Issues

Rising Intolerance

India, after 67 years of independence, has witnessed an election in which a relatively new party bagged absolute majority and started governing India. The best part of the election was that a majority of the younger generation too participated in the election and voted with enthusiasm. In many ways this election was unique; leaders of the BJP campaigned across the country and promised achchey din. There was a perception, reinforced by propaganda, that UPA II did not perform as good as UPA 1. Manmohan Singh’s second innings as PM was marred by scandals as inflation raged. People were facing many difficulties and were eyeing a substitute. The continuous success of Narendra Modi in Gujarat and his nationwide acceptance compelled BJP parliamentary board to declare him PM candidate.

Modi travelled across the country, campaigned day in and day out and a wave-like situation was created for Modi and BJP emerged making it the single largest party, trouncing Congress badly. Congress was almost routed as it managed to get only 44 seats.

With the result of the elections, Narendra Modi took over as PM with an oath taking ceremony in which the heads of SAARC countries including Nawaz Sharif, participated.

People were expecting the promised good days to come early. Good days are yet to come.

It was like the British raj promise that they would concede India’s demands of complete independence if India cooperated in World War II. However, they reneged on the promise after the war and increased their atrocities instead.

People voted for achchey din, but they got a wave of intolerance against minorities and lower castes besides inflation, unrest and confusion.

This list of achchey din victims includes, among others: a 23-year old Muslim techie in Pune, Akhlaq in Dadri (near Delhi), Noman, Mohsin and Zahid in Jammu, Vaibhav and Divya in Haryana. The same ideology was behind the murder of writers Dabholkar, Pansare and Kalburgi. Another writer K S Bhagawan has received threat from Hindu right-wing activists.

Huchangi Prasad, a 23-year-old Dalit student and author of the book Odala Kichchu that discusses the archaic caste system was attacked and given a warning that his fingers would be cut if he indulged in writing any more books.
From throwing black ink on Engineer Rashid at Delhi Press Club to preventing Ghulam Ali from singing at a proposed concert in the memory of Jagjit Singh are some examples of growing intolerance. In J&K assembly, BJP MLA Ravindra Sharma slapped his counterpart Er Rashid for allegedly holding a beef party in the MLA hostel in Srinagar.  

Eminent persons like Nobel laureate Kailash Satyarthi, RBI Governor RaghuRamrajan, Infosys Chairman Narayana Murthy, music maestro Zubin Mehta, journalist Sudheer Kulkarni, writers Salman Rushdie and Amitav Ghosh have showed concern. Also, many other writers, artists, filmmakers, historians and a 100 scientists have protested.

During the PM’s London visit thousands of Hindus, Muslims, Sikhs, Christians and Nepalese staged protests. Top 100 British writers lodged their protests to the UK PM after meeting him, objecting to Indian PM’s coming visit.

Global investor community’s reluctance to put in their money here was further aggravated by Moody Analytics report that showed concern over the instability in India.

Things can’t improve unless the government distances itself from RSS agenda and begins to focus on sab ka saath, sab ka vikas in earnest.

Khalil Ahmed Banday
Research scholar in the Central Uni. of Gujarat

This article appeared in The Milli Gazette print issue of 1-15 December 2015 on page no. 2

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