Thursday 03 Dec 2020

Free society or a fear society?

The government in power is duty-bound to preach and practice the oath taken at the time of its induction

AGNELO PIRES | OCTOBER 25, 2020, 12:16 AM IST

Individualfreedoms of expression, assembly and religious faith are the pillars ofdemocracy. Any democratically elected government is bound to abide by theseprinciples. Of late, India is witnessing myriad voices against regressivegovernment policies. As sure as the darkness of the night, this does not seemto be a healthy sign unless the government gives an invigorating dose ofmedicine to our bedridden democracy. 

Thereis dissent in every nook and corner of Goa as well. May it be the IIT projectat Melauli where the villagers are showing a strong rejection to it or may itbe the locals of Mollem where they have become vocal against the proposedprojects such as laying of a 400-KV transmission line in the village of Xeldem,doubling of the railway line from Castle Rock to Kulem and stretch of the SouthWestern Railways from Kalay to Margao and four-laning of the existing NH4A inAnmod- Mollem region or may it be the entire hoi polloi of Goa who are smellinga rat where Goa is being projected as a coal hub. As people have decided tofight these projects tooth and nail, it seems, in this regard, the scale istilting towards people’s disapproval of the government policies. 

It isthe duty of the opposition to look at the ruling party with jaundiced eyes. Butwhat is the duty of every citizen? Should they wrap themselves in the flag and blindlyaccept what the ruling party says and does? Or should they raise a red flagwhen the authorities err? When the opposition cries foul at the governmentpolicies it is always for their party’s good but when the citizens cry foul, itis for the good of all the people, no colour, caste or creed. 

Tryingto silence any voice that is contrary to government policies is like castingstones against the wind. Dissent is a part of any civilised democracy. If thegovernment formulates a policy that is not in tune with the well-being of thestate and its citizens then the people have every right to come on the streetsand voice their anger. Howard Zinn once said dissent is the highest form ofpatriotism. The bell always tolls at the wrong policies. This is no way makes adissenter unpatriotic. On the contrary, those who side with the flaws and thepoison of the wrong policies of the government, that surely will make themunpatriotic. Only the live fish dare swim against the flowing stream. In thesilence of injustice, one single voice of dissent may sound like a pistol shot.Those who govern need to feel the pulse of the people as it is the people whohave elected them, for them. The government that butchers people's aspirationsto make a Roman holiday has no moral right to govern. And the government thatpartakes in the banquet, sitting next to a common man, and formulatepro-people’s policies can definitely see another term to rule dawning in thefuture. 

BJP hasseen this sun rising on the other side of midnight twice in Goa as well as inIndia. The success story of Modi donning the mantle of Prime Ministership wasscripted in Goa by none other than the late Mr Parrikar, as the people of Goawere disillusioned with the then ruling Congress party. And the strong foundationfor Mr Parrikar coming to power in 2012 was cemented by the minority community,the very minority community which is now finding faults in the Piper’stunes. 

Takingadvantage of the agitations going on against the government at present manyhave come forward to play the role of prophets thereby questioning the policiesof the government. Exploiting the present dissent in Goa, these so-calledleaders who can be rightly called as Greeks bearing gifts cannot be reliedupon. If the Chief Minister is eying another term, then it is time for him totest the water. As some projects are like rods, which the government is makingfor its own back, the pros and cons of such projects that are being opposed bythe people should be made transparent. Steps also need to be taken to scrap ormodify the proposed projects taking all the stakeholders intoconfidence.  

Thelaws of democracy or those laws enshrined in the constitution should not beused as a weapon to reward the loyalists, punish the enemies and set as anexample of fear for others to fall in line. The government in power isduty-bound to preach and practice the oath taken at the time of its induction.For some politics may be a part of life, but for many life is definitely a partof politics. 

 (Thewriter is a Commerce and a Law graduate, Goan writer and Goa State YouthAwardee)

 


 

 

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