After the Wharton India Economic Forum cancelled Mr Narendra Modi’s address to the prestigious annual event due to opposition from a section of professors and students of the University of Pennsylvania, Gujarat’s Chief Minister, Narendra Modi addressed the Indian diaspora in Edison, New Jersey, Chicago and Illinois on March 9 via video
While addressing the Indo-American community Modi shared his definition of secularism as “India First” .
While the whole speech was interesting enough to judge Modi’s political approach and strategic statements keeping 2014 General Elections in mind, the definition of secularism makes me restless enough to think about the literal meaning of secularism in our country since Independence.
What is secularism in India,post independence ? In India, a country packed with people following different faith,speaking different languages and following different lifestyles, the meaning of secularism , so far, has been vote bank politics and nothing else! Face it! The term minority got hyped not for the minorities but for vested political interest .The political well-wishers of schedule – castes/tribes and people following religions with lesser density, made sure they use every individual following under their set !
Result – Its been more than 60 years since we are a free land yet honour-killing still exists and so does the constant fear of communal riots.
A concerning question to think about – What have the secular political forces given India while they had got the maximum opportunity to rule the nation ? Were/Are they really bothered going beyond their vote bank interests and think about India , first ?
No , I am not a die-hard , Narendra Modi fan.I am not going crazy to see him be the next Prime Minister or feel he is the only way out for India to shine.Relax ! 2002 Gujarat riots brought Narendra Modi the recognition and for any secular Indian(including me) it was not a right image of the name.A name which is a synonym to development 11 years since then ! Although his achievements can never justify his controversial role(as the chief minister of the state of Gujarat) in 2002 riots yet it cannot be denied as well that he has actually worked for his state, hard enough! He has worked hard for who he is today and just not played politics like many ‘secular’ politicians of the nation have done for over few decades now.
Yes, criticisms are there and even God has critics and thankfully he is not God for many ! They are minimal(criticisms and people who consider him God, both 🙂 ).While,one can argue the minorities(Muslims)of the state have no choice but to go with the political flow of the state to seek development of their constituencies,it is also noteworthy that the Muslim dominated constituencies have actually seen development under BJP’s regime and it was this time, that even the minority dominated constituencies (previously,Congress dominated) voted for the “communal leader”-Modi.
While,many of us,the urban,literate,’secular’, Indians may still find Modi an uncomfortable figure to talk positive about,there is no denying he is a great speaker and a consistent political performer. Modi has already made himself number one of the favorites as the Prime Ministerial Candidate for 2014 General Elections(As per many surveys. Surveys are just surveys so anti-Modis need not worry 🙂 ).
Coming back to Narendra Modi’s definition of secularism-when he says secularism to him is “India First” he should make sense even to an Indian who may hate him the most. Why ? Secularism is to unite and its our nation which unites us-Indians with varied skin colour,faith,languages,lifestyle,castes, state and many more sub-sets ! Hence our nation should be our foremost priority for every Indian!! Is considering caste,religion,state or language above national identity not Communal-ism ? Should the so called secular political forces not stop categorizing Indians as schedule castes and tribes and as Christians and Muslims by giving them certain privileges over the majority and making the rift deeper! Being an Indian one should give importance to his nationality over his caste or religion ! Secularism in true sense is -Nation First !