anti-Muslim without an iota of proof to back such misinformed claims.
The pattern adopted by protesters in various pockets of the country was a clear indicator of divisive elements taking control of the entire exercise and innocent citizens getting relegated as a misguided mob. While the Constitution gives rights to all citizens of a free democratic nation to seek clarity on a certain legislation, it is also the fundamental responsibility of the people to adhere to the central tenets of democracy. Vandalising government and private properties and attacking citizens and students has stripped the protests of seriousness. What is on display in spewing of venom on social media by half-baked intellectuals and a certain section that is hell-bent on wreaking unrest in India. This is against the culture of India and an insult of Gandhiji’s ideals.
The Opposition latched on to the opportunity to open a frontal attack against the Central Government and a misinformation campaign gripped the country. India will not tolerate an artificially-created atmosphere of fear among people. By making violence as a means to instill terror among people, these forces are fast losing their “battle for a cause”, for, violence is detested by a large majority of the world’s biggest democracy.
Mahatma Gandhi’s ideals remain relevant in the present times for nation-building and a few rogue elements cannot be bestowed the temerity to play with the healthy fabric of India. The country is quickly realising the truth behind the violence and it is only a matter of time when the anti-India forces are thrown out.