A lot has been going on in our country, India, since BJP assumed power in 2014. The country has constantly been debating the rising radicalism and the shrinking liberal space. The BJP was elected to power by a historic mandate by popularizing the slogan of development.
Yes, investment rose (credits to Make in India) and Modi went hysterical trying to get countries off his bucket list.
Meanwhile, India registered a leisurely ride up the ladder of economic growth, but can this be sustained in the long run?
Coming to think about it, the Preamble was amended in 1976 to label India as a secular state which granted equal rights to people of different faiths. Every citizen earned the right to practise and promote their religion peacefully. It can be worded as an average India is neither tolerant nor intolerant but just indifferent to the matters of caste, religion and community, unless it impacts the everyday life of an individual. Thus, an average Indian does not go about rioting or on a killing spree. That said India must be a tolerant country, but is it?
The issue of intolerance came to the forefront of the consciousness of an individual since BJP came to power in 2014. The BJP Party is known for its deep-rooted beliefs in Hinduism and this right-wing element has largely been responsible for the mushrooming religious intolerance in India. In under a year and a half, the ambitions of Gujarat model of development have given way to a narrative of divisiveness.
Several incidents have cropped up that reinforce the impression that India’s secularism is under siege. This intolerance is manufactured, not exaggerated, given the present government has raised its hand in abandonment. The government has, as of now, not demonstrated any will to rein in these Hindu fringe elements trying to cause unrest in the country with the Prime Minister remaining silent on the issue.
India is an attractive destination for investment opportunities and it shares the western ideals of democracy and values. With Hindu nationalists curtailing the freedom of those who do not share the same ideology as theirs is going to adversely affect future business and investment in the country.
The rising intolerance stifles the debate and progress, masking the identity of the country. The credibility of the financial sector of the country is at risk and it is certainly appalling to see the response of the Modi government to the situation.
Though India reflects positivism in terms of credit rating, the situation in India could lead to its downgrade. The growth rate is affirmative, but the tense and hostile situation in the country needs to diffused, else it is going to keep the investors at bay.
All we can hope for is that the government puts out a strong statement against intolerance and religious discrimination. The government needs to take a stand because failing 1 billion souls is not a responsibility they want to shoulder.
Views presented in the article are those of the author and not of ED.