Lessons for Sri Lanka from India’s Premier Narendra Modi

Narendra Modi

The expectations from Narendra Modi were many and are many. There is little to doubt that the Congress has done colossal damage to India in more ways than one. Rebuilding, realigning and restoring India on course towards a dynamic future is not easy given that the break up of India is well on track and will not rest until what happened to Yugoslavia will be repeated in Asia. For Indians, the entry of Modi as candidate spelt a lot of hope. It has taken Indians in particular the 80% Hindus long to realize that they had become a virtual minority. Indian media was controlled by non-Hindus, Indian governance was decided by non-Hindus, NGOs working along-side foreign funded faith-based organizations had penetrated deep into the Hindu heartlands, important personalities were in their pockets. The country realized in time that the trend was not looking good. Modi became that change. Even the Indian Diaspora are of the view that India needs to revitalise Indian culture and education system, crippled by mindless borrowing of Western systems. It is a signal that Indians are getting rid of the legacy of the colonial way of understanding Indian culture and that they are rediscovering the strength and richness of their culture.

Modi says “animal slaughter will ruin nation”

  • “Slaughter houses are getting subsidies to export meat (and) a poor farmer is now slaying his animals,”
  • “Instead of focusing on increasing agricultural produce, the government is hellbent on ruining the animal wealth of the nation,”
  • BJP’s promises and plans for India’s cows – “We will build ‘cow hostels’ in cities, ‘cow pension’ will keep farmers from selling old animals to slaughterhouses, a ‘cow protection force’ will be mobilised to rescue cows,”
  • In Gujarat – consumption of both beef and alcohol are banned, and cow slaughter can result in a seven year jail term.
  • The neighbouring Rajasthan state has taken cow protection a step further with its reported plans for India’s first “Ministry for Cows”, while Madhya Pradesh state has set up a cow sanctuary.

Modi’s stand on Hindi

  • If it is alright to speak in French in France, and Japanese say they speak in Japanese what is wrong when 80% of Hindus in India say they will speak in Hindi?
  • Linguists and scholars now estimate that Hindi is the third most spoken and understood language on the planet after English and Mandarin Chinese and ahead of Spanish. The Government of the United States has designated Hindi a ‘super-critical needs language,’
  • China has already introduced Hindi in many of its universities. Hindi is also expected to be one of the five or six languages that will be truly global languages in the rapidly changing world in this century.
  • Circulars issued in May 27, asked all ministries and departments, PSUs and banks to give preference to Hindi while using English/Hindi to operate official accounts on Twitter, Facebook, Google, Youtube, blogs, etc, another circular announced cash prizes of Rs 2,000, Rs 1,600 and Rs 600 for the three persons who do most of their official work in Hindi.

Implementing Uniform Civil Code

  • “Constitution says that the Government will make efforts to implement the Uniform Civil Code….
  • BJP believes that there should be a single law for all Indian citizens irrespective of their religion
  • There cannot be gender equality till such time India adopts a Uniform Civil Code which protects the rights of all women
  • Article 44, which comprises the Part IV of the Constitution of India, lists UCC as one of the Directive Principles of State policy which can’t be enforced by any court.
  • At present, different set of rules and laws are in place for different communities as far as the matter concerned with marriage, divorce, maintenance, adoption and inheritance. Under Uniform Civil Code, idea is to make one unified set of laws which will comprise of all these personal rules. Every citizens of India have to abide by those ‘unified set of laws’ irrespective of their religion and castes.
  • Cant argue with Modi’s logic – If we are counted as one not as Hindu or Muslims but Indians then why not a single law should govern us all? Everyone should get this message clear that UCC is not to divide by religion, but to unite by nationality.

Modi on Ram Sethu

  • to be declared a World Heritage site.
  • Vast thorium deposits make it a strategic site as well

Another example of India removing itself from colonial legacies is its stand to change names of cities:

  • Bombay is now Mumbai
  • Madras is now Chennai
  • Bangalore in now Bengalaru
  • United Provinces became Uttar Pradesh
  • Orissa is now Odisha
  • Assam is now Asom
  • Mysore is Karnataka
  • West Bengal is now Paschim Banga
  • Travancore-Cochin is Kerala

The BJP victory is also a wake up call to the Opposition in particular the Congress Party.

The Congress cannot expect posters of Nehru, Indira Gandhi or Rajiv Gandhi to win them back to power. The Congress needs to reinvent itself befitting the needs and demands of the people.

Nevertheless, the BJP-Modi victory is a catalyst and major turning point in politics as well as for India’s own destiny. There is little doubt that Modi means business and that business if implemented well will definitely mean good times for India and extended to neighbors as well. Co-joined to this effort is Modi’s nationalism that rightfully demands Indians to put India first. Secularism in Modi’s definition was to place India first. There is also no contention in why the place of Hindus should continue to receive step motherly treatment as well. With 80% Hindus, the place that Hindus were denied right throughout history should be returned.

– by Shenali D Waduge