Atish Taseer a British born journalist seems to have a very good hold on his English, thus in his article titled “Can the World’s Largest Democracy Endure Another Five Years of a Modi Government?”, one can see a lot of adjectives being used to describe some prominent Indian personalities. Jawaharlal Nehru as a Cambridge-educated Prime Minister and Narendra Modi as the son of a tea-seller (slow claps), a calamity that could not be prevented and this is where the clash of perspectives begin. For Aatish, Modi might just be a son of a tea seller but honestly, for 1.3 billion Indians, he is the “Ray of Hope” that has uplifted millions of Indians.
India, a country that raises many eyebrows on how a country of over billion people, with diverse religion and population, where the rich and the poor co-exist and celebrate the 15th August and 26th January together and give a meaning to this co-existence. When one talks about secularism, we should talk about countries like Austria, Denmark, France, Belgium, Netherlands which represent the classic example of modern-day secularism. India, on the other hand, is not secular but is all-encompassing. The traditional Indic or हिंदू notion of सहिष्णुता (tolerance) & सर्व धर्म समभाव धर्म समभाव सर्म समभाव भा र्व धर्म समभाव (religious acceptance) underscores its culture, Constitution and laws. They are distinct from the notion of secularism but are often used interchangeably. They are further drawn from traditional Hindu notions that all religions remain but different ways to reach the same divine truth.
Nevertheless, in recent times, this very ideology has become a victim to monotheistic ideologies that claim absolutes and decry the notion of a single universal truth that can be attained or realized through multiple paths. Aatish’s article does not state the facts that why in India only temples are under Government control and not the Church and the Mosques. What it does not describe are the forcible conversions of the poor Hindus to other religion, Islamic practices like Triple Talaq, Halala and Jihad. Usage of term like “poisonous religious Nationalism”, the author is trying to demonize Nationalism which is the heart of all Indians. A reflection on the National Uprising of 1857 tells us that Hindus and Muslims fought together against the British and which laid down the foundation of India’s Independence. The citizens of India till today are bound together by this sense of Nationalism which is far away from the concept of religion.
His article also tends to create doubt on Ayodhya as actually being the birthplace of Lord Ram when Archaeological Survey of India (ASI) has already given proofs that the Ram Mandir existed and this has also been accepted by many Indian Muslim. Turning away a blind eye from the evidence and deceiving the audience is very harmful and causes damage to the efforts that have been put through for so many years. When someone states Ram as a Hindu epic hero, as described above is an act of mocking the feelings of millions of Hindus. For us, Ram is an incarnation of Lord Vishnu. I am pretty confident that the author would not tend to write about the demolition of the 1000’s of Hindu temples by various invaders. But what is he more worried about is the re-establishment of Ram Mandir, period.
The Gujarat riots of 2002 were instigated by burning 59 Hindus alive while they were returning from Ayodhya, this fact is very well omitted from his article. One should not forget about the ethnic cleansing of Kashmiri Pandits from the valley which killed around 600 Hindus and displaced more than 200000. I am afraid that this one-sided stories, targeting a particular Government is deceiving the audience. The politics of appeasement was practiced by Congress then and thus the Centre did not intervene when the horrendous crimes were carried on the Kashmiri Hindus. The number of casualties due to Cow vigilance from 2010 to 2017 are reported to be 63, in many Indian states, Cow slaughter is illegal. I sympathize with the mindset when the world criticizes Yulin dog festival, here the author is concerned about why killing cow matters to Hindus. The cover picture also draws attention towards how the color has been used to create Hinduphobia and portray Hindus in a violent retrospective. A civilization which is much more than 5000 years old, that is based on the principles of tolerance has been tested many times and biased views of such kind are one such effort.
Needless to say, the article is only focused to target PM Narendra Modi and trying to build propaganda around religious sentiments. The promises made by BJP during 2014 are very well achieved, be corruption or development. When the Government provided housing, sanitation, electricity, LPG, it did not discriminate on the basis of religion. The Haj quota being raised to 2 lac for Indian Muslims, 10% reservation for all Indians has no connection to religion. Triple Talaq Bill, seems to be a problem for a progressive author, injustice to women done is far beyond his imagination. When a Muslim majority country like Saudi Arabia can ban it, we should all take a moment to praise the government on taking this firm step and which highlights the stand on Women Empowerment.
One should not forget that PM has been awarded highest awards from Islamic countries namely UAE’s Zayed Medal, Grand Collar of the State of Palestine, Aamir Abdulla Khan Award of Afghanistan and King Abdulaziz Sash Award by Saudi Arabia. UAE and India have invested financially, politically and strategically under Modi government. Technology bridges with Morocco have let India’s presence being felt in Saharan Africa.Improved relationships with Indonesia and the whole of Central Asia. Dubai was a safe hideout for scammers and now they are all being brought back. India’s presence at the OIC as a guest of honor. Growing equations with both Israel and Palestine. Why does the author think that the Indian Muslims won’t notice these significant steps taken by the Narendra Modi government when it comes to strengthening ties with these countries and not just favoring a particular section of India?
The author has very well tried to portray Congress having a somewhat sheer clean image. The Sikh massacre which killed around 10000 Sikhs was very well orchestrated by the Congress under Rajiv Gandhi and they were not just riots. The Bhopal gas tragedy which killed around 15000 and what did Congress do, despite Warren Anderson being arrested, they let him flew away safely. The communal riots under Congress and UPA are actually more if the author had wished to take a look than it would have been evident. There are a numerous number of scams like Bofors, 2G, Augusta Westland, Common Wealth Games etc which the author has missed to write about. He also does not mention the plight of farmers under the newly formed state governments in Madhya Pradesh and Rajasthan where they gained the votes in the name of loan waivers and clearly there were no plans to implement the schemes as promised.
The NYAY scheme as mentioned by the Congress manifesto has no clarity on how it would be implemented. Some days the figure becomes Rs 72000 as minimum income and then the other day as a top-up. Someone says Middle class will bear the taxes for its implementation and the next day another statement that no taxes will be increased. The author has rightly said that there is no strong opposition in India which is very true, they have no other agenda but only to remove PM Modi. When a country finds no hope in the opposition and eligible to be selected, PM Modi stands up for them as the right option. There are several reasons to say this, I suggest the author reads BJP’s Sankalp Patra for 2019.
It is funny when the author talks about freedom of Speech, how can he miss the number of abuses hurled at the PM of India. He has been called with many names like Hitler, murderer, Maut Ka Saudagar, abusing his family which almost lives an anonymous life. A particular section of media which is pro-Congress and anti-BJP has always portrayed him as anti-minorities… Really? If the freedom of speech was in danger than all these incidences would not have been possible. The author chooses to neglect all the statements made by Congress.
Forming a prejudice around Sadhvi Pragya Singh Tahkur’s (another adjective used: Saffron-clad female saint) candidature is very much aiming at creating Hinduphobia. The author needs to brush up on the facts that she has been given a clean chit by NIA, twice, under the circumstances that no evidence has been found that proves her involvement in the Malegaon blast of 2008 and she is out on Bail. If there is a problem with a candidate out on Bail than so is Rahul Gandhi and Sonia Gandhi in the National Herald case.
A very common trait for all minority sympathizers is to portray the BJP government in all negative lights and circulate the theory of Hinduphobia. Calling their supporters as bhakts and bigots have become very fashionable and when no logics are left than there are personal attacks. I wish all this was also covered by the author too.
Disclaimer: The views and opinions expressed in this article are those of the authors and do not necessarily reflect the official policy or position of SatyaVijayi