Washington, DC – Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi, a staunch supporter of reviving ancient Indian philosophy is absolutely right that ancient India has answers to the present day ills of India, but his focus is slightly misplaced.
Most of the social ills in India today stem from a complete lack of respect for women to start with.
First and foremost, Modi allegedly unceremoniously abandoned his legally married wife, Jashodaben Narendrabhai Modi. Remember Modi, a confirmed bachelor for long without any family, was forced to acknowledge that he gave his vows almost 50 years ago. His admission was recorded when Modi filed his nomination for the Vadodara electoral seat, before last election. According to the Indian Express, a media outlet in India, Modi then prime ministerial candidate was forced to declare the assets and liabilities of a spouse under the Representation of the Peoples Act 1951.
Prime Minister Modi also uses social media platforms including Twitter (we are not sure if he uses it personally like US President Donald Trump or most probably has a tweeting bhakta army under his PMO).
Modi is a good populistic orator and is proud of it. But let there be an attack on a journalist, a woman molested or raped, or a member of a minority community lynched and the proud 56 inches chest thumper conspicuously falls silent.
There are more and more reports emerging that the nationalist and communal forces which form the base of his Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) are behind such atrocities and attacks.
A case in point as an example is the Modi government’s non-response to the abhorrent rape and murder of an 8-year-old girl earlier in January this year. The supporters of his own political party have been implicated, but Modi, a vociferous orator, barely raised his voice on the heinous crime. Nor, for that matter, has he spoken on any other cases that involve his supporters.
Certain honest and ethical media outlets are highlighting this but are facing the brunt of reprisals from his cronies, and in some instances, directly from his own thin-skinned reactions. The recent murders of journalists, police cases against whistleblowers and other such high-handedness in a democratic country are alarming.
Ironically these are the same people who cried foul when former Prime Minister Indira Gandhi imposed emergency measures and clamped down on the free press.
Modi has announced dedicating his life to the service of the nation but is in urgent need of a crash course in the Kama Sutra philosophy.
With the sad demise of Nobel Laureate V. S. Naipaul, we can revisit his view that the Mughal invasion destroyed the liberal India that was present before that.
Prime Minister Modi should look at reviving that ancient liberal India where women were given importance as Kama Sutra outlines equal pleasure and participation opportunities for both the partners. It was in ancient liberal India where Gandharva Vivaha – where a man and woman live together without any rituals or family consent – was considered socially acceptable.
Modi is pushing Yoga on the international stage with a politically motivated vision but the real use of Yoga over the centuries, from which he gets inspired, was not only to get physical fitness but also to utilize that for pleasure and healthy living.
All is not lost as 2019 looms and Indian voters, if given the opportunity of a free and fair election, will decide.