Sunday, June 13, 2021
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PM Modi, I am a Charvaka Indian liberal, and this is my wish list

Mehra writes to PM Modi on issues which are vital and need to be addressed as soon as possible in the coming five years.

Pranaam Modiji,

I would like to start this open letter by congratulating you and the BJP for a fantastic victory in the Lok Sabha elections of 2019. You have proven all the critics wrong by the results and you deserve all the praise you are receiving right now. As they say in Hindi “sau sunaar ki, ek lohar ki”. That saying fits you exactly right now. You took the verbal jibes, the hate, the nasty remarks for 5 years. But you hit them only once, but it was where it hurts the most i.e. the ballot box. You remained firm in your belief and in the inherent strength of Indian democracy and the results are here for all of us to see.

Sir when I met you in 2014 just before the Lok Sabha elections you told me something that has stayed with me till date. When I had mentioned to you about dedicating my efforts towards your 2014 campaign you stopped me immediately and told me “agar apne aapko kisi bhi cheez ke prati samarpit karna chahte ho to apne desh ke prati samarpit ho jao. Modi nahi desh zaruri hai“. I took your advice very seriously. Since that day I have tried my best to contribute to India and Indian society to the best of my ability. In fact, one of my major modes of contribution has been thanks to your flagship scheme, Sansad Adarsh Gram Yojana.

So what I am about to address in this letter is also in that spirit of desh seva. I am taking your advice forward and would like to address some issues to you. You have received a historical mandate. Mandates like these come once in a lifetime and it would be a shame if we let such a mandate go wasted. So as an avid supporter of yours I would like to share a list of points/demands that I have from you which I feel you could not fulfil in your 1st term:

1. Freedom of Expression

Sir freedom of expression is in grave danger in India. In the last 5 years under your term, we have seen different governments at the state level arresting ordinary people for posts made on social media. Depending on the government in power different people have abused laws like 295A, 153A, 66F etc.

Innocent people making critical observations of the state/central government get bullied by political party supporters by using such laws. Do you think that is fair sir? You have been known to take a joke very well. But unfortunately, that culture does not seem to percolate all that well across the political spectrum including your own party.

Recently in an interview on TV, you had mentioned how our society is used to disagreement, we question our gods too. You gave us the example of how we call the greatest critic of Hinduism Rishi Charvaka. Well, sir, I am a living breathing Charvaka and I can tell you that making fun of religion is not that easy in India. So if you really want our society to have more freedom (which I feel you do) please get rid of these archaic laws.

2. Law and order

Law and order are in an abysmal state, sir. Yes, the opposition did try to peddle the fake narratives of cow lynchings and church attacks. But that does not change the fact that we do have a law and order problem in India.

Sir, an average citizen can get beaten up for stealing a chappal, bicycle, goat or a cow. In a civilised democracy, it is the job of the police and the judiciary to punish the criminal. Sir, the Indian state has failed in this department and we have a huge vacuum in the law and order scenario.

And when there is a vacuum it will be filled by non-state actors. I request you to fix this vacuum in your next 5 years. Please improve the citizen to police ratio and follow up on the recommendations of multiple committees that have recommended police reforms. Our police forces deserve better arms and ammunition; they do not even get proper holidays. The suicide rates in our forces are very high. I hope you take note of these issues and solve them in this term.

3. Economy

As an MSME manufacturer sir I would request you to speed up the economic reforms. Yes, India is a poor nation. Yes, we have to make sure that the financially underprivileged get a helping hand. Every single person will agree with you on that. But, sir, the poor can be helped when businesses prosper, and for businesses to prosper we need to trust the businessmen. We stood by you like a rock through the trials and tribulations of demonetisation and GST. The least we can expect from you as job generators are that you simplify the processes so that we can help you in your dream of eliminating poverty completely from this great nation of ours.

4. Core issues

Sir, the party has mentioned the core issues in each and every manifesto since its inception. But can we expect a tentative date or indication on when at least one of the main core issues like Ram Mandir, UCC, Article 370, 35A will be resolved? If not all can we have at least one of them resolved?

I could go on mentioning issue after issue sir but that is not the point of this letter. My aim is to remind you that these issues are vital and need to be resolved as soon as possible. We are in a very precarious situation, this country has no opposition. Whatever is left carries no credibility in the eyes of the larger masses. In such a scenario I feel that it is my moral duty and responsibility as an Indian to play the role of that opposition. And I carry no delusions of grandeur, I know I am a mere speck in this large pool of humanity. But if I did not write this letter to you I would not be able to forgive myself.

I feel you need criticism more than ever. And sir I feel you have to deliver on these points. And I know you can. I have voted for the BJP all my adult life, but that does not mean I cannot expect things in return from you. I expect my Prime Minister to make sure that when another Ramalingam opposes forceful religious conversions by Muslim preachers, he is not killed. 

As the old saying goes, “with great power comes great responsibility.” So, sir, it is your responsibility to deliver on these points. It is your job as one of independent India’s most powerful and tallest leaders to not only talk the talk but also to walk the walk. We cannot expect the opposition leaders sitting in the parliament to do anything as of now because they sold their souls a long time ago. So as honest citizens we are taking up the mantle of your healthy critics. I hope that you welcome us with open arms as you always have because you are our last great hope.

Kushal Mehra

Note: Charvaka (originally known as Lokayata or Brihaspataya) is an ancient atheistic school which embraces philosophical skepticism and rejects the vedas and vedic ritualism. 

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