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Protests: The new normal of opposition

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In 2014, The world for many had changed over a series of events that took place, overthrowing the dynastic overconfident regime, and replacing it with a allegedly tainted Prime minister, allegedly a heavily polarised and communal party with a senior leadership pivoting their whole existence only on one concept of a religion. The mere turn of such events were enough to rattle the “Dynasty” and show the world that India is changing. It was all new and every action that was taken subsequently was making history or breaking some or the other norm.

From Surgical Strikes becoming the new medal to the Indian Army to abrogation of the “Ineradicable” Article 370, everyday every month was becoming a news media headline. But both the terms of the current BJP govt have not been all hunky-dory, it has been smeared with claims of extreme polarisation, fascism, communalism, minority oppression, hyper-nationalism, etc. Each day, we have seen highlights of increased crime rate, decreasing economy, ever growing fear in minorities, lynchings, hate speeches and crimes, rising unemployments, undelivered promises and anything that can going wrong, is going wrong. What is the ground reality?

So what are the issues of the Modi Govt 1.0 and 2.0(In no particular order and not exhaustive list):

  • Demonetisation
  • Rafale Deal
  • Farmer Suicides and Farmer Bills
  • CAA and NRC
  • Kashmir/370
  • China at LAC
  • Changes in GST
  • Dropping Economy
  • Rising Unemployment
  • Lockdown During Pandemic
  • Migrant Issues
  • Rohit Vemula Suicide
  • Rape cases: Hyderabad Rape case, Unnao Rape case, Hathras Rape case
  • Arrey Deforestation drive

In all the issues that have been highlighted we have seen some things in common. No matter how big or small the issue is, irrelevant of whether something is being done about it or not, irrelevant if the policy implemented has some wait time to reflect on the consequences, the most common reaction that has been seen from the opposition is not just to oppose, but to “Protest”

Protest has become the new way to oppose. And not just a simple protest or a political protest, but a full scale apparently a people’s protest where the public, the vote bank seems to be the one to respond, to oppose whatever the institution is trying to allegedly impose on the public. The narrative is set in such a way that the govt is imposing and dictating their terms. But how this came to life.

Pre-2014, the INC govt was smeared with corruption cases rising to the magnitude of a small countries GDP. The money that was embezzled was not in terms of Crores, but in terms of Lakhs of Crores. That’s multiples of Rs 100,000 Crore at base minimum. Pakistan’s GDP currently is at INR 2,31,11 Cr. That means the scams in our country at that time had exceeded Pakistan’s current GDP. But the govt was mostly unfazed by this…In fact, the public was still in favor of Congress, had 2-3 major incidents not happened.

  • Nirbhaya Case and Protest
  • Anna’s Lok Tantra, India Against Corruption Protest.

Nirbhaya Case was a media storm for the right reasons, but in the wrong direction, the media highlighted it, the public protested, but did it resolve anything..?? A few small amendments and then nothing, no proper outcome. The laws weren’t made more stringent.

And the famous Anna Hazare Movement led to the birth of the infamous Aam Aadmi Party, which by no means seem to be aam any more, but its members seem to be a part of some of the most serious charges in Delhi Riots case.

I am not going to comment on the organic or inorganic nature of the protest in 2014. But the key factor turns out that the public created unrest and was directly involved in the politics of the wave that swept the nation and turned the tides on the then serving government.

Now picking from the same model, the opposition learnt from Arvind Kejriwal. Arvind Kejriwal, even after coming into power was holding protests and was going on strike which was ironical and this made a mockery of the system. But the other parties, today have made it a point to not just oppose in parliament but to politicize each event and then hold protests. If there are lynchings of a person due to any reason, find caste/religion as a reason and then politicize the concept and then hold a protest. If there is a Bill which has been passed with due process, but opposes the oppositions wishes, then not just oppose it, but also hold protest, create ruckus, inflict inconvenience and damage to the public, and show a protest like Shaheen Bagh. If there is a bill that may or may not support the farmers, then rather than discussing in parliament, create a ruckus, then hold protests and show that the farmers are suffering and even though the protests evidently don’t seem to organic, still show support and get media to cover it.

Media, paid or otherwise, would cover each and every such protest with such diligence that the narrative built for the over all country seems to be as if no one is happy and everything is in disarray. The narrative set is that there is extreme polarization, the country has been divided into “Bhakts” and “Chamchas”, “Liberals/Anti-Nationals” and “Right Wingers/Hyper-Nationals“, Communalism and Secularism. The state of unrest has been made so much a constant that if there is a common day then no one feels that it’s a day…

The way things are going, left to natural unchecked progression could lead to a civil war with no holds barred.



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