Thursday, 19 May, 2022
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5 questions for the Modi government as it enters 2021

Campus Voice is an initiative by ThePrint where young Indians get an opportunity to express their opinions on a prevalent issue.

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Firstly, a very Happy New Year to the overwhelming mandate of 303, which is going to command the confidence of the legislature for the next three years in the Lok Sabha.

As a Muslim citizen of this country who thinks that Muslims are being used as ‘political footballs’ by political parties and lack representation everywhere, here is my five-point agenda for Modi 2.0 for the year 2021.

Laws for mob lynching and hate crimes

I see gut-wrenching and harrowing scenes of innocents, especially Muslims, being killed by religious mobs in the name of beef or for not chanting slogans every day. And this fills me with horror and it’s mushrooming day-by-day in Modi’s regime.

It is sad that a country that has produced great lawyers and good legislations and policies (some of which has even been praised worldwide), has failed to bring a law to end this culture of mob lynching and growing hate crimes. The irony is that we have a law like “love jihad” to curtail inter-faith love marriages, but not to stop hate. Am I living in a world of fiction or fascism? For how long will the cries of victims go unheard? There is an urgent need to bring laws with strict punishment and imprisonment to stop this culture of growing hate crimes in our country.

Controlling mass and social media

Fake news, conspiracy theories and malicious propaganda that are circulated and cosmetically presented through media channels are solely responsible for demonising and dehumanising of individuals and communities. It has totally destroyed the soul and secular fabric of India.

The reality is that the largest media organisations in this country are either indirectly  controlled by a political entity in our country or are indebted to one. The Ministry of Broadcasting employs over 100 people to check whether anti-government news is being spread or not. The coverage of the Opposition is often cut.

Is media really a watchdog of democracy or does it advance “democratic backsliding”? Or is this the government’s policy to achieve “sabka saath, sabka vikaas and sabka vishwas” deceitfully at the cost of Indian values and the Constitution? How long will this political marketing continue?

Accepting human rights and intellectuals

As South African civil rights activist Nelson Mandela rightly said, “To deny people their human right is to challenge their very humanity.”

I am writing at a time when 83-year-old activist Stan Swamy needed a sipper to have his food in jail that he got after a lot of petitioning, when farmers are sitting at the Singhu border in this cold weather exercising their democratic rights, when innocents like Dr Kafeel Khan go to jail for no reason, when dissenters are slapped with draconian laws like the UAPA, and when something like the Hathras incident is termed as a ‘conspiracy’.

Worst of all, the government has also frozen bank accounts and reduced foreign funding of various reputable human rights organisations and NGOs. It shows nothing but disrespect towards democracy and dissent.

Any individual or intellectual who questions or protests against the government policies are either labelled ‘anti-national’, ‘urban naxals’ or undergo character assassination. How long will your disdain for human rights and intellectual continue? How long will this barbaric suppression continue?

Economic policy

We have grown up listening to the phrase — “Rich are getting richer while the poor are poorer”. It is indeed a true fact today. The pandemic has further increased socio-economic differences. The reality is that we are facing a historic “technical recession” today.

Poor fiscal packages, ballooning unemployment, crisis in informal sector, lower tax collections, growing non-performing assets in the banking sector and many more. The Modi government intends to make the Indian economy a $5 trillion but it seems that it’s waiting for an ‘Act of God’ to fulfil its vision. Where are your “chanakya neetis”? Where is your “sabka vikaas”?

Foreign policy not ‘foreign tour’

There is no foreign policy theory that suggests multiple visits to a foreign country cements stronger ties.

Prime Minister Modi visited several countries and organised event like ‘Howdy Modi’ in the US, at the expense of Indian taxpayers, and yet we saw Chinese aggression in the Ladakh region. There is growing closeness between Bangladesh-China, Russia-China, Pakistan-Bangladesh and Nepal-China.

It seems that our immediate neighbours are turning hostile towards us. Furthermore, President Donald Trump, under whose presidency India-US ties got stronger, is leaving office now. President-incumbent Joe Biden will be assuming office soon and according to a former diplomat, our country’s diplomacy is “directionless”. How long will this trend continue?

I really hope the Modi government answers the questions that I have raised, and will bring in good laws and policies in the coming years.

Afroz Ahmad is a student of T.H.K. Jain College, Calcutta University, Kolkata

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  1. I am spellbound today. Still, i can’t believe that i grabbed 1st position for my Article. Thank you so much for loving my content and publishing it. I will be forever grateful to your entire team for coming up with campus voice initiative. Tons of love.

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