A two-day debate on the Motion of Thanks to the President’s Address in the House was held in Parliament on June 24 and June 25. Many MPs delivered their maiden speeches in the Lok Sabha. TMC’s Mahua Moitra Debut Speech – 7 signs of early fascism in India. However, Trinamool Congress’s first-time MP Mahua Moitra hogged the limelight with her fiery speech.
In her first-ever speech in Parliament, Moitra took on the government point-by-point despite many interruptions from the ruling benches.
Mahua Moitra Debut Speech attacked the Narendra Modi-led government on a number of issues and declared that “all the signs of early fascism” were visible in the country today.
In her speech, Mahua Moitra said that she “humbly accepted the mandate” in favor of the BJP-led National Democratic Alliance (NDA), adding “dissent is all the more important” today.
Mahua Moitra said that dissent was important as there are no “natural checks and balances in the Lok Sabha” owing to the Opposition’s shrunken strength and the ruling party’s unprecedented numbers.
“It is the very nature of the overwhelmingness of this mandate, of the totality of this mandate, that makes it necessary for us to be heard today, for the voice of dissent to be heard today,” she said.
Mahua Moitra also mentioned a poster on fascism put up in the lobby of the United States Holocaust Memorial Museum in 2017. The poster highlights seven signs of early fascism. TMC’s Mahua Moitra – 7 signs of early fascism in India
Mahua Moitra said, “You may say that ache din are here and that the sun will never set on the Indian Empire that it [the ruling government] is seeking to build. But then, you are missing the signs. Only if you open your eyes, you will see there are signs everywhere that this country is being torn apart.”
HERE ARE THE 7 SIGNS OF FASCISM THAT MAHUA MOITRA SINGLED OUT:
(1) Nationalism searing into the national fabric: Mahua Moitra said that the first sign is the BJP’s narrative of the “powerful and continuing nationalism” which is searing into “our national fabric”. She said that the narrative was “superficial”, “xenophobic” and “narrow”. “It is the lust to divide, it is not a desire to unite,” she said. Mahua Moitra spoke about the contentious issue of the anti-immigration laws like the National Register of Citizens (NRC) in Assam. “Citizens are being thrown out of their homes and being called illegal immigrants. People who have lived in this country for 50 years are having to show a piece of paper to prove that they are Indians.” Mahua Moitra also took a jibe at the leaders of the ruling party and said, “In a country where ministers cannot produce degrees to show that they have graduated from college, you expect dispossessed poor people to show papers, to show that they belong to this country.” She also pointed out that there was no specific symbol or a test to prove allegiance to one’s nation. “There is no one symbol or there is no one slogan that can show any Indian that he is a patriot,” she said.
(2) Disdain for human rights in government: Listing the second sign of fascism in the country, Mahua Moitra hit out at the ruling government for its alleged contempt for human rights, saying that a “resounding disdain” has permeated every level of government. “There is a ten-fold increase in the number of hate crimes from 2014 to 2019. It is like the valuation of an e-commerce startup. There are forces in this country who are sitting there, just pushing these numbers up,” Mahua Moitra said. Mahua Moitra said that the lynching of citizens in broad daylight is being condoned and gave examples of Pehlu Khan who was lynched in Rajasthan in 2017 and Tabrez Ansari who was lynched in Jharkhand last week. “The list is not stopping,” Mahua Moitra said.
(3) Subjugation and control of mass media: The third warning sign Mahua Moitra referred to was the “unimaginable subjugation and controlling” of mass media today. Taking a jibe at PM Narendra Modi, Mahua Moitra said that five of the largest news media organizations in India today are either “indirectly controlled or indirectly indebted to one man in this country”. Mahua Moitra claimed that TV channels were broadcasting propaganda of the ruling party, as “coverage of every opposition party is cut out.” Mahua Moitra asked the government to come out with the numbers and the names of the media houses they are blocking out. She said the Union Information and Broadcasting Ministry “employs over 120 people” just to monitor and control anti-government stories in media. Mahua Moitra also addressed the issue of fake news being spread in the country and said that the last Lok Sabha election was “fought not on farmer distress…or unemployment… but on Whatsapp, on fake news and on manipulating minds.” Mahua Moitra also accused the ruling government of lying and said, “You repeat and repeat a lie until it becomes the truth.” “I tell you that every time they put out one figure, one fact, that is not the truth. They are destroying the fabric of India,” Mahua Moitra said.
(4) Obsession with national security: In her speech, Mahua Moitra said that the fourth sign of fascism was the ruling government’s alleged “obsession” with national security. Referring to the practice of parents scaring their children with the idea of a Kala bhoot (black ghost) to keep them in line, Mahua Moitra declared, ” It is as though all of us in this country are today in fear of nameless, shameless Kala bhoot”, while adding that there is fear pervading everywhere. Mahua Moitra alleged the achievements of the Army were being “usurped in the name of one man”. She also said, “New enemies are being created every day” while pointing out the irony that the number of killings of soldiers and terror attacks had increased since 2014. “There has been a 106 percent increase in the death of Jawans in Kashmir,” Mahua Moitra added.
(5) Religion and Government intertwined in the country: Mahua Moitra then listed her fifth sign of fascism and said that the religion and government have become intertwined which is unheard of in the history of India. She said that “we have redefined what it means to be a citizen”. Mahua Moitra again brought to fore the NRC and the Citizenship (Amendment) Bill, and said, “We are making sure that it is only one community that is the target of anti-immigration laws.” Taking a jibe at the ruling government focussing on the Ram Mandir issue instead of so many other issues that plague our country, Mahua Moitra said, “Members of the Parliament are concerned mostly with 2.77 acres of Ram Janmabhoomi while (they seem to be unconcerned) by the 80 crore acre that makes India.”
(6) Disdain for intellectuals and the arts: Mahua Moitra said that the sixth sign of fascism was the “complete disdain for intellectuals and the arts” which she pointed out as the most dangerous one. Adding that there is a suppression of all dissent, Mahua Moitra said that funding was being cut for liberal education. She also said that scientific temperament is enshrined in Article 51 of the Constitution. “Everything we are doing is pushing India back to the dark ages. Secondary school textbooks are being manipulated and distorted in order to indoctrinate,” she said. She also accused the ruling government of not tolerating questions and suppressing the dissenting voices. “You do not even tolerate questioning let alone dissent. The spirit of dissent is integral to India. You cannot shackle us,” Mahua Moitra said.
(7) Erosion of independence in electoral system: In her final point, Mahua Moitra said there is an “erosion of independence in electoral system”, noting how the Election Commission was used in the recent Lok Sabha polls. Mahua Moitra said that she did not question the mandate, but added that the Election Commission of India was being used to transfer key officials. Mahua Moitra also questioned why the Election Commission of India did not take action against the amount of money spent during the Lok Sabha elections. “Rs 60,000 crores were spent during the Indian elections (this time) – 50% (of this amount) or Rs 27,000 crores by one party,” she said. She ended her speech by saying, “I have the right to disagree with your idea.”