Tuesday, October 18, 2016

When will the Acche Din Come?

Huff and puff

A government that has failure on all its promises staring at it in the face clutches at anything to keep its popularity afloat. It is unfortunate that the government of Narendra Modi has decided to choose patriotism and warmongering to reaffirm its credibility. 

It has been evident for sometime that Mr Modi has failed to deliver on the most important promise he made during his triumphant campaign. This was to bring to the Indian people "good days" of happiness and prosperity. The good days have become an ever-receding horizon. The economy continues to remain on a downturn. Kashmir is on the boil. Divisions within the people have multiplied. These divisions have been created and perpetrated by the most pernicious kind of Hindu fundamentalism that dictates what people will eat, what they will sell, how they will dress and of course what views they will hold. 

Dalits and minorities have been intimidated and have been made to feel isolated from the "mainstream" of Indian culture - the mainstream being defined by the sangh parivar. The fallout of all this has been disillusionment and disaffection. It would be simplistic to assume that Mr Modi and his spin doctors are unaware of this situation.

The reaction has been predictable: the government has latched on to the last resort, patriotism. An action taken by the Indian army within Pakistan-occupied Kashmir has been played up beyond measure. 

The action was not novel; previous governments have taken similar decisions without any fanfare and chest thumping. What was in all probability a routine intervention has been projected as India being on the brink of war with Pakistan. What is worse any doubts about and criticism of the action are being labelled unpatriotic and anti-national. It is being asserted that even though India is a democracy, the army is and its actions are above question. But the ploy - and a very dangerous one at that - appears not to be working. 

Mr Modi is seen by sections of the intelligentsia as trying to make India the mirror image of Pakistan. The only safeguard against this attempt is that Indian democracy is too robust to succumb to crass efforts to create an anti-Pakistan war hysteria. Mr Modi still has the second half of his prime ministership to address serious domestic problems instead of trying to deflect attention from them.

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