Sultan M Hali
DURING his election campaign in 2014, Narendra Modi had sold his constituency a dream called Achhe Din Ayengay i.e. “good days are about to come!” The deadline for the achievement of this dream was 2019. As soon as he won the election in 2014, he forgot his promise. In 2017, he gave Indians another dream, “New India 2022”, making them forget the “Achhe Din” deadline of 2019. After securing his victory in 2019, he is making them forget “New India 2022” and instead, making them think of bringing back Indian money from abroad: “Five Trillion 2024”. In all probability, by 2022, it is likely he will give Indians a new slogan that extends the deadline to 2026.
The only notable “achievements” of Modi 2.0 are the abrogation of Articles 370 and 35-A providing special autonomy to India-occupied Kashmir (IoK) and annexing it illegally; promulgating the Citizenship Amendment Act (CAA) and National Register of Citizens (NRC), excluding 1.9 million of northeastern Assam state’s 33 million population as well as rising inflation in the country. The controversial CAA threatens India’s secular foundations by marginalizing its 200 million Muslim minority population. Annexation of the IoK has resulted in it being locked down for nearly six months now for fear of reprisal by Kashmiris and invited castigation by the US, European and numerous international Parliaments. The draconian laws have brought on the wrath of the ordinary Indians too; prima facie on the CAA and NRC but mainly because of the economic meltdown of India. Another promise by Modi is Indian Space Research Organization’s Gaganyaan project seeking to land an Indian astronaut on the moon.
India’s economy has taken a big hit. Its GDP has been inflated two per cent according to former Chief Economist Arvin Subramanian. There is 40% increase in Indians seeking refugee status in OECD countries. There is 20% decline in Aggregate Consumer demand. 43% fall in Corporate Confidence. Bad debt of US$ 1 Trillion persists. There is downgrading of GDP growth to 4.3%. IFIs and Western media are not telling the full story to avoid generating panic. India confronts economic implosion due to twin recessions at home and globally, arms race with China, impact of demonetization, banking collapse and bad debt! 19 countries, including Germany, France, the UK, US and Canada, have issued Travel Advisory to India. There is 60% decline in inflow of tourists. The real impact of political turmoil and media control are yet to be calculated. India’s Foreign Exchange Reserves are beginning to come under severe pressure, as Tsunami of Slowdown approaches!
A number of academics and luminaries have been quoted in the opinion piece ‘From ‘Shining India’ to ‘Intolerant India’ – in 10 Years’. The ‘situation’ in India has led the country’s one of the most respected creative actor/director Nasiruddin Shah to say, “After 70 years, I’ve come to realize as a Muslim I can’t live in India.” One observer called it “From Shining to Intolerant!” alluding to how ‘Shining India’ narrative was internationalized a decade back and now how an ‘intolerant India’ is rapidly gaining momentum internationally.
Toronto-based Rashid Husain Syed, a renowned analyst and contributor to BBC, Toronto Star, Globe and Mail and Dawn states: “The world is waking up to a new India, an intolerant, Hindu extremist and fundamentalist India, an India where goons are ruling. We are waking up to this new India that is starkly different to the idea of its founding fathers. Jinnah stands vindicated today. The two-nation theory is back and with a vengeance”. “To a large extent, and despite few sentences here and there, driven mainly by its business interests, the global conscience is maintaining a virtual mum on the issue.” The icy silence may have been broken though with The Economist’s cover story where renowned novelist and human rights activist Arundhati Roy who wrote, “The silence is the loudest sound in Kashmir” when PM Modi annexed occupied Kashmir and the world turned 24/7, reacted more when the government amended the Citizenship Act. “…it looks very much as though our government has gone rogue…”
Priyamvada Gopal, who teaches in the Faculty of English at Cambridge University, said: “the attack on Jawaharlal Nehru University shows that the ideological civil war in India has taken a new violent turn. The world community continues to remain silent though, an observer says — even some of the Muslim states with huge economic interests in the country which has the largest Muslim minority population: 200m to 220m. Syed says, “The so-called Islamic world is endeavouring to look the other way. The OIC is in deep slumber too, while all seem set for the genocide of Indian as well as Kashmiri Muslims. This is a question mark on the global conscience. How long would it remain so, is yet to be seen. Ultimately, the world will have to speak out, and in unison against the ongoing and the impending genocide in Kashmir, UP, Bihar, Assam and the rest of India. History is keeping a close eye!” “I fear for India as these murderous thugs will rip India apart. In 30 years, China has become a rich China. In 10 years, China will be an advanced China which is on fast track. India on the other hand is regressing fast. It’s a shame because it really has nice people”, says Khaled Almaeena, a media icon and former Editor-in-Chief of Arab News & Saudi Gazette. So much for shattered dreams!
—The writer is retired PAF Group Captain and a TV talk show host.