The Indian government is becoming a joke by the day! Now The Economist, my favorite magazine, has written about the irrelevance of Rahul Gandhi in an article asking, “What’s the point of Rahul Gandhi?” Before that, TIME magazine had dubbed our Prime Minister as an underachiever! The harsh truth is that the term ‘underachiever’ is such a mild word to use for a politically comatose man who has been literally sleep-walking in his monotone voice over his two stints.What a letdown for a democracy and the electorate, for never has India had a worse and more inactive man as its Prime Minister. And then, of course, Washington Post came down heavily on him. And what was the Indian government’s reaction? Well, like immature intolerant fools, they lodged an official protest – exposing to the world that the article was indeed right and more; exposing to the world the government’s mindset, which looks eerily similar to that of Mamata, who shows complete disdain for democratic values and goes about arresting lecturers to farmers – and betraying the sentiments of the same democracy and all those voters who brought her to power. And if that was not enough, then the Indian government gets a cartoonist arrested by using a law that should have been discarded ages back. Yes, it is the same mindset which protests against a Washington Post article, that gets a professor arrested for sharing cartoons on Facebook, that makes an Aseem Trivedi a victim of an archaic law! The way this law has been used to suppress the voice of Binayak Sen earlier, and that of his likes, stinks of an intolerant and draconian government that is becoming irrelevant by the day. It is a matter of utter shame how even today, we cling on to our colonial past and their discriminatory laws, which were crafted to bootlick a select few who ran the government.
The completely shameful arrest of Aseem Trivedi has brought to light again this prevailing archaic law whose legitimacy can only be comprehended after going into its historical milieu and the reason why it was drafted. As I wrote last year during the Binayak Sen case (Read my two related editorials at http://arindamchaudhuri.blogspot.in/2011/01/binayak-sen-victim-of-state-and.html and http://www.thesundayindian.com/en/story/-change-sedition-law-free-binayak-sen/13763/), in the Indian context, sedition dates back to the Sepoy Mutiny of 1857, wherein the objective was to forcefully suppress the democratic aspirations of a particular section of society. The skeleton of this section was derived from the common law of seditious libel, meant to control press and publications during that time. This law, regardless of being touted as curbing resistance, is nothing but a rotten remnant of the colonial past with the sole intent of suppressing potential paradigm change-makers. In its current state, the yardstick that gauges the amplitude of disaffection and the resultant violence is very vaguely defined and is highly subjective.