AA Edit | Resources, religion & quotas: Why PM poll talk rattles Opposition

Modi's leadership reflects a blend of ancient wisdom and modern values, challenging conventional political narratives

Update: 2024-05-17 18:35 GMT
Prime Minister Narendra Modi addresses a public meeting for the Lok Sabha elections, in Fatehpur district, Friday, May 17, 2024. (PTI Photo)

Typically, students learn about the fascinating phenomenon of the dual nature of light in their school, around Classes 9 or 10. It is apt because they are of an age when most of them do contemplate on the paradox of it, not just in the context of physics, but also metaphysics, human nature and relationships. It is hard to comprehend the dual nature of light — how it can exist and travel both as a particle, and as a wave, simultaneously. But if one has to fight darkness and make it possible for human eyes to see, clearly, one has to possess both qualities.

Like light, Prime Minister Narendra Modi, too, exhibits a phantasmagoria of dual properties, drawing from diverse resources, be it ancient Indian culture and philosophy, with its wisdom and kindness of “Vasudhaiva Kutumbakam” (all of the world is my family), or the mother of democracy or Bharat, which he exemplifies at work by upholding constitutional values like secularism and universal humanitarianism, or even a strong, masculine Hindutva, modelled after heroes like Rana Pratap or Shivaji who did not brook unfair discrimination and fought for justice, that he embodies.

Both misunderstanding and overestimating the virtue of consistency in political narrative setting ahead of an election, the Opposition stands bewildered by the range of arguments presented by him on the issues of secularism, democracy, the Constitution and the equality of Hindus and Muslims, and people from other religions, in a vibrant democracy like India.

When Mr Modi questioned the issue of allocating resources first to minorities, it was not a statement against the Muslims, or people of any other religion, but the issue of discrimination, even if positive, based on the criterion of religion. The Indian Constitution does not make room for any positive discrimination on the basis of anyone’s chosen faith, especially given that one can change it voluntarily. On the other hand, Mr Modi and the BJP strongly support the Dr B.R. Ambedkar’s line of reservations for the uplift of people who have suffered caste discrimination for centuries.

Similarly, while Mr Modi says that he would lose his right to be in public life if he ever tried to bring in Hindu-Muslim communal polarisation to an election, he has spoken up against the Congress’ wish to allocate resources to Muslims first, based on the proportion of the population that is made up by them. He was speaking against pseudo-secularism and the lack of equality and fairness in proposed policy making, not making a communal hate speech, in the latter instance.

Asked directly if Muslims would vote for him during his various media interactions, Mr Modi has always maintained that the people of this country would vote for him based on his track record and the trust he evokes. It is the stance of a statesman who does not look upon his fellow citizens as persons belonging to any particular faith but as Indians and Indians alone. India will always stand in awe of one of its most courageous, confident and bold leaders of the present time.


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