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Hindutva And Good Governance

Hindutva And Good Governance

One of the prime factors that brought Narendra Modi to the seat of the Prime Minister of India was his deftness to sell a dream consisting of job creation, inclusive growth and corruption free good governance (minimum government and maximum governance) to the people of India. On completion of three years in power the BJP and its allied Sangh Parivar outfits organized Modi festivals to celebrate the achievements of the BJP government. The greatest achievement of Modi government is that it has been successful in projecting a bright image of itself through print, electronic and social media. At the same time the key promises made by the BJP and Narendra Modi like bringing black money stashed in foreign banks, creation of employment and corruption free governance remain unfulfilled.

On the occasion of the completion of three years of Modi government newspapers wrote critical editorials. According to Times of India editorial on May 26, the main achievement of Modi government has been in the area of foreign policy. The foreign policy initiatives of the government, particularly of the PM, has enhanced India’s image among the nations of the world because of its “outward looking and proactive multi-alignment”. In all other areas the achievements of the government have been lacklustre. Unfortunately, the opposition parties, especially the Congress, have miserably failed to highlight the weaknesses and failures of the Modi government.

The economic growth during the last three years has been uninspiring. The latest data published by the government shows that the economy grew only 6.1% (GDP) during the quarter, January –March 2017 and India has lost the tag as the fastest growing economy of the world. During the same period the GDP growth rate of China was 6.9%. As predicted by many economists the main reason for deceleration in the economy was due to the disastrous adventure of demonetization. The government has not yet explained to the people of India how the three objectives of demonetization could be achieved: unearthing black money, preventing proliferation of fake notes and stopping finance for terror activities. The massive victory of the BJP in the election to the state assemblies of UP and Uttarakhand is projected as the approval of demonetization by the people of India. According to Times of India editorial, “NDA’s approach to economic policy has been less transformative as it has more or less continued, with some repackaging and rebranding, UPA’s approach of incremental reform grafted on to a populist framework”.

The greatest failure of Modi government has been in job creation. India needs to create 10 million jobs in a year to cater to the young people entering into the job market. According to  labour bureau statistics, job creation or job growth for 2015 and 2016 (April-December) stood at 1.55 lakh and 2.31 lakh in numbers respectively. Moreover a highly controversial decision, like prohibiting the sale of cattle for slaughter in the markets, is going to increase unemployment by severely restricting the buffalo meat export and leather industries. More than 42 lakh people are employed in these two industries together. Most of the workers in these two industries belong to the poor sections of the society, Muslims and Dalits.

Prime Minister, Narendra Modi definitely wants to be counted as one of the successful political leaders of the world. He is not leaving any stone unturned to project India as a fast developing country under his leadership. But the political party to which he belongs, and its ideological parent, the RSS have a different agenda: making India a Hindu Rashtra. Large majority of the members of BJP are also the members of either RSS or any one of the affiliated organizations of RSS. The members of the Sangh Parivar are promoted to BJP and from BJP to the government as law makers and ministers through the electoral process. The BJP, the political wing of the Sangh Parivar, was created for the specific purpose capturing power through the democratic process and finally turning India into a Hindu Rashtra. Various policies adopted by the BJP government in different states and at the centre amply indicate that the government is moving towards the direction of Hindu Rashtra.

In the context of India, good governance is nothing but governing the country in accordance with the vision, ideals and provisions of the constitution of India. The vision of India, as envisaged in the constitution, is an inclusive, pluralistic and democratic country where all citizens have equal rights and opportunities without any discrimination on the basis of religion, caste, language or region. On the contrary a Hindu Rastra , as envisaged by M S Golwalkar, whom RSS considers as their guruji is an exclusive country where Muslims and Christians will be treated as second class citizens. The following quotation from the book of Golwalkar, “We or Our Nationhood Defined” clearly states that all those who live in India have to become Hindus or remain in India without any rights. The foreign races in Hindusthan must either adopt the Hindu culture and language, must learn to respect and hold in reverence Hindu religion, must entertain no idea but those of the glorification of the Hindu race and culture, i.e., of the Hindu nation and must lose their separate existence to merge in the Hindu race, or may stay in the country, wholly subordinated to the Hindu Nation, claiming nothing, deserving no privileges, far less any preferential treatment — not even citizen’s rights”. The three essentials of  Hindutva according to Vinayak Damodar Savarkar, another Hindutva icon, are Common nation ( rashtra), Common Race ( jati) and Common Culture/Civilisation ( sanskriti). Thus Hindu Rashatra is diametrically opposed to the India envisioned in the constitution of India. Neither the BJP nor the RSS has declared that they have a vision for India different from that of their guruji.

The Hindutva ideology of BJP is forcing its governments at the centre and in the states to adopt policies that obstruct good governance. For example, the recent decision of the Ministry of Environment, Government of India to ban the sale and purchase of cattle for slaughter at agricultural markets violates fundamental rights to food and livelihood, and the spirit of federalism. The government of India has sought to effectively prohibit cattle slaughter across the country through rules made under the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals Act, 1960. Though the rules do not explicitly ban slaughter, they ban the sale and purchase of cattle for slaughter at agricultural markets and therefore, in effect, are attempting to put an end to all kinds of cattle slaughter across the country. The intention of the government is to slowly ban the slaughter of cows throughout the country. Presently beef is consumed by a large section of the people in Kerala, West Bengal and the North Eastern states, as it is a cheap source of nutritious food. The religious belief of a particular section of the society is imposed on others and in this process a large chunk of the population who are involved in animal husbandry, meat trade and allied industries are deprived of livelihood and employment. Hence it is a violation of the spirit of the constitution of India.

Secondly article 246 (3) of the Constitution gives states exclusive powers to legislate on preservation of cattle. By encroaching on this domain, the central government has gone against division of powers delineated in the constitution. Thus on both counts the decision of the central government comes under bad governance.

Another example of bad governance is creation of anti-Romeo squads by the UP government. After the creation of anti-Romeo squads crimes against women have not decreased in UP. The police indulged in hair-shaving, blackening of the face and murga punishment of the young men who were found talking to girls. Couples sitting in public places were asked for IDs, questioned, frisked or humiliated. Vigilante groups also started harassing couples and boys and girls who were found together. Finally the Allahabad High Court had to intervene and give directions to the government.

Cow vigilantes taking law into their hands and lynching innocent Muslims and dalits under the pretext of protecting cow is a naked violation of the rule of law. The BJP governments and their police often remain silent spectators on the face of the violence unleashed by the cow vigilantes. In some cases they indirectly support these law breakers. How can this be good governance? The cow vigilante groups have been created by the Sangh Parivar, mainly for polarizing the Hindus on the pretext of cow protection. It is part of a political strategy adopted by the Sangh Parivar.

Saffronization of education and interfering with the autonomy of the universities and educational and cultural organizations is another example of bad governance.  The issues related to the suicide of Rohit Vemula in the Central University of Hyderabad and the arrest of Kanhaiya  Kumar of Jawaharlal Nehru University are the result of highhandedness of a government that is intoxicated with Hindutva ideology.

The performance of Modi government during the last three years proves that Hindutva ideology of the Sangh Parivar is a serious obstacle to good governance and fulfilling the promise of inclusive development ( Sab ka saat sabka vikas). The government is compelled to implement measures that violate the spirit of the Indian constitution.

#(Published on 12th June 2017, Volume XXIX, Issue 24)