There were many who had compared Narendra Modi’s rise to power as a victory of good over evil; there were many who were moved to tears by his first speech in the Parliament; there were many who believed the PM when he said that the new government would be ‘accountable’.
Modi’s words in May 2014 were full of hope: “For rural areas, farmers, dalits (those at the bottom of India's tenacious social hierarchy), weak and the pained, this government is for them. To meet their aspirations and hopes, this is our responsibility because our weakest, poorest have sent us here.” Not only that, his vision for India also stated that his government would have a policy of zero tolerance towards extremism and riots.
But in the light of Modi’s unbearable silence after the killings in Dadri , one can’t help but wonder whether this was the India that Modi promised or were those just empty words? Some might turn around and say that the Dadri lynching is too minor an incident for the PM to speak about but this isn’t the only incident; this isn’t a one-off. And that perhaps is the biggest blot on the BJP and Modi’s one year in power.
Here is a quick look at some incidents that should not only concern Modi but every citizen of India:
A Muslim man is beaten to death after rumours of him eating beef are spread through a temple's loudspeakers.
A 50-year-old man was killed last week after rumours that he consumed beef. A few days after the incident, BJP lawmaker Sangeet Som said, "The family isn't here. The government of Uttar Pradesh has taken them away in an airplane, the way they did with the conspirators of the Muzaffarnagar riots... they have now done the same with the cow killers." PM Modi has said nothing so far — not on social media where he is active nor in the many speeches he has made since.
62 people died and 50,000 displaced in violence sparked by an eve teasing incident.
The riots, which happened in 2013, left 62 dead, many scores injured and thousands uprooted from their homes. But in November 2013, three BJP men, accused of inciting the deadly riots in Uttar Pradesh, were treated as guests of honour at election rallies. They were removed from the stage before Modi arrived. It was perhaps an attempt by the BJP to allow Modi to maintain some distance from the controversial legislators.
All the hullabaloo surrounding Gajendra Chauhan's appointment as the FTII chief.
Was Gajendra Chauhan appointed merely because of his BJP credentials rather than his stature as an actor ? Even the BJP will find it hard to deny that. The truly scary bit, however, is the extent of control they want to exert and the fact that student protests have meant precious little to them. No criticism, please!
Ambedkar Periyar Student Circle
The group that got banned for speaking against bans.
In May 2015, IIT-Madras banned a student group, the Ambedkar Periyar Student Circle, for criticizing PM Modi and his policies — mainly the use of Hindi and the ban on cow slaughter. The decision followed after the Ministry of Human Resource Development made an inquiry regarding an ‘anonymous’ complaint.
The rise and rise of extremist Hindu groups
The Sri Ram Sene, the Sanathan Sanstha, the VHP, the Bajrang Dal have all been more vocal and active in the past one year than they were during the Congress years. The Modi government’s reluctance to take any concrete action has emboldened them.
Muslims don’t know the Ramayana
Hindutva forces targeted a Muslim scholar for writing about the Ramayana.
Literary critic MM Basheer was set to write a series of newspaper columns on the Ramayana in the Malayalam daily Mathrubhumi this August. But after promising the editor six columns, he had to stop at five because of a sustained campaign on the telephone by unnamed persons who upbraided him for writing on Rama when he was a Muslim. “At the age of 75, I was being reduced to just a Muslim, I couldn’t take it,” Basheer later told the Indian Express .
The rise of the Hindu nation
The right-wing indoctrination has begun.
Sushma Swaraj said that the Bhagavad Gita is India’s national book — it isn’t. The Haryana government deciding to include Ramayana and Mahabharata in school textbooks. Union minister Ravi Shankar Prasad recently claimed, without any basis, that Ashoka belonged to the Kushwaha caste. Then, they renamed Aurangzeb Road in Delhi as it was named after a tyrannical and oppressive ruler. The indoctrination has begun.
Schemes fall flat
The failure of all the pet projects.
The Swacchh Bharat campaign never took off. Only 20-25 percent of the target, in terms of toilet construction, has been achieved while on the garbage management front, the results are even more abysmal. And this was Modi’s pet project. The Black Money scheme flopped as well — according to reports, total disclosures under the scheme were an underwhelming Rs 3,770 crore, and since only 60 percent of that will come in as tax revenues (30 percent tax, plus 30 percent penalty), the government’s coffers will be richer by just Rs 2,262 crore.
The gap between the rhetoric and the ground reality has only continued to grow. In San Jose, recently, Modi had spoken about how after one year in the government there was not a single taint against him. He said it with a fair degree of pride too. But perhaps he also needs to ask himself whether this is the India he promised us? After all, deeds speak louder than words.