Emergence of a bold new India 2024

Those who believe India is turning into a dictatorship may be wrong, as India may actually be transitioning into a modern monarchy. An eye-raising religious ritual for the installation of a specter in the new parliament building on its inauguration earlier in the year, illustrates India’s conscious return to its pre-Islamic monarchic era, regressive of course. Not surprisingly, most well-to-do, powerful and influential Indians support the emerging new version of India — the ‘Bharat’, with ‘Sanatan Dharma’, as its main (or perhaps the only) religion flowing through its veins and arteries. The current Indian PM is hailed as an avatar (reincarnation) of God.

All institutions of democracy – judiciary, law enforcement, election commission, central bank and main media – have fallen to the ruling party. The Opposition has no place in the parliament where bills are being passed without the presence of the Opposition MPs.

During his 2023 Independence Day speech, the PM made a bold declaration – to the attendees at the historic Red Fort podium and to the world – that he is returning to the podium to deliver the 2024 Independence Day speech. He appeared to have absolutely no doubt in his assertion, nor did he mince any words. As such, the outcome of the 2024 General Election may be preordained, thus, a forgone conclusion. Post the all-important November 2023 state elections, one must believe there is a grain of truth in his bold declaration. Despite claims by his critics, the PM seemingly has a firm grip on India’s politics and a lasting spell on the people. Obviously, as there have been no significant mass protests against him, or any people’s movement against the alleged EVM fiasco in the November 2023 state elections, India seems to be happy with how it is going.

It looks like the Opposition, with all its inter-and intra-party ego, petty politics and discordance, is not expected to do anything significant other than raking up a little storm in a teacup in the coming weeks or months before the election.

In the Bharat of 2023, protests, defiance and insubordination, irrespective of their validity, are crushed mercilessly. Freedom of speech is limited mainly to those who work for the authority and strictly comply with its commands and norms, howsoever, obstinate or ridiculous or regressive they may appear to be. Loyal subservience is generously rewarded. About a billion poor Indian people are rewarded with free ration every month in exchange to their vote. Honest journalism is called naxalism and independent journalists are degraded as urban naxals. Socialists and leftists are branded as terrorists in a capitalistic authoritarian Bharat.

In the new India, Bharat, which is ruled by lords and demigods, dissent is a sin.  Total subservience and compliance with sanskar and parampara are hailed as core virtues.

For cultural reasons, however, asking questions, which requires critical thinking, is dissuaded in India at all levels — family, social, religious, political or professional.  Boss is always right. Society is inherently hierarchical, and the concept of egalitarianism is incomprehensible. Prostrating comes easy to most Indians, it is imbibed in most during infancy. Asking questions of superiors, or those in power, or those higher in the socio-political hierarchy is forbidden. The terms, ‘sanskar’ and ‘parampara’, are used to ensure total compliance from children, women, weak and the poor; deviants are punished harshly, one way or the other.

Despite their wealth of honest journalism, noble intentions, and an unquestionable love for motherland, a couple of dozens of veteran North Indian journalists, operating through various popular YouTube channels, with a combined direct following of, say, 10 million and an extended following of, say, another 50 million, (i.e., with total reach of under 5% of Indian population) are not expected to make much dent in the current Indian socio-political environment unless the remaining 95% people also recognise a dire need to return to democracy.

These well-meaning journalists and activists will need a fresh perspective of the Indian socio-political scene and a more ingenious, out-of-book approach to extend their ground reach, and hope the people also see their perspective.

Most Indians really don’t understand democracy, as the spirit of lateral egalitarianism to understand it is disallowed by an intrinsic culture of vertical hierarchy. As a sovereign country, however, Indians have the right to make their country whatever they wish it to be — a monarchy or a dictatorship — and the world may not have many options but to accept the new ‘Bharat’ version of India as it is or treat it as it likes.

Notably, none of India’s neighbours is happy with it, nor are many Islamic countries for its anti-Muslim political rhetoric within the country for domestic consumption, which is not hidden from those countries. Its powerful newfound friend (the US) may have drifted away for several reasons of its own doing. Sadly, its old all-weather friend, Russia, may also seem distant now.

At the moment, India, or the Bharat, as it may call itself, does not have many friends nor it seems very certain about its global image or place in history.

Most well-to-do Indians consider themselves to be smart, intelligent and all-knowing, and that is exactly why things are as they are in the country — chaotic and uncertain — with hundreds of thousands of Indians leaving the country every year.

Copyright © Bill K Koul

Bill K Koul [Perth, Western Australia, 24 December 2023]

5 thoughts on “Emergence of a bold new India 2024

  1. Dear Mr Kaul
    Well written piece. It is statement of facts about present day India that hints of its ominous future. India,

    Ashok Peer

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