NATIONALISM – IS FEAR THE KEY?

 

                                                                                     Joseph Mani

 

Joseph Mani, writer of BEYOND GODS & SCRIPTURES and several other books and whose articles are very thought-provoking, gives a new dimension to Nationalism (Patriotism). He asks some pertinent questions whether nationalism means love of the land of one's birth and living or love of all the people who live in that land irrespective of who they are and where they came from? Is the nation its mountains, rivers and land and not its people? Asks Joseph Mani. Is well-orchestrated Polarization of the people of a nation, the key to whip up Nationalism?  This article is certain to make us wake up from our comfort zones and take a hard look at our conventional notions about Nationalism. Isaac Gomes, Associate Editor, Church Citizens' Voice.

 

Image result for images nationalism

In the science-fiction novel The Left Hand of Darkness by Ursula K. Le Guin et al there was a planet called Gethen in a far-away galaxy. One country in Gethen was Karhide and the neighbouring country was Orgoreyn. There were always small skirmishes between the two countries and forays into each other’s territories but nothing serious. The ruler of Karhide was King Argaven XV. Argaven went into temporary retirement appointing his nephew Harge rem ir Tibe as Regent. While Argaven was insane and stupid, Tibe was insane and clever. Under Argaven, Karhide had diversity of beliefs and opinions; there was dissent and questioning of Argaven’s policies. Tibe not only wanted his country to be strong and powerful he also wanted the people to be united under him and tighten his control over the people. Tibe decided that great social mobilization under him can be achieved by evoking fear in his people – fear of the “other’. So he ordered his army to intensify the conflict with Orgoreyn. He would give fiery speeches everyday about how our brave soldiers repelled vicious attacks by the Orgoreynians; the highlight of each day’s speech would be the number of enemy soldiers killed that day. Tibe also thought that his aim would be achieved even better if he can also evoke fear of those from within. So he declared that there were traitors within the country who also needed to be dealt with severely. His speeches now included the number of the treacherous anti-nationals arrested or killed by our patriotic police force. He was evoking nationalism and in the process strengthening his own position.

There are a number of issues about nationalism.

What does Nationalism Mean?

Does nationalism mean love only for the country where you or your ancestors were born and antipathy towards those who live on the other side of your border, a border which is man-made, sometimes created by war – "boundaries drawn in the blood of past wars" –  and which are often changing? Does it mean Amartya Sen, Abhijit Banerjee, Satya Nadella and Sundar Pichai should have allegiance to their janma bhoomi India and not to their karma bhoomi U.S? Einstein said “I am by heritage a Jew, by citizenship a Swiss, and by makeup a human being, without any special attachment to any state or national entity whatsoever.“ Maharishi Mahesh Yogi taught “The Self of everyone, the Atman of everyone, the transcendental reality for everyone, is the same for everyone. Where the body calls itself an American, German, Indian or Chinese, it doesn’t matter.”  J. Krishnamurti had stated that he was not an Indian or a Hindu, that he eschewed nationalistic labels, not identifying himself with any country, religion or community.

Does nationalism mean love of the land where you were born and live or love of all the people who live in that land irrespective of who they are and where they came from? Is the nation its mountains, rivers and land and not its people? The Telugu poet Gurajada wrote in his poem ‘Love Thy Country’,    A nation is not the soil/  A nation is the people.

 

On August 15, 1947 on the grounds of a college in Guntur, standing shoulder to shoulder, students and workers, landlords and labourers, Brahmins and Dalits, Hindus, Muslims and Christians, sang in one voice the words of another Telugu poet Sri Sri:

                A different world

               A different world is calling us

               It will be confluence of

              The sacrifice of Jesus

              The Compassion of the  Buddha

             The teachings of Mohammad

             And  the glorious dharma

            Of Upanishads

            As one religion and one dharma

           A different world is calling us.

 

Rabindranath Tagore wrote:

    No one knows whose call made streams of so many populations 

    Come from where on turbulent currents, lose themselves in an ocean

    Here Aryans, here non-Aryans, here Dravidians, Chinese

    Sakas, Huns, Pathans, Mughuls dissolved in one body

   The doors open to the West today

   All bring gifts from there.

   Give and take, meet and merge,

   No one turns to leave

   On this seashore of India’s great humanity

   Come O Aryans, come non-Aryans

   Hindus, Muslims

   Come today, come you English. Come, come Christians.

   Come  Brahmins, cleanse the mind, hold the hands of everyone.

 

Part of the poem was written in 1910. This poem is considered anti-national by some.

 

Is Nationalism Beneficial?

Many see nationalism, as understood and practised through most of history,  as inherently divisive because it highlights perceived differences between people, emphasizing an individual's identification only with their own nation. The idea is also potentially oppressive because it submerges individual identity within a national whole.

Nationalism propagates itself with little regard for the benefit to humankind. Some thinkers have described nationalism as a deadly plague which spreads throughout the world causing wars, oppression, hate and genocide. One country catches the virus, it then spreads to neighbouring countries. The nationalist virus presents itself as beneficial to humans, but it has been beneficial only to itself.

George Orwell said that nationalism is ‘the worst enemy of peace’. According to him nationalism is "power-hunger made stronger by self-deception". For Einstein nationalism was an infantile disease, the measles of humanity. Rabindranath Tagore anticipated Einstein. In his book Nationalism published in 1917 Tagore warned of nationalism as an "evil epidemic". In words written more than a hundred years ago, Tagore depicts the nationalistic politicians of today: He wrote, "And the idea of the Nation is one of the most powerful anesthetics that man has invented. Under the influence of its fumes the whole people can carry out its systematic programme of the most virulent self-seeking without being in the least aware of its moral perversion – in fact, feeling most dangerously resentful if it is pointed out."

 

Why is Nationalism Propagated and Accepted?

If nationalism is harmful to humanity as a whole, how come throughout history and today particularly, it is held out as something noble and which every citizen should embrace wholeheartedly and even give up his life for? Part of the reason is that those in power have a vested interest in nationalism. It gives the elites or political leaders potential opportunities to manipulate or control the masses.  It gives them the power to replace citizenship by right with citizenship by permit.  

Nationalism also gives meaning to death. Until the late-19th century, all major religions considered death and its aftermath central to the meaning of life; life on earth with all its miseries, sufferings, tragedies and injustices did not make sense unless there was a life after death when everything will be set right. Imagine Judaism, Christianity, Islam and Hinduism without after-life; there would be no heaven, hell or rebirth. Much of religious piety was fuelled by the fear of death and what would happen after death. But most modern ideologies have taken death and after-life out of the equation. Capitalism, socialism, humanism and feminism have lost interest in after-life. It is pointless to ask Adam Smith, Karl Marx, Isaac Asimov or Simon de Beauvoir about what happens after a capitalist, communist or feminist dies. Among all the modern ideologies  only nationalism gives meaning to death. It promises that whoever dies for the nation will become immortal because they will live forever in the collective memory of the nation. Earlier, people were exhorted to die for the glory of God, now it is for the glory of the nation.

Another way to understand why nationalism, though harmful to humanity as a whole, still has hold on large sections of people is through Game Theory. Game Theory explains how in a multi-player system, views and behaviours that harm all players still manage to take root and spread. Arms race is an example. The arms race starts when one country wants to become militarily superior to another. But that does not happen. When one country acquires nuclear weapons, the neighbour also becomes a nuclear power. The balance of power remains the same, only everyone gets bankrupt. The money could have been invested in health, education and roads benefitting millions. Everyone knows that the arms race is not just wasteful but hugely harmful, still the arms race continues, harming all and benefitting none. The same is true of nationalism.

 

How Does One Evoke Nationalism?

You can evoke love for your country by making your country a better place for people to live. This means there are better roads, better schools, better hospitals, better security and justice for women, children and the poor and a better standard of living for all. It means citizens who pay water tax and water charges don’t have to collectively spend another 15,000 crore and install water purifiers because the water supplied by the City Corporation is unfit for drinking; it means people don’t have to pay 6,000 crores for air purifiers in addition to paying for the large establishments of Pollution Control Boards; it means people who pay the government-run discoms for electricity don’t have to install power back-ups spending 20,000 crore because the power supply from the discoms is erratic; it means young office goers don’t become obese because they spend equivalent to about 10 days in a year just sitting on their bikes or inside their cars because of traffic jam and bad roads after having paid 1,20,198 crores as road tax, registration fees and entry tax, 24,396 crores as toll fees and 1,32,000 crores as petrol and diesel cess. It means the common man feels confident to approach the policeman, the bureaucrat, the court and the politician to get his problem solved rather than keep away from them because they are more problem-creators than problem-solvers, because once you get entangled with them you are worse off than before.

But this is hard work; helping millions of people to have a more prosperous and safer life is a long drawn-out process, and worse, the benefit for yourself is uncertain; there is no guarantee that the people who benefitted from your policies or hard work will be grateful to you and continue to keep their allegiance to you. After having tasted prosperity, they would want more of it. They may switch their loyalties to someone else who promises even greener pastures.

So rulers and governments have found an easier and surer way to evoke the national spirit. This alternate way is the Tibe way. Throughout history, nationalism was based on the division of people into “We” and “They” and then creating fear and hatred of the “They”,  “They” being synonymous with the enemy. It doesn’t matter what criterion you use to divide people. It can be religion, race, territory, ethnicity or colonialism. It also doesn’t matter who “They” are. It can be aliens from another galaxy, it can be the people who live on the other side of your border or on the other side of your street. It doesn’t matter what name you give them. Pakistanis, Mexicans, Urban Naxals, Tukde Tukde Gang, Love Jihadis, Illegal Immigrants, Pseudo Liberal Leftists or Far-Right Wingers, Islamic Fundamentalists or Hindu Terrorists – any name will do as long as you can make a large number of people believe that there is an enemy, within or without, who is out to destroy your way of life, attack your cherished beliefs and defile your wives and daughters. It is enough to portray them as foreigners, terrorists or ant-nationals. If you can get your people to buy this narrative, you can get strong bursts of nationalism which will then spread faster than the coronavirus.

The movie Mission Kashmir starring Hrithik Roshan and Sanjay Dutt was released in 2000. Overnight Hrithik became a sensation. A month after the film was released, a news item appeared in a Nepalese newspaper that Hrithik said that he despised Nepalese. Leftist student unions sent their members to the streets of Kathmandu. Two students were killed and 150 injured in police firing. The Nepal government banned all Hrithik Roshan films from the Kingdom. Roshan denied on the radio that he had ever said any such thing. He proclaimed his love for the Nepalese people. It made no difference. Earlier, students had tattooed Hrithik’s name on their forearms and girl students had swooned in ecstasy at the sight of his face. The same students were now baying for his blood because someone told them that he was an anti-national even after it was proved that the news item was a lie. People were willing to die and kill for a lie because their national pride was hurt.

Fake news and hate speeches against the “other” are not modern-day inventions. Hypatia was the first woman mathematician in recorded history. She taught philosophy and math in Alexandria in the fourth century CE. The Christian Bishop of Alexandria was Cyril. Cyril  loathed Hypatia because she was a woman who dared to teach and, worse, she was a non-Christian. He used to give vituperative sermons against Hypatia. One day Cyril’s followers waylaid Hypatia, dragged her to a church, stripped her naked and scraped the flesh from her bones with tiles while still alive. Her body was burned and her works destroyed. The Church glorified Cyril by making him a Saint.

 

Nationalism for the Benefit of the Ruler?

Nationalism can be used to beef up the ruler’s power if the ruler can blur the distinction between himself/his government and the country. Tibe was on the radio every day proclaiming that he did everything out of love for his country. Over time the leader becomes identified with the country. It is then an easy step to convince the people that anyone who is not for the leader is not for the country. The next step is when the leader convinces his people that the only way to save the country from external and internal enemies is if he, the true nationalist, the strong and decisive leader, is given the power to put down these enemies and traitors. The people become convinced that for the love of the country they should give him this power – and a Hitler, Mussolini, Putin, Erdogan and Trump is born – created by people who are motivated by their nationalism.

So there are two ways to evoke nationalism: You can evoke national pride by making the country better and safer for its inhabitants. This is arduous and time-consuming. This benefits all the people. Alternately you can evoke the national spirit by making fear and hatred of the “other” the bedrock and wellspring of nationalism. This is easier and faster. This benefits the rulers and those on the side of the rulers.

 

 

 

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9 Responses

  1. Darshan N says:

     

    Strong philosophical economic and socio-political arguments on both sides of this issue.

    I hold a Canadian passport, but am still a proud Indian at heart. I cherish my Hindu, Muslim and Jewish friends.


    They're educated. Their faith is part of their identity and they are well respected. Their religious identity is by definition what divides us on religious lines. That does not mean they have problems with integration or cannot work together in a group.


    Diverse opinions are valued in any environment and different viewpoints raise the level of discourse at corporate and social settings.

    In my opinion, especially during these times, our major problems include climate change, gender equality, poverty alleviation, infrastructure building, universal education and health, affordable housing and so on. These problems have blurring borders.They are global issues which require the power of governments across the world. And I am not happy to see the broad power of government not being used for public good.

    Often politicians use nationalism to divert our attention to parochial issues such as religion, caste, discriminatory citizenship legislation and so on.

    My take on nationalism is simply the following:
    "Nationalism is an infantile disease. It is the measles of mankind." – Albert Einstein

  2. B.S. Prakash says:

    My observations are based on what I read or seen in various media over a long period of time and not based on any research study.

    1.     I believe the real danger for our country is the progress of Islamic Fundamentalism in our country which has been carefully nurtured & organised over several decades.

    2.     There are fundamentalists in every religion including Hindus, but the scale & the systematisation of Islamic Fundamentalism is phenomenally effective with far reaching consequences.

    3.     The main problem I believe is the refusal of Muslims in any country to merge with the other people in their country of residence, unlike people of all other religions.

    4.     In whichever country they reside, they maintain a distinctly different identity with the following strategies:

    a.     Different types of Dresses in case of both men & women

    b.     The beard

    c.      The spoken & written language

    d.     Separate living areas (Ghettos as some people describe)- where the people of other religions are discouraged to enter.

    e.     Separate laws (Sharia)

    f.      Separate schools (Madrasas)

    g.     Names

    h.     Street prayers with loudspeakers

    5.     These ghettos are the breeding ground for inculcating Islamic Fundamentalism in all countries including France, Belgium, India, etc. I have myself seen such places in the old city of Hyderabad where I could see green flags & typical Pakistan type environment all around. These people I was told were not allowing any government officer to enter & they never paid the Power or Water bills, Property & other taxes. I had heard about it earlier & wanted my driver to drive me through these streets which he initially tried to discourage me; but on my insistence, took me around quickly. It was quite scary.

    6.     In contrast the people of other religions- Christians, Parsis, etc. & even Indians living in other countries adopt & assimilate the local cultures very effectively & never indulge in activities which are detrimental to their host country.

     

    It is also a fact that Pakistan is the breeding ground for these terrorists & the negative feelings generated in India towards Pakistan is justified not because of any “Nationalistic” feelings; but the hatred borne out of the systematic damage they have done in our country with the active role played by their Government & the Army.

    Unfortunately, many political parties like Congress, JD(S) etc. have been perpetuating & aiding this Islamic Fundamentalism by supporting all such activities for garnering their votes. The bold steps taken by the present Government has found resonance among the people of this country which is being touted as “Nationalistic” feelings. Hindu culture from time immemorial has been welcoming people of all cultures & they have been living in harmony with other cultures for centuries – this in spite of the barbarism shown against them.

    What is scary is the way in which even the moderate Muslims are changing. I have two Muslim colleagues from my old company with whom I am regularly in touch for more than 3 decades. One is in Mumbai & the other is in Ahmedabad. They keep seeking some advice from me in their family & personal issues also apart from professional career matters. Both of them are thorough gentlemen & are very warm. I was however shocked to find both of them sporting their typical Muslim beards about 3 years ago & I could somehow sense a feeling of discomfort which was totally absent earlier.

    I think I am just rambling. Just thought I would put down my bit for you.

  3. Dalhia Mani says:

     

          Well I think we get the government we deserve. If all we care about is sitting in judgement of some Indian community (it is Muslims today, tomorrow Christians, next Parsis, then Lingayats, and then short-haired people, atheists….there is no end to the divisions), then we will get a government which gets away with gross incompetence (bad GST implementation, badly thought out and executed demonitization, systematic interference in every important national institution) and base evil (anyone who disagrees gets charged with "sedition"). 

        We get the government we deserve. I think we deserve better than this "divide-and-rule" crap. 

         And the way to get a better government is straightforward – get off Whatsapp university with its petty conspiracies, go to ward committee meetings, write letters asking your elected representative to list what he/she has accomplished, organize and demand a better government!! 

       A better government doesn't fall from the sky – we need to organize ask for it (even if it means that our wonderful goverment-that-tanked-the-fastest-growing-economy-in-the-world will call us "anti-national" and "anti-Indian" and "anti-Hindu" and "leftist" and send "goli maro salon ko!" goons behind us). This is our land, and if we love this land, then we should be willing to sacrifice for it. To me, that is what is patriotism and love of country. 

  4. B. S. Prakash says:

     

    Easier said than done Gangadhar. As Shyam pointed out the basic Constitution itself lends itself or probably encourages all these corrupt practices. It is probably a utopian thought to think that we can do something about this problem.

    We have to live with this.


    B.S. Prakash

  5. Gangadhar Sulkunte says:

     

    Ref. observation by B.S. Prakash, I would like the following points to be considered with an open mind:

    1. Muslims living in ghettos and not mingling with others: Please see how Hindus have treated Muslims all this while – they will not rent their houses to them because they eat meat, they dress differently and so on. (We also dress differently in different parts of India. But we dont like the dress sense of muslims alone). Why? Is it the muslims fault or our own internalized racism? If we do not accept them in our midst, where should they do?

    2. If we keep pushing them away and hence they live where they can, why should we blame them? Isnt the blame on us? 

    3. In modern India, our different governments have been pushing their own agendas and making more and more ghettos. For eg., look at all the non-muslim slums scattered all over our cities. They all have political patrons. When we have ghettos with non-muslims, why do folks talk as though only muslims live in ghettos?

    4. Please take a look at this article:

    https://www.reuters.com/article/us-india-property-religion/fifteen-years-after-bloody-riots-indian-muslims-struggling-to-escape-gujarat-ghettos-idUSKBN1A91OA

     

    How successive government and laws have ensured that people live in segregated neighbourhoods. Particularly these lines:

    "Horrific as the Gujarat riots were, they were not solely responsible for the segregation in the state.


    A property law unique to Gujarat, the birthplace of India’s founding father Mahatma Gandhi, helped create ghettos and a sense of apartheid in its urban areas well before 2002.
     

    The “Disturbed Areas Act” (1991), a law that restricts Muslims and Hindus from selling property to each other in “sensitive” areas, was meant to avert an exodus or distress sales in neighbourhoods hit by inter-religious unrest."

     

    "The state, headed at the time by Prime Minister Narendra Modi, amended the law in 2009 to give local officials more power in property sales.


    It also extended the reach of the law, saying it was doing so to protect Muslims, who make up about 10 per cent of the state’s 63 million people.

    But critics say the act’s enforcement and the addition of new districts under it – about 40 per cent of Ahmedabad is governed by the law – means it is being applied as a tool of social engineering.
     

    “As a result, Muslims are confined to the filthiest corners, with no hope of upliftment. Development and progress are for everyone else in the state, but not for Muslims,” he said."

     

    Also, we will confine them to areas where public amenities will NOT be provided. Then blame them for unsanitary conditions. See this line:

    "Conditions there and in other Muslim settlements in Ahmedabad, Gujarat’s largest city, are similar: residents lack proper roads, streetlights, adequate drinking water, sewage pipes, and access to public clinics and schools."

     

    Also, please read this also:

    https://thewire.in/communalism/juhapura-ahmedabad-ghetto-muslims

     

    I know most of BJP hates Wire, Caravan and Scroll. It is because they ask uncomfortable questions and questions that we do not like to face. I hope you will read these articles.

     

    5. Beards: Sure, they have beards. I have two points about this: When someone is threatened thanks to their religion and identity, they will go to places where they are recognized. In this case of muslims, their own communities. They want to show a strong affinity to their community. They do it in ways like dress, appearance and so on. This is true of any minority. Look at Indians in USA and Europe. The Indians who are affluent thanks to their education and computer skills, assimilate with local population. The other Indians who go there looking for menial jobs, do not assimilate and they live in their own Ghettos. This is true of all minorities.

    Also, have you seen the new style of beards that everyone is sporting these days. They are known as hipsters. Why blame only muslims for wearing beards?

     

    6. Why this focus on the failed state of Pakistan? If we look around us, there are so many countries which got independence after us and they have focussed relentlessly on economy and have pulled so many people out of poverty. We are focussing on Pakistan, our past failures in curbing invaders and trying to undo the past. No one cares about Hindu misery. Our children will not care about our victory in 21st century over the invaders from the 12th century when they find that the roads, infrastructure is not on par with the developed countries. Our comparison is not with Pakistan but countries like Singapore, South Korea and Malaysia. Singapore and Malaysia have significant muslim population and they have developed. Why can't we? Why don't we push our government to be so?

  6. B.S. Modi says:

     

    I live in Ahmedabad. The house of a Muslim architect married to a Hindu woman was burnt down in a minor riot in early 90's – in Satellite Road,an upscale neighbourhood. He moved to Juhapura, a Muslim ghetto and wrote a moving piece in ToI ten years later- how desperately he wanted his children to grow up in multi cultural setting and how impossible it was. I live on Satellite Road and the closest Muslim household is minimum 5 kms. I cannot sell my house to a Muslm, given Disturbed Area Act.

     

    Hindu-Muslim relationship has been a cause of mindless destruction. While government alone cannot do things, I wish a strong and popular government should take up the cause of promoting Hindu Muslim unity. Say, like Swachh Bharat. If the cause is recognised as a priority by the government,details and action would follow. 

  7. Gangadhar Sulkunte says:

     

    Right, The system has been misused by the politicians in the past and even now. We are the folks who are suffering. We let the congress folks go easy and now ended up with a situation where someone with half an education wants to emigrate to USA, NZ, Australia and so on. Do we want to continue with the same situation? I have heard people say that our parents let the congress destroy the country. Our children will point to us and say "our parents let BJP destroy our country". Do we want this? What will take us to hold our government accountable?

     

    The government wants us to discuss Hindu Muslim, India Pakistan and so on. We need to hold them for giving us good economy, jobs, roads, hospitals, schools and so on. Can we do it?

  8. Shyam Sunder says:

    While I largely agree with Paka (B.S. Prakash), I believe that the real issue is our political system.

     

    The primary purpose of any political party is to win the next election and gain power. The rules of the election guarantee adult franchise – one man/ woman one vote irrespective of their ability to discern or be objective, and the first past the post principle where you can gain power even if the majority of the constituents vote against you.

     

    Given this scenario, a country with a high level of poverty and illiteracy is the ideal breeding ground for polarisation by any means; after all your primary purpose is to win the elections, remember? For decades we saw the consolidation of minority votes through large scale appeasement – be it Shah Bano, Haj subsidies, discriminatory laws regarding the management of religious bodies and education etc. Now we see the consolidation of the majority votes through aggressive religious identification and and jingoism. If we didn't complain then, I don't believe we can complain now.

     

    The votes which count are the ones in the hinterland; the ones for whom a set of new clothes and a Rs 1,000/- for every vote in hand matter more than promises which they know will never be kept. Any system will be gamed sooner rather than later. 

     

    I would rather blame the architects of the system than those who use the system to their advantage. And no political party will ever disturb this system which they have figured out..

     

    Shyam

  9. B.S. Prakash says:

    Thanks Gangadhar for your response. Yes, you can depend on my accepting the arguments with an open mind & if I am wrong, I am willing to change myself. You can check with Joseph Mani about this.

    When I am talking about Muslims, I am referring to the Muslims all over the world & not just in India. Even in Countries like France, Belgium, Sweden, etc. I am told that they live in separate colonies and never mingle with the local cultures. My friend who frequently travels in Europe has seen these ghettos himself. I don't know whether you have seen these in France.

     

    My argument is that the Muslims do this by choice and not by compulsion. In fact from time immemorial they have been practising this all over the world. When they do this their political power increases and slowly they capture the entire countries by persecuting and & hounding out or converting the original populace. You can read what happened in Persia, Constantinople, etc. and in India how they hounded out the Kashmiri Pandits. One of my colleagues in a company where I worked was a Kashmiri Pandit and he described how their family had to run away for their lives from Kashmir. Wherever the muslims went, the brutality with which they dealt with the locals is well known. Apparently their concept of Kafir gives them the licence to do all this.

     

    As of 2015, there were 1.6 billion Muslims, with one out of four people in the world being Muslim, making Islam the second-largest religion. Out of children born from 2010 to 2015, 31% were Muslim and currently Islam is the world's fastest-growing major religion.

     

    In contrast you will see how for example Christians adjust in the local cultures. In many Indian Churches, the preaching is done in local languages, many parents name their children with Hindu sounding names, They live alongside the Hindus and not in separate colonies. They dress and behave in a similar fashion as Hindus. Even many of their marriage rituals I find are similar to Hindus. They have assimilated beautifully in all their host countries.

     

    I think your assessment of Hindus living in separate colonies in the USA is wrong. There are some people who live like this since they are illegal immigrants. The way the Hindus have assimilated & merged with local cultures in USA and other countries is probably the best in my experience. I have travelled in all parts of the USA for several years and I have a fairly good idea about this. The way the NRIs have started having a good position in both political parties is I believe due to their community work by merging with the local population. 

     

    As regards the managing of the economy, there are many examples of how under the Congress rule, many decisions were taken like the liberalisation which benefited the economy in a big way. There were and there still are many competent people in that party and they have a fantastic organisation built up over a century and more. However Indira Gandhi and later Sonia Gandhi brought in the massive corruption at their levels which caused unimaginable damage to the economy. We are still reeling under the result of those policies. 

     

    Whatever may be the opinion of many people, the Demonetisation & GST are two important steps taken for cleaning up the economy. I know how in the companies where I was working, we had to face the competition from the unorganised sector who were peddling poor quality products at ridiculously low prices only because they were indulging in massive evasion of all taxes – excise duty, sales tax & even income tax. There were truckloads of material taken out without any records & all transactions were in total cash. Although this continues even now to some limited extent, I am told by my colleagues in these companies that the incidence of black transactions has considerably reduced. The effect of these changes will take time; but will definitely happen. The same is true of black money transactions in real estate where the cash portion which used to be 60% in Bangalore earlier has come down to 15-20% now and even these transactions are being done with some fear. The amounts spent on highways all over the country are staggering in comparison with the earlier Governments. If you have driven in the highways earlier and now in various parts of the country, you will see a considerable difference. Unlike the earlier Congress governments there are no corruption charges on this Government.   I firmly believe these changes will have a positive effect on the economy in the years to come.

     

    Focus on Pakistan is due to their causing enormous damage to India by training & exporting terrorists to India and this is nothing but a proxy war. India has no such problem with any other neighbour. 

     

    In a violently noisy democracy like India where Freedom of  Expression is confused with Freedom to Spread lies by all political parties including BJP, it is not easy to bring in massive changes. The resistance to change is very strong in the Indian Psyche. This adds to the woes of any government which wants to bring in changes which are good for the people and the economy.

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