I read this impressive column by Sagarika Ghose in Times blogs this morning. She begins by highlighting how ‘Hindutva + Economic aspirations’ of the people can be a winning formula in elections, referring to UP and Gujarat. There is another reference to Owaisi’s quote where she highlights how ‘Hindutva + Development’ is the key to an impressive mandate. The column ends in this manner, ‘State power + ideology’ fails to complement social creativity or boost chances of entrepreneurship.
As I sat back and contemplated whether this was really the case in the country? Few saffron clad questions arose in my mind. The thing referred to as Hindutva in this column doesn’t seem to be clearly defined. It is left to the understanding of the readers to judge what comprises Hindutva. This term has been misused by politicians and journalists alike since ages and anyone who wishes to criticize the current regime uses it as a Brahmastra to validate their point.
Is banning illegal slaughter houses and creating Anti-Romeo squads to curb eve-teasing the prime focus of Hindutva? Is the election of a Saffron clad 5 time MP, who embraced monkhood decades back, as the CM of the most populous state in the country a disturbing sign of pushing Hindutva ideology in the country? Is Modi silently working on promoting his hidden Hindutva agenda in the garb of development? And many more! These saffron clad questions were silenced by thoughts which appeared to active the greener pastures of the millions of neurons in me. Only God can help those who see a tinge of communalism in my usage of colors to describe my state of mind.
A Government elected with a thumping win is expected to go full throttle against the irregularities existing in the society and clearly demonstrate that it has taken complete charge of the situation. This is only possible if law is implemented with ruthlessness. This is what the current UP regime seem to be doing. The tough action expected of Kejriwal, when he was crowned the CM with a dream mandate, now seem to be played before us by an overly active YOGI regime. Wouldn’t the same Media have appreciated a AAM looking CM going against illegalities in the society in the same tone and tenor that oozed from his persona during rallies? Then why this discrimination and a lame attempt to paint the efforts of saffron clad monk to cleanse the system, with an ideological brush? PM Modi should also be credited with appointing a strong decision maker to govern the state rather than install a puppet and rule from behind the screen or else we wouldn’t have witnesses so much of action in so little time.
Coming back to economic aspirations of the people and the development plank getting a backseat due to this presumed onslaught of Hindutva on businesses dealing in meat, a report published in THE HINDU dated 29th October 2016 quotes a beef trader that close to 60-70 percent of those who consume buffalo meat in restaurants in UP were Hindus. Due to social stigma they prefer not to take the meat home for cooking. This clearly shows the change in eating habits of some Hindus. A ban on illegal slaughter houses is bound to affect those involved in its production as well as those who consume it. People having valid license can still go ahead with their businesses and find out means to increase production. A means of balancing the demand-supply arithmetic needs to be worked out.
People whose livelihood is lost due to closure of slaughter houses need to understand that in the age of modernization and ambitious political regimes a number of modern/traditional professions have either become extinct or are on the verge of extinction. Any attempt to paint it with a communal brush and thrust the blame on the regime can be out rightly termed as mischief.
A report published in the ECONOMIC TIMES on Jan 20 2017 clearly states that close to 9,000 employees of Infosys were being layed off due to automation. We don’t hear any voice protesting against these unexpected job losses and demanding job security and rehabilitation for these young IT engineers. A report in THE TELEGRAPH cites that close to 35000 people lost their jobs and the state incurred a loss of 5400 crore rupees in the fiscal year 2016-17 due to liquor ban in Bihar. But this move was hailed as a bold step and we didn’t hear any cries for rehabilitation at the national level. For a state that is aspiring to take giant strides on the path of development 5400 crore loss is huge. This clearly demonstrates that ambitious regimes tend to make their arrival with sweeping changes which may disrupt the economics momentarily.
As far as development is concerned, it has to be driven by a distinct and clearly defined ideology which encompasses all sections of society, only then will the regime hold onto power and grow its base in states where it has minimal presence. This is clearly demonstrated since 2014 when this NDA government first embraced the seat of power. If you refuse to call this ideology Hindutva and ascribe everything that is divisive to it, then as an emerging leader of this country and a youth icon once called Poverty as a state of mind, we may as well add, “Hindutva is a state of mind”.