PM Modi Failed To Warn Miscreants Spreading Majoritarian TerrorIn one of the longest speech by an Indian politician and the longest ever by a prime minister from the Red Fort on Independence Day, Narendra Modi made all the right noises regarding his governments performance in the year gone by, dished out the right advise to countrymen, warned our intransigent neighbour across the western border about spreading and glorifying terror and in a self-congratulatory mode, referred to the problems being faced by Balochis in Pakistan and once again asserted Indias right over PoK. He gave the new mantra of reform, perform and transform which is very relevant given the platform his government has created in the last more than two years. He also made references to terrorism, including left-backed Maoist terror and the need for social justice. But one feels that he skirted the issue of majoritarian terror that has been occupying the minds of all right thinking Indians of late.
By Sunil Garodia
While the prime minister said that economic progress is not the only measure of an empowered society and that a strong society is built on social justice, he failed to take to task those who were preventing social justice by targeting dalits. He also said that "a nation that is divided because of reasons like caste and religion cannot achieve great things". But he did not identify and warn those who are dividing the nations along these lines. The prime minister is failing to realize that the chalta hai attitude regarding these attacks on dalits, minorities and other weaker sections of society will not do. He has himself acknowledged recently that this is the work of people who are petty criminals by night and gau rakshaks by day. So wasnt the I-Day speech an ideal medium to warn these elements on the one hand and tell the administration in various states that the government will support them if they acted against these elements? Already, thousands of dalits have taken a pledge in Una on I-Day that they will not lift dead cow carcasses. If this threat is taken to be anti-national by vested interests (since the pledge programme was attended by Rohith Vemulas mother and Kanhaiya Kumar) it will be sad. For, leftist interests will perforce tread on all grounds that are made ripe for intervention by them by the ugly attacks of misguided fringe Hindutva elements. The fact is that dalits across India are angry and this anger has the potential of derailing the dream of pan-India Hindu unity that the BJP has. If the fringe is not reined in, apart from tearing apart the countrys social fabric, it will do irreparable harm to the electoral prospects of the BJP, first in UP and Punjab and then elsewhere in India.
For Modi personally, his dream of building a strong India based on inclusive economic growth will lie in tatters if he does not assert himself vis a vis this small minority of Hindus trying to assume the status of guardians of the religion. Hindutva does not need them; neither does Modi or the BJP. The government or the economy is not going to be run by dictating what is to be taught in classrooms, what is to be cooked in the kitchen or what is to be worn on the streets. Neither is it going to help if dissent is crushed and people are branded anti-national casually. India has too many threads running simultaneously and all these threads have gone on to make the fabric in the past. Nothing has changed so drastically for us to remove some threads. There will always be people who will have an alternative view. By trying to silence them we are only trying to say that ours is the only correct view and only that view will be allowed. But that is not the way to conduct democratic public discourse. Let everyone speak, let a thousand ideas emerge. Sift, filter and sieve to choose the best. Take what fits your policy best or not take any at all, but allow all ideas to be aired. Surajya, or good governance, can only be successful if it is plurajya, or good governance based on pluralism. Modi has a lot at stake to allow a handful of people to strangle his idea of making India great through inclusive growth. He should decisively act against these miscreants.