You might have been surprised on receiving this letter and wondered who these ‘traumatised souls’ are? So let us introduce ourselves, we are the souls of those who suffered immense hardships under the fascist and totalitarian regimes world over, be it Hitler’s reign in Germany or Emergency in your own country. Some events in the recent past compelled us to write to you.
We were very concerned when news came fleeting from some wandering souls that a state of fascism or undeclared emergency had taken over India, the world’s largest democracy. We trembled at the thoughts of the grave ramifications it would entail for a sixth of humanity. So we enquired around and what we found traumatised us as much, if not more than the physical, mental and emotional abuse we suffered during our life time. Suffering at the hands of a dictatorial regime hurts, but what hurts even more is to see a mockery being made out of one’s sufferings by incorrect, unfounded and casual throwing around of terms with grave ramifications by those considered intellectual.
A defining tenet of fascism is its total disapproval of dissent and opposition. Opposition leaders in a fascist state or one under emergency are jailed, forced to flee the country or in the worst scenario, murdered. In such states the ruling regime is answerable to no one, but itself, not the parliament, nor the courts. In present day India, the leader of opposition walks smiling side by side the Prime Minister, courts of the land routinely take the government to task and in the near future the top court would be headed by a judge who rose in dissent months ago. Everyone from the CM (Common Man) to C.M. (Chief Minister) is busy dishing out choicest of abuses to the government and let alone being packed off to concentration camps, none has been as much as touched by the state. When the police authorities in the recent past did take action against some people allegedly colluding with those wanting to overthrow the state, various courts not only granted stay on the arrests, but also came down heavily on the police department. The doors of the highest court of the country are opened beyond midnight, not at the instigation of the government to pass shady decrees, but on an appeal by the opposition. A young woman calling the state fascist, rather than being out of jail in a few hours, would have disappeared without trace in a state bearing any semblance to fascism.
Our only request to you is, think twice, the next time you get the urge of uttering words like undeclared emergency or fascism in India. The very fact that you are free to use such words, means it is very likely that your use of such words is little more than hyperbole. Freedom of speech and expression is something to cherished, respected and valued, rather than being abused without thought. By using such words, with grave ramifications, you do a great injustice, not only to the past but also the future. Because, if the reckless use of such terms is to continue, then a day would soon come, when God forbid, even if your country is actually in the grasp of a fascist regime, the masses would have been so desensitised to the gravity of such words that they’d not take them seriously.
Traumatised Souls of the Sufferers of Authoritarianism.