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
A mother has a natural bond with a child but a father has to build one.