An appeal and some unanswered questions

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  1. Journalists doing their job (practicing independent and real journalism, although perceived as anti-establishment) constantly and openly abused and issued rape and death threats via social media (
  2. A second-year medical student forced to commit suicide for having taken admissions in SC/ST category, (in simpler terms, for being born in a ‘wrong’ caste) (
  3. A Muslim man assaulted for being born as a Muslim, a newly elected Member of Parliament from the ruling party criticizing the incident and the ruling party censuring the MP for doing so (
  4. 1000 activists from Bajrang Dal to be ‘commando trained’ in five camps to be held across the state of Uttar Pradesh, purportedly to enable them to protect the nation, women, cows, temples and Hindutva (

On 23 May, 2019, with overwhelming popular support, the reins of this country were again handed over to BJP and Mr. Narendra Modi. The reasons for those who voted in favor of Mr. Modi and the ruling party, could have been varied. The elections were fought by the ruling party on two major planks – Hindutva and the need for a strong leadership at the helm to ensure the security of the nation. There was hardly anything the ruling party offered by way of discussing its achievements over the past five years or its promises over the next five, and so I am discounting the people who may have voted them back to power impressed by their achievements or their developmental agenda. The people who voted back the BJP on the Hindutva plank also need to be discounted because there is nothing much that I can offer to them except for the cautionary advice that this mindset can only spell ruin for the nation and nothing else.

I want to converse today with those who have voted back the ruling party to power in the hope of a strong leadership at the helm. Whether or not it is desirable to choose a leader only on this sole criterion is a question for another time (I seriously doubt the efficacy of voting only on this plank), a strong leadership at the helm indeed it is.

How difficult is it for such a strong leadership to bring to book the people who are brazenly breaking the law by abusing and threatening the journalists doing their job?

How difficult is it for such a strong leadership to sincerely acknowledge that the all kinds of discrimination – based on caste, religion, class and so on and so forth – are only increasing in our society and that this is the biggest hurdle in the progress of our nation?

How difficult is it for such a strong leadership to understand that encouraging the agenda of Hindutva – covertly and overtly – may look like an excellent short-term strategy for electoral gains but in the long run will lead to the establishment of a permanent strife in the nation and transform its character beyond recognition and redemption?

If the ruling party, the government and the leader of the government are not realizing this, is it not the responsibility of the people who have placed all their hopes in that leadership, to question such leadership and to pressurize it to work towards the betterment of the nation and its people? A nation can progress and emerge stronger only if it sincerely and decisively deals with the burning issues staring it in the face? Unemployment, poverty, lack of educational opportunities, casteism, communalism, environmental concerns, farmer suicides, crimes against women, children and disabled, increasing concentration of wealth in the hands of few, corruption – the list goes on and on – you name it and we are grappling with the issue. Is it not easier for a strong leadership to tackle these issues head on, with the overwhelming support of the electorate behind it? And will action on these fronts not be the greatest service that could be rendered to the nation – the most legitimate form of nationalism that could ever be?

My appeal is to every citizen of the nation who loves it – to fulfil their role as committed citizens of this nation and be watchful and mindful of how the elected representatives of the nation are performing their duties. Please remember that it is not an absolute power that they exercise on us – it is a power derived from us – the citizens of this nation – delegated to them by us so that they can exercise it on our behalf – to meet the common goal of taking this country and its people forward. With an overwhelming win comes this overwhelming responsibility – and there can be no running away from it.

Nivedita Dwivedi is a writer from Mumbai


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