(Published in The Times of India: http://blogs.timesofindia.indiatimes.com/shaira-mohan-blog/)
This has been one of the biggest banes in the existing reign of the Narendra Modi administration.
India as a collective, tired of being stuck in the static rut that the Congress party had steered it into over the course of its decade-long reign in power had had enough. An ever-silent prime minister, lack of infrastructural and economical growth and an unending spate of political vendetta (ironically this was Rahul Gandhi’s pet phrase during the recent National Herald controversy) brought the Indian majority to its feet to vote for change. And in walked Narendra Modi, the winner in the 2014 landslide elections by a mile and then some to claim his throne.
While a big percentage of the Indian population, outraged by Modi’s alleged hand in the 2002 Gujarat riots episode and his alliance with the RSS, could not come to terms with his new prime ministerial position, a much larger percentage clapped and celebrated the change that was finally here. With hope in their hearts and a rejuvenated sense of pride and promise that was fuelled by Modi’s many speeches in his early days, a jaded Indian spirit was rekindled. A noteworthy orator in both Hindi and English, Modi won our hearts not just by hitting the ground running as far as governing and collaborating both within the country and abroad but also just by being communicative with the people – something very important that Manmohan Singh repeatedly failed to do.
But as time went on and Modi’s foreign trips increased, infusing FDI investments to the tune of a whopping $20 billion (approximately) – a praiseworthy feat no doubt, our Prime minister’s focus started to waver from the atrocities and concemnable episodes that were taking place back home. From the Dadri Lynching where an innocent man was beaten to death for having allegedly consumed beef, the many rapes including those of infants that we read about almost everyday, the banning of meat that shook the pot of religious conflicts yet again, the list is endless. It was imperative for PM Modi to have addressed the nation immediately to condemn such acts of barbaric violence. The unending slew of inhumane acts in the name of religion that has spread like wildfire in our country today, forcing an otherwise united nation to draw lines of tolerance and intolerance, religion and caste is an issue that PM Modi should make his business to be vocal about in a timely manner.
His silence only makes a much louder noise that echoes words like ‘Hindutva’ and Gujarat over and over again.
So, naturally when PM Modi breaks his silence only too swiftly on his trips abroad by raising slogans of ‘Make in India and ‘Start Up India’, while he remains silent on the suicide of a Dalit scholar student as a result of despicable actions by a grossly caste-biased institution, his achievements outside the country, while certainly noteworthy, only provoke the dampened spirit of his own people. The PM broke his silence a full 5 days later yet again, that too at an educational event with meagre words that only added fuel to a blazing fire. The questions that Rohith Vemula’s parents ask ‘ Why and how did he die? Was he suspended? Was he killed?’ these are questions the PM should have vehemently voiced on day one with an immediate call to act and investigate.
His silence on key issues like these only poke at our frustrations that deflate our hopes of an improvement from the last, silent PM.
While India has certainly seen some progress in these past 2 years since Modi came into power, the optimistic sentiment among the people has already dampened. The question remains – how far can PM Modi take us before his time is up? Will he learn from the aftermath of the frequent breakfasts and dinners with our neighbours and realise that diplomacy is a dish best served as an infrequent appetiser while the mains should remain the welfare and safety of the country?
A simple gesture of timely vocal condemnation of injustice will go a long way in steadying his hugely wavering credibility.
Progress both within and outside the country needs to be a balancing act. There is no point of a ‘Make in India’ if the India being spoken of is wreaking in turmoil and in desperate need of its knight in shining armor to defend and rule its own kingdom first instead of worrying more about pleasing potential allies.