Mahanth S. Joishy is Editor of usindiamonitor
This New Year’s Eve rages an inauspicious knife fight for the very soul of India. Amidst the fog of this complicated war lies a simple question: is India a secular democracy or a Hindu dictatorship?
On the secularist side is a clown car alliance led by the pathetic and corrupt opposition party, Congress. Meanwhile, the Hindu nationalist camp is led by a strongman and wannabe dictator, Narendra Modi of the BJP. And so those of us who care about India are left with a terrible choice to make: dysentery diarrhea democracy or cancerous constipation Caesar salad?
2019 saw India go full rogue against the founding fathers of India, the constitution, and the very concept of basic human decency with two dramatic acts. At Modi’s direction the Indian Army has illegally taken over most of Indian-held Kashmir using martial law tactics such as the wholesale torture of Kashmiri teenagers and a total, months-long blackout of the Internet, phones, and other media for millions of Kashmiris. Reporters are officially banned from entering and human rights have become a joke. The legs of commerce and education have been broken in an already-struggling region.
Terrorism was thrown out as the excuse for this power play, which has been condemned by civilized nations around the world. The blackout in particular is the largest ever committed by any country in history, and wholly unbecoming of a democracy. Let’s forget for a second the legality and human decency angles; does anyone honestly think this will make India’s prospects for peace in the future any better or will it predictably inflame a minority’s worst impulses for a generation to come?
In December the Indian government took the new brain-dead position that Muslim migrants would not be granted citizenship, but non-Muslims would. The country has erupted in protests, riots, and violence over this new policy, called the Citizenship Act. This act is laughably obvious as a violation of India’s constitution- just like Trump’s attempts at instituting Muslim bans in America violate the enshrined separation of church and state.
Modi to his credit recognized that the latter half of 2019 was the right time to strike. American democracy is on its knees, and strongmen the world over are rejoicing over their free rein to abuse citizens, especially Muslim ones. It’s now open season the world over on dissidents, who lie bleeding on dungeon floors in most of the world’s nations today including in “democratic” India. Modi is drawing unflattering comparisons to Adolf Hitler. Meanwhile, Rahul Gandhi and the Congress Party are taking advantage of this opportunity to keep robbing people blind while the distractions go on on the streets.
We are witnessing the cancelation of the world’s largest democracy. Shame on you, India. As the birthplace of Karma, you know better than anyone that it can be a bitch.
Any person who has spent even a single day in India comes to understand a hard and sinister truth about the country: it remains an ass-backward place because of, above all else, corruption. On one of my trips, it took not even a day in India but less than an hour to learn this. While trying to go through Bombay airport immigration at age 13 with my cousin of the same age, within minutes after landing from the United States, a uniformed and armed customs official detained us in a corner of the airport in order to shake us down for all our pocket money. We were let go only once we had paid him the absurdly high “tax” of US $100 which we two frightened foreign youths gave up hastily. This disgusting act of intimidation and theft 22 years ago produced a bad taste that never left my mouth and venomous thoughts about what I’d do to that man if I saw him again as an adult.
Corruption contributes to all manner of travesty throughout the country affecting so many parts of daily life: gang-rapes with impunity, dysfunctional infrastructure, poverty, pollution, medical fraud, police brutality, etc. No Indian, rich or poor, or of any religious or ethnic background would dispute this, so basic is the acceptance of corruption at every level.
Americans would be stupid to gloat, or think that they are immune from the disease. The United States is not spared from corruption by any means. Throughout the history of man corruption has helped bring down empires, and I have come to believe it is causing the decline of the United States right in front of our very eyes. Knowing a place like India where corruption has become a high art form, in America I acutely see the warning signs sprouting up even as we speak. There is a saying among Indian-Americans. Corruption occurs pervasively and openly at every level of Indian bureaucracy: low, medium, and high. And in America, it is there but more hidden, nearly all of.it occurring at high levels of corporate and government life. But it seems to be getting worse Stateside, even as there are small signs of improvement in India.
Today, we delve into the sweltering morass of corruption in both countries, and what trends to watch for in the future. Read the rest of this entry