By Zeeshan Siddiqui
The unplanned lockdown by the government inflicted many harrowing and distressful experiences upon the downtrodden section of the society. They have to suffer the economic as well as social persecution at the hands of the so called elites of the society. It exposed them to oppressive and bigoted practice of un-touchability by the society and sponsored vilification by the electronic media. Careless attitude of people associated with the Tablighi Jamat was presented as the international conspiracy by Muslims to spread covid-19. The arrest of anti CAA activists during the lockdown was another major concern. The principle of “we the people” was reduced to a handful of elites and the oppression of the downtrodden was largely overlooked by the administration. India was reduced to a police state during the period where many agonizing video of police inflicting torture on the poor laborers and those who barely make their survival in the name of implementation of covid-19 guidance was sickening to the core.
If a hundred or so citizens died in queue in front of the banks during “demonetization” fiasco, around 400 migrant workers were left on the highways of the world’s largest democracy without food, shelter, medicine, drinkable water or cash and many of them could not survive this horror. Yet, the open rejection of the bulk of migrant workers by state as well as central government has exposed the loopholes in our democracy and given us the time to correct it. Mukesh Ambani became the 4th richest person in the world at a time when people were dying of hunger tells a lot about the sinister priority of the government. What is even more astonishing is that the government does not even have the statistics of the number of persons who lost their lives and livelihood.
The income disparity was observable in the pictures of the rich and middle-class Indians beating utensils on the roofs and verandas of their residences, and the depressing pictures of impoverished people walking thousands of km’s on their way to home with their children, desperate for food, water and public transport, to reach home. The oppressed communities were totally dependent on the generous contributions and help from the good Samaritans, welfare organizations and NGOs for their survival. Poor staffs were largely humiliated and shamed, This regressive thinking has been deeply ingrained in India ‘s oppressive social structure. People from lower strata of society were forced to sell their children due to lack of money and viable source of occupation.
The case of disinfectant spraying on migrant workers in the U.P and different parts of India is linked to this widespread belief that the body of poor migrant workers is filthy and unclean. The shift in oppressive social behavior and society’s perception towards employees, the inclusion of affirmative policies and the transition of the essence of the state from a democratic establishment to a more welfare state will promote an inclusive social and economic environment in which the privileges, civility and respect of employees from socially deprived sectors are guaranteed and guarded.
Even in a state like Odisha, where the caste system is not so rampant 40 dalit families from Dhenkanal district were socially boycotted just because a dalit girl plucked flowers from the farm of an upper caste family. The rape of a 19 year old dalit girl from hathras district was shocking to the core as her tongue was cut off and spinal cord damaged to a large extent, even after her death the treatment meted out to her family members by UP police was disturbing. A dalit leader and member of BAMCEF Adv. Devji Maheswari was murdered in Gujarat for his criticism of brahminical supremacy. Another distressing news of dalit oppression surfaced from Jharkhand, where seven tribal Christians were brutally beaten and tonsured, they were also forced to say ‘jai shri ram’ on the mere suspicion of consuming beef.
What is even more surprising other than the deafening silence of the government is lack of media coverage on the oppression and ostracization of Muslims and Dalits .when media was supposed to be the fourth pillar of democracy is seen to be shamelessly endorsing the majoritarian view. It’s now totally up-to us to wipe out this discrimination of peoples on the basis of caste, creed, gender and religion and don’t keep factors like religion and caste of political leaders in mind rather than the leadership quality and their stand on equity and justice for all, Only then the idea of India can be achieved as propounded by the father of the nation.