Ramachandra Guha: Why Modi And Shah Fear Young Activists // "Attempt To Browbeat Disha Ravi Into Submission": Mount Carmel Alumni
Why would the Indian state arrest a 21-year-old woman activist who seeks a cleaner and safer planet? Should not the country want young people to look beyond their narrow personal interests to the interests of society at large? Why did our government lock up a young citizen seeking to build a better future for herself and her compatriots? And why in such a draconian manner, with a police party flown down from Delhi to whisk her away from her home in Bengaluru to the capital? How could a non-violent campaign to spread awareness about global warming, and tweets in support for farmers' protests, constitute a seditious threat to the mighty, professedly self-reliant, Indian state?
These questions were asked of me by a friend when the news of Disha Ravi's arrest came in. They were surely asked in many other homes across India as well. At first glance, the arbitrary arrest and sentencing to police custody of this young lady from Bengaluru flew in the face of logic, reason, and common sense. No state governed by the rule of law and a democratic constitution should act like this. But the Indian state did. Why?
Based on what we know of the Modi-Shah regime, of how it functioned in Gujarat between 2001 and 2014, and how it has functioned at the Centre thereafter, I'd like to outline six possible reasons why this young, idealistic, female resident of Bengaluru was picked up without notice by the police from the house where she lived with her mother, put on a plane, and taken away for five days of intense interrogation in Delhi….Umberto Eco on Eternal Fascism, or Fourteen Ways of Looking at a Blackshirt (1995)