rime Minister Narendra Modi is known to have had his own style of connecting with the masses. If anything, he excels at that, while his own strengths in governance are a matter of serious debate. His latest happened two days ago, Monday, when he held “Pariksha Pe Charcha” – an interaction with Indian students. Connecting with the young generation is vital for any leader heading a nation. Great emphasis needs to be placed on such efforts to get a feel of what the youth want. No right thinking leader should try to ignore the aspirations of the youth since they alone will create the future of the nation.
The PM’s interaction with the students has a context when linked to the present disturbed atmosphere across the country, which may have been ignited in JNU and Jamia Millia university, to begin with. The government has been in a fire fighting mode and has muzzled the media to ensure the widespread students’ unrest is kept away from mainstream media reporting. PM’s unwillingness to discuss the controversial Citizenship Amendment Act (CAA) with the students and youth of the country and address their concerns has made all his ‘charcha’ redundant.
The CAA, which is discriminatory in its tone and tenor, has not only hurt feelings of Moslems but also of Hindoos who are unsure if they can prove their nationality. The Assam experiment has clearly demonstrated to anyone who cared to find out that the NRC was not discriminatory on religious grounds. That implies both Moslems and Hindoos were equally inconvenienced due to lack of proof of ancestry. Assam being a flood prone state, the common citizen possibly has lost all belongings many a times. This has relevance for a state like Orissa which, too, continually suffers from severe natural calamities. The rural populace in a state like Orissa may have to face intense hardship to produce documentary evidence of their previous generations. These are problems that probably the rich and well heeled can never comprehend.
Modi, in his ‘charcha’, chose to establish a link between rights and responsibilities, saying rights flowed from responsibilities. In other words, for students, according to Modi, their responsibility to the nation comes first and their rights as individuals next. This is a regressive thought that has failed the test of time in human evolution. Today, the world is focusing on development of individuals. The nation concept is not something drawn on a piece of paper. The idea gathers strength when many individuals get together to uplift the quality of life, not only for themselves but the person next to them. In a global scenario, where the world is being considered to be shrinking due to instant connectivity and exchange of ideas, the thought of a nation being greater than the individual makes no sense.
Unfortunately, no one is reading the Indian Constitution with an open mind anymore. That document clearly states the limitations built into the governance system of this country. While the modern idea envisions the shrinking role of the government, the Modi doctrine preaches and advocates for an all powerful government.
While the PM did not speak sense, the political import is not lost sight of. The crude manner in which the CAA was brought forward has further alienated the youth from his government. Dividing the society on religious lines will have its terribly negative effects. A society concentrating on the development trajectory is different from a government that seeks to divide people on communal lines. Confrontation is not the way forward; cooperation is. The job of a government is to offer equal opportunities to all and encourage a sense of enterprise which will unleash the productive forces. By drafting a bill in such a manner that the ruling party has to organize rallies all across the country to explain CAA to the people shows its inherent weakness.