Herald View: The alienation of a civilisation

In just eight years Modi has set up India for conquest again from without

PM Modi
PM Modi

Herald View

As Narendra Modi completes eight years in office this week, one must acknowledge the achievement of the impossible – a societal transformation in less than a decade that otherwise takes centuries to achieve. One cannot even begin to count on the fingers of one’s hands the tangible, material advantages he has delivered to the country. Not because there are too many but because there is quite nothing that one can be proud of. But in the intangible and abstract sphere Modi has been a master achiever. The first is alienating all the minorities of this country and these include not just Muslims or Christians but vast sections of the Hindu population like Dalits, even people belonging to other Indic religions like Sikhs, Buddhists and Jains. But everything surpasses the achievement of setting Hindus against Hindus – within families, within society, within even the civilisational concept of Hinduism which has always been a way of life, rather than an organised religion, and a diverse system of thought encompassing multiple philosophies and embracing different cosmologies. Hindus were never about killing, lynching, hating or destroying – mosques, settlements or civilisations. But that is what a large section of Hindus have become today-- belligerent, uncouth hooligans in public spaces and bullies at home where they might come up against those who still believe in the civilisational refinement and pacifism of Hinduism.

But even away from the abstract and philosophical, in the most basic material terms, Modi has done more damage to Hindus than any other community. There are more Hindus than Muslims who are out of jobs today, more Hindus than Muslims are dying of hunger, more Hindus than Muslims in a higher societal bracket are migrating abroad to escape not just the deleterious effects of Modi’s mismanagement of the economy but also the mess made of educational policies that are bound to be injurious to their overall future career prospects. The lack of a level playing field for any and every group in the country today is one of the stellar achievements of the Modi government. One only has to look at the top-down approach of the government and identify the two, or at most three, key players in the country to see how many iconic entrepreneurs even in the top income brackets are being done out of equal opportunities. Small and medium entrepreneurs who are the backbone of not just the economy but even social harmony and peaceful co-existence, given the jobs they offer and the interlinking of their businesses with special community skills, have been completely done out of their opportunities. Not just in communal terms but even in societal terms India is now a powder keg awaiting that single spark of a trigger to explode and go up in flames. To draw from our own texts, individuals are of no consequence unless they are part of a larger group and only different groups make up a society as different societies do a civilisation. India was the quintessential example of such an individual-to-civilisation linkage but now one fears that this civilisation is being destroyed from within and being set up for conquest once again by outside forces.

We can survive as a nation only if we stand united and inevitably fall if we allow ourselves to be divided. Unfortunately, the Modi government fails to understand history and is already surrendering our geography.

(This was first published in National Herald on Sunday)

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