In 2014, the future of the country looked bleak. Stung by scams and scandals, disillusioned by most political leaders, growing unemployment and a contracting economy were enough for the masses to come together and vote for a change in the leadership of the country. Seeing (and believing) the model of Gujarat, the country put its faith in the one political leader who appeared to know the road map of progress.
While there were many factors to convince us not to vote for the same political machines, the country came together and gave Mr. Narendra Modi, accused of inciting religious violence, accused of having more than moderate right leanings, an overwhelming mandate. With a near complete majority of the BJP, Mr. Modi was sworn in as the 15th Prime Minister of the Secular Democratic Republic of India.
With high expectations, we saw the change in government. The invitation to all the country leaders in the region was a diplomatic coup and a new step in soft diplomacy. The setting up of the BRICs Developmental Bank with an Indian head and the various MOU’s and FDI engagements which promised more investments at time when the global economy was still trying to stabilise from the 2008 crash were hailed by Indians the world over.
While all this was going on, slowly and steadily the bulwarks of this nation were being tested. Sectarian violence spreading across the nation, drought like situation in growing number of villages for three years in a row, mounting loans given by banks with no hopes of ever recovering the thousands of crores given to businessmen who may or may not be politically connected – these are just some examples.
People were killed because of the kind of meat they would have in their fridge, people would die because of not having anything to eat. Over half of Maharashtra had to declare drought and was pulled up by the Supreme Court while a few hundred kilometres away Chennai was under floods from rains and a messed up sewage system.
State governments were threatened and nearly made to fall, with the Centre and the State taking matters to the courts. Chief Ministers of states bemoaned the antagonism and arrogance of the powers that be. Political heavy weights and elected leaders would get up on stages and give speeches which can only be likened to the baying of hounds before a hunt.
Now, it comes to light that even school books have not been spared. Education books have been revised to slowly paint the image of a different India, an India as seen with the continued rule of the Hindutva aligned parties. In a state like Rajasthan, where 19 out of the 33 districts are in the grips of severe drought, we have the Chief Minister more worried about research centre for cows and setting up of gaushala’s. In other parts, saffron clad leaders are quick to fight and even kill for the Gau-mata, but none are ready to help take care of the beast in a time of water scarcity and drought.
On the basis of hopes, dreams were sold instead of which the bitter reality is that slowly and steadily the government would have us not look at anything which may affect the reality. The wave of protests across colleges in this country is said to be the first of many over the disillusionment the country has begun to feel. We have students committing suicide, while other students are being arrested for sedition. Their demands were simple- they wanted freedom from the evils of society and the state.
Mr. Narendra Modi did not start or may not have even encouraged any of this. The fact remains that, as THE leader of the country, as the Prime Minister of this country, it became his job to steer the country. The grim reality is that while he may have gotten some cheer out of his performance till now, there are little signs of any steering.
Ranveer Raj Bhatnagar