Changing Countours of India


“...the NDA government, instead of focusing on addressing core issues which affect the lives of the common man, is hell-bent on transforming the nation from a republic to a Hindu state, which will be governed by principles laid down in the Vedas and Puranas”.

The last couple of months have been more than eventful as India is in the throes of a social collapse. The promise of better days has not been realised though the Bharatiya Janata Party government has been in power for almost two years. Things don’t seem to be what they seem to be and this has led to a lot of confusion among the citizens of what is arguably the largest democratic nation on the face of the earth.

Since the days of the Emergency in the 70s, we haven’t seen such unrest which threatens to turn into a tsunami. Narendra Modi rode to power on the slogan of ‘Acche Din’, but slowly the enthusiasm is dying down. The economy has failed to take off as expected, and, with jobs still a premium product, there is a lot of unrest among the youth.

On the other hand, the NDA government, instead of focusing on addressing core issues which affect the lives of the common man, is hell-bent on transforming the nation from a republic to a Hindu state, which will be governed by principles laid down in the Vedas and Puranas.

Hindus, per se, are the most tolerant people. The majority of them have no issues with spiritual matters and they will always welcome a new ‘god’, ‘goddess’ or even a ‘demigod’ with open arms. They will not blink an eye in adding one more deity to their pantheon of gods. Apart from sporadic incidents over the years across the nation, people of other faith have always been welcome and have lived with ease and security.

However, in the last couple of months, one can notice a deep undercurrent which threatens to undermine the principles of tolerance and amity. For once, the nation is being polarised on lines of faith, caste, region, etc.

In the past too, there have been attempts to create a divide; fortunately, it didn’t happen. But things seem to be different now. Modi’s dynamic call has attracted the even so-called moderates into his camp and that change is a worrying factor. The average Hindu, who was more bothered about his ‘roti, kapada aur makaan’ [food, clothe and shelter], is now turning his attention to other matters. The government has been able to divert attention from its inability to kickstart the economy by allowing ‘fringe elements’ to have a free run. These elements are galvanising the middle-class and spreading a kind of pseudo nationalism.

What is disturbing is that dissent or diversity is no longer tolerated. The buzz word right now is alignment. Falling in line with the dictates of the majority is being considered the rule of thumb. The government seems to making a subtle but systematic effort in changing the contours of the nation, starting in the field of education; and that’s where all the trouble started. Those who saw through this game plan have reacted, but those reactions have further cemented the efforts of the government.

The drama at the University of Hyderabad – also known as the Hyderabad Central University – had put the spotlight on the way the HRD ministry was trying to establish its hegemony. The death of Rohith Velumula galvanised the intellectual class in taking on the government, but it had little effect on the middle-class. In fact, the moderate Hindu has swung his allegiance to the other end.

Things went from bad to worse in the sordid JNU affair. The arrest of the JNUSU president Kanhaiya Kumar and the subsequent drama helped polarise things further; an unrepentant government tried to convert the events into a national versus anti-national debate. Anyone questioning the government is nowadays considered an anti-national. It is now fashionable to wear the badge of patriotism or nationalism on one’s sleeves. There is no room for dissent or any other opinion than the official one.

It seems to be a throwback to the Nazi era when Adolf Hitler managed to turn the Germans – including several Christians – to hating the Jews which led to subsequent holocaust. Are we heading to such dark times? Only time will tell, but one encouraging factor is that there are still voices being heard in the darkness. One hopes that this, too, will pass without much damage; in the meantime we need to Watch and Pray.

It seems to be a throwback to the Nazi era when Adolf Hitler managed to turn the Germans – including several Christians – to hating the Jews which led to subsequent holocaust. Are we heading to such dark times?

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