Symbolism has become paramount in Indian politics. This has come to become a reality over decades of vote-bank politics. The media’s role in this can’t be denied which has termed politicians pandering to minorities as secularism.
One incident which has been a favourite for Narendra Modi’s opponents & the media is from the time when he was the Chief Minister of Gujarat. During a public program, a Muslim religious leader gave a topi to Narendra Modi to wear which he denied to accept.
This one incident has become a medium for his opponents to target him with who allege that his not wearing the topi shows that he’s anti-Muslim, & doesn’t respect their culture & traditions.
He was questioned about this very incident when he made an appearance on Rajat Sharma’s Aapki Adalat.
Rajat Sharma asked, “Omar Abdullah alleges that you (Narendra Modi) wear a Sikh turban, you go to Assam & Arunachal Pradesh & wear their traditional headgear, but don’t wear a topi.”
Narendra Modi replied, “If wearing a topi is an indication of unity, then why Mahatma Gandhi & Sardar Patel never wore topis? Even Jawaharlal Nehru didn’t wear topi & get pictures clicked.
My duty is to respect all religions & cultures, but follow my own. I live according to my culture & respect everyone’s culture. That’s why I cannot wear a topi, get pictures clicked & fool people. But if someone disrespects anyone’s religion, then I’ll punish them.”
Another statement which has not been mentioned in the video is when Narendra Modi said in the same interview that those who have Quran in their hands, should also have access to computers.
The development that Muslims have seen in Gujarat is truly transformational. Poverty in Muslims has fallen rapidly, as a result their incomes have risen which has also meant peace in the state.
Following is a unique take of Zafar Sareshwala, a businessman in Ahmedabad, on the prosperity of Muslims in Gujarat under the Narendra Modi regime –
Zafar was an ardent Modi critic after the Godhra riots, but then he saw the reality of Muslims in Gujarat, & became a Modi supporter.
Asifa Khan is a BJP spokesperson who was once a part of the Congress party. She shifted to the BJP because of the following reason –