good stance

Source: The Hitavada      Date: 09 Mar 2018 11:24:48

Nakshatra Jeshtha 27H 24M

Moon Vrischika upto 27H.24M (Rajandekar Panchang)
Paksha Falgun Krishna Tithi Ashtami 29H 58M
Muslim Jamadilakhar 20th Hijree 1439


PRIME Minister Mr. Narendra Modi has done well to issue a stern warning to anybody who would try to vandalise statues of iconic personages who subscribed to a different ideology. This warning came following reports from several parts of the country about how some goons took to vandalisation of statues of icons like Lenin, Ramaswami Perriyar, Dr. Shyama Prasad Mukherjee and others. Obviously, the Prime Minister is disturbed over the events that demonstrated a shocking absence of accommodation of contrarian viewpoint, which is the hallmark of democracy. His move to issue a stern warning to vandals of all parties, including from his own Bharatiya Janata Party, is a very good and welcome stance that behooves his status and stature. It is unfortunate that Indian democracy has allowed certain negativism to get ingrained in the socio-political discourse, pushing people to intolerance as an abiding virtue of sectarian politics. It is unfortunate that even as this negative aspect became an integral part of the plebiscitary politics, there was no one to take notice and take appropriate corrective action. Everything was left to local Police who moved when they got reports of such vandalism and took action that often resulted in no sure-shot conviction of the wrong-doers.

It is against this background that the Prime Minister’s firm and no-nonsense stance offers a bright and welcome contrast. There is every reason now to believe that the cheap vandalism that often marks actions of goons harboured by almost all political parties will get curbed post-haste. There is also every reason for us to believe that the Prime Minister is serious about his own warning and that the Government would act tough on the goons who took the law in their own hands without fear of any reprimand. This brazenness, let us hope, would get erased from Indian political arena.

The most abiding virtue of democracy is accommodation of contrarian viewpoint. It is a system that allows every shade of opinion live and thrive by winning argument and not by vandalism. Democracy is a marketplace of free-flowing criss-cross ideas that need not end up on the same side of the divide. But when goons seek to vandalise statues of icons subscribing to contrary point of view, or obliterate symbols of differing ideologies, then what is hurt in the core is democracy. The events of vandalism in the past few days indicated our society’s growing intolerance of others’ viewpoint, no matter how strongly we differed with him or her. It is from this angle that the Prime Minister’s initiative is welcome.

Let us confess to one unfortunate reality of the ugly underbelly of Indian politics that all parties harboured goons that were unleashed on hostile camps in this or that manner. Let us confess that Indian democracy did not -- or could not -- evolve into an accommodative system that agrees to disagree. However, this situation must change, and the Prime Minister’s initiative may mark the beginning of a positive change. From now on, may all political parties resolve to respect others’ points of view. And in order to make this possible, the Prime Minister may follow things up by calling a meeting of leadership of all political parties to draw up a code of conduct and extract vows from all to follow it to the hilt. In fact, such a code does exist, but nobody follows it. If Mr. Narendra Modi initiates action in that regard, he will do a very special service to democratic method we have adopted as nation’s system to govern public affairs. Meanwhile, let us hope that the cops take truly stern action against all the goons who vandalised statues and marks of honours of differing ideologies.