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73 years ago today, India gained her freedom, and that is textbook knowledge, or if you’re using social media today, it is Facebook knowledge. So let me also take the opportunity to be a little patriotic, in an essence. Happy Independence Day, if that makes up for anything that would offend anyone’s ideologies.
I do not really believe in borders but I am happy that I popped up here in the state of Sikkim, which merged into India on 16th May 1975 after a referendum, which altered a lot of Indian provisions, and gave Sikkim a special provision called 371-F in the constitution of India.
The government of India has, in recent days shown quite a disregard for special provisions that were promised to states while they merged in, which would have surely amounted to the scrutiny that leaders of the merging states in the past had held. Yes, I am talking about the abolishment of article 370 from Jammu and Kashmir, which clearly hurt the sentiments of many Indians.
Talking about articles, article 19(a) of the Indian constitution says that all citizens have the right to freedom of speech and expression, which implies that we, as Indians, have the right to express our opinions and convictions freely by words of mouth, writing, printing or any other means.
I do not really like the right-wing ideology, if I may express my opinions freely, as I am a part of the largest democracy in the world. I do not really like the right wing with their Hindu nationalist policies that they have always believed in.
Since I was in junior school, I have always been fascinated about India and the largely diverse democracy that the nation was, the preamble to the constitution of India so boldly says that she is a secular democratic republic, but in recent days, many liberally thinking citizens of India would say that under the rule of BJP, India is turning into a more conservative, majoritarian, intolerant, Hindu nationalist country, rather than being a secular and liberal country that our forefathers had laid the foundations for.
Humans are but humans, swagger sways us, and promises from the leaders and resonating ideologies have always swayed us voters to vote for a particular candidate, or a particular party whose ideologies have spoken with our reason, in democratic countries that is.
Coming back to the Jammu and Kashmir issue, arguments can be made in all the directions of whether it was done for asserting sovereignty in the state by bifurcation of it into two Union Territories, but in the evident case of deploying military siege to the most militarised zone in the world, telecommunications blackout, arrests of leaders just before abrogating 370 and 35A that gave autonomy to the state and power to protect their lands respectively, the injuries caused by shotgun pellets, and the indefinite curfew, these means do not justify their ends, however patriotic or nation building they might call it. This was nothing but a constitutional chicanery to let outsiders from a different state buy land and settle in.
Does Israeli settlements ring the reader’s bell here in some manner or the other?
As previously established in this write up, I belong to Sikkim, a small state in the northeastern region of India.
Since I have had memories, I had only seen one political party in the state, the Sikkim Democratic Front lead by an internationally renowned leader, Mr. Pawan Kumar Chamling, whose ideologies were undeniably resounding with the majority of voters in the grass root levels that secured SDF rule in Sikkim for 25 years among other reasons.
In 2019 elections I saw the long rule being toppled by the narrative of change by the party known as Sikkim Krantikari Morcha, in a win by 17 seats in their name to 15 of SDF’s out of 32 in the state.
The voters of Sikkim have never ever elected anyone representing a national party, which speaks volumes about the sentiments of the Sikkimese people and their love and concern for our special provisions, the fact that BJP got a mere 1.62% votes in the 2019 assembly elections is self explanatory.
The BJP tried an alliance with SKM before the electoral battle but due to the disapproval and discontent of the Sikkimese people, be it supporters or opposers of SKM before the elections, SKM ended the alliance before it even began.
The repudiation of national parties are solely because even after thousands of promises by national parties about protecting our provisions, Sikkimese people do not trust people from outside the state with article 371-F, a provision similar to Jammu and Kashmir’s that mostly bars the non-local population from buying land and getting jobs, the provision protects our culture and heritage, that we love and respect more than anything.
BJP have set their footprints in the North Eastern states in recent times, and have slowly started setting their roots with NDA led sweeping of the states where similar provisions have been set up, almost doubling their north east seat tally as compared to the previous elections.
J&K being a cross-border terrorism and militancy sensitive area, BJP’s decision of abrogating 370 and 35A had a scapegoat ready.
I am not a knee deep into politics kind of a person, but since today’s the 73rd year of the nation’s independence, I would like to exercise my 19(a) of the Indian constitution, because long have the majority of youths of my state stayed silent in political matters. We along with thousands of voters have voted to elect the leaders that we desired, the policy makers who were given the opportunity of working for the people, the communities that people build, the societies that the communities intertwine into, a state that hosts these societies, and a country that is built by the states, the states that were promised provisions while being merged into this supposedly independent and secular country.
Talking about our state, we have never deviated from voting regional parties and leaders, since we have faith that they would keep national parties away, mainly BJP with their blatant media manipulation hacks (I mean, a layperson like me can see through the overdone limelight on a certain public figure!), their Goons in the name of religion bearing names like Gaurakshaks, Bajrang Dal etc, their intolerant and ignorant ideologies that are polar opposite of the values that most of us from my state have grown up in, their cheap constitutional and political parlour tricks followed by bills and amendments in the name of nationalising, their tacky taglines and tawdry slogans, and most of all their religious dogmas. I for one find them absurdly tiptoeing along the lines of democracy and religious tyranny, of course, I am talking about recent days if I am not delusionary presuming the evident. I see a pattern, a hive mentality here, and somehow or the other I feel like that their track record is pretty shady.
Post 2019 SLA elections in Sikkim; BJP had not yet in history won a single seat until recently 10 MLAs out of 15 from the regional, recently rendered as opposing party from previously being the ruling, SDF, deserted the regional party and joined BJP, giving BJP a backdoor to Sikkim as the main opposition party with 10 seats now.
That for me as I am coursing through my twenties poses a lot of question, even as I am currently still finding myself, figuring out who I am, I can’t help but get back to my roots, how and where I was raised, and what cultural heritage I bear.
I think of my town, and the people in there, the societies that are thriving, and communities we are working for the betterment of, and I find myself helplessly wondering, is politics only about power?
If I was there, in place of those 10 MLAs that have created a hole for the hive to come in, and narrate a new vision, a new India along with a newer and better Sikkim, in the cost of our provisions that made our ancestors whom we still remember in our traditional functions all across the state, take the decision of merging with this incredible nation, if I was in their shoes I would’ve gladly said no to the offer, if it was an offer and not a pre-meditated move to plummet our beautiful and peaceful as is state into the abyss of hollow quotes, like “Naya Bharat”, it’s the same country that I have always been awestruck and disgusted at the same time by.
It’s home, and it’s incredible, and it is not a new India, it is collectively due to individuals-communities-societies, growing and evolving.
I like my special provisions, and I’d like to keep it that way! It’s a free country, and I am only freely expressing my opinions.
Happy Independence Day, readers.