Friday, June 18, 2021
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Good Bye 2020 – Year Of Corona and ‘ Conspiracy ‘

B L Saraf

Year 2020 is now history. Whosoever recalls it will do so with a shiver down the spine . It has put an oozing scar on our collective memory and brought human being face to face with Black Death. On the midnight of 31st December, 2019 world welcomed it with the hope that it will usher in new to cheer up the mankind , little knowing what the year had in store - a humongous catastrophe of unimaginable consequences. The Year proved exception to the belief that there is nothing ‘ new’ in the new year one could enjoy. Had Faiz Ahmad Faiz been around today his lament : Aey naie saal bata tujh main naya kya hai …Akhoon ney dekhey hain saal kayee : Aasmaan badla hai naa badlee hai zameen , may have suffered a revisit, though not an honorable one . Year 2020 changed the meaning of life , made people hide faces , rendered near relations distant and altered private and public protocol.
When the Wuhan virus reared its head in the beginning of 2020 and spelt death across the world the knowledgeable said that one who is alive in the midnight of December 31st 2020 will be there to live another day . Being near the ‘day ‘ with no let up in the virus furry and mutating itself into a more deadly form we may have to reschedule the calendar of hope .
The outgoing 2020 brought a “gift “ in the shape of a deadly disease which grounded the entire humankind – without any distinction of class ,creed or nationality , unmindful of man’s enormous scientific acquisitions and innovations. Along with the disease, the outgoing Year reinvigorated the culture of “ Conspiracies “ . Theories reveled across the globe . Our rulers groomed it so generously as to hide weaknesses or confront an political adversary when he asked questions.
President Trump pinned the theory of conspiracy on China where from the deadly corona virus emerged . To him , according to the reports , China unleashed the deadly virus to bolster its hegemonic policy and brow beat the world. In home , we refurbished the “conspiracy “ theory wild and wide –to shut up anyone who dared question the rulers on issues of governance that impacted him and the people at large.
To put the record straight , we are not new to the art of manufacturing “ conspiracies.“ Mrs. Indira Gandhi invented it to silence her critics and justify her autocratic rule. She made C I A ( American Intelligence Agency ) omnipresent and saw it work when genuine questions were asked about her policies and mode of governance . She wielded the conspiracy stick so hard as to create national frenzy in her favor , silence her political opponents and ensure embedding the dynastic rule. Anyone who dared to question her was denounced as agent of “ C I A “ bent to harm India .
It took the ebullient and formidable – both in intellect and physique – Piloo Modi to bring a semblance of sanity in the politics of the time by entering Parliament, one day, wearing a badge on chest declaring himself a “ C I A “ agent. Mrs. Gandhi’s successor son Rajiv saw “ foreign hand “ working overtime to destabilize him and the nation when questions on certain defense deals were raised .
The present ruling dispensation at the Centre has proved master in creating conspiracy theories when asked to account for some of its decisions . Anyone daring raise question is dumped under tons of ‘ conspiracy ‘ bricks . The standard weapon used to immobilize an inquisitor is to dub him “ antinational.” The art has been perfected so well that the questioner is often left gasping for a breath.
The beginning of year 2020 came down heavily on the citizen who felt cheated by promulgation of CAA . The protestors were subjected to all kid of conspiracy theories . But nothing stuck . Then it was the turn of foreign Tableghis to bear the brunt as conspirators to spread Corona virus across country . It took months for the courts to clear them of the charge . Then, the political parties opposing the ruling regime were brought down as instigators to drive the migrant laborers’ home march when they , on the sudden announcement of country wide lock down , felt stranded without means to live at the working places .
Summer months were consumed cooking up “ murder and drugs ‘ theory when a young and budding cine actor , in Mumbai , allegedly committed suicide . The obliging TV anchors were used to corner inconvenient Maharashtra government. Despite bringing in CBI , ED and NCB the conspiracy theory fell flat .
The matter didn’t stop from making the rounds .This time a poor dalit girl of Hathrass ,in UP , got disinterred by the proponents of ‘theory ‘ to say that she was neither raped nor murdered . The ensued outrage , according to them , was a ‘ conspiracy ‘hatched by the foreign powers to malign UP government . Mercifully for the parents of unfortunate girl , the CBI held the allegation of gang rape and murder true and filed charge sheet against the accused .
Now ,when year2020 is on the way to history , farmers are accused as the abettors of a foreign conspiracy to destabilize GOI . Their ‘ sin ‘ is the peaceful agitation they have launched against couple of legislations recently passed by the GOI which they consider against their interests.
We know that the politics is a ‘ systematic organization of hatreds.’ It is a hatred against the opponents and those who dare ask questions .But to un bottle a ‘conspiracy genie ‘ at a drop of hat will one day prove fatal for the master . In the realm of politics the trick will play up to a limit .Beyond that it will boomerang . Asking questions is an exercise much needed for the robust health of the democracy and a hallmark of a living society .Pray don’t make us dead before we die .
As things portend we can’t predict that year 2021 will cheer up our sagging morale .But as human beings we can’t resist having a hope . That is ; we may live unmasked , have courage to show face to the world and hug our near and dear ones in the warmth of love and compassion . At the same time we wish our government develops a thick skin , reaffirms faith in keeping doors and windows open , and has magnanimity to appreciate the ‘other view’ , without daubing it as antinational . Seeking explanation from the rulers , on some issues , is no antinational act. Raising bogey of conspiracy at a whim betrays signs of weakness . The weak need a conspiracy crutch to survive . NDA government in Delhi enjoys a wide popular support. It has moral and political strength to face any challenge and take on the political opponents on merits . May 2021 revive that spirit !

(The author is a Former Principal District & Sessions Judge. Feedback- [email protected] )

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