Humans are funny creatures. Although they desire to live without fear, they create bogymen to instil fear in others. Metaphysically, fear is irrational, except for the reverential fear of God. Fear is one of the most subtle and destructive errors that the carnal mind in man experiences. The fundamentals of any society are to create a peaceful and happy environment and ease the pain and suffering as much as possible as it tries to eradicate undue fears. In a democratic setup, citizens ought to live without any fear, work, and develop their potential for the growth of themselves and the good of society.
The Indian freedom struggle, which resulted in gaining independence and establishing the democratic form of government, was for that very reason—to drive away the fear of oppression and subjugation—government of the people, for the people, and by the people. Sadly, but true, under the current dispensation, fear has taken centre stage, an irrational phenomenon that is an aberration from the objective the freedom fighter fought for and human nature’s desire.
The voice of reason is drowned out by the roar of irrational fear. It is ignored by the voice of desire. It is contradicted by the voice of shame. It is biased by hate and extinguished by anger. Most of all, it is silenced by ignorance. Paradoxically, this is the gruesome reality of the nation, despite what the present dispensation loves to describe as an “Amrit Kall”, but it is the “Silence of the Lamb”.
The BJP-led government is determined to instil fear in people, especially among the minorities. The custodial death of Fr Stan Swamy is a striking reminder for all those who wish to raise their voice against the government. Who will speak on behalf of the silent majority who are fearful for their lives and wellbeing? The assassination of Guari Lankesh was a strong warning for those who dare to speak and expose the lies and deception of the government. Indian media, since 2014, due to fear, have baptised themselves with a new mandate and the name “Godi Media.” The suspicious death of Judge B H Loya has cast doubt on the judiciary. Otherwise, how can one explain a maximum punishment to Rahul Gandhi in a frivolous case of deformation? A powerful and vociferous MP, Mohua Mohitra, is under investigation for “Cash for Query,", but all can surmise the motive for such a move. Some questions had a tone and motive that made her look like a modern-day Draupadi, despite their slogan “beti padhao, beti bachao”. Or is it "Beti Patao” or “Investigate on Girl Child"? Pawan Khera was humiliated at the airport, as he was not allowed to board the flight. Trying to instil fear in the opposition and silencing the voice of democracy is an ominous sign of a fascist form of government as they flex their muscles at will. And hence, as per the BJP’s notion of governance, how does this scenario reflect “Ram Raj or the Amrit Kaal?” The silence of the lamb is a dreadful and painful nightmare for those who value life in its innocence.
The present dispensation has systematically and audaciously used government agencies, such as ED, CID, and others, to intimidate the opponents. In the process, everyone is trying to toe the line very carefully so as not to find themselves on the wrong side of the government. Fear has gripped the whole of society, and most prefer to live under a shadow. Look at the celebrities; they are fearful of losing their ground if they open their mouths. However, few celebrities have opened their mouths in favour of the government, only to insult the people of this country, for they just want to know how PM eats mangoes or how he works for so many hours without much rest. Another said, “India became independent only after 2014, and those who don’t watch her movies are anti-national.”
In the process, the citizens are in pain, and these celebrities are enjoying government perks. It is shameful, but who will tell them that their silence is deafening because those who have voices have to speak for those of us who are silenced? Another glaring example of the government using “Holy Cow” to instil fear in society. It seems that “Holy Cow” is holy when it comes to silencing Muslims and other minorities, but not so holy when it comes to exporting beef to foreign countries. Fr Stan Swamy set a tone for those who are willing to fight for freedom and democratic values: “Fr Stan Swamy said that he was pleased to not be a silent spectator in the face of injustice and was willing to pay the price for dissent.”
Instilling fear in society are those leaders who are weak and unsure of their own ideology. Fearful leadership is often rooted in inexperience and a lack of self-confidence, leading to increased stress, fatigue, and impaired decision-making. The consequences of fearful leadership on team morale, wellbeing, performance, and productivity are clearly evident, for it creates a culture of mistrust. It’s often attributed to past experiences, creating an ongoing cycle of leadership driven by fear. Fear-based leaders are defined as those who either always or often experience anxiety, micromanagement, imposter syndrome, anger, unwillingness to receive feedback, hesitancy to speak up, complacency, and quiet quitting. The present dispensation heavily criticises Manmohan Singh as “Maun Mohan; Mouni Baba” Prime Minister”. Yes, indeed, he spoke less, but when he spoke, he uttered words of wisdom and courage, which the whole world recognised, listened to, and respected because he was fearless. The same cannot be said of the present Prime Minister; for the last nine and a half years, he has not given a single press conference. Where it is necessary and essential to speak to keep democracy vibrant, silence is all we can hear. And this silence is dangerous and deafening, as we have seen in the case of “Manipur Burning," the silencing of the lamb.
Jesus Christ, the true Lamb of God, was led to the slaughterhouse by a leader who was afraid of his own position. In silence, Jesus proclaimed truth and justice and instilled hope in all people for all times, telling them not to be fearful even in the face of death. Human history is written in the blood of those innocent people who suffered and died for truth and justice. Human history is a tragic comedy because we desire to live in peace and harmony, but we create bogymen because we are fearful of others. The woes of humans are due to the fear of others; as long as we fear others, we can never be at peace. Let’s not silence the lamb because of our insecurities.
(The author is a Priest based at Pilar, Goa)