• 02 October, 2022
Foreign Affairs. Geopolitics. National Security.
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Democracy vs National Interest

ASHOK IYER
Sat, 10 Sep 2022   |  Reading Time: 4 minutes

“America will never be destroyed from the outside. If we falter and lose our freedoms, it will be because we destroyed ourselves.”
―Abraham Lincoln

Decades ago, when I was in Bamako, Mali, a gentleman explained the cause of some local strife through a western quote which basically says that democracy gives you the right to stretch your arms everywhere but it doesn’t give you the right to hurt somebody by such act. The current, growing nationalistic sentiments in India against the pseudo-secularists and their anti-national agendas reminded me of that explanation.

I’m a firm supporter of democracy, freedom of speech and religious tolerance but the point of contention is that, at what point does one take a contrasting-stance when these freedoms are abused by certain individuals for their personal, nefarious goals? In the name of tolerance, are we supposed to maintain a stiff upper lip when these individuals abuse such freedoms to the detriment of our country? Out of fear of international condemnation, are we supposed to follow the old philosophy of “see no evil, hear no evil” and let these individuals push our country into chaos and disharmony?

Unfortunately, we have ourselves to blame for the current state of affairs. Right from independence, instead of establishing common national laws for all citizens, we chose the appeasement mode where laws were tailor-made for people based on their religion, communal status etc. and currently, we’re paying the price for that. In our endeavour to be the blue-eyed boy of the western world, we developed our own definitions of democracy and tolerance wherein an individual can do anything he likes or hurt anyone he likes and, as long as he hasn’t overstepped the boundaries of our ‘liberal constitution, we have no right to object as the international community will see us as intolerant. In fact, we’ve allowed our definition of self-defense to be equated with intolerance. Anti-national elements can abuse all liberal freedoms granted to them under our constitution and endeavour to weaken and destroy our country and if anybody opposes them then they are considered intolerant, or extremists and these anti-national elements spare no effort in besmirching the image of our country by politicizing any action that blocks/opposes the actions of such diabolic individuals.

The anti-India lobby has been active in our country since independence but has increased several gears since the advent of the Modi government in 2014 which, of course, is a tacit indication that the government is taking the country in the right direction. This anti-India lobby, in the form of pseudo-secularists, encompasses individuals from a wide section of our society including politicians from different parties, ‘internationally acclaimed’ authors and analysts, sections of the paid media, a large portion of the, currently infamous, Bollywood etc. and their main objective seems to be the denigration of our government, our armed forces, our traditions, cultural values etc. All this is done under the façade of broad-mindedness and within the realms of freedom of speech as enshrined in our constitution. This reminds me of a dialogue from the movie Golmaal where, Utpal Dutt says that unless you mock and insult out culture and values, you’ll not be considered broad-minded. One alarming factor is that the diatribes by this pseudo-secular lobby, especially Bollywood, seems to be wantonly targeting only one religion and that clearly reflects their objective of internally destabilizing the country.

In this regard, certain sections of our society have started standing up against these lobbies, but the point is, what is the government doing against these anti-national elements in our country? In countries like China, Russia etc., such lobbies would have been neutralized a long time ago but, of course, being a democracy, we can’t do that. Nevertheless, most western and other democracies use a lot of overt and covert techniques to quell anti-national forces in their countries. The CIA, FBI, MOSSAD, MIV etc. covertly neutralize anti-nationals thus avoiding any political repercussions. Take the recent, truckers’ agitation in Canada. It was covertly subdued without any substantial, domestic or international fallout. So, why can’t the Indian government do the same?

Take Bollywood for example. Personally, I regard Bollywood as India’s answer to Swiss Banks, with the exception that Swiss Banks have certain regulations against drugs/terrorism related money but Bollywood makes no such exceptions. Millions, if not billions, of dollars of black money is routed through Bollywood and a substantial portion of that money is used to promote anti-national activities in our country and sadly, prominent personalities from Bollywood openly encourage anti-national activities. In this, they are actively supported by other elements of the anti-national lobbies including sections of the paid media. However, no credible action is taken against them as they make sure that their actions are within the purview of the law. It’s extremely painful to see certain sections of Bollywood splurge huge sums of money on drugs-infested rave parties while a large section of Bollywood languish on a bare-minimum existence. Adding salt to the wounds of the less-fortunate elements of Bollywood, during the current, “Boycott Bollywood” campaign, prominent personalities had the hypocritical audacity to state that they were worried about the livelihood of such unit members on account of such campaign despite the known fact that even a fraction of the fees charged by these personalities or the amount spent on their parties, would go a long way in ameliorating the living-conditions of their unit members.

It’s high time that the government establishes the priority of national-interest over democratic norms and takes on the anti-national lobby both overtly and covertly. If the government gets hold of the large sums of black-money flowing into the coffers of the anti-national lobbies then it would weaken their ability to destabilize the country and additionally, such funds could go a long way in improving social welfare conditions in our country. It would also help in hastening India’s quest for becoming a powerful and highly-respected nation.

The government has the fire-power to take on these lobbies. What remains is the intention to do so.



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