Self styled vigilante groups claiming allegiance to the Sangh Parivar appear to be having a rollicking time. Not a day passes without news being flashed on multiple TV channels of right wing extremists targeting innocent people in the name of cow protection and patronage for preserving our culture and heritage. What is simultaneously alarming and disconcerting is that neither the Central government nor the state governments were doing enough to provide security to the citizens to uphold the rule of law. Miscreants are having a field day and getting away with it because their actions are sought to be justified on the ground that it is their interpretation of religion and mythology.

While Prime Minister Narendra Modi is working overtime to project a positive image of the country, there is a counter narrative running concurrently in our own land. Appallingly, a high court judge has the audacity to state that the sacred cow was both a physician and a surgeon. He quotes further from scriptures to support and emphasise his conviction on the peacock and its method of procreation. Cattle rustlers, in the name of safeguarding the cow, rough up and attack ordinary and poor farm hands who are helping to transport the animals from one place to the other. Self proclaimed defenders of feminine rights, thrash boys and girls who are sitting peacefully to profess their commitment in maintaining the dignity of girls and women. The top court passes an order prohibiting the sale of liquor within 500 metres of any national or state highway in order to stop or curb drunk driving.

In fact, it is for all the wrong reasons that India is in the news, both nationally and internationally. The short point is: given this scenario, which investor would deem it viable to set up industries of any nature or start-ups, the government so keenly is championing? Whatever is happening is contrary to the vision of the Prime Minister, who desires to elevate our country to the status of a superpower. If there is no rule of law and the life and property of the citizens is threatened constantly by vigilante groups, who is going to make investments in new projects? If there are no fresh enterprises, there would be no jobs.

It is simple for BJP president Amit Shah to claim that the government cannot give jobs to all its citizens, but he conveniently forgets that Modi had himself promised employment to millions during his tenure. As things have turned out to be, the number of people who have lost their jobs far exceeds those who have been recruited in the past three years. This trend will not reverse unless the government plays a pro active role and creates an atmosphere conducive for the growth of industry and agriculture.

True that many things were not right even during the tenure of previous regimes, but that is no excuse for insufficient undertaking. Immense hopes are fastened to Modi, who is seen by the majority as an unparalleled leader. Therefore, it is incomprehensible why peripheral issues are overshadowing pre-eminent matters. The looming question: Is there a segment that is attempting to navigate the agenda away from the core essence of the Prime Minister’s assurances?

It is baffling why the Sangh is not openly coming out to admonish these bigots and dogmatists who are trying to impose their (mis)beliefs on the rest of the people. Scientific temperament is a pre-requisite and it is deplorable that Krishan Gopal, who is the RSS interlocutor with the BJP with a science background, has been unable to drive some logic in this kind of abysmal thinking. No one expects these people to stop believing in subjects close to their heart, but at least they should strive not to thrust these ill founded theories on others.

In some quarters, there is a sneaking suspicion that all this is being done with a specific purpose. The beef debate is aimed at the Muslims in order to polarise the Hindus. The Dalits are being targeted because many upper caste people do not consider them to be part of Hindu society. In short, the political objective is that in the march towards the Hindu Rashtra, there has to be an isolation of Muslims and Dalits. Is the RSS, which talks of Akhand Bharat or Greater and Unified India, supporting this view? Does this not infringe the concept of what the Sangh has always stood for that India is one nation and one people? Then why this divisive politics?

Ironically, the situation can best be described in Iqbal’s words. “Oh Fikr Kar Nadaan, Mussebat Aaanewali Hai, Teri Barbaadiyon Ke Mashware Hain Aasmanon Mein, Na Samjhoge To Mit Jaoge Hindustan Walo, Tumhari Dastaan Tak Na Hogi Dastaano Mein (Wake up you ignorant Beings, disaster looms ahead. If you cannot foresee the peril in the dark and overcast sky, you are hurtling towards sure doom. Your fate would be such that you would lose your relevance in the coming time).”

In the overall interest of the nation, the Prime Minister must step in and issue instructions to contain these obscurantist and anachronistic characters. India does not need them in our quest for quantifiable heights. Between us.

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