EXCERPT (from Vijay Prashad):
I was reading Walsh’s letter when I learned that the police from Pune (Maharashtra, India) had arrested five sensitive people – patriots of the Indian poor – for unspecified crimes. There is something surreal about these arrests, as surreal as the arrest of Shahidul Alam in Bangladesh and Dareen Tatour in Israel. In the Indian Supreme Court, Justice DY Chandrachud said of these arrests, ‘Dissent is the safety value of a democracy; if you don’t allow safety valve, the pressure cooker will burst’. This is the judiciary speaking. Governments do not believe this – believing instead that anyone who helps organise the anger of the people is anti-national and so, seditious. Drawing inspiration from Walsh, I write of the general desiccation of space for democratic action.
- The economic slide cannot be stopped by a knife in the gut of a left-wing activist or a nuclear test or another trip overseas by the itinerant prime minister. What can derail the conversation is for every household in India with a television set to be transfixed on what appears to be a totally fallacious series of arrests.
Tu zinda hai toh zindagi ki jeet par yakeen kar
Agar kahin hai swarg to utaar la zameen par
Yeh gham ke aur char din sitam ke aur char din
Yeh din bhi jayenge guzar
Guzar gaye hazar din
Tu zinda hai
As long as you are alive, believe that life will be victorious.
If there is a heaven somewhere, create it here on earth.
The days of grief are numbered, the days of injustice are numbered.
These days shall also pass, like a thousand days have before them.
You are alive.