Sat. May 18th, 2024

Give me back my India, where I can freely express myself in Parliament without abuse, heckling, or intimidation. Give me back my India, where economics takes precedence over encomiums. We need economists, not just encomiasts.

Give me back my India, where crimes against women are met with the harshest punishments, champion athletes are not sexually harassed, and abusive men in power are not protected.

Give me back my India, where one out of three youths is not unemployed. Give me back my India, where language is a tool of communication, not a measure of patriotism.

Give me back my India, where a state is not plagued by violence for extended periods. (Sorry, Manipur, for failing to send the head of the Union Government and chief of its executive branch to you).

Give me back my India, where double-digit food price inflation does not lead to three out of four people being unable to afford a healthy diet.

Give me back my India, where farmers are guaranteed MSP (Minimum Support Price) for their crops, where farmer suicides are unheard of, and where farmers come before large corporations. It is tragic that 10,000 farmers took their lives in 2021.

Give me back my India, where the Prime Minister pays condolences when jawans are martyred instead of attending events at his party headquarters.

Give me back my India, where profitable PSUs like the Railways, SAIL, BHEL, and BSNL are not privatized.

Give me back my India, where hard-earned money is not used to cover up frauds and corporate losses totaling over Rs 12 lakh crore.

Give me back my India, where economic offenders do not loot the country and flee to other lands while ordinary people struggle with expensive LPG cylinders and rising prices.

Give me back my India, where renowned institutions are not systematically weakened to serve the ruling dispensation.

Give me back my India, where media owners are not enslaved by the ruling party and real journalists have the freedom to remain authentic.

Give me back my India, where the government does not need to manipulate GDP calculations to artificially inflate numbers.

Give me back my India, where slums are not hidden behind green curtains during international events or visits from world leaders.

Give me back my India, where dissent does not lead to imprisonment. Think of Father Stan Swamy, Siddique Kappan, Varavara Rao, Gautam Navlakha, Anand Teltumbde, and countless others.

Give me back my India, where religious propaganda does not override science, and cow urine is not consumed as a COVID cure. Let’s celebrate the achievements of Chandrayaan, not the purveyors of pseudoscience.

Give me back my India, where citizens, especially migrant workers, are not stranded or left to die due to hasty demonetization or COVID lockdown announcements.

Give me back my India, where statistics and data are not seen as enemies of the state. COVID data was withheld, the PM CARES Fund lacks transparency, and the Census has been postponed.

Give me back my India, where the environment is not sacrificed for corporate profit. Examples include the Joshimath subsidence, roads collapsing under the National Highways Authority of India, and landslides caused by uncontrolled construction.

Give me back my India, where manufacturing, the heartbeat of our economy, does not suffer due to policy-induced problems. Employment in the manufacturing sector has declined from 51 million in 2016 to 36 million in 2023.

Give me back my India, where the right to privacy is not contested but considered a fundamental and inviolable right of every citizen. The Digital Personal Data Protection Bill, passed in the Monsoon Session of Parliament, enables the government to bypass citizen privacy through multiple channels.

Give me back my India, where I can eat, speak, and love freely. Give me back my India, where unity in diversity is not just a phrase but a way of life.

Give me back my India, where the mind is without fear and the head is held high.

P.S. This article is based on a speech given by this columnist in Parliament. Interestingly, “Give me back my India” turned out to be the last speech delivered in the original Parliament building.

(Derek O’Brien, MP, leads the Trinamool Congress in the Rajya Sabha.)

Disclaimer: These are the personal opinions of the author.

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By admin