With Teltumbde & Navlakha in Jail, How Free is ‘Freedom’ in India?

Teltumbde and Navlakha spoke for those who would be devoured easily by ‘national interest’.

Published14 Apr 2020, 02:41 PM IST
Opinion
4 min read

Two more minds would be deactivated for the public today. By imprisoning Anand Teltumbde and Gautam Navlakha, the government—and by facilitating it the courts— would not be able to stop their minds functioning for they’ll continue to think and think hard while behind the bars. The people of India, however, would be deprived of the product of the intellectual labour. It is quite different a matter whether it matters to the people or not.

Let us first pledge to ourselves that we would stay clear from simplifications.

Snapshot
  • With Teltumbde and Navlakha in jail, the people of India would be deprived of the product of their intellectual labour.
  • Government of India is concocting a story in which different characters are seen conspiring against the nation.
  • The talk of conspiracy always serves the power or the governments.
  • After a sustained campaign, people have been injected with a sense of guilt when talking about their own rights.
  • When the best minds are in jail, how free are the free?

A Much Repeated Lie Has Now Become the Truth?

Anand Teltumbde is not targeted for his being one of the family of Baba Bhim Rao Ambedkar, nor for him being a Dalit intellectual. We need to understand that the government of India is concocting a story in which there are characters of different kinds who are being linked to each other conspiring against the nation and, horror of horror, planning to assassinate the beloved leader.

By playing the record continuously and introducing new characters at regular interval, the police, an arm of the government tries to make its story credible. People have no way to verify the claims of the police as the “mainstream” media is not only not interested in it but it also adds to the official narration by adding its own investigation to bolster its claim. Prem Shankar Jha has dissected very ably the government theory and revealed the vile mind behind it in a long article.

‘Conspiracy’ Always Benefits the Rulers

The talk of conspiracy always serves the power or the governments. Communist regimes have used it to perpetuate themselves. Party leaders were executed, intellectuals exterminated and people started reporting on their loved ones as ordered by the regime.

An independent voice was not only dangerous but was criminal. Hitler experimented with conspiracy theories and firmed his grip on the people’s minds. Mccarthy managed to rig the proud democratic minds of America.

Conspiracy theories have never failed and this regime knows it well too.

So, it has continued to conjure conspiracy after conspiracy.

Rohit Vemula and his friends were painted as hidden Maoists and fake dalits, JNU was portrayed as the den of nation breakers. The then home minster claimed that the students have links across the borders with the terrorists and the university campuses were seen as hiding shelters for ‘anti nationals’. A new term ‘Urban Naxal’ was coined and gained currency.

Modi Government Has Made People Feel Guilty While Talking About Rights

Anand and Gautam are very different from each other, as Stan Swamy and Hany Babu are. All of them are characters of this new conspiracy forged by Modi led BJP government and its agencies. The lies of the government would be exposed if this story is read carefully with a cool mind. But, unfortunately, minds are in an agitated state and the go and the 24*7 media would not let it gain composure. Muddled minds have no option but to believe in the government.

Intellection, independent thought and struggle for rights have gradually been criminalised.

Intellectuals have been portrayed as unworthy and unproductive people wasting the hard earned tax payers’ money.

After a sustained campaign, people have been injected with a sense of guilt when talking about their own rights.

The rights of the nation—and it is vested in the leader for he alone is the explicator of it and the guardian of its interests—are supreme and the people of India have to dissolve themselves in this larger identity to remain true to themselves.

Teltumbde & Navlakha Are Now In Jail, But Are We Really Free Even Outside?

Anand Teltumbde, Gautam Navlakha, Sudha Bharadwaj perform the unpleasant task of speaking for those who would be devoured easily by the said ‘national interest’. Especially Adivasis, Dalits, Muslims.

Both men differ with each other, change and correct their positions when they realise a need for it. But with them, the possibility of the survival of the notion of the people remains. State cannot get away by invoking nation again and again, thus the courts are forced repeatedly to deliberate on what constitutes the nation if these kinds remain active in public field.

Hence, the idea of disabling them and depriving people of the tools to think about themselves. Yes, it is loss of freedom for these two. But they’ll, hopefully, emerge from this prison stronger and much more resilient. The same cannot be said about the people of this country. After all when the best minds are in jail, how free are the free?

(The writer teaches at Delhi University. He tweets @Apoorvanand_. This is an opinion piece and the views expressed above are the author’s own. The Quint neither endorses nor is responsible for them.)

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