I admit, government was right all along

Last Updated 20 December 2020, 16:34 IST

This has been a bizarre year all round, having been hijacked by a global pandemic, but the Modi government has provided several measures in order to fight Covid-19 and build a ‘self-reliant India’ – from cracking down on the Tablighi Jamaat to battling ‘love jihad’ to laying the foundation stone for a new parliament building.

A lot of these measures have been rather controversial. But as we take stock, perhaps one can’t help but feel that the government was right all along.

Take the Tablighi Jamaat fiasco early in the year. This week, a Delhi court acquitted 36 foreigners who had been accused of disobeying the government’s Covid-19 guidelines. The court also said that it was “reasonably probable” that the police had picked up the accused to “maliciously prosecute” them on the directions of the Union Home Ministry.

But even if the court is right, can one really blame the Home Ministry for it? After all, India was facing a pandemic. The government needed to boost national morale. What better way to do that than by hauling up some random foreigners and making an example out of them? And if the random foreigners turned out to be Muslims, isn’t that a happy coincidence for the Hindutva party?

Yet, soon afterwards, national morale was back under threat, as the Chinese barged in and set up camp on Indian territory. Even as intelligence agencies said that as much as 1,000 square kilometres had been occupied, the prime minister publicly remarked that there was no intrusion into Indian soil. The Chinese media picked up his comment and used it to vindicate Beijing and vilify the Indian army as the ‘real intruders.’

But just imagine what might have happened if the prime minister had been honest. Wouldn’t the public have been anxious? Wouldn’t the government have had to draw up a military strategy to evict the occupiers? Wouldn’t there have been a war? The Chinese have since settled in, seemingly for good, complete with fibre-optic cables to keep their camps connected. But the national morale has thankfully been saved. The Chinese can have our land, but they will never have our pride!

And what of ‘love jihad’, the greatest threat to India’s national integrity today? When the Uttar Pradesh police began storming into Hindu-Muslim weddings, people decried their actions as an infringement on personal freedom. But how is a New India supposed to develop if Hindu women fall for Muslim men? How can the government build a Hindu Rashtra out of their mix-breed offspring? If the girl converts to Islam, that’s obviously even worse; apostasy is treason – and apostasy by a woman is all the more catastrophic (just ask the Wahhabis – they understand this anxiety!)

Finally, there is the new parliament building. I know that everyone is asking why we are spending thousands of crores on a new parliament and central vista when businesses are collapsing, and workers are starving – especially since we aren’t really using the existing parliament building as much as we used to anyway (who needs parliament when you can simply pass ordinances?). But if the old parliament is being turned into a museum, perhaps the new one can eventually host a museum as well – and two museums would certainly make more income than one.

In fact, the government should use up its resources to build monuments and statues in every city now. When the Mughals had economic trouble, they too built rich monuments and mausoleums to create jobs. Five hundred years from now, perhaps another enlightened generation will also take similar ‘inspiration’ from the monuments we build in our time.

So, trust our leaders. They know what they are doing.

(Published 20 December 2020, 14:48 IST)

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