Modi’s new India: A new perception of what is ‘normal’
In May 2019, Narendra Modi was re-elected with an even bigger mandate. Overwhelmed by the “love” he received, he promised to alter the existing India into a “new India” within this tenure of his. For the record, India would turn 75 in 2022 and the city along with the rest of the country can expect even greater celebratory events for the occasion.
Well, the politically sharp duo from Gujarat – Narendra Modi and Amit Shah, currently Prime Minister and Home Minister respectively of India – seems to have a new definition of the “new India” envisaged by them where the word “normalcy” is an operative term no matter what the situation on the ground is. Things are presented as normal. And so, the situation in Assam prior to the passage of the Citizenship Amendment Bill into a law was perhaps abnormal, and normalizing the same meant imposing a curfew, shutting off the internet and letting the Indian army onto the state. We got a taste of this new normal first hand when an entire state (region for that matter if you take Tripura into account) tried to protest against a law that would basically alter the country – a law that was hastily passed through the Parliament for whatever reason.
Essentially, the Modi-Shah combination, after having lit a huge political inferno in Jammu & Kashmir, have deigned to move the army and paramilitary forces deployed there to the Assam without having any inclination of the sentiments that they have hurt and sense of betrayal among their die-hard voters that they have perpetrated. And typically, it is quite incomprehensible that the Prime Minister considers all his moves to be in the best interests of the country and those who are in disagreement with him do have the same and could well be speaking in the voice of a our notoriously combative neighbour to our west.
All this comes at a time when India is facing an economic slowdown that is kicking its very belly such that the future of a whole generation comprising millions is not look very bright at all. What was the huge compulsion of rushing through a nation-changing Bill at the expense of looking at and finding solutions towards the deteriorating economic conditions of the people is what leaves us baffled.
Is Modi being influenced by the bigoted and despotic disposition of Donald Trump? After all, the last meeting that we saw of both these gentlemen, they have turned out to be great friends. But America and India are different. The one is one of the richest countries in the world, technologically advanced and a true world leader. Has been so ever since. And India, while being home to one-fifth of the world’s population is still among the poorest despite boasting of some of the well-known billionaires in the world. The two democracies are entirely different and just cannot be equated. But the leaders and their latest despotic activities seem remarkably alike.
New jobs – that too annually – are what is required in India because every year without economic growth and without new jobs, the path out of poverty becomes more difficult for the millions who face it. New policies that rest on dividing people even more and thereafter suppressing the consequent dissent would lead to nothing but disaster in the future.
The BJP’s new style of governance seems to begin and end with votes. Today, Assam, which had, in good faith, sent 9 of its 14 members of Parliament to power from the BJP through some grand mandates, feels that what has happened with the CAB is essentially socially divisive agenda. To top it, there has been nothing really tangible by way of development gains; a few better roads is not development, it is a normal expectation from any government. It is creation of jobs, new industries in tune with the fragile eco-system of the state, better healthcare than what is available et al that constitutes better governance. What is happening currently is nothing but divisive politics on the ground and utter betrayal of trust at the emotional level.
But if this is the new normal in “new India” then we in Assam better get prepared to either be abnormal or accept it the way our Prime Minister thinks it best for us.