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Archive for the ‘Government’ Category

The following editorial in The New York Times gives a timely warning to Prime Minister Narendra Modi against frittering away his electoral gains:

 

 

Since he was elected in 2014, Prime Minister Narendra Modi of India has played a cagey game, appeasing his party’s hard-line Hindu base while promoting secular goals of development and economic growth. Despite worrying signs that he was willing to humor Hindu extremists, Mr. Modi refrained from overtly approving violence against the nation’s Muslim minority.

On Sunday, Mr. Modi revealed his hand. Emboldened by a landslide victory in recent elections in India’s largest state, Uttar Pradesh, his party named a firebrand Hindu cleric, Yogi Adityanath, as the state’s leader. The move is a shocking rebuke to religious minorities, and a sign that cold political calculations ahead of national elections in 2019 have led Mr. Modi’s Bharatiya Janata Party to believe that nothing stands in the way of realizing its long-held dream of transforming a secular republic into a Hindu state.

Mr. Adityanath has made a political career of demonizing Muslims, thundering against such imaginary plots as “love jihad”: the notion that Muslim men connive to water down the overwhelming Hindu majority by seducing Hindu women. He defended a Hindu mob that murdered a Muslim man in 2015 on the suspicion that his family was eating beef, and said Muslims who balked at performing a yoga salutation to the sun should “drown themselves in the sea.”

Uttar Pradesh, home to more than 200 million people, badly needs development, not ideological showmanship. The state has the highest infant mortality rate in the country. Nearly half of its children are stunted. Educational outcomes are dismal. Youth unemployment is high.

Mr. Adityanath has sounded the right notes, saying, “My government will be for everyone, not specifically for any caste or community,” and promising to make Uttar Pradesh “the dreamland” of Mr. Modi’s development model.

But the appointment shows that Mr. Modi sees no contradiction between economic development and a muscular Hindu nationalism that feeds on stoking anti-Muslim passions. Mr. Modi’s economic policies have delivered growth, but not jobs. India needs to generate a million new jobs every month to meet employment demand. Should Mr. Adityanath fail to deliver, there is every fear that he — and Mr. Modi’s party — will resort to deadly Muslim-baiting to stay in power, turning Mr. Modi’s dreamland into a nightmare for India’s minorities, and threatening the progress that Mr. Modi has promised to all of its citizens.

Resort to violence for imposing its misconceived nationalist ideology is not something which the Akhil Bharatiya Vidyarthi Parishad (ABVP) has recently acquired. It received nationwide attention only because its operations were taking place in the national capital.

So long as the BJP remained mostly out of power in the States and at the Centre, the ABVP kept its activities confined to demonstrations on college/university issues, by and large. As the BJP started gaining power in the States, the ABVP also started coming out of its veneer of an organisation concerned with the students’ problems. The BJP governments even placed the police force in the service of the rowdy ABVP activists.

The late Madhya Pradesh Governor Ram Naresh Yadav who, though a Congressman, had become virtually a lackey of the State’s BJP Chief Minister Shivraj Singh Chouhan to utter chagrin of the Congress leaders of the State. He had been willingly endorsing wrong actions and decisions of the BJP government. Even he had lost his patience with the ABVP in the State and was constrained to write a letter to the Chief Minister directing him to ‘keep a check on the anarchic ABVP activists as they are indulging in unlawful activities and polluting the academic atmosphere in the State.’ Did Chouhan heed the Governor’s advice? Nonsense!

Prof.  H S Sabharwal of the Madhav College in Ujjain was asked to conduct the students’ union elections in August 2006. Following some irregularities, he cancelled the elections which infuriated the ABVP activists. Prof Sabharwal was thrashed by the activists and eventually he died.

Initially, the police arrested 22 persons, mostly belonging to the Congress, in connection with the rowdiness on the Madhav College campus. However, under public pressure (the attack on Prof. Sabharwal had made the national headlines), 12 students owing allegiance to ABVP were named accused in the murder. Ultimately, the challan under Sections 302 and 147 IPC was put up against six of them. They were: Shashi Ranjan Akela (State President of ABVP); Vimal Tomar (Divisional Organising Secretary, ABVP); Vishal Rajoria (member of State Executive, ABVP); Hemant Dube (District Convener, ABVP); Sudhir Yadav and Pankaj Mishra (activists of ABVP).

While the police ‘investigation’ in the murder was going on, the Chief Minister had a 20-minute one-to-one talk with Vimal Tomar, one of the six accused. Tomar, then in custody in Ujjain, was admitted to the State-run M Y Hospital at Indore purportedly for treatment. Chauhan met him there. Tomar was ‘cured’ immediately after meeting the Chief Minister and was sent back to the custody at Ujjain.

As the witnesses (even the policemen who were eye-witnesses) started turning hostile, the murdered Professor’s son Himanshu knocked on the doors of the Supreme Court which transferred the trial of the case from Ujjain to Nagpur. The judge there acquitted the accused on the ground that the prosecution had failed to put up the evidence.


April 2017
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Value of propaganda

Adolf Hitler believed in the use of propaganda as an integral element to seizing and holding on to political power. His maxim was 'the bigger the lie, the more easily it will be believed, provided it is repeated vigorously and often enough'. (Sean Murphy in his book 'Letting the Side Down')

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