They Wanted A Reaction, Government Gave A Response

Harsha Bhat

Jan 29, 2021, 07:18 PM | Updated 07:18 PM IST

Congress’ Kisan Aakrosh Tractor Rally. (@INCOverseasUAE/Twitter)
Congress’ Kisan Aakrosh Tractor Rally. (@INCOverseasUAE/Twitter)
  • A responsible government must listen to protesting interest groups, even if their demands are unreasonable.
  • That does not, mean, however, that the government gives knee-jerk reactions to grave provocations.
  • The semiotics of all that has happened in the last one week is too telling to be ignored. The whole wide world is appreciating India’s handling of the pandemic, the neighbouring countries are grateful for our generosity in supplying them the vaccines, the economy though crumbled is slowly rising from the ashes.

    As the flag was being unfurled at the Raj Path it was a declaration of a whole new power of the republic. That together as a chaotic but organised nation we have dealt with the largest global crisis in a manner unfathomable to the world or any other nation of our size and diversity.

    But just then, another monument, atop which also flutters the tricolour reiterating our sovereign democratic republic status, one that is the fortress from which we declare our independent status every August 15 hosting a parade of all our forces, our diversity, our federal unity and grandeur, was ‘taken siege’.

    While mainstream media jumped to show how the hurt farmers were only expressing dissent, and tried to further stories of a possible ‘killing’ of an innocent farmer by the law enforcement force present there, with celebrity journalists jumping the gun, inviting public outrage and the channel taking the anchor off air, the visuals of tractor wielding ruffians roughing up policemen on duty were silently taking hold of public imagination.

    And the lack of counter-action, both from the law enforcing agencies as well as the administration, that could serve as fodder for headlines irked up the vested interests that were getting restless to see the government fail.

    And this is the pattern of response that is hurting those that want confrontation.

    This ‘response over reaction’ formula is being dismissed by the intelligentsia as the BJP’s pattern of vilification of dissenting voices.

    There is an effort every time, be it during the anti-CAA protests, or these anti-farm law ones, to nudge the government to fail.

    For there is dialogue but no dictum and the non-reactionary silence is killing.

    The government has let protests take place. Yet. each time they have turned violent.

    This neo-Gandhian approach of the Modi regime is hitting the opposition forces where it hurts them most - dismissing troublemakers, disregarding media hype, discarding old notions of appeasement, and a last mile delivery of dialogue.

    The Delhi police had intelligence about the tractor march going awry. 'If so, why weren’t they prepared', ask those that wished to see gorier scenes.

    Today, it is the police officials that are wounded and lying in hospitals. The Union Home Minister has visited them and wished them well.

    The Red Fort is intact and the flag that kept fluttering high as a mute spectator through all that happened is now flying higher in the minds of a nation that doesn’t relate to a group of protestors who simply do not wish to talk.

    Especially to a Prime Minister who has been talking to the nation unfailingly about the simplest of issues, people and policies. And those involved know it crystal clear.

    Why else are the farmer unions now withdrawing plans of their protest march to the parliament? What is creating the divide as far as their next set of actions is concerned?

    The dissenting forces have erred but the police forces were smart enough not to. Which is why the mudslinging is on, yet the public sympathy is with the latter.

    The change in signification that began from the saffron vanishing from the lotus, but manifesting as productive tangible cultural infrastructure, the empowerment that focused on the self sustenance rather than state sympathy, the power that is being vested in the common man, and the emergence of an ‘Atmanirbhar Bharat’ is all hurting those that want to keep painting a sorry tale of India and its leadership.

    A nation in hibernation has finally woken up. And it couldn’t care less if the middlemen - trading in food for the tummy or thought are crying foul.

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