The year was 2010 and we were a week away from Eid. My friends Imran, Tufail and Khalid came to my house and explained to me the importance of Iftar and Eid. A week later, I visited their homes and they promised to be among the audience during Diwali at my house. We all celebrated Diwali with the spirit of love and brotherhood without discriminating on the basis of religion.
Fast forward to 2014, and that secular environment suddenly changed into something unsettling which was not imaginable in 2010. There was the hostile aggression from nationalists and fringe elements who maligned and defamed Hinduism by chanting “Jai Shri Ram” and “Bharat Maata Ki Jai” at every turn.
We got a government whose officials had in the past spoken against minorities and called them Pakistani agents. A government was formed which successfully divided people in name of religion and tried to stir religious hatred to remain in power. The result – a pro-Hindu vote bank was established through polarisation and hate. In 2019, it won’t be the same case. Here’s why.
People have understood that hatred will not bring fruitful results; it will only hurdle development and break the secular fabric of our country. In both south and north Indian states, we have seen people uniting against fringe elements and working united for their common betterment.
In spite of being one of the largest growing economies in the world, our government has done not enough work to provide more jobs for freshers and high school students. Analysts have suggested that India needs 10 million jobs per annum till 2030 to counter unemployment. That amounts to roughly 8,30,000 jobs every month – a number which seems unlikely to be achieved by our ruling government. Instead of tackling this serious issue with progressive methods, our leaders our leaders are asking us to sell pakodas and open paan stalls.
When our honourable Prime Minister campaigned in 2014, he promised to create millions of new jobs, revive the economy, accelerate the investment cycle. But it has all been a mirage and reality is very different. Development has not improved. People are still suffering due to the unplanned phase of demonetisation and goods and service tax (GST). There is no major improvement in terms of GDP and HDI. The majority of our population still cannot utilise schemes of government and due to rampant corruption, the core population is suffering.
If we compare figures from 2014 to 2018, we will notice that the price of petrol has increased. The middle and lower classes suffer the most with the price of petrol skyrocketing to₹75-80 per litre. Our per capita income has remained the same. Bhutan imports petrol from India and has prices 20-25% cheaper than us. The Central government certainly needs to address this concern and devise a solution for the rising price of petrol. It is also directly proportional to the increase in costs of transportation and goods. Rising prices are breaking the back of the common people. Even the opposition has attacked the current government over this.
Today’s children have learned about Nehru from our Prime Minister rather than history books – we should thank him for that. It has been four years since the BJP came to power and they are still nagging about Nehru instead of addressing their own merits. We have seen countless times how our current Prime Minister has attacked our first Prime Minister on baseless issues – something which is not expected from a person holding such a dignified and important post. The youth wants answers for rising unemployment, lynching in the name of religion and communal violence but all we get is, “Nehru, Nehru, Nehru!”
Be it Akhlaq or Junaid, there have been several victims of communal violence under this government. People are being murdered on the basis of what they eat. Journalists who try to speak the truth and who are not puppets of the government are abused and given death threats. The irony is that the people who spread this hatred and venom are followed by our PM on social media. Minorities are living in fear and insecurity. A new trend has started since 2014 which tries to stipulate what minorities must wear, eat or how they should live. Most major democracies contain significant groups of minorities whose language, food and way of living may be different from the majority. It is our duty to safeguard the interests of minorities and to make sure that they don’t live in fear but in a peaceful and secular environment.
It is no longer 2014. The opposition is now focused on the united goal of removing the BJP from power and constitute a government which will have leaders from different political parties. It is yet to be seen how this will come about. So far, it has been successful in Karnataka and in the Uttar Pradesh bypolls of Kairana, Gorakhpur and Phulpur.
2014 was the perfect year for the BJP to have a majority government at the Centre. Corruption scandals, an unpopular Prime Minister, the rise of Hindu nationalism, a brilliant PR and IT department and a charismatic opposition leader in form of Modi – these were the ingredients that brought the BJP to power. In 2018, tables have turned we have seen little positive effect on the economy and instead of bringing back black money as the BJP had promised, we’ve had cases like Vijay Mallya and Nirav Modi. Almost all public banks are facing heavy losses. The opposition has changed its gear and is now in an aggressive mode.
BJP may still form the government in 2019 but it won’t be a comfortable and painless walk for them.