The “Shining India” slogan has not only vanished, but India’s image as the world’s largest democracy, along with its reputation for secularism and “Ahimsa” has waxed and waned and been replaced by the “Hindutva” philosophy followed by BJP premier Narendera Modi and his associate RSS. This ideology now eclipses its reputation so much that the Canadian and British Premiers refused to attend New Delhi’s Republic Day parade on January 26.
Sikh minorities forced their way into historic Red Fort, pulled down Tricolour and hoisted Sikh flag instead. This was no minor incident, as it showed that Modi is now looked down upon with contempt, has become a symbol of hatred by Muslims, Sikhs and even moderate Hindus too. British Prime Minister Boris Johnson may well have landed in New Delhi, but Sikh community, settled in England, especially South Hall near London, which is almost a Sikh town just 30 miles away from London, petitioned him to refrain from going as Modi’s guest. He abandoned the idea lest it rebounds him on elections. So did the Canadian prime minister.
From denting repute of secularist country to democratic, from largest democracy to largest extremist country, from human perspectives of Gandhi to brutalities in IIOJK, all have been gained at a very heavy price.
India has gone against her own minorities i.e Muslims and Sikhs, world stands bewildered as their favourite against Pakistan has lowered the bar drastically. Response of Indian state in issues of Babri Masjid, enacting CAA/NRC and farmers protest reflect that Indian society has changed forever.
India has also switched old friends and is now considered a strategic ally of United State at the cost of losing Russian trust, something which was not imaginable two decades ago, India has won titles of “rape capital of the world”, peace spoiler due to supporting proxies against other states, and India has hugely down-graded relations with all of her neighbours.
The country has lost respect and her pride was seriously bruised by Pakistan (Feb 27, 2019) and in Laddakh by China. Even world has serious doubts on actual mily prowess and political will of India against what she projects. Despite India showing Rafael aircraft and first lady fighter pilot on this Republic Day, the substance remains hollow and unreliable.
After China taught them yet another reminder of 1962 NEFA humiliation, this time in Laddakh, neighbouring States like Bangladesh, Nepal, Sikkim, Bhutan and Tibet all are now distancing themselves from its neighbour which because of 1.25 billion population, and vast landscape, had tried to dominate since long.
Leading newspapers like the Hindu, with over a century’s history of publication, and Times of India, many televisions were critical of Modi’s policies or promoting Hindu nationalism. Where does Modi stand now is a vital question.