Photo courtesy of Varnam
In our powerful yet fragile state, precarity defines our being.
Precarious safety of dissenters and human rights defenders
Precarious privacy invaded by drones
Precarious plight of frontline workers
Precarious lives of daily-wage earners with no livelihood
Precarious migrant workers stranded abroad
Precarious protection of our rights
Precarious social cohesion and harmony
Precarity is woven into our lives.
Fear is the constant companion of those living precarious lives.
Fear, not apparently of the virus,
But of how those with the virus will be treated.
Fear they will not be able to bury their dead
Fear they might get the virus and die in prison
Fear that they will not see their families for months
Fear of how to find the next meal
Fear that those who dissent will face reprisals
Fear that imprisonment awaits those that challenge the state
Fear that they have no redress or relief.
In our powerful yet fragile state,
Paying obeisance to the powerful is a virtue.
Patronage is venerated.
Following orders without questions is a virtue
Ignoring the law/ignorance of the law is a virtue
Being a subject rather than a citizen is a virtue.
Only the powerless will be disciplined.
Abuse of power is flaunted with pride
Proximity to power is considered an achievement
Nepotism is the ‘normal’ that never went away
Entitlement and privilege are celebrated
Racism and communalism are rewarded
Impunity reigns strong, protected by patronage.
The state creates fear through its actions and inaction
Then the state criminalizes and punishes people for being afraid
The state robs citizens of their dignity.
Frightened citizens emulate the state.
They venerate the powerful and abuse the powerless,
They use force and violence to deal with fear,
Frightened citizens turn on each other.
Empathy is dead.
The state thrives, while citizens struggle to survive.