Stop the campaign against the new Parliament

Ever since the inauguration of the new Parliament House on Sunday with a puja and the installation of the sacred Sengol in the presence of Adheenams (priests) from South India, “leftist” intellectuals have gone ballistic, outraging about what they call the “theocratisation” of the Indian polity. Social media is flooded with posts and memes on how the presence of the monks at Parliament House has destroyed the secular character of the Indian Constitution and how India is being pushed into the dark ages, where the Vedas and priests will determine how this country is run. At the political level, most of the outrage is coming from parties of the left variety and some like the RJD that believe that denigrating the majority community’s beliefs and customs will win them brownie points with the minority communities. However, Opposition parties such as Congress and Trinamool Congress are carefully sidestepping the religious part of the inauguration, knowing that any name calling of Hindu seers will not go down well with their voters. So they have latched on to the issue of the President not inaugurating the Parliament, with the Congress taking its opposition up by one notch by trying to discredit the Sengol’s back-story as a figment of imagination by the “WhatsApp University”. Meanwhile, the Opposition ecosystem—and it is a powerful one—has unleashed a full-scale propaganda war on the issue.
What we are witnessing is the same old story of trying to make the majority community feel guilty about their religious identity by labelling their beliefs as regressive and unenlightened. As if tradition and modernity cannot go hand in hand, and as if India is only about the topics taught in our British-inspired textbooks for the last seven decades and there is nothing to learn beyond that about our history or culture. These propagandists do not realise that times have changed, especially since 2014, when Narendra Modi came to power for the first time. Ever since, the majority community has been rediscovering its roots and has been growing in confidence about its identity, with the Prime Minister leading from the front. At the same time, this confidence is not the arrogance of the bully. If India’s majority community were a bully, this country would have been a Pakistan by now, where minorities have all but disappeared. In India, minorities are thriving, as their burgeoning numbers show. That is why this propaganda about India becoming a “Hindu Pakistan” does not pass the smell test. India can never become a Hindu Pakistan because if India is secular it is because the Hindus have made it secular—a secularism of the Indian variety where all religions are treated equally. It is because of this that there was an all-religion prayer meeting in the new Parliament premises ahead of the inauguration—something the detractors of Prime Minister Modi missed, perhaps deliberately. But India’s secularism does not mean a negation of its roots. Lest we forget, the hand-written first Constitution of India is adorned with illustrations that drew inspiration from our heritage—right from the Vedas and our epics such as the Ramayana and Mahabharata. India is a civilizational nation with very deep roots. The new Parliament is as much a revival and celebration of that past, as it is about a step into the future. It not only symbolizes a confident and rising India, but also consigns a humiliating and brutal colonial past into the dustbins of history.
Also, the Modi government’s record in the last nine years has been both scientific and performance driven. Take the example of Covid vaccination. When politicians and people right of centre in the Western hemisphere were discouraging vaccination, the Indian Prime Minister ensured a smooth vaccination drive where 2 billion-plus doses were administered. Take Digital India, which is undoubtedly the biggest success story in the world of using digitization to enhance the citizen’s “ease of living”. And these are just two examples. So only the brainwashed will say that bringing revered monks into the Parliament is akin to pushing India into the dark ages.
Actually there is a lesson in all this for a section of the Opposition and its ecosystem. The more they try to negate India’s civilizational entity, the more deracinated they appear—cut off from their roots. And the more deracinated they appear, the greater will be the pushback from the common, and confident, Indian. So it’s time to put a lid on the campaign against the new Parliament.

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