Pusillanimity and pious declarations are not going to get the PLA out of Indian territory. If we let Manmohan Singh have his way, it’ll be 1962 redux
There is understandable national concern over the sudden surge of belligerence in China’s attitude towards India, most notably visible in the marked shift in its approach to resolving the border issue which has been festering for half-a-century now. Although talks on demarcating the border to the mutual satisfaction of India and China have been dragging on without any resolution in sight, both New Delhi and Beijing have remained committed to maintaining peace and tranquillity along the Line of Actual Control, thus preserving the status quo in the interregnum. Seen against this backdrop, China’s sudden smash-and-grab adventurism in Ladakh has come as a surprise, though many who have been warning about Beijing’s true intentions would disagree with that proposition: The Dragon was never to be trusted.
Under normal circumstances, the declaration of results at the end of a long and bitterly contested election is followed by an onrush of platitudes affirming the “maturity of the voters”, the reinforcement of “democratic values” and the opening of a “new chapter” of parliamentary politics.
It is not that such ritualistic self-praise was completely absent on Friday morning as the Electronic Voting Machines began revealing the preferences of India’s many millions of voters. However, the usual quota of anodyne remarks and self-satisfied we-told-you-so comments were replaced by two developments that happened in rapid succession. First, by 9.30 am — barely 90 minutes after counting began — it was sufficiently clear that Narendra Modi was going to be India’s next Prime Minister. The NDA, it was evident, was coasting to a majority. Second, around 11 am or thereabouts, another far more dramatic trend became visible: The BJP was on its way to crossing the magic 272+ mark on its own.
Every possible insult has been used by experts, both Indian and foreign, to demonise Narendra Modi. The country's electorate has resoundingly ignored them all and put the talking heads in their place.
China often criticises democracy, particularly the 'Indian system', as not being a system which 'works'. It has been partly true. In many fields, such as infrastructure development or defence preparedness, India is nowhere near China. Beijing believes that the faultline lies in the democratic process which, most of the times, delivers fractured results, ending up in ill-assorted coalitions, which, in the process, invariably forget national interests.
Fortunately, it is not always the case; this time the Narendra Modi Government will hopefully be in a position to deliver the goods; this should be a lesson for China which, in recent times, seems to live in fear, due to the lack of stability inherent in its authoritarian system.
What secularism did was it enforced oppositions in a way that the middle class felt apologetic and unconfident about its beliefs, its perspectives. Secularism was portrayed as an upwardly mobile, drawing room discourse they were inept at.
On May 17, Narendra Modi revisited Varanasi to witness a pooja performed at the Kashi Vishwanath temple. After the ritual at the temple, he moved to Dashashwamedh ghat where an aarti was performed along the river. The aarti was more than a spectacle. As a ritual, it echoed the great traditions of a city, as a performance it was riveting. As the event was relayed on TV, people messaged requesting that the event be shown in full, without commentary. Others claimed that this was the first time such a ritual was shown openly. With Mr. Modi around, the message claimed “We don’t need to be ashamed of our religion. This could not have happened earlier.”
Congress and the so-called secular parties have been seen by people for what they are: Sectarian elements promoting Islamist fundamentalism in the name of secularism. Will they own up their mistake and reform?
The real nature of an individual (and also of an organisation) shows only in a crushing defeat or a complete victory. The heat and humiliation of a total loss melts the façade of calm, composure and civility, usual under normal circumstances. A serious setback brings to fore the latent insecurities and hidden weakness in personality and exposes the 'real' substance of a person.