Jaskaran Sandhu: Stop It India, You Are Embarrassing Yourself
Good luck repairing your international image after the last 48 hours. A fiasco of your government’s doing.
February 5, 2021 | 2 min. read
Congratulations India, you played yourself.
And, for probably the first time that I can remember, the whole world is actually watching.
Us Sikhs in the diaspora have always known what India’s truth is, having experienced genocide, continued state-sponsored violence, and disinformation campaigns at the hands of your government.
To be honest, we have been trying to diligently explain to anyone that would listen what is actually happening in the self-described world’s largest democracy. Not because we want to, but because we have to. You keep interfering in our affairs, try to undermine us as a people, and justice is still waiting for the thousands upon thousands you have killed and disappeared over the decades. Sikhs have been, and always will be, a problem for India’s government as we continue to fearlessly fight oppression - kick-starting the farmers’ protest is just one of many examples.
We have been trying for years to convince western governments, institutions, and media outlets that many of the critical pillars that hold up your democracy are crumbling and the international community should critically analyze everything that comes out of India.
Yes, those pillars have always been shaky in India, but things are particularly dire now. The free press under constant attack. The judiciary failing. The Hindu nationalist violence against minorities. The BJP IT Cell skewing online conversation with manipulated media. The shocking toxicity of the national (godi) media, operating at the behest of the Modi government.
I will be frank - people out here had a hard time wrapping their heads around all that. For many India was just a faraway place that produced spices, Bollywood movies, and yoga. The land of Mahatma Gandhi, the Taj Mahal, and spirituality. A modern pluralist and secular democracy just like theirs.
But then you all started calling Greta Thunberg and Rihanna extremists part of some international cabal hell-bent on destroying India. And, well, that is so bafflingly and hilariously stupid that no one can take you seriously anymore.
Everyone saw your IT Cell mock violence against women in response, BJP mouthpieces openly talking about starting a genocide, national media spend full cycles on nonsensical conspiracy theories, and your Ministry of External Affairs putting out an embarrassing official statement regarding some mysterious foreign vested interest groups attacking India.
All over a 6-word tweet from an American singer.
This all just made folks out here dig deeper. They now know what Hindutva is and the Nazi-inspired RSS of which your Prime Minister is a proud subscriber of. They understand now that your state will literally call anyone they disagree with a terrorist or extremist. They understand that your media is completely compromised and cannot be blindly trusted. They understand that Bollywood has no spine. They understand the real threat of state-sponsored terror - particularly against minorities. They understand how your government criminalizes dissent and suppresses free speech, internet blackouts and all.
They understand Modi’s India.
We know this unmitigated public relations disaster bothers your leaders. Modi loved to travel abroad to flex India’s muscle, and I am sure he was planning to go on another tour post-COVID - well, he is toxic now and so is his regime.
The whole world now knows how insecure and self-concious you are. And, for good reason. Good luck repairing your international image after the last 48 hours. A fiasco of your government’s doing.
Jaskaran Sandhu hails from Brampton, Canada, and is the co-founder of Baaz. He is a Senior Consultant at the public affairs agency Crestview Strategy. Jaskaran also previously served as Executive Director for the World Sikh Organization of Canada and as a Senior Advisor to Brampton’s Office of the Mayor. You can find Jaskaran on Twitter at @JaskaranSandhu_
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