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As India battles an apocalyptic Second Wave of Coronavirus infections, and the state having melted away right when its citizens needed it the most, one wonders whether the country is going the way of the erstwhile Soviet Union and imploding from within. While the collapse of the healthcare system is visible to all, there are some invisible signs of implosion that one can discern if we connect the dots.
For instance, the disaster on the high seas off Mumbai in the wake of the Cyclone Amphan was clearly preventable and so are the countless tragedies playing out across the country. In each of these incidents, the authorities concerned either pass the buck or pretend as though nothing happened. Worse, they lodge counter complaints against the aggrieved landing a Double Whammy on an otherwise battered victims.
Next, the Indian Financial System has long been on the Edge and it is only a matter of time before the next domino falls leading to further distress and mayhem for savers. As it is, the severe stress on banks and financial institutions is exacerbated by denial and obfuscation and hiding the extent of the mess that the sector is in. What more, the Free for All approach in many cooperative banks and the feeble attempts to bail them out is like plugging holes in a sinking boat.
Most importantly, sectarian violence and a deepening North South Divide means that Balkanization of the Indian Polity is entirely possible in the coming years. Moreover, the attempts to impose cultural and religious hegemony would surely face a backlash that is more severe than it is at the moment.
In addition, a pliant judiciary and a caged law enforcement apparatus make it easy prey for politicians and anyone with some muscle to arm twist their way in getting their way. Indeed, the collapse of Law and Order in many parts of the country is what is alarming and the situation resembles the Wild West of Yore. Read news and all that one finds are stories of despair of the hopeless and the marginalized who having no other recourse, accept their fates without much outrage.
Taken together, these trends point to a country on the edge and staring at the abyss of disaster. Worse, the situation seems irredeemable when all that one does is to find solace on social media, flaming others and gaslighting opponents. If all that one can do when faced with a problem is to turn to citizen volunteer groups, then one can very well ask, Dude! Where’s My Country?
So, what does the future hold for India? Can it overcome the present challenges without implosion given that it has weathered many such challenges in its long and rich history where successive attempts at conquering its spirit failed and flailed in the face of resilience and a Sangfroid attitude that has enabled it to survive the storms that battered? Or, it is that the present crisis, the worst since Independence would prove too much to take for it?
Much like the collapse of the Soviet Union, India now confronts a convergence of crises and a clueless elite more interested in power games than governance. In addition, a citizenry too numb to react making them helpless means that they are at the mercy of whoever calls the shots in any given situation. And, much like the Soviet experience, the Vultures are already circling the skies looking for loot and rich pickings from the skeletons of India’s citizens. Maybe, it is too late and all that we can do is wait and watch for the next act in slow motion implosion.
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