In the context of rising intolerance and an unprecedented response of the intelligentsia against acts intended to intimidate and coerce, we must heed the caution sounded by Dr Ambedkar when, citing John Stuart Mills, he advised people never to “lay their liberties at the feet of a great man, or to trust him with power which enables him to subvert their institutions…”. The response of senior leaders of the BJP to the “gathering interrogation” of the government’s acts of omission and commission… as “manufactured dissent” and “orchestrated protests” betrays callous insensitivity to constitutional guarantees.
It is time to talk truth to power and to ensure political impulses of a transient majority are not allowed to ride roughshod over constitutional rights that are non-negotiable. We must shed unconstitutional methods which are nothing less than a grammar of anarchy, to impose a set of views on dissenters… Instead of being dismissive about the national outrage against intolerance implicit in the political agenda of the BJP and its affiliates, democratic political morality demands that the PM empathises with the wronged and accepts moral responsibility for violation of constitutional rights of citizens. He must show leadership when the moral centre of the nation is under siege. Can he, that is the question. Or must he insist on altering the “silent immaculate premises of our outlook”?