Nandigram,Jyotigram and the Sachar Report

via Mayank Jain published on February 12, 2008

Three events are changing the course of the perennial Indian debate on secularism and communalism — Nandigram, Jyotigram and the Sachar Committee report. This is for the first time in the history of this debate that the tables are being turned on the Congress-Left combine. The self righteousness of the communists is now falling out after the Nandigram killings. The communists no longer matter as they did in the past. Not many buy their propaganda about the Gujarat ‘genocide’ as we can easily see from the Gujarat election results. Even before that ‘The Telegraph’ dt. October 14, 2007, wrote: “Months after the riots, the Bengal government had tried to embarrass Modi by inviting and rehabilitating Qutubuddin Ansari, the tailor who had become the face of the pogrom after he was photographed with pleading, fearful eyes and folded hands. Ansari set up a tailoring shop in Calcutta with government help and was paraded at meetings where he contrasted peaceful, harmonious Bengal with Modi’s Gujarat. His business didn’t do well, however, and he returned to Gujarat two years later”. No wonder, even leftist stalwarts like Jyoti Basu and Budhdhadeb Bhattacharya have confessed that socialism was no longer achievable.

On the other side, when Modi repeatedly refers to the communal budgeting’ of the 15-point economic programme of the PM on minorities as divisive, it matters. The handsome applause he received at the huge Shivaji park rally in Mumbai proves that Modi continues to strike an intense chord with the people on all issues of his choosing. The Prime Minister’s comment that the Muslims have the first right to the resources of the country is just a corollary to the Sachar committee report. This time the Congress has taken the agenda of Muslim communalism a little too far. Consequently, the term ‘communal’ is getting stuck as a label on the Congress party. Interestingly, while Congress has always been on the defensive against the BJP on the issue of Muslim appeasement, the Congress continued to be ‘secular’ while the BJP was perennially ‘communal’. This could change now.

The communist editors had ensured that it was impossible to associate BJP’s name with development especially in context of the poor. But now the BJP has for the first time earned a pro-development image for itself. While the ‘Jyotigram Yojna’ gave electricity to all villages in Gujarat, drinking water was simultaneously sent to thousands of parched village homes. In addition, the ‘Chiranjeevi Yojna’ brought down the MMR and IMR in Gujarat dramatically — by giving free delivery facilities to pregnant BPL mothers in private hospitals. Gujarat, no doubt, heads for an unprecedented miracle and this has also made the BJP and development synonymous in this part of India.

Hitherto, being Hindu in India meant not only being communal but also being anti-development. A leftist economist of the Delhi School of Economics, Prof. Raj Krishna, had coined a term called the ‘Hindu Rate of Growth’ to explain away the then low growth rate of the Indian economy. He was proved wrong because ‘Modinomics’ eventually achieved a miraculous double digit economic growth rate in a state dubbed as ‘the hotbed of Hindu communalism’ . Now every one knows that the low economic growth rate of India in the Nehruvian era was just a relic of the Soviet model. If there is something called ‘the Hindu rate of growth’, it exists in the Gujarat of today.

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