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Mainstream, VOL LVI No 19 New Delhi April 28, 2018

The Age of Darkness Is Upon Us

Saturday 28 April 2018, by T J S George

IMPRESSIONS

Why should life get so degenerate so often in our country? See the multiplying rape cases, each more brutal than the other. Why should party leaders talk like party leaders and not like human beings when human issues come up? Comments on the Kathua rape horror were an indiscretion, said the BJP’s buddhijeevi, Ram Madhav. Why should election advertisements assume that the citizen is an ass? One that asks Karnataka voters to support the BJP “for a corruption-free State” carried the picture of Shri Yeddyurappa, the Chief Minister who made history by going to jail for corruption.

Party leaders justifying rape is an astonishing phenomenon. Meenakshi Lekhi’s concern was not about the girls who were brutalised, but why the media was talking only about rapes in BJP-run States? Maneka Gandhi, whose concern for animals is touching, says that the BJP should not be blamed for the actions of “one or two bad eggs”. In Kathua BJP Ministers blocked police investigation for four months. One of them asked: “What if this girl has died? Many girls die every day.” In Unnao the accused MLA was taken in for questioning only ten months after the girl’s complaint. The MLA’s thugs had beaten the girl’s father to death for raising questions. Even today bodies like the National Women’s Commission have kept deafening silence.

The insensitivity shown by the ruling dispensation has shocked civil society so much that 49 retired IAS and IPS officers wrote an open letter to the Prime Minister expressing despair over “the terrifying state of affairs”. Saying that they are citizens with no affiliations with any political party, these experienced administrators drew attention to “the frigh-tening climate of hate, fear and viciousness that the ruling establishment has insidiously induced”. They drew special attention to “the bestiality and barbarity involved in the rape and murder of an eight-year-old child” in Kashmir.

A responsible government would seek ways to not only contain the criminality that seems to be growing, but also examine the sociological aspects of the issue. It was the BBC that drew attention to an unnoticed aspect of the rape culture in India. The desire for sons and the willingness to get rid of daughters even before they are born have made sex-selection abortions common in many parts of the country. The result is “an awful sex ratio imbalance” that has made India “a country full of men”. For every 100 girls, 112 boys are born in India, the healthy ratio being 105 boys for every 100 girls. Haryana has the worst sex ratio—and the highest number of gang rapes. Facts cry out for attention from our policy makers, but they are interested only in birth-count by religion.

Calculations are constantly being made for narrow partisan gains. Why has cash become suddenly unavailable? The Finance Minister says with his customary casualness that “there is more than adequate currency available with the banks” and everything will be normal in three days. If there is adequate currency around, why can’t citizens get them? And why does it take three days for things to be normal? Last time also, cash had disappeared on the eve of an important election. The manipulative capacity of the ruling party has spread distrust and apprehensions all around. But the cynicism of the administration remains untouched.

Why have things gone so irregular, so a-moral? Why has religion become an instrument of evil instead of a road to enlightenment? Why are there so many well-placed people ready to justify evil? Why is hope giving way to despair? Why is light going out and darkness spreading? Clues are there in the wisdom of the ages. But can they give comfort in the midst of vexations that crush us? Nothing could be clearer than the tidings about the Age of Darkness in the Vishnu Purana.

When corruption is beyond every measure of control, Wealth alone will be the deciding factor of nobility, and brute force the only standard of deciding what is righteous or just;

People will be greedy and will take to wicked behaviour;

Countries will be laid waste and robbers and vagabonds and kings will exploit their subjects;

Petty minds will conduct business and merchants will be dishonest;

People will occupy high seats and pretend to preach religion;

Anxiety and fear will dominate because of devastating famines and heavy taxation;

The land will not grow food crops and people will dread of impending droughts.

So the sages knew it was coming. But we paid no heed to the warnings.

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