Hindu nation

Election 2014 points to a clear vote for national identity and growth

The verdict from this general election is two-fold. One, corruption is not really an issue with voters; it is just a way of life. Had it been otherwise, the Aam Admi Party would have won hands down. In a country where almost everyone from the lowly electricity board clerk to the highbrow PMO official is on the take, corruption is seen as a by-product, if not an unintended consequence, of the citizens’ pursuit of prosperity. The bigger verdict from this summer’s election is that India has finally come to terms with its identity as a hindu nation after 67 years of living in denial under a pseudo-secularist garb. These elections witnessed pitched battles across the country between a group of saffron flag-waving hindu nationalists and a party driven by dynastic claims to power that labelled the opposition’s prime ministerial candidate a mass murderer. In this backdrop, the overwhelming vote in favour of Modi is a telling comment by Indians, of whom a million are first-time voters. And the verdict is that in a country of a billion plus people, there is no shame in being identified as progressive and forward-looking hindus, who make up for over four-fifth of the population.

To that end, this election finally puts the seal of acceptance on the two-nation theory on which the subcontinent was carved up almost seven decades ago. And that’s all right. In a neighbourhood where three countries are avowedly muslim, three buddhist, one has lately lost its identity as the world’s only hindu monarchy, and the biggest of them all, communist for all seasons, to be a democratic hindu nation, and not just a democracy with hindu majority, is a historic fact that must be endorsed by the times in which we live, just as it has been for many western nations still flying the insignia of the cross or the many other middle eastern states flaunting standards bearing the crescent moon, all at peace with their individual identities.

Having said that, this paper believes that the purpose of the Modi government must not be to convert the nation into a hindu autocracy, but to pursue prosperity for all as a truly functional democracy. For far too long, India has been an impoverished nation, flaunting the singular achievements of a privileged few, right from the times of emperor Shah Jahan to the corporate czar of our time Mukesh Ambani. For too long, our history has been erected on the glories of great dynasties that preceded the Mughals and right up to our present Nehru-Gandhi-Vadra clan. That a tea-seller should challenge that order and emerge as the custodian of the people’s aspirations following his promise to give wings to their dreams, is the true hallmark of democracy on the move that rises above petty and parochial concerns for the greater glory of collective good. Having won the polls, Team Modi must set itself to the task of grappling with the challenges that confront the nation today and preoccupy itself with pushing high economic growth, moderating prices, providing gainful employment, and imparting a sense of confidence to citizens who voted it to power with such an overwhelming mandate. From hereon, Narendra Modi should be solely judged on his ability to rule for the betterment of all, and not of his partymen alone.

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