India is not a free country anymore. According to the latest reports by the American NGO (Freedom House), the State of India has downgraded from a free nation to a partially free one. India got a score of 73 out of 100 downgrading it from free to partially free.
This however doesn’t come as a surprise for many. With the path, the country has followed in the past few years, this seemed inevitable. With The rising intolerance and hate crimes, India fails to make everyone feel safe.
But what actually is freedom?
What actually defines a country as a free nation?
Well according to me, a country shall be considered free when every individual living in the same is happy. That doesn’t seem to be the case either for India. According to the World Happiness report published by UN Sustainable Development Solutions Network, India ranks 139 out of 149 Countries in the happiness index. These might just sound like numbers but in reality, these numbers frame a bigger story. The way India is working right now, the National level politics have come out to be religion oriented. And it is trying its level best to utilize it to its best. Religion being the biggest missile in the hands of ruling parties’ arsenal, they have used it for their betterment by reducing the fraternity among citizens and making a society desperate to soak in the communal blood. The way society has responded to blasphemy is a result of these tactics that teach, “it’s not ok to have different opinions”.
But that’s not all that makes India a not so free nation. The present situation is dangerous, other than religion, other aspects of the democracy are being attacked. The media, also known as the fourth pillar of democracy has collapsed under the constant desire of the government to serve news as per their will. The draconian laws such as UAPA, NSA and the colonial Sedition law have further helped the government to silence the voices which dare to differ.
Fundamental freedoms such as expression, religion etc. has suffered a lot in the last 7 years. The current ruling party has the intention of ruling pan India. In some quite contemporary unfold of events, state governments have put forward laws that have made inter religion marriages difficult. The alleged concept of “Love Jihad” got into popularity after the new government came into power. The law makes it difficult for the inter religion couples to get married attacking an important pillar of freedom,’ the freedom of Religion.’
The beauty of Federal system lies in its diversity and the deadlocks between the ruling Central and State governments. The deadlock tries to bring the best of both and come to a middle ground which serves the citizens best. However, the attempts by the ruling governments not so new for India, still is not appropriate as it takes out the essence of a federal democracy. This is what the Congress system was. However, the contemporary situation is a bit different, in some recent happenings, the central government has tried to sabotage the Delhi government. The new law intends to reduce the power of the elected legislative Council and give them to a puppet of the center mostly known as the Lieutenant Governor.
Analyzing the overall situation of the country, it seems as if India is losing its image as a free democracy. The heart of democracy lies in the freedom, in the aspect of its people feeling free and happy. Going forward as a country is difficult, especially for a diverse country like India. Moving forward for the central government it will be necessary to consider the diversity of India as an important aspect and not try sabotaging communal harmony.
The falling global status can be retained if the government tries getting out of religion-based politics and non-democratic methods of governing the country. India losing its status as a free country is a big deal for the entire world. It would be a big blow to democracy if the world’s largest democracy goes into Autocracy. It might just be the right time for us to take a stand for our nation, to take a stand for democracy, to make sure to keep it alive.