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At 71, what’s our new Normal?

Posted by Subash Deb
August 15, 2017
On this 71st year of our independence, one question that looms large in my mind is whether we are deviating from the normal in the name of development. Let me be specific here. Are we rendering the Unity in Diversity principle of the Republic of India moot with time?
The government of the day no doubt deserves kudos for bringing in much-needed economic reforms to formalize India’s economy but can all this invalidate the long-cherished principles of national integration mandated by its constitution? The answer is a big No.
The culturally diverse nation is apparently divided again. The politics of hate is percolating down to the masses, most of whom today are empowered by technology without any obligation against its misuse. Using technology most irresponsibly is perhaps one of the worst derivatives of 21st century.
As worse as it can get, the TRP-hungry corporate media further add to the woes. Instead of focussing on larger issues of national interests, development, social unity and sports, a section of media is more into creating products and services that have the potential to break down our already fragile national fabric. The fourth pillar of our democracy has been hijacked by corporates who sell products, not news per se. The technological offshoot of the fake news industry is also posing a serious threat to our social fabric. The news oftentimes performs the role of a provocateur that can lead to social unrest.
The mainstream media has apparently deviated from its primary role of interpreting the policies and programmes of government to the masses with accuracy and facts in its pursuit towards profit and ideological goals. The TV news anchors are more loyal to their masters than to their profession. Hence, their ideological fight over who is right and who is wrong is further polarizing our nation. The topics of debates and discussions that they choose and present to the nation include politically charged subjects that can even enrage peace loving communities.
The non-state actors including separatists and insurgents may explore new opportunities to build rapport with the disgruntled citizens who feel alienated in the present atmosphere courtesy of fear psychosis engineered unequivocally by groups with vested interests who are breeding on Indian soil to disintegrate India to the core.
The purpose of networking through social media in the spirit of cross-culturalism is coming to be a self-defeating model in the age of globalization which is rather disintegrating people through electronically delivered swift messages that have the potential to instigate civil unrest and tension, let alone national integration which can never be strengthened in the cauldron of divisive and hate politics.
That the Narendra Modi-led BJP government can deliver justice, to all those who have been marginalised in their own country, lost their rights to protectionism, dismantle fear mongering channels, bring policy to regulate corporate and social media, can pioneer politics of inclusion, revive faith in those hating all-embracing Hindus who have upheld the principle of ‘Vasudhaiva Kutumbakam’ through ages, is the trust that most Indians have on the government.
The historic economic reforms will bring desired fruits forth if they are taken forward with politics of inclusion that can ensure social unity and create willingness among citizens to participate in the process of economic development. It is imperative to keep all sections of Indians on board as India propels towards New India that has been marketed globally as the new emerging economic power. The new investment destination of the world needs to strengthen its social cohesion and fabric besides taking pride in industry reports claiming growth in India’s FDI, etc. Lest we forget, peace and stability are the primary factors that foreign investors would first take notice of before they proceed with investment and business in our country. It is noteworthy that we have marketed our potentials well enough in the world arena but without counterbalancing them by similar efforts on our domestic front that ensure peace, stability and growth, we shall only miss the plot.
Also, there’s a need to focus on our soldiers’ welfare who are protecting our frontiers from external aggression instead of chest thumping over their martyrdom and later translating their sacrifices into votes. The need of the hour is to redirect our policies to discourage Indian soldiers from committing suicides out of frustration and pain. Let’s spare some time to empathize their sorrow and find a permanent solution to it.
Lastly, let Unity in Diversity continue to be our strength in our pursuits towards new heights. Jai Hind.