It is certainly trial by fire for Prime Minister Narendra Modi. Perhaps a L K Advani would not have been judged and scrutinized the manner Modi is subjected to such threadbare scanner for his less than one-year stint in office as Prime Minister of a complex country like India with its multi-layered complex problems.
The examination (change the word to scrutiny if u favour) is so ruthless that the Congress leaders are getting away with their long 60-years rule or misrule.
No body is meanwhile talking about the performance of other Prime Ministers like H D Deve Gowda, who made guest appearance in the corridors of power in Delhi solely because there was a Marxist-inspired conspiracy against Atal Behari Vajpayee in 1996.
"Hum sarkar nahi bacha pa rahen haen kyon ki sabse zyada tang aap ne lagaya (It's your party's machinations that I am bowing out of office because of numbers)," Vajpayee had told CPI-M veteran Somnath Chatterjee in Lok Sabha during the now popular debate of 1996.
Coming back to Modi regime's one year, one has many yardsticks to analyse the same. One way is to look at what has happened to the Congress party in these 12 months. Rahul Gandhi's party has not only lost power in crucial states like Maharashtra and Haryana it is now 'Congress mukt' Delhi and also in Nagaland. In the north eastern state 8 Congress legislators have deserted the sinking ship and joined T R Zeliang ministry sharing power with a 'BJP Minister'. Congress remains zero strength in Sikkim also.
Next comes what has happened to the armed-chair Indian intelligentsia's pet issues like SECULARISM and the welfare of the MINORITIES.
In the run up to the polls last year, Arun Jaitley, a key member of the Team Modi then and also now, during the height of election campaign had said, "the efforts of opponents to create scare about Narendra Modi (among minorities especially
Muslims) are not working".
BJP’s renowned Muslim face, Mukhtar Abbas Naqvi also dismissed the ‘hate Modi’ phenomenon and had said. “People of India and that includes Muslims know it pretty well that a decade of sustained efforts by Congress through CBI, NGOs and disgruntled police officials like Sanjeev Bhatt could not link Modi to the riots of 2002".
|PM Modi bowed down before Indian Parliament|
The campaign seemed to be working now and there's not only a fine combination of 'fear' and 'hatred' about Modi among the minorities, there is also a good amalgamation of Christians in the entire paradox if post-2002 phenomenon was all about Muslims.
Thus, according to me, worst part is Christians have turned too 'fussy' about so called 'minority rights'. This is certainly different from mere 'rights'. and that's the dangerous element in it.
During last year, the fear card about Christians and re-conversion row has been played up with such a hyped media publicity that Christians have developed a 'weakness'. They are trying to be "neo-Muslims" -- feeling threatened and more 'isolated' than Muslims. This is not Christian temperament globally nor part of Indian history and the community.
I think Quota Raj or appeasement offered to Muslims over the years was a factor. And I think it was due to a motivated campaign by some quarters among Christians. Indian Christians have a strong history of being Indians first. No otherwise signal should go. Identifying themselves as a community who would vote for Sonia Gandhi
at any cost irrespective of Congress performance was another mistake by a section of Christians at least in some states.
An impression has gone from Christians, a corrupt and grossly inefficient 'Congress under Sonia or Rahul' is better than Narendra Modi. I have no answer whether Congress is 'better' in that form but overwhelming Christians have voted for the BJP in the past even in Christian-dominated states like Nagaland. The recent comment by a key member of judiciary on Good Friday is simply unwarranted.
Posterity would judge that better.
But do Americans work on Sundays and Good Fridays? This mistake is akin to Mother Teresa once talking about reservation for Dalit Christians. But is not Christianity a classless society/religion? Some misguided utterances more from people held in high esteem harm.
But before one concludes, that a section of Hindutva hardliners is trying to derail Modi's development agenda is an issue. Congress leader Jairam Ramesh too has his argument when he says PM Modi himself is playing double games allowing hardliners to pursue polarisation agenda on one hand while he gives only a lip service that only religious book for his government is the Constitution of India.
Now, what about common Hindus perception about Christians and especially the missionaries?
Generally Hindus believe Christians have mixed charity and missionary works like health camps with conversion. Only a community based soul searching can answer these questions. This a grey area.
I suspect and I stand subject to correction, the common Christians have played into the hands of a section of their own community who made the most of anti-BJP rhetoric and RSS bashing. This was during Vajpayee tenure also.
This is where I think Christians are going wrong.
They have almost put themselves in bracket with another minority community, who has been historically over sensitive to their 'non Hindu origin'. On the other hand, even Catholic Christian institutes in the past, 1980s and 1990s, as I know from my St Anthony's days in Shillong and later in Nagaland, used to have cultural programmes like Bharatnatyam where Christian performers offered flowers to Goddess Saraswati.
Christians in India have been integral part of Indian society. Saraswati was not Hindu Goddess but much respected Goddess of Learning. Is this changing today?
BJP has alliance partners in Nagaland and since 1990s they have shared powers in Meghalaya and also Nagaland. In 2003 Nagaland assembly, BJP won 7 seats out of 60 while they lost power in Himachal. Christians voted for BJP even in Kerala because they feared Muslim hegemony and Love Jihad.
Finally, am I anxious about India’s survival as a secular, democratic nation?
### No never. If India is to be a nation and remain a nation, it has to be secular and democratic nation. Country has come a long way ! If someone says Hindus are most tolerant community, my counter is simple: actually it is we Indians who are most tolerant.
An American or even someone in Bangkok cannot understand the beauty of this multi-caste, multi-religion society. That's ‘democratic nirvana’! and I spoke from my heart.