RASHMI OBEROI | 14 NOVEMBER, 2018
A War Being Waged on History
The regime has dropped its mask of development
Do you feel a war being waged on history? Well, you’re absolutely right. The present government has been doing this over the last few years, and now it has reached a crescendo. They are taking down old statues, replacing them with what they consider important, removing plaques, changing the names of places/ roads/ airports/ cities and erasing the memory of our past.
Now, you can’t change the past, but perhaps some people are convinced they can change the future by eradicating reminders of our past.
If you’re planning on travelling from Karnavati to Prayagraj via Gurugram with a stopover in Ayodhya, be sure to open an updated map or you may just go around in circles wondering where the heck you are! The government’s narrow mindedness has peaked to such an extent that you can literally see their venomous hatred for minority communities.
Future disasters are waiting to unfold. Hacking up the names of cities and roads is absolutely childish. Our already dented and damaged system is deteriorating further. We are sliding down into an abyss and reaching a dead end, thanks to those who deliberately misinterpret history to serve their own personal interests.
One thing is for sure: for the country to move forward, it cannot afford to isolate itself and be stuck in the parochial mindset. It needs to look outward, cooperate, compete, and participate in the modern world of equality and multiculturalism. We cannot afford to look inward. But how will we compete or participate in the international arena if we are still stuck in our parochial mindset?
In what may not be a coincidence, as the door of global economic opportunity open wide for us, we grapple with the basic issue of nationhood. This is one of the most important issues which we need to address urgently, whether at the state or national level. The constitution protects every Indian’s rights – no matter what their religion or background. We need to accept the principles of parliamentary democracy and enhance our position globally.
We must move away from the politics of ‘parochialism’ which will not help us progress as a nation. You can't change the past. What you can change is how you look at it and how you understand that it takes the good moments and takes the difficult moments to move forward and for a country or community to grow.
Controversy's favourite child Yogi Adityanath is famous for spewing vitriol. His whole politics is based on religious discord. He has left no stone unturned to create hatred against the minorities. He thrives on exploiting majoritarian anxiety and frustration. The deliberate fuelling of discord may not be as controllable as he thinks. Adityanath has a record of politics of hate and fear and his sins don't become any less disturbing if we cite the failures of secularism. His frequent provocations are likely to divert the narrative away from development, towards divisive issues.
Peace and harmony are the basic prerequisites for development and that is lacking on all fronts. This primitive kind of politics puts in danger the rise of a modern India. It is sad that Yogi’s or Modi’s governments didn't take much time in deciding to embrace the sectarian politics of hate, fear and intimidation.
We stand at an important inflexion point in the life of our nation. The regime has dropped its mask of development and given way to what was once the fringe. Extremist, hate-peddling Hindutva is now the official essential core.
The Bharatiya Janata Party also aims to rename Hyderabad and other cities in the state after the names of ‘great people’ if it is elected to power in Telangana in the December 7 polls.
Hold on to Allahabad, Faizabad, Ahmedabad, Hyderabad… The list seems endless… Hold them in your memories… The political show goes on… The nation is being suffocated.