In the 2019 elections, the BJP was accused of manipulating the Hindu voice because of its amazing victory – almost as if there was no Hindu voice that is routinely considered anti-secular.
However, the quest for a Hindu vote in 2019 was hardly limited to the BJP. Most politicians from different parties who attended Hindu temples participated in the elections, including politicians who rarely did in the past, such as Rahul Gandhi and Priyanka Vadra. Even Mamata Banerjee from Bengal began to boast of their ability to sing Hindu shlokas in Sanskrit.
This change is largely due to the imitation of PM Narendra Modi, a committed Shiva Bhakt during his long career. The new appeal to Hindus, however, did not pay off for the parties and leaders who suddenly adopted it as a political trick without a personal story.
With this new quest for Hindu votes, the usual allegations of Hindutva extremism were raised, all the more so since BJP won the election. In short, after the opposition received no votes for their temple visits, they returned frustrated to their old anti-Hindu and & # 39; Hindu terror & # 39; agenda.
From the Kumbha Mela to Kedarnath
Religion always plays a role in India's politics, as the Indians as a whole are religious and spiritual. As a rule, Islamic and Christian concerns of minorities were brought to the fore. A Hindu voice has also become very loud under Modi – not inappropriate, since India is 80% Hindu.
The presence of Lord Shiva in particular dominated the elections. This was not based on politics, but on the great Kumbha Mela that took place in Prayagraj from January to March and happened to happen just before the elections. Over two hundred million people attended the holy celebration on the Ganga, where Shiva as the Lord of Yogis was the central deity. Both the BJP state government led by Yogi Adityanath and the national BJP government made for a well organized and inspiring event. This message was conveyed to the participants well.
In the meantime, Modi Varanasi, Lord Shiva's famous city of light on the Ganga, reelected to his constituency in 2019, as he did in 2014. During his first tenure, Modi renovated the ghats in Varanasi, cleaned up the ganga, and recently renovated the Kashi Vishwanath Temple, the famous Shiva Jyotir Linga, which is the city's holiest site, along with the construction of a corridor to the river.
At the end of the 2019 campaign, Modi traveled to Kedarnath, the main Shiva sanctuary in the Himalayas, to meditate lonely a few days before the election results were counted. The image of the prime minister wrapped in orange in a cave in Kedarnath spread throughout the country.
Some have criticized Modi for creating a Hindu media show for the elections, but we should remember that Modi viewed Hindu practices as an integral part of his life and should not be forced to give them up as he is a head of state, especially from Hindu majority India. Modi did not take the Ram Mandir emotional issue at the political level, as many feared, and preferred to highlight Varanasi as an example of his leadership in both development and cultural issues.
Negative media reactions
We can face India choosing a new sense of national unity and purpose, including renewed Hindu dignity, with responses from the Western media that express fear of India's new strength and leadership. Such voices would describe gentle and pluralistic Hinduism as intolerant and divisive beliefs without understanding the nuances of Sanatana Dharma that encompass all of life and all of human society.
Why are the media afraid of a strong India, especially when it comes to the left? India has given yoga to the world, not jihad or missionary conversion. It is economically not a threat like China and has no history of aggressions and invasions from other countries. India has the greatest cultural diversity of any country, and many religious groups have sought refuge in India to avoid oppression elsewhere. Meanwhile, Indians around the world have become peaceful and wealthy and do not cause problems in their countries of residence or travel. The Hindus in the United States and the United Kingdom are among the wealthiest and most educated communities, have had no social problems whatsoever, and are indeed part of the cultural elite.
Such anti-Indian feelings sound more like a colonial hangover than an objective analysis. They are part of a media separation from India that needs to be corrected, highlighting the opinion of those who have lost the election rather than honoring India for its tremendous democratic triumph. After all, India's election in 2019, with over 600 million voters, was the largest democratic election in the history of the world, held in a region of the world that includes China and Pakistan, where democracy has little place.
The 2019 elections show that India is experiencing an upswing both in terms of development that is for everyone and in terms of the culture that must embrace the legacy of India's great Dharmic civilization. India's economy is growing and the infrastructure is changing. But pride in culture, religion and spirituality is also growing and extends to the new middle class. When it comes to foreign policy, India has always been at the top of the world, spreading knowledge, culture and wealth without striving for hegemony or control.
Prime Minister Narendra Modi owes this new, resurgent India a lot. It has become a channel for the pursuit of the Indian people and can now courageously advance the nation.
(Disclaimer: The opinions expressed above are the personal views of the author and do not reflect the views of ZMCL.)