Dynamics of Political Discourse - Civil Society and Authoritarian State
• Dr Ravinder Gunti
The evolution and growth of Indian State from the self acclaimed democratic foundations to fascist authoritarian structure throws up many a challenge to Civil Society. Built on liberal democratic theoretical postulates during early 1950s and slowly transforming itself into idealist authoritarian model by optimally utilizing Constitutional provisions and dynamic Socio Economic conditions of the society. The Indian state is increasingly becoming intolerant towards the Socio Political movements that provide the basis for assertion of Rights.
A significant instance that makes a pathetic reading of a great movement, which has historical origins, is the Bhima Koregaon movement occurred during 1818 in Maharashtra State. The Dalits, Adivasis, Women, Workers, weaker sections and socially and economically deprived sections celebrate the martyrdom of Dalit Mahars in Anglo Maratha war. Dr BR Ambedkar initiated in 1927 and it has been continued under the banner of Elgar Parishad.
However, on January 2018 these activists were targeted by the members of right wing extremist Hindutva groups. On 28th August, the police have raided the homes of prominent left wing activists in several states and arrested them, for their alleged links with Maoists. The arrested personalities are Civil and Political Rights activists, Lawyers, Writers and Poet. They may be holding certain views that appear to be anti establishment. But, as the essence of democracy is in facilitation of individual freedom, these views are considered as integral to the proclaimed ideals of Indian Constitution. The arrest of these personalities was challenged by historian Romilla and others in the apex court. The Supreme Court stated that “dissent is the safety valve of Democracy”. The dissent and protest as inseparable parts of liberal democratic framework. Thus, the Indian state is making attempts to itself fear among the minds of the people in general and critics in particular.
The Fundamentalists attitude and authoritarian tendencies of Indian State may also result in rise of extremism. To save the society from brink of disaster, the state should uphold the values enshrined in the Constitution. The Civil Society must act as counterweight to the aggressive power of the State.
* Head, Associate Professor of Pol. Science, Dr BR Ambedkar Open University, Hyderabad, Telangana State, India