Police State India and Robert Clive

Published on ZNet, by Andre Vltchek, December 24, 2012  (This essay was written one day before the beginning of riots in New Delhi).

In the middle of December 2012, New Delhi was once again choking on a thick stratum of smog. Everyone around me was coughing, while I was supposed to be filming, for one of my documentaries. But in such conditions, filming became almost impossible, unless one was yearning for some peculiar special effects.  

While I was modifying my script, the President of India, Shri Pranab Mukherjee, was attending a meeting of a group of local industrialists, somewhere on the ground floor of the hotel where I was staying. Security that was always tight suddenly became impenetrable.

Between the smog and the overzealous security personnel, I felt that I had almost no breathing space left; I was choking.

Since my first visit to India more than a decade ago, I noticed that the country has been radiating some sort of militarized Djibouti-style vibes. Occasionally it felt as if some sadistic security freaks had been running the place, after a vigorous training on Mars or at West Point, or somewhere else – one would not want to ask where … //

… In India, wherever I went, it was always ‘no, no and no!’ There were some slight variations, like: “Definitely not, Sir”, “Please stop!” or “I will have to arrest you!” Sometimes “Sir” was uttered, sometimes not, and periodically my eyes would meet a neat, polished and round muzzle of a gun.

“Get a special permit” was the repeated advice that I was often offered.

Of course I knew what that meant. ‘Getting a special permit’ was synonymous to erect finger facing endless blue sky. And to endless hours burned in some shabby government office, while facing an incompetent and often semi-illiterate clerk, who would have not the slightest clue what I was asking for, while pretending that he was parked on top of the world. ‘Getting a permit’, meant losing hope in humanity. Doing it the ‘official way’ in India, one would need a few lifetimes, in order to complete one single feature-length documentary film.

The Indian state appears to be thoroughly paranoid, scared of anyone trying to document the reality.

It developed an allergy to writers, investigative journalists, filmmakers and photographers, especially those that happened to be ‘independent’, therefore ‘unpredictable’ and potentially capable of challenging the clichés fabricated in Washington, London and New Delhi, depicting the country as the ‘largest democracy on earth’.

To fight against such threatening elements, the Indian regime, consisting of the moneyed elites, feudal lords, religious fanatics and the military brass, became pathologically obsessed with security, with surveillance, with relentless checking on things, and people. I have never witnessed such security zeal, even in the countries that are under direct threat from the West: such as Cuba or China. In both those countries, I film everywhere and freely, including opera houses, museums, trains, and even some military ships if they are in open waters … //

… But where is the Indian security apparatus when it is desperately needed?

When women are harassed, even gang raped in public transportation or right in the middle of the street, they are nowhere to be found.

I once witnessed ‘the largest democracy’ at work, right after the massacres in Ahmedabad, Gujarat in 2002.

People spoke to me of religious-motivated slaughter, of the stomachs of pregnant woman being cut open, of brutal mass rapes. They were not protected. What were those tens of millions of parasitical armed forces doing during those massacres?

But during the Gandhinagar standoff, which came a short time later, when the attack was attributed to Muslims and some fingers began to point at Pakistan, hordes of the military personnel suddenly descended on Gujarat … //

… (full long text).

Links:

REINSTATE DAVID MURITU
, on Socialist Unity, by Phil BC, Dec. 24, 2012;

Why I Left Instagram-Digital Privacy, Political Security & Marginalized Communities, on The Center for Media Justice, by amalia deloney, December 19, 2012;

Instagram.com, official Website;

Instagram on en.wikipedia; …  is an online photo-sharing and social networking service that enables its users to take a picture, apply a digital filter to it, and share it on a variety of social networking services, including its own …

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