Editorial:Course Correction on India
International media, like general public opinion worldwide, seems to be undergoing course correction on India and Indianness. Many media houses like their governments are amending their stand on the emergence of Narendra Modi’s leadership and its impact. A divisive, exclusivists and conservative Modi and the broad ideological spectrum he represents have suddenly become praiseworthy and a symbol of rising India. The cautionary note passed to Indian voters about electing the so called ‘majoritarian government’ has suddenly withered away. And it makes one think, is this change of heart, or, just a salute to the rising sun?
Both, pre and post elections analysis of Indian democracy is guided by preconceived notions of Western (so-called) Liberal Democracy. The changed tone of the international media post BJP’s historic electoral victory and formation of new government seems to be driven by the ideas of ‘growth and governance’ put forth by Modi. Still, to not let the change happen, many think tanks and media groups are trying to create ‘Hinduphobia’.
This half hearted course correction is not sufficient to engage with the new India. For the purpose, international media and their counterparts in India have to understand three things. Firstly, India is democratic and secular not because of the British legacy or a written Constitution. And the righteous governance based on ‘Dharma’ lays equal respect for all religious sects and marks the true spirit of india. Secondly, BJP’s victory in general election is also a defeat of Congress’ politics mainly rooted in ‘divide and rule’ of the British. Thirdly, the coming of age aspiring India is upright and commands respect through its contribution to the world at large. And therefore, leaders who will carry these inspirational values will be the true representative of the Indian people, irrespective of whether they are or not approved by the Western world.
Importantly, the complete course correction will be possible only when the media begins viewing India from Indian point of view and not through the prism of Western perspectives.
Elitist, Dynastic and Undemocratic
The whole controversy surrounding the qualification of new HRD Minister Ms Smriti Irani is unwarranted and undemocratic. The issue is raised by two quarters with different intentions. Raising questions on discrepancies in affidavits is absolutely justifiable and concerned minister is the only qualified person to explain her position on it. But raising questions about qualification and therefore, ability to lead the Ministry dealing with education, is a reflection of an elitist mindset. Wisdom is wiser than formal education and India has proved it time and again. Many academicians should not forget that their manipulative practices are responsible for deteriorating quality of education in India. The argument of academicians thus is self-contradictory because the same academicians while theorising democracy have also argued that adding educational qualification to the eligibility criteria for representatives is undemocratic.
The issue raised by Congressmen is more absurd as they never raised or responded to these issues about their dynastic masters. ‘What a government?’ kind of tweet only reflects the ego and dynastic attitude, which has been thrashed by the voters in the elections.
The HRD Minister has climbed power through democratic ladder. Coming from a humble background, she carved out her own niche earlier in the field of culture and entertainment and then committed herself as the worker of a party. So democratically she has every right to head a ministry. And one does not need to remind, but, the unnecessary controversy prompts me to remind that democratically a minister should be judged by only his/her performance and not by formal academic qualification.