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Saturday, August 31, 2019

Can Modi Save India?

This article was published in several newspapers including News & Views and Counter-Currents 

Indian-American author Ghouse argues that only the majoritarian ruler can do it

by Mike GhouseAugust 24, 2019

The early warning signals coming out of India are blaring, as a disaster has been in the making for years. The unfolding crisis – not just in Kashmir but in mainland India – threatens to tear the nation apart, severely impairing the economic prosperity gained in the last twenty years.

Terrorism as seen in some conflict-hit countries like Afghanistan has not been a part of India, but the conditions are ripe to give birth to the monster. The United States has much to lose – first the huge investments made by Americans, and most importantly losing the imaginary bulwark America has made India be against China's rise or ‘expansion of communism.’

I think, the man in charge of the country, Prime Minister Narendra Modi , can still save India if he listens to the sane voices and restores the rule of law, and freedom to every Indian to pursue his/her life, liberty, and happiness.

The downfall can still be reversed, provided Modi sees the full picture.

Photo: Screenshot/VOA YouTube Video

Let’s picture an ideal society that functions cohesively, where each member of the community feels secure about his/her income, business, faith, culture, language, and ethnicity. When one is free from tensions and fears, he or she will be super productive and enriches his community. Indeed, the prosperity of a nation is directly proportional to its freedom, in the case of India, it is religious freedom. The economic success of the United States is directly attributable to freedom. One should be free to eat, drink, wear, think, speak, and believe whatever the individual wants in the pursuit of his/her happiness.

That’s the central lesson of the “2008 Index of Economic Freedom,” released by The Heritage Foundation and The Wall Street Journal. “A country-by-country survey of how free people are worldwide to direct their economic fortunes; the Index repeatedly demonstrates the vital link between freedom and prosperity. In simple words, the freer the people are, the more an economy grows — and the more everyone benefits.”

Gill and Owen in a paper “Religious Liberty and Economic prosperity,” write in a Cato Publication: “A casual glance suggests nations that have developed strong legal guarantees of religious freedom are also ones that have had long-term sustained economic growth (Grim and Finke 2011).”

The reality is grim – the Indian Christians, Muslims, Sikhs, moderate Hindus, and Dalits are not feeling secure. Every day is laden with tensions, and everyone is apprehensive about walking alone on the street lest he/she be beaten, harassed, raped, or even lynched. An act of lynching is not carried out just on the pretext of the other eating beef of a sacred animal – cow-  but it clearly is a demands on the targeted people to renounce their religion.

Asifa Bano, an 8-year-old girl raped and murdered in Indian Jammu and Kashmir
Photo: Screenshot

Let this be clear; the innocent majorities believe that everyone around them is treated fairly and equitably as they are treated. Neither the moderate white majority understands the fear a black man feels when he sits behind the wheel to go to work, nor does the moderate Hindu majority understands the concern a Muslim, Christian or a Dalit man or a woman feels walking alone on a given street in Modi’s India.

The number of Muslims and Dalits who are sacrificed number over 115 now. Muslims are afraid to get out on the street, lest someone lynches them for the suspicion of carrying beef. Recently, a woman was hung to a tree and beaten non-stop while a crowd gathered around and watched the shameless act. An individual was hacked to death with bare stones and an ax publicly, and they videotaped the gory murder for the world to watch. A Dalit man was chased and set on fire this week.

Does Modi recognize the ruthless, mindless, and violent new generation of Indians he is fostering, is that the kind of Indians he wishes for India?

Last year, the men who gang-raped and brutally murdered a six-year-old girl in a Hindu temple was greeted with garlands by Modi’s men as if they were heroes. Two years ago, Chief Minister Yogi stood on the podium next to a man who announced to the extremists to dig out dead Muslim women from the graves and rape them.

Indian Muslim must be appreciated; they have shown extraordinary resilience and patience. Despite the lynching’s and injustices, they have not resorted to violence, unlike their counterparts in other nations. Presidents Bush, Obama, and Prime Minister Manmohan Singh have appreciated Indian Muslims.

It is time for Modi to do the same and stop the growing discord. If he thinks he can remain silent while his men harass and subjugate nearly 1/3rd of Indians comprising Muslims, Dalits, and Christians, he is wrong, it will destroy Indian and American Interests.

There is a limit to pushing, harassing, and lynching, and it needs to be stopped before it blows up.

Now consider the consequences of failure.

What if Indian Muslims, Christians, and Dalits cannot take it anymore and resort to violence? What will happen to the economy, investments from overseas, and the political stability of the nation? Every Indian will live in hell should that happen.  No Indian will live in peace.
Modi has a choice. He can save India, or he can let it be destroyed from within.

Prime Minister Modi’s party, the BJP, lives in the past. The RSS wants to get even with Muslims of Independent India for the acts committed by a king or two some three hundred years ago. If the facts matter to Modi, almost all the kings of yesteryears, be it Hindu, Muslim, Jewish, Sikh or Christian expanded their territories by killing the resisting neighbors. None of them ruled for the sake of religion but for their own gain, they cleverly duped the people then, as they do now.

The Muslims of independent India should be held accountable for the acts they commit as any other Indian citizen would.

Should one be punished for the actions of his grandfather or even father?

I hope Modi restores the rule of law and prevents India from getting a certificate of Particular Concern by the Department of State? Would the conscientious mega-corporations and investors continue to partner with India or hold back for lack of stability?  In that case, the ultimate losers are the Hindu businesses and individuals who have seen prosperity in the last two decades, all will be gone.

As things stand today, if Modi cannot change the mindset of the mobs, no one else can.

All he is required to do is frequently and boldly announce that anyone who harasses another Indian will meet severe punishment, and then follow his words with actions.
That is all it takes to save India from going into unprecedented chaos.

But, will Modi choose to do so?

Dr. Mike Ghouse is committed to building cohesive societies and offers pluralistic solutions on issues of the day. Mike’s mission is to open people's hearts, minds, and souls towards each other. He believes that the ultimate purpose of humans is to live freely and be comfortable with their culture, race, religion, ethnicity, sexuality, and individuality. Mike is a public speaker, author, interfaith wedding officiant, a newsmaker and the executive director of the Center for Pluralism in Washington, DC. More about him in three formats at https://www.linkedin.com/in/mikeghouse/


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