So, the people of India have decided and the darkest fear of the progressive Indians has come true. Once again my facebook wall is busy busy busy. I hear so much despair that I actually dreamt being dragged by large machines of development (they looked somewhat like bulldozers). People were running helter-skelter and I was being dragged away from a group of people for wearing shorts and being drunk. Strangely I was at an anti-dam protest and I kept on asking why I was being dragged. Is it because I was protesting or is it because I was wearing shorts? No one answered. Awake, I was confused. Was that dream a manifestation of the fear? Has this not happened already?
Being from the North-East India, state oppression is something that I (and a whole lot of people) have learnt to live with. I was born in the middle of political crisis that led to a full blown armed conflict with state by the time I was a pre-teen. Growing up at gun points, restrictions on basic freedoms of speech and movement is not something I fear might happen to me. I grew up with it. Being dominated by cultural hegemony imposed by state machinery is not something a new fascist in power will do now. To experience marginalization and discrimination for belonging to certain ethnicity or religion did not have to wait till now. I have lived through all of it.
May be because I am from the North-East, whose face represents India in the international circuit has never been a great concern. When Rajiv Gandhi died I remember my mother saying very sadly – ‘At least he was good looking. Look at our other politicians, they are so unpresentable. What must the foriegners think when these people go abroad?’ And just like guilt, my mother handed me this embarrassment at an early age and I learnt to live with this too.
Yes going by its nature and form and the company it keeps (read RSS), there is much to fear with BJP in decision making power. Will it make me wear a saree and sing bhajans early in the morning? Will they drag and separate me and my partner since we have no plans of getting married? Will there be constant Hindu-Muslim conflict? Will Muslims and Christians be prosecuted? Will rock music be banned? Are they going to bust our rave parties? What will happen to our gay prides? Will I be allowed to continue writing inanities in my blog? Yes, there is a lot to worry.
All the worries withstanding, I am also somewhere thrilled. I am thrilled that the Congress party has been made to taste shit. I am relieved my father did not live to see this day. He would have been heartbroken at the defeat of Congress and would have disowned me for saying this publicly. But I am glad (and I hope this is permanent) that the baap ka raaj, that the Congress and its cronies had thought the country to be, has come to an end. Not that I think BJP will do anything different but I am happy to see the privileges that some of the most dubious people have enjoyed in this country because of their Congress mai-baps in power is under threat. I hope the people who had taken permanent residence in the government provided luxury bungalows of the tree shaded, high walled central Delhi will be thrown out and forced to find their own two bedroom apartments in Gurgaon and Indira Nagar. Perhaps they will understand what it feels to be displaced.
Coming back to the North-East, someone on facebook said they have banned Assam from the North-East. Good for them I say. No matter how much denial we live in and claim with false pride about our secular, gender-sensitive, egalitarian society, the truth is that over the years, culturally the Assamese have become closer to the red tika wearing cow belt than our leather jacket clad tribal cowboys. This election results show clearly how communal Assam has really become. Generally speaking in this election, the Muslims voted for AIUDF and the Hindus voted for BJP. May be the Assamese who voted for BJP should really move to Gujrat. Once they see that being Hindu is not only about the shiny sarees and the heavy weight jewelry, that it also means you have to eat vegetarian food and fast for many pujas in a year, they will learn their lesson.
When I looked deeper I found that, the major factor behind communalization of Assam is the issue of Bangladeshi immigrants. To get to the depth of this analysis I spoke to a couple of experts – my mother and some aunties and uncles. I asked why people voted for BJP. There was one common answer – ‘Modi said he will throw out all Bangladeshi’. Poor things ya. I feel bad for the Assamese people sometimes. For years they have lost their land, felt culturally threatened and now are politically marginalized by Bangladeshi immigrants. Congress with all its vote bank politics did precious little but to distribute truckloads of colourful cotton sarress (the kind the Bangladeshis like) to the poor immigrants. Of course they also made it possible for them to get ration card, driving license, voter’s id and passport through proper channels. Forget doing anything about it, the Congress did not even hold any in depth discussion on the Bangladeshi immigrants issue in the last few decades. In the meantime Assamese people have become so desperate that they actually believed what Modi promised in his election rally – ‘after 17 May there will not be a single Bangladeshi in Assam!’ I hate to break their gullible hearts but one word that I want to say to the Assamese people – NOHOBO. Will not happen.
Not only the Bangladeshi issue, for people of Assam and the North-East, it will be good to remember, nothing much is going to change for us. We do not need to fear the BJP as a new demon. It is only a different incarnation of the same Indian colonizer that has troubled us all this while. We have already been imposed with Indianness, decisions for us are already made in Delhi. All they want is our resources. They want our land as their battleground and buffer zone. The development they promise us will make profit for their companies. The same dams, the same Uranium, the same land for industrialization and militarisation, the same super highways that Congress wanted from us, BJP will want from us. They want our votes to be able to get all this. They will use military when we say no. They are not thinking about us. They will not think about us.
All that will change is that a different set of power mongers will come. Some new secretariat dalal, new business tycoons, new local gundas, new suckers in media will emerge. But for the poor and pathetic (like me) who did not benefit from the Congress raj do not have nothing to fear from the BJP rajya.
As for me I see only two ways to exists. 1. eat some home cooked beef biriyani (which I am going to do now) 2. Say NOHOBO to them all.