Why is the possibility of alternative thought so outlawed in this country?
No matter who is in power, the State is showing increasing paranoia over dissent.
THE LOPSIDED conversation about power in India — how much is needed, how it should be generated — masks a deeper left lobe crisis in the country that no one is quite noticing. A recent issue of TIME magazine had former US President Bill Clinton spelling out five ideas that are changing the world (for the better). Among the ideas he listed was green energy. According to him, “Germany, where the sun shines on average as much as it does in London, reportedly set the world record for electricity generated from the sun in a single day: 22 gigawatts, or roughly the output of 20 nuclear power plants.” India should have leapt at that statistic with interest. If dank Germany can do that, imagine what sunny India could generate.
But back here in India, Clinton might have been charged with sedition for harbouring such blasphemous thoughts. That’s not to be idly facetious. At Koodankulam — India’s now-famous battleground nuclear site — according to activists, the Tamil Nadu Police has filed 109 FIRs against a staggering 55,795 people for protesting peacefully against the plant; 3,600 people have been charged with “waging war against the nation”; and another 3,200 people have been charged with sedition. In real terms, this may not translate into actual mass arrests and jail; but it’s a reminder the chopping block is always close. If anyone distinguishes themselves from the crowd as a leader, the shadow will become a sword. SP Udayakumar should know: he is a fugitive.
Two weeks ago, confronted about the government’s draconian response to protesting fishermen in a closed-door conference, a young Central minister raised the usual sleight of a foreign hand; a foreign hand, he said, was behind the protests. Pressed to specifically reveal who these hands were and what motive governed them, he said he wasn’t too sure