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Confusion, Confrontation and Concern

Activism on development front is need of the hour. The efforts should be substantive and not exhibitive. The days ahead shall be more challenging and the government should concentrate in building safeguards against the hard times. The much talked about demographic dividend does not get any mention now because the Government has utterly failed in tackling the problem of unemployment.

During last more than three years now, the nation has witnessed quite a few things happening due to activism of the present government in taking some bold decisions which were evaded by the earlier regimes. Be it the case of Triple Talaak, Scrapping of provisions of the Article 370 & 35 A, Sri Ram Temple or the passing of CAA in the Parliament. All these decisions are bold and have neither been thought of or kept pending for along time.

As is natural in a vibrant society, government decisions evoke different response from different sections of society. However, some kind of cumulative anguish burst into large protests against CAA, encouraging different sections of citizens to give vent to their pent-up feelings about other decisions as well. Gauging it by the sections of population who have come into open against CAA, it appears that they suffer from confusion exploited by the vested interests to score points against the government, would it be concluded that there is poverty of understanding or should it initiate an intellectual debate on the ramifications of such decisions and their futuristic impact on the political and constitutional character of the country. It happens, at times, that problems arise not only because of intellectual bankruptcy but also because of intellectual vitriol. Intellectuals can be both, constructive and destructive as well.

If it is believed that protesters are confused about the implications of CAA,NPR and NRC, let us delve a little deeper into it. CAA is essentially a compassionate response to the religious minorities facing persecution in the neighboring countries of Pakistan, Bangladesh and Afghanistan. That the majoritarianism is brutal to the minorities in these countries cannot be overlooked and India, known for its compassion towards such persecuted people needs to be applauded for pursuing a humanitarian approach.

The people on protest are made to believe in some impending dangers to their citizenship rights in the future, which, on rational analysis appears a conspiracy to excite these people against the settled secular system of the country. That there is apprehension of the country giving up its secular character is ill founded. So, if the confrontation is only the manifestation of this confusion resulting from fears devoid of any substance, it is totally unjustified.

There, however, are some doubts which need to be addressed. Is the country heading towards becoming a Hindu Rashtra, squeezing the space for other religions? Will there be intolerance undermining the religious freedoms of the minorities or will there be uniform civil code harmonizing the peaceful co-existence of all the religions living in the country. There is no scope for country turning uni religious.

It will have the foundations of Indian Civilizational ethos of ” Vasudeva Kutambkum Ganga- Jamuna heritage. Perhaps the CAA could be worded as a provision of granting citizenship to persecuted minorities of the neighbouring countries without bringing in the mention of religion. The vigilantism of the type witnessed in the country has been curbed and intolerance tackled tactfully. The nation first, should be taken, in the right perspective because in the changing world the forces inimical to global peace will have to be kept under check.

In the light of India’s emergence as a leading nation politically and economically, international disruptive forces will always remain on prowl to harm the country. Historical evidence from rest of the world does necessitate timely corrections of these distortions, to put things right People’s concern about the things happening in the country is not out of place, the government did appear in some haste to take these bold decisions in quick succession.

It is unfortunate not to have strong and thoughtful opposition in the Parliament and at the national level. Such an opposition always acts as a safe guard against undue government activism. The capacity of shock absorption at the average level of societies is limited. Even when on rational grounds, the decisions of demonetization, GST, article 370 & 35Aand CAA were taken, much less breathing time was given to debate these issues. Focusing on these bold initiatives leave much less time with the government to deal with price rise, unemployment, health and education.

People do feel concerned with these day to day problems and their restiveness offers an opportunity to the distractors to play the spoil sport. The champions of anti CAA stir may be asked as to how often did they raise  their voice on mass exodus of KPS who are living the life of refugees in their own country. It is thirty years now; they are homeless and scattered all over the world.. Will today’s Jai Chands provide solution to the current problems and lay the foundations of strong India.

The country is passing through a crucial phase of history; let government act judiciously and let public respond with reason and logic. Activism on development front is need of the hour. The efforts should be substantive and not exhibitive. The days ahead shall be more challenging and the Government should concentrate in building safeguards against the hard times. The much talked about demographic dividend does not get any mention now because the Government has utterly failed in takling the problem of unemployment. There is no effort in the divertion of mitigating the hardships of people who were thrown out of the informal sector because of demonitisation, nor are the problems of small business mitigated.

Instead of bridging the gap in social and economic dualism, there is strong apprehension of this gap widening further. The price rise is abnormal. Be it cooking gas, be it vegetables, be it edible oils, the prices have risen so abnormally ( doubled or even trebled ) that the inflation has broken the back of the people, in particular, the low- income group. Govt. is not giving attention to galloping inflation which needs to be controlled immediately. The political opportunism may handicap the economic and social advancement of the country.

Let posterity not charge the present arrangement with lack of foresight and casual approach towards  safeguarding the future interests of the country. Let there be no confusion and suspense about the well intentioned initiatives of the government. There is no room for confrontation in a developing economy and society. The spirit of cooperation and supplementation of honest efforts will steer the country through its difficulties and the concerns by every countrymen will bring about cohesion, in the working of a pluralistic social order. The global society is faced with formidable challenges and if our country has to play a leading role, as is often mentioned, our leadership as also the countrymen, will have to do more homework and seriously too.

Youth power has to be channelized in productive pursuits to take the country to the competitive levels of global scale. Political and administrative activism, must match the matrix of reasonable expectations of the masses. Adhocism is no guarantee for a sustained long term growth for a vibrant society, economy and polity, the people should not remain passive, they must speak out and help the governments to guage the pulse of the public.

Prof A N Sadhu

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