Aakar Patel, a columnist whom I introduced to ‘Sakshi’ readers when I was its Editorial Director, writes well with effect. His style is simple and narrative is full of facts that are impeccable. He wrote a book that was published a few months ago but did not become very popular as is wont with books of all kinds in India, especially books of non-fiction. It does not have anything to do with quality of the book or the ability of the author. It has got to do with the habit Indians developed over the years. They would watch daily serials on TV and spend time doing something else rather than reading books. That is why most of the books stop with a single edition, first print run.
What other say about us is not important
The latest book from Aakar Patel is “Our Hindu Rashtra.” Most unpopular title in today’s India that is Bharat. In his article recently published in ‘Deccan Chronicle,’ which may have been read by more people than the people who would have read his book, the author talks about how we already are a Hindu Rashtra. He says if holding elections regularly and even fairly could make us eligible to call ourselves democracy then we are one. Does not matter if Freedom House of the US says we are “partly free,” and only 40 per cent weightage is give to the political rights of the citizens. The Denmark agency, ‘Varities of Democracy’ called our country an ‘electoral autocracy.’ We say the agency has no business to talk about us. Civil liberties and fundamental rights are badly affected in India. The author says in Pakistan the exclusion of minorities is done by law, and in India it has been done by practice, with the help of inefficient opposition and indulgent media. There is no need for any new law or amendment to the constitution if we have to go on living like we have been doing since 2014 under Prime Minister Narendra Modi.
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Compare, contrast India, Pakistan
Comparing the conditions in the two neighboring countries, Aakar Patel says Pakistan, which calls itself an Islamic State, has no Hindu chief minister in its four provinces and India, which is proud of being a democratic republic, has no Muslim chief minister in its 28 States. Of India’s ruling party (BJP)’s 303 Lok Sabha members, there is not a single Muslim and 15 States have no Muslim minister. In ten other States, there is only one Muslim minister each who is generally allocated the portfolio of minority affairs. Giving religious rights to minorities is deception. The so called rights given by States to minorities in fact snatched away their existing freedoms. The author says, that is why he says we are already a Hindu Rashtra structurally.
Lopsided media view
India is an economy that is in its fourth year of slowing down in terms of GDP growth. It is the only economy in South Asia to be in recession. Unemployment has been at historic highs since 2017. But for the media and politicians stopping women marrying outside their religion or deciding as to who should be allowed to enter temples are more important issues than economic slowdown and whopping unemployment. China occupying another thousand square miles in Ladhak when India is being ruled by a strong nationalist ruler is not news. When our country conducts surgical strikes against Pakistan, we celebrate. But when our government keeps mum when thousands of miles were occupied, we don’t complaint. We have not been voting based on economic growth or employment opportunities. Media does not highlight these issue even when a leader of Rahul Gandhi ‘s stature raised them continuously. Every fact on the ground says we are heading in the wrong way but we are angered when someone points it out to us. I strongly recommend Aakar Patel’s ‘Our Hindu Rashtra’ to our readers. Please buy and read it.
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