India - The Good And The Ugly
Updated: May 17
The outbreak of the coronavirus has brought various nations to a standstill and among these is the world’s largest democracy, India. For India, the coronavirus came at a time when the country was experiencing communal disharmony post the implementation of the Citizenship Amendment Act. While COVID19 metamorphosed the nature of Indian politics from one stained by protests and a furore among students across the country to one of political solace among the country's 2500+ registered political parties, there’s something fundamentally wrong with the nature of Indian politics.
The lockdown has provided the citizens of India with a necessary period of self reflection. The question on everyone’s mind was - what would a lockdown look like in India? A country where anarchy is a way of life and social gatherings are synonymous with religion and culture. A country that over the years has epitomised social darwinism is now catalysing into a nation where the well being of the community triumphs individual desire. The world’s most politically and socially diverse country is now experiencing unprecedented levels of partisanship as it comes together to present a united front in the fight against corona.
Credit must be given where it is due and the credit for this new phase in Indian politics must be given to India’s Prime Minister Narendra Modi. Since the Modi led Bharatiya Janata Party assumed the leadership of India in 2014, there has been a pivotal transformation for the good in Indian villages, which support the country not only during the lockdown but also run the Indian economy at large. With over 70% of India living in villages, the Modi government has introduced an array of policies to uplift the life of the Indian masses. From providing electricity to every village in the country (in 2014 19,000 out of the country's 59,000 villages didn’t have access to electricity) to improving sanitary standards by building over 110 million toilets serving over 600 million Indians in just 60 months. From providing 83 million Indians with gas cylinders to providing 75 million Indians with bank accounts, the BJP government has made the common Indian more independent and prepared for such crises. These developments not only serve as paradigms of the successes of the BJP government but also as milestones in India’s path towards becoming a developed country.
But, now we come to what is so fundamentally wrong? As sadistic as one may believe the role of the fifth estate is, its existence is dependent on asking questions. So here is the question - who bears the brunt of India’s development?
To answer this we must first understand the nature of the world that we live in, a non-idealistic world where errors and mistakes are bound to occur. But, the problem lies in the fact that an error in the field of politics affects the lives of many and has an adverse impact on the political popularity of different parties. Thus, it is only natural for one to find a scapegoat to blame for any unintentional mistakes but also dextrous for one to simultaneously have a demonised few to intentionally deviate the sentiments of the masses. With the inception of India, these demonised few were selected. Not because of their mistakes and definitely not because of their disposition, but because of Indian sentiment - the largest driver in India’s decision making process, the INDIAN Muslims bear the brunt of Indian politics.
India is home to the second largest Muslim population in the world accounting for about 140 million people of the countries 1.3 billion citizens. If the Indian Muslims were to form a country of their own, their population would place them to be the 10th most populated country in the world yet the Indian government continues to audaciously label them as a minority. The reasons for the demonisation of Indian Muslims are not the focus of the article - whether it be the BJP’s longstanding affiliation to Hindu extremist organisations such as the RSS, the BJP’s hand in genocidal activities such as those during the Gujarat Riots or merely statements made by popular members of the BJP party - rather the impact of their actions on the anthropological structure of Indian society is of greater concern.
India was established as a secular state far different from a proclaimed state of a particular religious allegiance but, today India seems to digress from the principles that were set in its constitution. It is not about whether the CAA or the NRC is anti-muslim but about why a person’s religion is now becoming a more accepted form of their identity over their original nationality. It is about the drift created, even if it is not orchestrated by the government but by the radicalised media that is instilling among Indians a sense of divide that is not only detrimental for India’s societal equilibrium but also for its progress.
In conclusion, I would like to ask a simple question - while India successfully combats the spread of the novel disease, is India infecting itself with a far more fatal virus, a virus called xenophobia?
Time will tell us what fate is written for India but for now, the Modi government continues its attempt to build a skyscraper on a cracked foundation.
Author : Aryan Ghosh