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Trumped

Trumped

Presumably, no President in the history of the United States of America would have been so ‘popularly’ disliked by its citizens as the 45th incumbent prompting them to look for a legal avenue to cut short his tenure at the White House.

Considered a unique threat to democratic values and institutions, not to mention world peace, Donald Trump is described by Americans as ‘their very own real-life madman in the high tower’.

The most insensitive man ever to have occupied the high office in the States, Trump has at times exhibited matter-of-fact attitudes that have often proved to be sentimentally inappropriate for various occasions.

Condoling the death of a fallen soldier, the President’s crass utterances to the pregnant widow that ‘he must have known what he signed up for’ personifies his insensitiveness when confronted by matters that call for sympathy as an attribute for the solemn moment.

Moreover, his Presidency has posed grave dangers in many areas of law and policy.

Consider Trump’s latest Muslim entry ban restricting travel to the US by nationals of eight countries which is seen as being plainly discriminatory against people based on their country of origin or religion!

For that matter, ever since the 9/11 carnage, “Islamophobia” as a rabid form of hatred for Muslims in the Western world saw the hostility and prejudice towards them scaling new heights in America. The deep-rooted anti-Islamic sentiments saw countries coming down harshly on customs and traditions that defined Islamic faith. The Hijab controversy, for instance!

The unfounded prejudice that has been promoted by certain quarters in the West against Islam is due to the fact that the religion is emerging and is the fasting growing in the world today, which in turn could become a major source of strength to the religion.

However, considering the fact that a majority of the terrorists, in spite of their radicalization, did not have a strong basic religious education, it thus becomes inappropriate to credit the entire Islamic faith with militant activities.  

Donald Trump however seems to gloat in the belief that the Muslim community is the bane of the United States of America and hence needs to be kept out of the country.

With moans of protest from within complaining of many Americans refusing to see Islam as a part of mainstream society, the fact does remain that a majority of the Muslim-Americans are concerned about their place in the society following the election of Trump.

If I may be permitted to quote:

 “Trump is no aberration. Trump is a culmination. He is a salesman. He knows what sells in the United States, and he sells the cultivated hatred of Muslims because he knows he has customers.”  (Extract from The Muslim ban and the ethnic cleansing of America, By Hamid Dabashi).

Need anything more be said!

Thankfully the courts in USA are unbiased and empowered enough to ensure that fundamentally flawed directives are objected to and the rule of the law is always defended.

Compare this with the Modi-era that India has ushered in!

The elevation of Narendra Modi to the high-seat of power in India brought with it its own share of hopes and doubts. Hopes because, the nation after having passed through several decades of corruption at its worst and also having seen many campaigns to oust that singular most wickedness from the heart of the society was suddenly seeing a ‘saviour’ who promised the countrymen ‘good days ahead’.

But apprehensions too were taking deep root. Could a leader whose ‘polarizing populism makes a fiction of a secular and democratic India’ carry the aspirations of an entire nation!

Modi’s ascent to power has gained notoriety for the ‘divisive effect’ it has had on Indian politics. This in turn portended a return to the ideology of Hindutva by the BJP which has already created a war-like mindset among many Hindus and the spate of lynchings over the politics over beef-eating is a natural corollary.    

After Donald Trump was sworn in as US President, The Times of India published a piece called “Why both Modi and Trump are text-book populists”. The comparisons had begun and similarities were being found!

Both Donald Trump and Narendra Modi are enigmas who have assumed power in their respective countries. Although strong nationalists, while Modi all along endorsed a ‘Make in India’ agenda, Trump has been all about ‘America First’.

For a country that whines about ‘Brain Drain’, would Modi and all his ‘Make in India’ plans see a rise in entrepreneurship! Unless the government formulates appealing policies to stop the mass exodus of professionals from the country in search of greener pastures, these plans will be more on paper with no hands on operations to justify the schemes.

Like Donald Trump, the Indian Prime Minister too is believed to have autocratic ways of functioning and showing scant regard for institutions, oppositions, media and the press freedom. Maybe that is Modi’s impatience with procrastinators on display here!

Modi’s popularity, his supporters claim, hinges around his focus on economic development and growth. Yet, with every intent on fast-tracking the nation on the path of progress and development, he conveniently forgets that the rule of an ‘overwhelming’ government has ensured that the life of people from all walks of life in the country have been adversely affected by the policies made. The demonetization exercise and such other ‘economic modifications’ to name a few that have thrown the entire nation into disarray, lest one forgets!

The Modi-government appears to scale the heights of popularity whenever the PM cares to dream aloud! But how many of these ‘visions’ have turned into realities?

For the moment though it is the religious one-upmanship that is keeping the Modi-sarkar engaged. The contemporary politics of cow-protection is one influential and controversial symbol of this vision. As that dividing line between Hindus and non-Hindus, the matters of beef consumption and cow protection find a potent political arena to combat in.

However, unlike in the United States, the citizens here, the few murmurs of dissent notwithstanding, have chosen to bear the brunt of the ‘intolerance’ on display and the deluge of ‘reformative’ measures brought in by the Modi-sarkar without any misgivings, hopeful of the ‘achche din’ ahead.

The need of the hour for India is nonetheless an all-inclusive agenda, where every section of the society, every community, could reap the benefits of plans envisaged.  But for that to happen, politics will have to be kept aside, and good governance concentrated upon.

However, with the country always having favoured issue-based politics, it is difficult to perceive politics in this country sans any controversy. It is faith and belief of the people which have cropped up as vital topics that is at the core of Indian politics today.

(Published on 06th November 2017, Volume XXIX, Issue 45)