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Mainstream, VOL LVI No 35 August 18, 2018

The Coming Struggle

Thursday 16 August 2018, by SC


In four days’ time, on August 15, 2018, we will be celebrating our seventysecond Independence Day. And within less than a year the country will be holding its next general elections to elect the seventeenth Lok Sabha.

Today itself has appeared in one of the leading national dailies of the Capital a detailed interview of our Prime Minister. While completely dismissing the Opposition’s campaign against him and his regime and ridiculing the mahagathbandhan the Opposition parties were trying to forge against him in the coming elections, he asserted how the poor people who had benefited from his government’s policies would campaign for him, Narendra Modi.

But what he said in reply to another question was startling indeed.

Nobody can deny India’s status has improved in the eyes of the world since this government came to power. After 30 years, a performing, strong and stable government is in power at the Centre.

What does this mean? The 30 years would include the six years of the Vajpayee Government—1998 to 2004. So Narendra Modi was implying that the Vajpayee Government too was a “non-performing, weak and unstable government”!

As for his views on cow vigilantism, the fact that he condemned such incidents was definitely welcome, even if it was belated. But at the same time he failed to unequivocally denounce the recent fate that befell the injured Rakbar Khan who was taken to the hospital after attending to the cows that led to considerable delay which cost his life: he was declared brought dead when he reached the hospital.

On the occasion of this Independence Day we are once again reminded of what our first Prime Minister, Jawaharlal Nehru, had thoughtfully conveyed in a message on August 15, 1947 soon after we became free from imperialist bondage:

We are citizens of a great country on the verge of bold advance... All of us, to whatever religion we may belong, are equally the children of India with equal rights, privileges and obligations. We cannot encourage communalism or narrow-mindedness, for no nation can be great whose people are narrow in thought or in action.

Those in power today totally reject the views articulated by Nehru due to their intense hatred of our first PM. However, his words have acquired added significance in today’s environment.

At this hour it is incumbent on us to remember the countless soldiers of our freedom struggle; they had laid down their lives for the country’s emancipation from foreign yoke. In fact in view of the prevailing socio-economic conditions and the depredations of the communal forces which are increasingly on the rampage, the spirit of the independence movement needs to be revived at the earliest in order to preserve the India of our dreams, especially its secular, pluralist ethos that is under vicious attack from those striving to turn this nation into a Hindu Rashtra.

The battle-lines have already been drawn. We cannot escape the coming struggle in defence of national freedom and the basic values enshrined in our Constitution. The ensuing parliamentary elections offer us a unique opportunity to do the needful to save India and its polity.

That is the task before us on this Independence Day.

August 12 S.C.

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