Name of the book: It can’t happen here
Author: Sinclair Lewis
Books authored in certain circumstances often depict the social condition the author dwelled in. The book “It can’t happen here” by Sinclair Lewis is a typical example for this statement. An “electrifying novel” as expressed by the author himself, the book depicts the theme “Fascist governance will not be allowed”. The book has a lot of resemblance with the present political scenario of India. The character of the book is a dictator and fascist like Hitler, Mussolini, Franco etc. The Prime Minister of India Narender Modi can also be counted one among them though he is a little below their level. The comparison we feel with Modi when we read the novel is in fact awesome. The similarities of our present scenario create this awesomeness.
The main character “Windripp” says he is the champion of the traditional cultures and customs of America. He also promises 5000 USD (approximately 15 lakhs today) to all citizens if he wins the election even if there arises the necessity of taking loan from the Swiss Bank. Thus he becomes the President by defeating Roosevelt and begins implementing the fascist’s policies by reshaping the administration to a kind of dictatorship.
Any opposition is dealt with a severe blow. Concentration camps are set up to deal with the opposition members. A team called ‘Minute Men’ (similar to Sangh Pariwar) is formed so as to create fear among the people. He implements the fascist policies and the corporate administration using gang power. His first attempt is to decrease the influence of the American congress. This calls for opposition from the legislative assembly but the protest is dealt with iron fist. The rights of the women and the minorities are curtailed. The federal system is man-handled. The members of the ‘Minute Men’ or the representatives of the corporate and industrialists are brought to the key posts of the administration. The innocent protestors are tried in courts and jailed while the culprits and criminals of the Minute Men are let free. Even after all these cruelties and dictatorial tactics the American public view his policies as the “inevitable pain” to regain the vigour and strength of America. Senator Town Bridge along with the protestors declares “it can’t happen here”.
The novel was written in the American scenario 90 years back. Perhaps we can see a reflection of the novel today in India. The issue we are facing here is that we don’t have a leader like Town Bridge or activists like the main character in the novel Dorimus Jessup to face the fascists with courage. Fascism has only ruined any nation where it came to power; it has only divided the people not united them; it has only given misery to the people; Fascism has flourished through riots and havoc – Sinclair Lewis’s novel points out these facts.