Diversity and Freedom of Thought will make India Strong

Written by Vidya Bhushan Rawat | Published on: September 14, 2019
The Pune police searching the residence of Hany Babu, a teacher of English in Delhi University, in connection with the BhimaKoregaon case, is an example of how,under the rubric of 'law enforcement', the police and other intelligence agencies have been given power beyond control. We don’t know why Pune police is determined to 'develop' the Bhima Koregaon incident into a huge conspiracy, when those goons, who attacked the people in the street when they were returning from the event, are roaming free.

hany babu
Photo Courtesy: Facebook/Abha Dev Habib

Bhima Koregaon is a tribute to the strength of the Mahar community in their fight against the Peshwas and the memorial has been standing there for long. It is here that Baba Saheb Ambedkar used to come every 1st January. The Ambedkarites from Maharashtra and other parts of India visit this place every year and celebrate it. There are a few areasin which none can match the Ambedkarites. On the Dusshara day or on October 14th, when Baba Saheb Ambedkar, with millions of his followers, embraced Buddhism, people gather in Nagpur to commemorate the event, which is one of the biggest congregations. Again, on December 6th, which is Ambedkar’s death anniversary, people gather at Chaitya Bhumi in Mumbai where Baba Saheb was cremated. Also, on April 14th, crores of Bahujan Samaj people celebrate Ambedkar Jayanti.

The question is - who was responsible for Bhima Koregaon violence, when it is a well-known fact that it is an annual function or celebration which is spontaneous in nature and where a majority of Ambedkarites visit.

Police has the right to investigate things but it cannot harass people, raiding their homes and taking away their intellectual wealth. It is sad that despite the arrest of a number of people, there is no formal chargesheet.

In today's world, when you have huge digital data, you can get mails from a diverse group, you may be a member of various discussion groups, sometimes you don’t follow, you may receive phone calls from different people, many of whom you may not even know, but based on these things, if the police and the agencies create an environment of intimidation and harassment, then it must be stopped.

We know that this government has decided to call people terrorists before they could prove it. The onus lies on the individuals to prove the contrary. This is such a mental trauma, which only the individual facing it and his or her family know about. It is time for the Supreme Court to prove its mettle and provide strong guidelines in relation to such searches by a state police in another state. There was a time when it was difficult for a state police to enter and do the searches in other state, but it seems that now, it has become a norm.

It is sad because this is nothing more than an attempt to stop ideas from flourishing. Courts have clarified many times that a difference of ideas from the state does not amount to being anti-national. If an idea does not promote animosity among communities or waging a war against the state, it is no crime. Definitely, we all know that the unity and integrity of India is paramount, but equally important are the rights of the people. It is because of the choice of the Indian people to live together as a nation that we are a strong nation. It is not the state or power which keeps us together, it is our commitment to certain common values which bind us together. Interestingly, those who are openly calling for mob lynching, elimination of minorities and their deportation are roaming free and police does not find any evidence against them even when they are caught red handed.

Discrimination and biases among our fellow citizens will not make this country great. It will flourish only when diverse ideas are allowed to roam and we critique them. It is not necessary for us to agree on everything. India grew because our founding fathers realised the immense power of its people and strength in its diversity. Attempt to homogenise thought processes, ideologies, eating habits or culture of this great country, will only be detrimental to the integrity of the nation. Hope those in power realise that diversity of ideas and culture is our strength, and not our weakness. Academic institutions and academics must allow questioning and freedom of thought, so that we have children who can question wrongs and have the power to speak the truth to those in power. But, it seems, those in power are frightened of the independence of thoughts and ideas. Still, we have no option but to keep uniting and joining our hands in our common struggle to protect our secular, liberal constitution and the unity and integrity of the country from those who want to destroy it by trying to homogenise it.
  1. Years of hard work taken away: DU Professor on Pune police raids without search warrant
  2. Stop this attack on democracy and human rights defenders
  3. Rights organisations urge Mumbai to rise and save democracy in light of activists arrest
  4. JNU lecture upheaval, Speaker changed by School of Social Science
  5. Stay against ‘Inquiry’ against 48 Teachers at JNU for attending Protests: Delhi HC