NEW DELHI: Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s ideological grooming should be traditionally wary of promoting the anti-British revolt of 1857 for its association with Hindu-Muslim unity.
The prime minister on Saturday broke from the unspoken Hindutva historiography and urged his coalition’s newly elected MPs to work for communal harmony on the model of the joint Hindu-Muslim uprising so as to deliver India its truer freedom.
Liberal and leftist critics immediately called it a ploy, arguing that neither the Hindutva historiography nor Mr Modi could be trusted with secular facts.
A European woman environmentalist, who was evicted from India-held Kashmir by the Modi government, warned that the first test of Mr Modi’s resolve could come with the prime minister’s moves on tweaking the special constitutional status of the disputed state.
If Mr Modi does harbour the feared confrontation in the Valley, it was not evident in his speech, which shepherded the focus of the new MPs several times to the constitution. Bad press that he received from the foreign media during the elections clearly influenced the tone of Mr Modi’s speech, a departure from his recent barbed exchanges with the opposition replete with ultra nationalist rhetoric.