Published: 09th January 2020
Is India more divided or united: Panellists at ThinkEdu Conclave agree to disagree
Three out of four panellists noted that India has seen its worst division in its history, while the fourth disagreed
In a panel discussion on the topic 'Republic of India 2.0: Is the Change Fundamental?', which touched upon issues like secularity, unity of the country and the recent nation-wide protests against the CAA, three out of four panellists noted that India has seen its worst division in its history while the fourth disagreed, saying that the country is more integrated and empowered now. The session was chaired by senior journalist Kaveree Bamzai.
Speaking at the second day of the ThinkEdu Conclave 2020 organised by The New Indian Express, panellist NCP Lok Sabha MP Supriya Sule said that India has never been so divided and currently, the country is going through difficult times. ‘The basic problem of the CAA is not about Hindu-Muslims but smaller communities like Adivasis and the tribals,’’ she said, adding that the current atmosphere feels like the pre-independence period. She questioned why the countrymen couldn't be united.
Agreeing to Sule, DMK Lok Sabha MP Tamizhachi Thangapandian — another panellist — said that India is being disintegrated in the name of religion and social injustice, among other issues. ‘‘Look at the way we (Tamil Nadu) have suffered in NEET. The exam is correlated with social justice and you can’t just take it as an education policy,’’ added Tamizhachi.
Actor-turned-politician, Congress leader Khushbu Sundar said that she was glad she lives in Tamil Nadu, pointing out that, across the country, there is a divide while only Tamil Nadu continues to have harmony. "When you talk about the division of Hindu and Muslims, it is the only way you can break the harmony of India," she said, strongly condemning the CAA and the NRC.
The panellists also took note of how democracy was curbed and dissenters were trolled, pointing out a recent incident where actor Deepika Padukone was trolled on social media for visiting JNU to express solidarity. "She is a free citizen of the country and she can go wherever she wants. Why should she get trolled?" questioned Sule, adding that this is the new India that upsets her. The panellists added that the country needs to revive its economy and work on jobs, poverty and hunger.
On the contrary, Tejasvi Surya, the BJP Lok Sabha MP from Bengaluru, said that young India is bold and audacious. ‘‘The fact that we are vociferously communicating our points of view does not make us divided,’’ said Tejasvi. He added that the integration of Kashmir wholly and constitutionally is a sign of integration of India. ‘
‘Young Muslim women feel empowered and they feel they have a government that cares for them. They today have confidence that they can go into a police station and file a case if they are treated badly in a marriage. This is a sign of a new republic,’’ added Surya.
Towards the end of the debate, replying to a question from the audience on why the attendance of MPs in the Lok Sabha is low, the MPs answered that they are oftentimes caught up in bureaucratic work for their constituency and that could be one reason why some MPs have low attendance.
However, they argued that the performance of an MP should not just be measured by their attendance but their field work too has to be taken into account.