Whose Sovereignty?

The Indian media has be- come the voice of the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) government led by Mr Narendra Modi. The government derides anyone as anti-national if one questions the government of the day. The students, youths, religious minorities, dalits, tribals, Kashmiris, human rights activists, lawyers, rationalists, writers, journalists, comedians, cartoonists, progressive activists and farmers are branded as anti-national and unpatriotic by the government and its media agencies. The poor and marginalised Indian population and voices of their struggles for justice are considered to be a threat to the sovereignty of the country. Such painful transition of India and its democracy is invisible to the people, who stay insulated by the power of money, name, fame, constructed public image, and celebrity status blessed by corporates. These 'celebrities' have forgotten their social commitments for the people who adore, celebrate, emulate and idealise them in their everyday life. These celebrities betray their own roots and break their followers' trusts by being the voice of power and powerful. These deceptive forces live in an ideology free zone called 'opportunism'.

Farmers are fighting against anti- farmer laws, which threaten their source of livelihoods. The Kashmiris are in an open prison without basic internet facilities. The tribals are facing the onslaught of mining-oriented industrialisation and corporate loot of their natural resources. The journalists are facing the threat of physical liquidation for reporting truth. Right now a large number of press persons are behind bars. The students, writers, lawyers and human rights activists are languishing in prison cells for years. There is a greater realisation that Mr Narendra Modi led BJP government has deceived the people of India. Such realisation is crystalised by the farmers' protests for last three months. Modi is taking all authoritarian steps to suppress the democratic voices of dissent with ruthless actions.

The corporate sovereignty and bonded citizenship is unsustainable. But the rent seeking Modi government is promoting a culture of taxpayer citizenship rights to divide people and rule. It puts farmers against army, Hindus against Muslims, north India versus south India and higher caste against lower caste. The Hindutva politics is based on hate and divisiveness. It is an internal threat to the unity, integrity and progress of India. The citizenship rights and democratic institutions are dwindling in India. But the majority of Indian celebrities are either silent, living in fear or defending the corporate government, which is the source of their advertisement or tax rebate revenue.

Farmers' agitation has attracted global attention. Many people watch the sliding democracy in India with utter horror and disbelief. The farmers' movement has exposed the fascist character of Modi Raj. Many international voices expressed their solidarity with Indian farmers and their legitimate democratic and citizenship rights to defend their livelihoods. The Modi government is hell bent on implementing the three anti-farmer laws concomitant with corporate interests.

The failures of Modi government have contributed to create conditions of enormous political, social, cultural, religious, economic and institutional crises in India. The farmers' movements have helped people to understand the nature and source of these crises. The solidarities are growing in support of Indian farmers and their democratic rights, both here and abroad. The Modi government is hiding behind a propaganda war in the name of protecting the unity, integrity and sovereignty of India.

For one thing farmers' struggle has also exposed the limits of Westphalian sovereignty that helps to consolidates the mobility of capital and territorialisation of labour. The ruling class and their celebrity representatives call it as 'our internal affairs'. The Westphalian concept of national sovereignty is a bourgeois project whereas the postcolonial national sovereignty is a product of mass movements. The sovereignty of India is a product of anti-colonial struggle led by Indian toilers from all regional and religious backgrounds. The anti-colonial, anti-imperialist, anti-feudal and anti-capitalist nature of Indian freedom struggle has shaped constitutional sovereignty, democracy and its egalitarian and secular ideals of modern India. The sovereignty of India is a product of collective sacrifice and collective consensus to build a country for its people. The people of India are the shareholders and guardians of Indian sovereignty. The collective foundations of sovereignty, unity and integrity of India is shaped by its people and their citizenship rights guaranteed under the Constitution of India.The unity, integrity and sovereignty of India depends on common will of the people. The ruling BJP is breaking this common will to spread its saffron ideology.


Vol. 53, No. 34, Feb 21 - 27, 2021