Written by Rakesh Kotti
One of the reasons the Covid-19 pandemic has spread uncontrollably is Globalization, which has brought the world together. With people traveling across borders, the risk of spreading diseases is immense. Experts also feel that the outbreaks of pandemics are increasing due to the immense environmental damage. While political parties claim to work for development, there is little debate on its sustainability. In fact, despite the communication revolution that globalization ushered in, democracy itself has suffered across the world.
Authoritarian governments across the world have not been able to cope with the pandemic and they are using it as a smokescreen for their failures. Dissent is stifled and ‘social distancing’ is used as an excuse to ensure people do not gather to agitate and protest against the government. As India descended into what is perhaps our worst phase post-independence, the government turned a blind eye to the suffering millions.
Citizens watched in horror as people walked themselves to exhaustion and died on the highways; people died on trains without food; people died on the railways tracks as they stopped to rest in the darkness; people died due to the pandemic, fighting the pandemic and due to the government’s insensitive response. The Prime Minister refuses to speak to the media or the opposition. They are unmoved by the plight of the people. They remain unmoved even by the sight of a toddler attempting to wake his dead mother up.
The government refuses to act. The government refuses to listen as India takes another step into becoming a managed democracy. People’s voices are stifled in the garb of fighting the pandemic. Questions are not only unanswered, they are unheard.
However, democracy and truth cannot be stifled for too long. Heeding the call of the Congress party, thousands of netizens have taken to the social media to participate in the novel ‘Speak Up India’, campaign. With experts warning that in future there could be several outbreaks of pandemics, the Speak Up India, adds a new dimension to democracy. Voices ignored and unheard by the government can now collate on the social media to amplify themselves. The government can no longer hide behind the pandemic—lest it metaphorically become known as the ‘being behind the pandemic’.
No authoritarian government, however brutal and insolent, has been able to stand up to the power of the people speaking in one voice. The media may be pliant and afraid, but the voices of truth cannot be silenced. The Congress party’s ‘Speak Up India’ campaign has brought the voices of people across India, spoken in diverse tongues and from all sections of society. In the best interests of the country, the BJP must listen to the voices of India. Such protests are here to stay and will rescue democracy from authoritarian governments such as the BJP which refuse to listen to the people. If the government refuses to stand up for India, the people will ‘Speak up for India’, which has truly added another dimension to democracy.