The battle is on; let us play our part

While growing up with the stories of the invaders upon invaders that is staple in the history books in India, I would often ask with curiosity as to how a small band of invaders were able to overcome stiff local resistance and prevail. There were many answers forthcoming but the most frequent and the one that stick with me to this day was the argument about participation. I would often hear that when the wars were on, the warriors were fighting but the rest of the population was never involved. In the native language of mine in eastern Uttar Pradesh which resemble Bhojpuri, the refrain was that “agar sab log ek ek dhela mare hote ta videshi bhaag jaate”. It roughly translates that if everyone had picked up a boulder and hurled it at the invaders, the attackers would have fled. It made sense because the natives would have overwhelmed the invaders because of their sheer numbers.

I’m reminded of this as India embarks on another massive democratic exercise to elect a new parliament. India can name very many warriors who fought valiantly before. Most of us know about the valor of Rana Pratap, Guru Govind Singh, Shivaji and many others despite the secularist establishment effort post-Independence to erase the memory of the glorious fight the Indian people fought over a thousand years to preserve and protect the land and culture of its people.

The earlier wars were fought by soldiers with spears and swords. Thankfully, the times are different now and the new weapon of this war are information and persuasion. Remember, no warrior however brave and brilliant can win a war. It needs an army to win a war. Fortunately for India, we have a popular and incorruptible leader in Prime Minister Narendra Modi. The army representing the ethos of India is Bhartiya Janata Party(BJP). It is dynamic and resourceful party. It is ably led by an equally talented warrior in President Amit Shah. They cannot win it for us unless we are an active participant and not just bystanders. To defeat the enemy, the equivalent of a “dhela” is your vote.

Many of us are old enough to remember the 2004 election calamity when despite all the goodwill and good work of the Atal ji government, it was defeated. We know how the next terrible ten years pushed India back to brink into a morass of corruption, secession, terrorism, riots, inflation and a general sense of despondency over the future of the country. I distinctly remember how it was fashionable in the American media to mention India and China is the same breath then. In fact, they had a word for it called ‘Chindia’ for the growth engine of the world.

It is only now in the last five years of the Modi government that India has beaten China in terms of GDP growth and other objective economic measures. With the firm and resolute response to Doklam standoff with China, the bold military attacks inside Pakistan, the ASAT test and firm handling of the terror and corrupt ecosystem inside India, we are beginning to hear again China and India mentioned in the same sentence. Make no mistake, I’m not equating India’s capability with China. China is still far ahead but we have begun to narrow the gap and we must because our survival depends on it. China has a hegemonic and expansionist government that has picked quarrels with all its neighbors and is not interested in coexistence but is hellbent on domination of others.

It is convenient to watch the opinion polls and coverage on TV and see who is up or who is down. It eerily resembles the cricket matches that entertain us. My purpose for picking up the war analogy here is deliberate. BJP president mentioned it in his address in January the 3rd battle of Panipat. This election is indeed the 4th battle of Panipat. All the gains made in the last five years would not take long to evaporate and reverse if we lose this battle.

I have also encountered some people who feel that the whole election exercise is so enormous that their contribution would be too insignificant to make a difference. I would say, remember the immortal words from Lord Krishna to Arjun on the battlefields of Mahabharata in Bhagwat Gita.

कर्मण्येवाधिकारस्ते मा फलेषु कदाचन
You have a right to perform your prescribed duty and never be attached to the result of the action.

Let us resolve to do whatever we can. We can proudly tell the generations to come that yes, I was there and I did my part. Can you convince a neighbor, can you pick up an elderly person on your way to voting booth, can you fact check and expose the fake news proliferating in cyberspace, can you think of other innovative ideas to move the needle? All of us have diverse talents and ability to contribute, let us all do our part. Let us not be passive spectators in this Dharma Yuddh (battle). I know some of us have grievance about one thing that they love and was not accomplished in the last five years.

Let us focus on what has been achieved and what yet remains to be done. Five years are a mere blip on the civilizational battle we are fighting to restore India to its rightful place. Let us not make the mistake of making perfect the enemy of the good. Let us work unitedly to uproot the looney left and jihad apologists from our sacred land. Let us all pick up a ‘Dhela’ and hurl it at the powerful enemy of corruption, terrorism, separatism, casteism, jihadism and communism.

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