Scanning through the international news media recently, I was quite taken aback as to the number of negative articles about the new prime minister of India, leading the largest democracy in the world; Narendra Modi.
Time and time again it seems, that a lot of these international writers have their own agendas. A lot of them seem to belong to questionable opposition parties in India itself and have their own reasons about why they like to create stark and bleak scenarios about the five years ahead. Many of them will regularly raise the bogey of infringement on minority rights and Hindu nationalism as a cause for why Modi got reelected. Unfortunately, this really couldn’t be further from the truth.
To truly understand why Modi has been given the massive mandate that he has, we really need to address what the common voter really feels. Could it mean that the public believes in the services that he has provided over the last five years? Let’s take up some of these arguments that these politically affiliated journalists seem to throw at him.
Hindu nationalism has come to mean a dirty word among some of these politically affiliated journalists, but what does this really mean? For one does India finally striking back at the root of terror in Pakistan mean Hindu nationalism? Does it mean his religious preference being a Hindu and often visiting temples in an attempt to equalize their disparity among India’s religious institutions? Let’s take up at least these two arguments which seem to be the most predominant.
For decades now India has been a victim or state-sponsored terrorism across the border with international countries who themselves have launched preemptive strikes lecturing India exactly the opposite. India has been on the global terrorism index top 10 for at least the last seven years since it first came out with thousands dying directly or indirectly. After the gruesome terrorist attacks involving the Army, Modi finally took the call to preemptively strike at terror camps across the border. Unfortunately, this act of self-defense has been labeled as Hindu nationalism, because as far as the Western media can remember India has been better placed to lie down and die in a Gandhian way.
Modi has often visited Hindu temples which have long been neglected by various prime ministers of yore in taking account the majority of the population. While state sponsored funds have been allocated to minorities, such as Muslims and Christians to often go on pilgrimages and indeed use state-sponsored funds to build their own religious institutions, none so has been given to a large proportion of the population being Hindus. For the very act of trying to be equal, Modi has been termed as a Hindu National. Here, he sought to rock the status quo such as upgrading various temples such as the Kashi Vishwanath, which according to a lot of these journalists should have crumbled down in its own derelict state.
Another issue, which Modi seems to be targeted is really is approach to minority violence over the last five years. A lot of times journalists will really target the so-called lynchings, targeting the Muslim minority over the fact of “Cow lynchings”.
Unfortunately, this is just the tip of the iceberg. It hides a dirty fact where India being the country with the greatest crimes involving cattle smuggling. Many times, these lynchings seem to happen with two-way violence in an encounter a situation where “cattle smugglers” having being pushed to a wall and being caught, unleashed a barrage of gunfire on the crowd for which the crowd then reacts. None this is ever really reported as the danger it actually is involving the millions of dollars of illegal trade between India and Bangladesh that it involves.
In a country of over a billion people, it seems that they will inevitably be unfortunate people in the crossfire. However, it seems that the media when it comes to minorities is extremely selective. While it is unfortunate that such events do occur, we should try to remain logical in knowing that such events involving racism occur the world over. Such selective journalists the world over will often hide or just not be aware all gruesome killings involving Hindus, with the recent example of Dhruv Tyagi massacred with the butcher knife, being the latest example. Tens of Hindus have died over the last month especially secondary to religious violence in the states of minority dominated areas in West Bengal and even Kerala. The list sometimes seems to be exhaustive, but none of this is barely ever reported, yet the converse to smear Modi often is.
More than that, the voter has really seen the benefits of the massive change that has occurred over the last five years with regard to the social programs that Prime Minister Modi has initiated. These involve schemes involving free healthcare for those unable to afford this basic right. Whether it is free gas connections, improved roads, the amount of new toilets that are being constructed, the amount of bank accounts that have been opened, the growth of the economy, security for farmers…. The list is indeed exhaustive.
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One only needs to do a search on a list of schemes launched by the Modi government and to see the impressive nature in every sphere that he has accomplished. WHO has estimated that the Swacch Bharat Scheme itself has saved somewhere in the range of close to 300 to 400,000 people in terms of contagion diseases. In every sphere the numbers are simply mind-boggling. Some estimates have shown that in the last five years Narendra Modi and the schemes of the NDA has uplifted the lives of 80 million people out of poverty.
Modi may be a great Orator, and he may speak to Hindus with nationalistic spirit. Five years ago, He came with one of the largest mandates that democratic India has ever seen. Five years on he has broken his own record, not by negative intentions of creating disharmony but on the back of his own will to see that the disenfranchised, downtrodden and poverty stricken have something greater to look forward to.
Fortunately, the Indian voter has been able to see the distinction. He is not colored by the smear of “Hindu Nationalism”