EDITORIAL | Danish Ahmad Khan
The word “Muslim” is anathema and most hated for Prime Minister Narendra Modi. His Independence Day speech, on the occasion of India’s 70th anniversary of freedom from British Colonial rule, from the ramparts of Red Fort is quite evident. The Prime Minister while addressing the nation named and embraced every section of the Indian society, except Muslims. And, why should he embrace Indian Muslims anyway when the community has not been his votebank in the first place, and which he considers them to be his enemy since his chief ministership days in Gujarat. The entire world knows that 2002 Gujarat genocide of Muslims unfortunately took place under his watch and ward during his chief ministership. As such, Indian Muslims are not able to wish away the fearful thoughts of the pogrom, no matter how much conciliatory (fake one indeed) Prime Minister may sound, and the last hopes for even this gesture of tokenism have finally vanished today with his I-Day speech.
Another harakiri in India’s foreign policy during PM’s I-Day address was evident as well. It seems that Prime Minister Modi is clearly confused on the line to be taken on the country’s foreign policy. Pakistan remained the main focus of his speech. It is true that Pakistan should be threatened with dire consequences, which he did without naming that rogue nation which has a penchant to needle India by sending terrorists from across the border, by showing India’s support to struggle of people in embattled Gilgit, Baluchistan and PoK. However, PM Modi didn’t dare to name Kashmir’s Chinese-occupied ”Aksai Chin” fearing retaliatory measures from “Big Brother” China, just like when it witnessed its wrath in blocking India’s entry in Nuclear Suppliers Group (NSG). It seems that India doesn’t want to recapture Aksai Chin and has willingly gifted it to China.
Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s support to Baluchistan is also going to fall flat and spell disaster for India’s foreign policy. It’s a historical fact that Baluchistan Province is found with the same name in three Muslim countries – Pakistan, Afghanistan and Iran. PM Modi, in his enthusiasm and strategy to build pressure on Pakistan by supporting the dismemberment of Baluchistan, simply failed to assess its negative impact in the long term. Afghanistan and Iran will never tolerate trouble brewing in their respective Baluchistan Province. India is presently a staunch supporter of Afghanistan and is in the process of strengthening business ties with Iran, and it will surely not want to antagonize the two countries by exporting the Baluchistan Freedom Movement from Pakistan to these nations. An impending disaster, therefore, is looming large on India’s foreign policy under the present Narendra Modi dispensation. The ruling NDA government at the Centre seems utterly confused on its foreign policy, particularly its South Asian neighbors, some of which are being pried over by China such as Nepal, Sri Lanka, Maldives and Bangladesh. The Prime Minister, it verily seems, in his valiant effort to corner Pakistan has in fact unknowingly tried to force China to staunchly join hands with Pakistan thus complicating and compounding the problems further. In these critical times, when India is facing internal chaos, the Prime Minister should have better avoided opening two war fronts simultaneously much to the country’s chagrin.
To say the least, the I-Day speech of Prime Minister Narendra Modi also lacked vision and showed his predicament and nervousness. The I-Day speech also proved to be nothing more than an election speech with the PM going all out to aggressively woo Adivasis by promising a museum dedicated to them in every state of the country, wherever possible. Atrocities on Dalits also found prominent mention with an eye on forthcoming Uttar Pradesh elections in 2017. The PM also failed to mention or deliberate on his pet issues of Corruption and Black Money. The Prime Minister in his zeal to show that he cared a lot about India’s poor also talked about providing support of Rs. One Lakh for their healthcare, but refused to provide the name of Insurance companies whom this largesse is aimed at by our corporate friendly PM. In India, these days the government is trying to shirk its responsibility and shed its face of a welfare state. Everything is being corporatized and peoples’ lives are being insured through insurance companies, whether it’s behemoth Indian Railways, and now Healthcare. The nation, on the contrary, would have in fact wanted to know what steps were going to be taken by Prime Minister Modi towards improving crumbling healthcare infrastructure in the wake of growing corporatization of healhcare sector which is now beyond the reach of common masses. By analyzing the I-Day speech of Prime Minister, most right thinking Indians, including myself, can convincingly conclude that this was a highly disappointing and worst ever speech made by an Indian Prime Minister in recent memory.
[Danish Ahmad Khan, a native of Gaya (Bihar), is currently based at New Delhi. He is Founder-Editor of India’s First Online Muslim Newspaper “IndianMuslimObserver.com”. He can be contacted at firstname.lastname@example.org / email@example.com or on his Mobile # +91 9990179721]