There is never a dull moment in our country. What an interesting and shocking diversity of events have taken place in the past few days.
After a much applauded speech of Prime Minister Modi at Davos, marred only by the out-of-place tweet of the Congress President quoting a left wing publication, and the demand of Congress leaders to discuss the plight of farmers and the poor in Davos, I was expecting to see India reach a new high with ten leaders of the ASEAN countries together for the first time in India.
These ASEAN leaders have come to India, to commemorate the 25th anniversary of the India — ASEAN partnership. For the first time we will see 10 heads of state at the Republic Day parade and there are major opportunities for India to play a substantive role both economically and politically in ASEAN. After his success at Davos, this is another major success of the Prime Minister.
At the same time, the controversial movie Padmaavat was released much to the delight of the Karni Sena goons (some people have called them terrorists and I would agree) who took it upon themselves to become the conscience keepers of the entire nation and started to destroy anything in their path. So much public and private property has been destroyed and so many people have been physically hurt. Cars, buses and two wheelers, have been torched, cinema theatres have been damaged and shops have been smashed by unruly mobs without a care for the owners of these assets.
Their protest hit rock bottom when they attacked a school bus in Gurugram. Photographs of small children cowering in fear under the protection of their school teachers on the floor of the bus shocked an already tired nation, fed-up with the silence of the politicians. Has anyone stopped to think the scars such attacks have left on the minds and hearts of these children? Will parents ever think that their children will be safe in future when they are going to or coming back from school?
The smug leaders of the Karni Sena basking in their new found (and hopefully very short lived) importance and showing no remorse on television channels, waxed eloquent about how they are the protectors of the Rajputs and the country and that they would continue to disrupt life because they do not like a movie. Who may I ask the leaders of Karni Sena, gave them this right to speak for me?
And to add insult to injury, senior Congress leader Digvijay Singh questioned why movies like Padmaavat are made while some BJP MLA stated that it was “politically expedient” not to take action against the Karni Sena! The opposition politicians are screaming themselves hoarse demanding a response only from the prime Minister, who they know has just returned from Davos and is tied up with the ASEAN leaders and the Republic Day celebrations.
Every television channel covered Karni Sena and forgot that 10 leaders of the ASEAN countries are in India. In our very ostrich like thinking, we are only concerned with what happens in “our neck of the woods.” Who cares about the nation and the pathetic impression this will leave in the minds of World leaders. What will they tell their businessmen about investing in India once they go back home? ASEAN is not only a trading opportunity for India but strong relationships will help India to position ourselves as an alternative to China who has had a major head start in the Asia Pacific region.
Only in India can we see a complete lack of concern for the standing and the respect of our nation amongst the comity of nations. If we are in the opposition or if we see an opportunity to gain prominence for ourselves, self-interest always comes first. Our journalists, while they must report on constant “breaking news” should also consider that too much coverage of such incidents may incite the frenzied mobs further. Very often, ignoring stupid movements like these ensures that they fizzle out very quickly.
It will be very difficult for the traumatised children to forget this horrific experience. The scars may heal over a period of time, the loss of property will be managed somehow and life will go back to normal again, only till some other set of goons decide to pick up the gauntlet for something they do not like and cause ridiculous and completely unwarranted destruction.
The ASEAN leaders are also politicians and leaders and several of their countries have also seen a lot of volatility. They may let their experience at the silver jubilee summit pass. But the impression their journalists will carry back for their constituents may not be forgotten very easily.
Unless all political parties come together and take a decision to stop these goons “expressing” themselves through their might with the police force looking the other way, India will always be sitting on a powder keg with a very short fuse, to be lit whenever anyone does not like something that is politically convenient.
Today it is the Congress criticising the BJP. Tomorrow it could be the other way around. Political parties will come to power and will lose power but the primacy and supremacy of our nation must never ever be compromised.
Only when India succeeds will every citizen of the country prosper and grow.
The author is the founder Chairman of Guardian Pharmacies. A keen political observer, he is an Angel Investor and Executive Coach. He is the author of 5 best-selling books, Reboot. Reinvent. Rewire: Managing Retirement in the 21st Century; The Corner Office; An Eye for an Eye; The Buck Stops Here — Learnings of a #Startup Entrepreneur and The Buck Stops Here — My Journey from a Manager to an Entrepreneur.
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