MERE WORDS WON’T SUFFICE

Occasionally, certain developments in your life force you to take a step back and introspect, whether the path which you have undertaken is necessarily the right one. Without any apprehension, I can say that the NDA has reached that stage.

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Yesterday, the world witnessed how Shiv Sena stormed into the BCCI headquarters in Mumbai in a bid to cancel the Indo-Pak bilateral talks to resume cricketing ties between the two countries. Within a few hours later, independent MLA from J&K, Engineer Rashid now famous for his protest against the beef ban in J&K was inked by right wing fanatics. With each passing day, the situation is getting more and more dangerous. Engineer Rashid even went as far as to say that such a hate filled and polarised atmosphere will force the Muslims of India to concur with Jinnah’s two nation theory that Hindus and Muslims just cannot live together.

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Finance Minister Arun Jaitley was assertive today when he spoke out against the intolerance brewing in our country.  I agree with Jaitley when he says that such rampant elements are bringing shame to the party and is masking all the good work done by the government so far. Mr. Jaitley, you may not be fueling the communal fire directly, but I’m sure you realise that your lackadaisical approach in taking stringent action against these uncouth elements is only emboldening them.

But having said that, I also wholeheartedly support his reminder to the media that it should not give the fringe so much of ‘oxygen’. We in the media especially the TV breed are obsessed with exciting visuals. We end up pitting one fringe against the other and further polarise an already divided society. Now, we can’t be like ostriches, oblivious to the happenings around us but at the same time, we also shouldn’t let it dictate our agenda for the day.

It depresses me when I see the extent to which religious tensions have escalated in the last few months. If every religion starts imposing their views on others, then it’ll end up shredding the very fabric of our society. It’s absolutely shameful that the largest democracy in the world which prides itself on it’s secular roots and culture is now split over a petty thing such as consumption of beef. As people belonging to the land which gave birth to yoga and spirituality, shouldn’t we be evolving as a society and setting an example to the world with our secularism and togetherness? What worries me is that such hostility provide fodder to the radicals and terror organisations in brainwashing vulnerable minds.

I for one do not hold the opinion that our society was all hunky dory during the UPA regime. The fundamentalists from both side of the spectrum were still spewing venom at each other back then. But it wasn’t so brazen nor was it so frequent. When union ministers and MPs from the ruling party openly display their bigotry, it is definitely a cause for concern.

It was welcoming to know that the loose cannons were pulled up and reprimanded by Amit Shah at the behest of Modi. Also, bigwigs in the government such as Jaitley and Rajnath publicly voicing their dissent provides a glimmer of hope.  But will that be enough? I doubt it. Even after Modi’s speech, we still have idiots spreading their communal hatred. The government will have to do more, much more, if they have to curb this sectarianism. Mere talk won’t suffice. Harsh punishments should be doled out to errant party leaders and a stern example must be set.

Why not start with the Shiv Sena? If the BJP has the courage, then it should part ways with them. People don’t expect much development from the Sena anyway. On the contrary, they’ll
only dent the government’s image with their puerile antics. If the BJP has faith in it’s development mantra, then what’s stopping them? It’s high time the centre walks the talk.

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