Let Voltaire and Bhupen Hazarika inspire us

Sir,
Right from our childhood, our civic text books used to teach us that India is a democratic republic where its citizens  are Constitutionally empowered to exercise freedom of speech and expression.
But it does not seem to be true following the announcement of the “Boldest declaration in the history of independent India”! Either I have read my civics wrong or the Constitutional right of free expression of opinion has been cancelled much earlier and I was ignorant about the change!
Yes, if anybody dares to criticise the methodology adopted to fulfil the process of denomination or pinpoint the Himalayan ordeal being faced by the billions of innocent Indians in merciless queues or in hospitals due to lack of adequate “legal cash”; promptly he/she is being character-assassinated as “anti-national”, “hoarder of black money” , “dealer of counterfeit notes” or “terrorists”! What an intolerant and undemocratic environment has engulfed the nation;  thanks  to  the self-declared guardians of nationalism, honesty and peace!
Let’s keep aside the plight that demonetisation has brought upon the lives of the sick and vulnerable senior citizens for a while. Let’s talk about the unfortunate pre-matured deaths only. More than 70 innocent people (including the God-resembling little flowers ie the kids) have left this world for good following stampede while in queues or after getting refused treatment by the ruthless hospital authorities. Yet, not a bit of remorse, apology, sympathy, compassion or token expression of regret towards the hapless inconsolable families of the deceased ones who all have left for heavenly abode due to the callous methodology undertaken in the name of demonetisation! What a heartless cruel  inhuman society have we become!
There lies not an iota of doubt that demonetisation has grossly exposed the extremely intolerant undemocratic heartless inhuman face of our society.
If we are still left with minimum amount of conscience, then instead of celebrating birth anniversaries of the great Indians or glorifying them in pages of history; we should take a leaf out of the books of Buddha, Guru Nanak, Rabindranath Tagore, Swami Vivekananda, Mahatma Gandhi, Jawaharlal Nehru,  Mother Teresa and APJ Abdul Kalam (to name a few) and learn to be a bit tolerant towards the viewpoint of others,  sympathetic towards the plight of the weak and vulnerable ones, stand up for protection of human rights and feel pain in the hearts on hearing news of unfortunate tragic deaths of adult and children for no fault of their own.
Let the noble words of Voltaire (“I do not agree with what you have to say, but I will defend to death  your right to say it”) and the humanity-personified ballad of Bhupen Hazarika (“Manuhe Manuhar Babe …”   ie “If man wouldn’t think for man with a little sympathy/Tell me who will — Comrade”) ring in our ears, hearts, mindset and personality so as to promote our society into a civilized one.
Yours sincerely,
Kajal Chatterjee


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