oppn parties The Government Should Not Budge From it's Growth Agenda

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The Government Should Not Budge From it's Growth Agenda

By Sunil Garodia

About the Author

Sunil Garodia Editor-in-Chief of indiacommentary.com. Current Affairs analyst and political commentator. Writes for a number of publications.
For the Modi government, RSS and VHP are becoming the biggest headaches in running an inclusive government that can work for the growth agenda. A couple of days ago, while RSS chief Mohan Bhagwat gave a clarion call that the time is ripe to organize all Hindus, the VHP said it wanted Aligarh to be renamed as Harigarh. Both of these are mischievous comments meant to create disharmony between communities and create further problems for the ruling dispensation at the Centre. Very recently, a church was desecrated in New Delhi and nuns and priests were mishandled by the police during a rally to protest the desecration. Before that, the government published an earlier version of the Preamble in an advertisement. This version did not have the words ‘secular’ and ‘socialists’ and the Shiv Sena immediately raised a call to get these words permanently deleted.

On the face of it, the RSS call to organize Hindus should not be seen as a bad thing. It is in the interest of all communities to remain united. But when this unity is for the sole purpose of asserting their superiority against another community, it assumes dangerous proportions. Bhagwat said the conflict between Hindus and Muslims will be settled only by a middle path and that path will be of Hindutva. He also said that India is a Hindu rashtra and all Hindus need to be organized to make this nation great. If Bhagwat’s India is to be a Hindu rashtra where all other communities will be subservient to the majority community, then how is Narendra Modi going to create the India of his dreams where inclusive growth for all communities will happen?

The VHP call to change the name of Aligarh to Harigarh is old hat. It has been raised many times in the past. Citing Hindu mythology, the VHP says that Muslim conquerors had changed the name and they want it to be restored. There is no strong basis for this demand and it has been raised periodically just to keep the issue alive. There are many other places and buildings that have names of conquerors, both Muslim and Christians. For instance, can we rename the Taj Mahal as Draupadi Mahal after the Mahabharata lady? Or should we call Victoria Memorial the Rani of Jhansi Memorial? Really, it is ludicrous to change names when they are part of our historical heritage. There should not be any shame in admitting that Indians (including Hindus) were subjected to bondage for long years by foreign invaders and others who came as traders. India should be proud of its subsequent progress after so many years of subjugation. The shame is in trying to be in a state of denial and trying to erase all evidence of the same by changing names or destroying sites (Babri Masjid).

If the government wants inclusive growth, it will have to carry all communities with it. But the Hindutva elements are creating an atmosphere of mistrust and disharmony which is working against it. The minorities do not need appeasement. They just need an atmosphere where they can work well, earn more than last year, send their children to good schools, move out of ghettos, contribute to national development through social and political efforts and not be marked as traitors. It will be a failure of governance if even this much cannot be assured to them.