Dr. Syama Prasad Mookerjee Research Foundation

Historic Milestones

Steadily, surely and certainly the Narendra Modi Government is advancing towards altering and transforming the “Idea of India” narrative. The achievements and events of the last few months and weeks, have clearly indicated and established that. The aspiration and hope of India’s rise as a civilizational power, as a major power, the hopes of crores of Indians that unsettled episodes of our history, which have sapped our national energies for the last seven decades be solved, have been fulfilled. The successful delivery and arrival of the first batch of the Rafale fighter jets is a major step towards firming up India’s defence capabilities. The successful, transparent and time-bound negotiations of the Rafale delivery by the Modi dispensation displays the Prime Minister’s determination to ensure that India can never be blackmailed or bullied anymore.

The campaign of calumny against the acquisition of the Rafale, unleashed by the Congress party and its former president, the repeated attempts by the Left parties and their inspired media houses to obfuscate the issue, to deliberately misinterpret failed to gain any traction. In the new narrative of the “Idea of India”, it is the people who wish to see India emerge as a great power, conscious of her civilizational moorings, potentials and responsibilities. This support of the people, is a real support, it is a heartfelt and genuine support and not like the support falsely claimed by the communists in trying to further their deconstructive political goals through a “peoples’ revolution”. When PM Modi talks of Jan Bhagidari, when he asserts that people of India are with him and for them he toils and strives on, he means it, and it rings true, both the mandates of 2014 and 2019, have conclusively proved that. The peoples’ support Modi’s appeals received during the difficult period of the lockdown, the peoples’ response that his exhortations elicited during India’s fight against the pandemic are cases in point.

The continuing fortification of our border defence infrastructure, the enhanced speed, the upgraded technology used, the devaluation of more decision making and fiscal powers to the Border Road Organisation (BRO), the determined planning and time-bound execution, the completion of strategic roads and bridges, clearly display PM Modi’s pace, his political will and farsightedness. India’s border defence and infrastructure long used to being neglected have been receiving renewed push and attention since 2014 and have seen a number of projects completed in the last few years and months. The addition of the Rafale contingent in the Indian arsenal at this point of time is also highly symbolic. It has clearly demonstrated that the system and structure of governance, delivery in India have indeed undergone a visible change.

The first week of August – 5th August – will also be the first anniversary of the abrogation of the discriminatory Article 370 and 35A. A civilizational move, it was, as far as India’s unity and integrity was concerned. For the first time, since independence, India was united from the mountains to the seas. While the decision to abrogate 370 and 35A was done and implemented through entirely democratic and constitutional means, receiving support from across the political spectrum, Prime Minister Modi also articulated a new vision for the region. In the last one year that vision has struck roots and resonance among the people Jammu-Kashmir and Ladakh. Grassroots devolution of power, emphasis on connectivity, infrastructure and the laying of lifelines has continued apace. With the passing of the Domicile Act, a brazen discrimination has ended, Union laws and institutions now have jurisdiction over the people benefiting and empowering them. Ladakh is seeing a new wave of development, this was the first winter which saw the people of Ladakh well supplied with electricity and provisions. From central schemes to job generation, from health-care infrastructure to educational infrastructure, from bridges to roads, from agriculture, horticulture, to industry and tourism, in every field there has been visible and palpable progress in the last one year. The scale of developmental thinking has seen an upward swing both in terms of planning and delivery. Political parties and leaders who had thrived on the politics of blackmail supported by 370, are being compelled to do a rethink. Either they change or they risk becoming increasingly irrelevant and obsolete. True freedom for the people of Ladakh and Jammu-Kashmir has in a sense come now. One of the most transformative aspects of this change of status is that it has practically broken the backbone of terror networks in the region with terrorists, their organisations, masters and sponsors feeling the heat. This has made a huge positive difference to the lives of the ordinary people of the region who yearn to get along with their normal lives and aspire for opportunities.

Another historic milestone is the completion of the path-breaking New Education Policy 2020. An education policy which not only articulates and reflects the New India narrative and its various dimensions but also repositions India’s educational ethos and approach to her civilizational quest and experience. The NEP 2020 is indeed a major landmark of Prime Minister Modi’s second tenure. Each dimension of the policy reflects a well-considered and farsighted approach, aiming to revitalise and re-direct Indian education in order to reflect India’s aspirations of shaping the 21st century as the Asian century. Be it the focus on enhancing our national research scope and capacities, be it the focus on ensuring that backward districts become central to the push for spreading a comprehensive educational programme, be it the focus on vocational education – a cardinal dimension in today’s world – be it the emphasis on the learning and promotion of Bharatiya languages, lessening the burden of education, on making the imparting of education responsive, resonating and free from artificial compartmentalisation, by synergising technology, culture, skills and encouraging the growth of an integral and holistic approach to life and living, the NEP 2020 has encapsulated the entire Indian education discourse and its many aspirations. It lays a framework that reflects future India’s needs, it lays a structure that can prepare young minds to lead India into the future basing themselves on a solid foundation of Bharatiya essence and ethos. In fact, it was exactly such an approach that some of our greatest education philosophers and thinkers had advocated in the past – be it Swami Vivekananda, Sri Aurobindo, Gurudev Tagore, Lokmanya Tilak, Mahatma Gandhi, Dr S. Radhakrishnan, Dr Syama Prasad Mookerjee, Acharya Satish Chandra Mukherjee, Ananda Coomaraswamy and a host of others who shaped the education discourse during India’s struggle for freedom.

August 5th 2020, will be a golden-lettered day in India’s civilizational march and history. The foundation for the construction of the grand temple dedicated to Lord Sri Ram will be finally laid in Ayodhya on that day symbolising the culmination of a civilizational struggle, a struggle that embodied the collective aspirations of the majority of the people of India and defined their faith. It also demonstrates how, through a persistent democratic peoples’ movement, a watershed civilizational goal can be achieved. This in itself reflects how India under Modi has graduated to an altogether different democratic dimension. An intellectual, political and juridical movement for decades has finally led to this moment, a moment which is also being seen as a unifying national moment. The naysayers and those who attempted to stall the formulation of a solution to the Ram Janmabhoomi issue, all these decades, and gave false statements, conjured up false historical facts, distorted evidence and attempted to mislead the people of India and international opinion, are those who are most dejected by these developments. All their efforts have been nulled by the steady fruition of these epochal milestones. Indeed, this last one year, from the summer of 2019, can be said to be the phase, when India’s civilizational soul, long suppressed, is finding actual utterance. It is only those who are divorced from the essence of India, who grudge this expression.

(The writer is a Member, National Executive Committee (NEC), BJP and Chairman of Dr Syama Prasad Mookerjee Research Foundation. Views expressed are personal)