The BJP/NDA government’s transformation of the puerile tweets of two girls hardly out of their teens into a vast international conspiracy to topple the government of India with a defence establishment comprising over 1,100,000 personnel and a nuclear arsenal at its command, exposes the small-town patriarchal mind-set of its leadership. In the almost one million small towns and villages of India’s vast rural hinterlands aptly described by Dr. B.R Ambedkar, prime author of the Constitution of India, as sink holes of ignorance, superstition and iniquity, the authority and diktat of the local political don and family patriarchs can be questioned only on pain of death or worse.
The entire rule book has been thrown at teenage climate activist Greta Thurnberg, pop singer Rihanna and our own environment idealist Disha Ravi by the neta-babu establishment, not because they pose a threat to the sovereignty, stability and unity of India, but because they dared to make common cause and speak up for the thousands of farmers who have been agitating against three laws rushed through Parliament without sufficient deliberation and debate.
Even if the girls/women had aided and abetted in the design of a “tool kit” in collaboration with a motley band of Punjabi émigrés plotting to embarrass the BJP/NDA government on the farmers’ agitation issue, it would have amounted to a fleabite to an elephant and should have been ignored. By interpreting youth activism as international conspiracy to destabilise the country and government, the BJP leadership has exposed its small-mindedness. Ditto on the farm legislation issue. Repeal of the already hollowed out legislation which the government has suo motu put off for 18 months, and re-enacting it after consultation with farm leaders, rather than patriarchal bullying, would have been the politically correct response.