We Need a RTD (Right to Die): Is Death Honourable Only For the Soldier, And Not The Man Who Died in A Bank Queue?
NEW DELHI: Whether the demonetisation programme is going to serve its stated purposes-bringing out huge amount of black money to the banks or check the funding of terrorism is a moot question.What percentage of the black money is actually kept in cash by those running a parallel economy is also only of academic interest to the common citizen for the time being.
For us what is more scary is the totally callous attitude of the members of the ruling party, Prime Minister Narendra Modi,Finance Minister Arun Jaitley and party president Amit Shah towards the sufferings of the common man.No one else matters in government.
The declaration of money in denomination of 500 and 1000 as illegal is not a Tamasha. The lack of clarity among the majority of people in the first few days has started taking a toll on life in several cases.A woman in Telangana committed suicide when she was told that 35 lakhs that she had saved had been declared illegal currency. There are increasing reports of elderly people dying of exhaustion in the serpentine bank queues made compulsory by a regime that is bent on imposing arbitrary rules and regulations to suit its nationalistic jingo.
In several hospitals patients have been denied access to medical emergency because their relatives did not have cash in legal currency.Reports of fatalities including the death of infants for lack of cash are heart rending.
In many places people have started looting shops or trucks of salt to sell it at prices of Rs.100 or even 500 per kg as they not have cash.
Shockingly, not a single BJP leader has so far expressed any regrets for these deaths or miseries.The Prime Minister's video of his address to NRIs in Japan, where he is in a jolly mood while talking about the marriages of girls getting stuck due to lack of cash, and clearly basking in the adulation of the captive audience listening in rapt attention and shouting 'Bharat Mata Ki Jai'.
(Reminds me of the shouts of 'Indira Gandhi ki Jai' by mobs looting shops of Sikhs in 1984.But that's a digression.)
This signal from the top seems to be the cue for PM Modi’s supporters in the party and on social media, mocking the misery of people who voted for them in such large numbers with hope for redemption in 2014.
Finance Minister Arun Jaitley was presented clips of girls who's marriage was in trouble because the families had run out of cash in a generally supportive 'Aap Ki Adalat' by Rajat Sharma but it seemed to have no impact on the discourse which he had come prepared with. A few such instances will not deter the Government from its course, is the standard response all the BJP leaders are now parroting.
TV anchor Arnab Goswami was heard shouting at someone in his kangaroo court, "If a jawan can stand in minus 45 degrees to guard you can't you stand in a queue in 25 degrees temperature " or some such words. This is being echoed by the BJP and its supporters as well, with the message clearly being that no life really matters unless one dies defending the country on the borders.
No one has a right to die of a heart attack standing in queues of banks or without treatment at hospitals. And if someone does, as many have, it’s a ‘small sacrifice’ for the big cause.
The death of a teacher, a pensioner, a journalist, a poet, a social activist or even a child is nothing compared to the death of a soldier, is the jumla people at large are being fed. By the ruling party and the subservient media, starting a very dangerous trend.
We are not living in a military dictatorship but in a democracy where war is the last option, not the first. Every individual life and death is equally important in the system we have embraced, and enshrined under our Constitution.
It seems there is urgent need to secure a Right to Die (RTD) that can then be the flagship of the BJP run government, just as Right to Information was of the last.