Divider-In-Chief: How Justified Is Modi’s New Title?

Amidst the present situation of political turbulence accounting to the general elections, TIME magazine’s cover story on Narendra Modi has intensified the situation even more.

The American news daily, on its edition of May 20, has featured a story on Narendra Modi naming him ‘The Divider in Chief of India’. The article has been authored by Aatish Taseer, son of famous political journalist Tavleen Kaur.

It was stated that, “The world’s largest democracy is more divided than ever” – which clearly aligns with the fact that in the past five years of Modi’s governance, India has witnessed significant communal hatred thereby leading to undue religion and caste-based violence.

The article begins with BJP’s historic win with a huge mandate in 2014 general elections and continues with reference of incidents that are evidences of communal hatred and hostility against the minority communities. The broad array of topics that specifically find mention in the article are – various incidents of mob lynching, appointment of Yogi Adityanath, a Hindu extremist, as the CM of UP in 2017, and candidature of Pragya Singh Thakur from Bhopal.

Now the question arises- Is this going to affect the polling at Modi’s constituency -Varanasi? How much would people analyze and understand that when an international daily is holding this as a major issue, it should raise  concern among citizens too?

The jibe ‘Divider-in-Chief’ must hurt because every part of the article is true and it has been presented with sufficient evidences. Now let’s see how communal hatred has grown in this period. So when I say communal hatred, I do not mean riots. Communal riots have been there earlier as well, but what has changed is that – the idea of a communal riot isn’t criticised anymore. Suddenly, some people belonging to the religious majority of India decided that they have the right to insult, blame and lynch people in the name of ‘Gow Raksha’. In all these years I have never seen the social media platforms flooded with hate-posts and it has become the new normal. Suddenly people who believe in secularism are termed as anti nationals. When did anti-government became anti-national?

The numerous hate speeches in the election campaigns by prominent BJP leaders strengthen the fact even more. This is actually the last nail in the coffin and we should think of this as a wake-up call and we must understand our responsibilities in prohibiting what is going on.

As the opening line states of this article says“Of the greatest democracies to fall to populism, India was the first.”

Let’s protect the fall of our pride unanimously and act wisely by using the power of democracy appropriately.

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