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Aarey : If Chipko movement happens today, it would be termed anti-national

"You believe in development, some others are more concerned about the environment. That doesn’t make them love the land any less. Not every protest is sparked by the opposition"

 

Shivam Singh

There have been countless debates on whether it’s justified to cut trees in Aarey so let’s not start one here. It’s for the Supreme Court to decide if a couple of thousand trees are of any value. But the way in which the protest was termed anti-development and a part of some propaganda definitely needs to be debated. Activists, common people, students who voiced their opinions were branded as spies of the opposition on social media. ‘Intolerance’ is an unpopular word so not using that but the patience and understanding to deal with people who don’t agree with you is fast eroding from a lot of people in India.

Needless to say if the trend continues a lot of people might just lose their vigour to protest. And that is a very dangerous scenario in a democracy. People make governments accountable. The day people turn silent, autocracy wouldn’t be far.

You believe in development, some others are more concerned about the environment. That doesn’t make them love the land any less. Not every protest is sparked by the opposition. And you are not obliged to agree to every decision your favourite party makes. The ability to think and analyse is what makes one an active citizen.

There are protests every day in western countries. Some days it’s the LGBT community, other days the anti-trump protestors. There is space for everybody. Taking to streets is not new to India as well but increasingly the fear of being called an anti-national is dissuading people from speaking their heart out.

Remember Chipko movement? Young Amrita had sacrificed her life to save trees of her village from an authoritarian Maharaja in Rajasthan. The king had to finally relent. And we are talking 1730s. How well a movement like Chipko would be taken today? And let us add to that ‘in a democracy?’.

It’s not suitable for a government to lay down trees in the thick of a night to keep protestors out. It’s more a work of a criminal. A government should act in a more responsible and answerable manner. And yes, you are answerable not just to your followers but also people who disagree with you. That’s their basic right as an Indian citizen. If you support tarnishing of a protest like this, just remember tomorrow it might be you who needs a voice. We need to keep this democracy working like a democracy.