This piece of writing goes out to all those who still believe that the fundamentals of democracy are not getting crushed every day in our country. This does not imply that we were truly democratic back in the times of the UPA, but -- as far as I believe -- the people were freer to speak and not get trolled on social media or targeted in the real world.

Before May 2014, it was in “trend” to criticize the government in power, to use degrading terms for the Indian Prime Minister, to use software like Photoshop for ‘mocking’ the Congress Leader and PM and not get trolled or abused for the same. We called one of the leading economists of the world and the most educated Prime Minister in the history of India as the ‘silent PM’ (the most dignified term out of the list of names used for him).

The point I am trying to make here is that people were not abused for name calling earlier. But then the government with ‘development’ as the agenda came and everything changed. Now, before expressing your disagreement on any move the NDA government makes, you have to look around to be sure that people don’t call you anti-national for simply having an opinion that differs from the government. The supporters of this new government which has brought this disturbing ideology of using oppression to deal with dissent prefer to look away or even worse, support it when it is committing an act of oppression.

The supporters, of course, are a reflection of the government they support. In the past 6 months, the student community has seen instability and the silver lining in the cloud is that it has resulted in the unification of students from universities across states. Our country is currently going through what can be termed as a ‘student revolution’.

It all started with the intervention of Ministry of HRD in the internal matters of Hyderabad Central University which claimed the life of Rohith Vemula and has now put Jawaharlal Nehru University in utter chaos. In the beginning, it was about simple demands from the students of HCU, JNU, NIT Srinagar and FTII.

The need to oppress and threaten students for their demands shows the failure of HRD ministry in dealing with the youth of the country. A ministry that is solely dedicated to the upliftment of the same youth is acting against them. Rohith Vemula was a PhD scholar. Kanhaiya Kumar, Umar Khalid, Anirban Bhattacharya and many more like them are all PhD scholars who are well read students and have dared to think and ask. The administration of JNU has slapped them with a fine and rustication for the act of expressing their views. Those who shouted slogans for the destruction of India are still out and unpunished but then we always find scapegoats and we have found them again.

So, let me ask this question to the trolls who do not ‘waste’ a moment in terming anyone against the current as anti-national, Pakistani, sickular, presstitute and what not: when are you planning to finally see what is going on? Are you willing to see that the government failed us when Pakistan’s Intelligence was allowed to investigate the Pathankot attack which was allegedly planned on their land or when the visa given to Uyghur leader was cancelled under the pressure of China (same China that voted against India’s move to blacklist Pakistan based terrorist Maulana Masood Azhar in the UN)? The trolling and name-calling would only stop the day these supporters are willing to put the interest of India and its people above the interest of this government or an individual. It will be the day people will put forth ideas and criticism without a part of them fearing for the undignified responses that they might get.

(This is an opinion piece that appears in Young Citizen. It does not necessarily reflect the views of The Citizen).