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India has turned into an Electoral Autocracy

Swedish Institute: India has turned into an Electoral Autocracy

Freedom House reports: India is no longer a Free country

... Still the sleep Permeates & Perpetuates

Prestigious NGO Freedom house; A prominent opposer against McCarthyism-(A word alienated to Indian ears but an apt one for Indian political farrago) on its 2022 Freedom in the world report downgraded India from being “Free” to “Partly Free” and the Swedish Democracy Institute tried to bring international eyes on the ubiquitous yet sweet coated Authoritarianism of India which is silently sweeping Freedom out of Indian Economy.

This is a no-brainer after the ham-fisted lockdown, a crackdown on critics, deliberate spread of misinformation and fear-mongering, attack on free media, and vanity of state rules aggravated by the moronic dance of Media on strings of spineless and bigoted government and of course the infamous bravado of government literally filling a case against climate activist Greta Thunberg and falsely detaining a 21 yr old climate activist Disha Ravi for completely made up bizarre claims and the brazen ignorance and arrogance of government towards the Farmer’s protest who are fighting against the hegemony of crony capitalists and incarceration of Munawwar for the jokes he never cracked and the list goes on.

Freedom House assessed 25 core questions, which are crucial to understanding how India performed.

Does every segment of the population (which includes racial, religious, ethnic, gender, LGBT, and other groups) have the right to vote?

The fact that history-sheeters like Yogi Adityanath came to power despite his explicit derogatory comments urging the brainwashed public for the establishment of a religious superiority speaks for itself. Despite the fact that there are so-called “Kotas” in the parliament, they have neglected the fact that these systems were not meant for them. The inclusion of marginalized people in institutions under the name of Reservations could also be a better efficient system to exploit them.

Are safeguards against official corruption strong and effective?

Adani & Ambani, who (As the cash flow suggests) are homies to the government, saw a steep rise in their Business expansions skyrocketing their wealth so much so that in 2021 Adani added more wealth to his pocket than any other person on earth which is now around 1.18 trillion despite his deforestation projects in Goa which, as usual, are alienated to eyes of the government. Corruption has indeed mutilated the grandiose democratic soul and cemented and incentivized tyrannies of the government, which is aggravated by the sluggish progress of the Lokpal & Lokayukta act. Huge sums of money are already lost and the Amendments in the RTI Act increase the element of secrecy in the working of the government.

Are there free and independent media?

The prime resource that government uses for painting evils and excruciating brutalities into some giggle mug realities is news only, colloquially called ‘Godi-media’, It was no wonder that in the initial stages of pandemic nearly 80% of the Nation’s media carved an image of covid being a conspiracy of Muslims to oppress Indians. The state of media is laughable, when monitored, you can easily see nationalism winning over logic and rationalism, out of 104 debates, 79 were on attacking Pakistan,66 on attacking the opposition, 14 on religious extremism, and literally zero on economy and covid. And people are falling to such clever methodologies where the government wickedly evades public anger by sticking to them, now we live in a country where films like Range de Basanti are blockbusters but the same audience looks the other way when EVERY SINGLE DAY Activists, students, Journalists are killed, tortured, Detained and Minorities are scapegoated and raped, they’ve somehow convinced public that revolution looks good in cinema but not in your backyard.

Are individuals free to express their religious faith or non-belief in public and private?

I think this doesn’t need any explanation you and I both know the reality quite well. India has always struggled to strike a balance between its moral Ideals and ground realities of religious tensions. Which under the regime of dog-whistle Islamophobic right-winged bigoted government was quite evident. In 2020 more than 67 journalists were detained, not because they were speaking against the government, just because they did their job to cover the news that the whole Media was ignoring, Famous example is Kappan Siddique, who was detained just because he covered the news of the inhuman barbarity of Hathras.

Is there academic freedom and is the educational system free from extensive political indoctrination?

A government whose defining beliefs are catered towards religious superiority has interfered in the state curriculums. They have tried to edit out Nehru (A founding figure in the country’s history who believed in pluralism and coexistence of different religions) from various primary grade textbooks and introduced new ones, I kid you not, there is a story on 22pg of this book about how God created humans, “He was creating bread but took out too early and that’s how whites were born, the 2nd time round he left the oven too long and that’s how negros were created, and lastly learning out of his 2 mistakes he took the bread out just in time and that’s how Indians were created”, these are the actual quotes Sheer nonsense! And all the prestigious universities face pressure to not discuss topics deemed sensitive to the government. Recently out of nowhere, BHU decided Nita Ambani be the women studies professor. And renowned political Scientist Pratap Bhanu, who was vocal about all this political drama resigns from Ashoka University.

Are individuals free to express their personal views on political or other sensitive topics without fear of surveillance and retribution?

India saw the most internet shutdowns in 2020 than any other country in the world. Not only Journalists are arrested for posting against the government, but every time all Facebook pages of activists are blocked and the Twitter account of journalists are also suspended, even the celebrities who speak against the government have to face false accusations and IT raids or ED raids, famous example Taapsee Pannu. And the few handfuls of private legitimate media that are working are at risk after the government introduced new IT rules, which will use censorship against any online content. “India is, in this aspect, now as autocratic as is Pakistan, and worse than both its neighbors Bangladesh and Nepal, in general, the Indian government has used laws on sedition, defamation, and counterterrorism to silence critics. For example, over 7,000 people have been charged with sedition after the BJP assumed power and most of the accused are critics of the ruling party” the Swedish institute said.

Is there freedom of assembly?

Farmer’s protest is a perfect example, with literally 250 million people on streets in one day, where the government literally dug pits and installed barricades to stop the protest. Meanwhile, Rihanna & Greta’s tweet supporting farmers caught headlines, But Indian media suggested them as outsiders and Indian celebrities, unlike the Hollywood celebrities blithely supporting #AntiTrumpmovement, instead they lined up behind the government, most controversial being Kangana calling farmers as a terrorist. And a shocking fact is Amnesty International can’t even operate in India.

Do laws, policies, and practices guarantee equal treatment to various segments of the population?

Even a small google search of the most controversial and fake journalist shows the first result as Arnab Goswami, and he gets a vacation bench to hear his case and gets bail but 84 yr old Satan Swamy, A human rights activist suffering from Parkinson’s is refused warm clothes and snipper straw, court judgments seem sluggish in case of Kapal Siddique also or in general (non-Godi Journalists)

This is just a tiny fragment of the much bigger and dire situation of India. While an archetypal myth by people calling themselves Nationalists are thrown around regarding all such studies, which mindlessly denies them and claims this as global conspiracy to tarnish the image of India as it is becoming the next superpower and calls any person in the to oppose as anti-nationalist and Urban Naxal.

Let me tell you, not just Freedom house and Swedish Democracy Institute is suggesting this downfall, In the Cato Institute’s Human Freedom Index, India plunged by 17 spots, The Global Economic Freedom Index showed India drop 26 spots, The World Press Freedom Index showed that India slips 2 slots below in the rankings. And Major organizations like The Washington Post, New York Times, Vice News, Vox, CNBC, Last week tonight, The Mehdi Hassan Show, The Huffington Post, The Economist, The Atlantic, The AFR, Le Monde, PBS News hours, The Guardian, Carnegie Europe, BBC, LSE blogs, Süddeutsche Zeitung, yahoo news, Human rights watch, DW news, UN NEWS have already shown concerns on the ignorance of government and shift to Authoritarianism including the historically pro-Indian NBC news.

Indian economy is the most affected by covid in the world and seeing the current political conditions in India, Economists claim the dream of superpower is far-fetched instead India is far lagging behind even compared to its smaller neighbors. This simply gives a lie to this myth.

Yet somehow media and government have made the public passive, supine by connecting every news to Nationalism, this can be seen in the following recent Incidents –

Rashmi Sawant Oxford Incident-

An Image of Hindu phobia was portrayed against one of the most inclusive universities in the world. But What really happened was that she already had a history of passing crass & utterly bigoted remarks, after being elected as president, when her previous social media posts came into the limelight with such remarks, she was called upon to explain herself, but she refused to take her words back and argued that no one was offended, despite the fact that 2 students explicitly said they were.

The quality of Quora-

In recent years Quora saw a steep rise in Indian users, now nearly 40% of Quora users are Indians alongside the quality of content on Quora hugely declined. The writers who wrote in favor of Indian Supremacy gained huge traffic but the writers who tried to unfold some truths gained less or no views or in worst cases solid backlash.

This totally shows shared DNA with the right-wing authoritarianism movement of Putin and Trump. As Brave New World again started hitting the bestseller list, a quote from Aldous Huxley perfectly sums the urge for change and the dire situation of India.

“There will be in the next generation or so a pharmacological method of making people love their servitude and producing dictatorship without tears, so to speak, producing a kind of painless concentration camp for entire societies so that people will in fact have their liberties taken away from them but will rather enjoy it because they will be distracted from any desire to rebel by propaganda or brainwashing, or brainwashing enhanced by pharmacological methods. And this seems to be the final revolution”

-Aldous Huxley

Writer - Nikhil Gajbhijye

Editor - Priyam Kusundal

Graphics - Althea Ocomen