The bankruptcy of talent and intellectuals

[ Bengia Ajum ]

Whenever an election takes place, the attempt to polarise people on religious basis starts in the country. As the state of Gujarat votes, religious polarisation is in full swing. Gujarat is considered to be an original laboratory of Hindutva politics and it is from this state that Prime Minister Narendra Modi hails. Modi rose to prominence post the Gujarat riots of 2002.

Atal Bihari Vajpayee, who was the PM at that time, during a visit to Gujarat asked Modi, who was the chief minister, to follow raj dharma and not discriminate against the people. Ever since the Modi government came to power at the Centre, the country is witnessing extreme religious polarisation. Every day someone from a right-wing group will come out and give highly provocative statements. It seems there are no people with good sense in the present regime. A few sane voices, like that of Defence Minister Rajnath Singh and Road, Transport & Highway Minister Nitin Gadkari, have been completely sidelined. Even Kiren Rijiju, a union law minister who hails from Arunachal Pradesh, and who was once considered to be an intellectual, behaves more like a troll these days.

During the era of late prime minister Atal Bihari Vajpayee, the right wing had intellectuals like Arun Shourie, George Fernandes, Jaswant Singh, Sushma Swaraj, Yaswant Sinha, and of course Vajpayee himself. People like the late Brajesh Mishra, former national security adviser, and former RAW chief AS Dulat were formidable intellectuals who ran the Vajpayee government. No wonder many who were apprehensive of the communal politics of the BJP immediately took a liking to Vajpayee and the BJP. Vajpayee, who had an RSS background and was the original cult hero of the Sangh Parivar, changed dramatically when he became the PM. Former RAW chief AS Dulat once in an interview with a television channel said that Vajpayee realised that Muslims and other minorities would have to be made part of governance or else India as a nation would struggle due to social disharmony. Vajpayee even made an audacious attempt to resolve the Kashmir issue and extended an olive branch to Kashmiri separatists. In the present Modi regime, there is a bankruptcy of talent and intellectuals. Most of the time, people only talk about religion, love jihad, mandir-masjid, etc.

There is no doubt that right-wing ideology is flourishing and right-wing supporters are enjoying the benefits, but India as a nation stands to lose in the long run. Even in Arunachal Pradesh, there is a growing attempt being made to divide the people along religious lines. Increasingly, the indigenous faith followers and Christian believers are being pitched against each other. A country cannot be run on the basis of dividing people and generating hatred. Ultimately, in the long run, the nation tends to suffer. The BJP and the RSS are definitely enjoying the benefit of power for now, but only time will tell whether ‘Bharat Mata’ will benefit from these religious politics.