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Nationalism doesn't guarantee good governance

comment Updated: Aug 27, 2014 10:43 IST

The knack of creating controversies where none should exist or making an already fraught situation worse seems to be a talent most seen among our political worthies. We have enough of a headache with Pakistan’s constant interference and consistent supply of militants into Jammu and Kashmir without the BJP president Amit Shah, whose words we take very seriously, talking about the need for a nationalist government in the border state.

Are only governments in border states supposed to be nationalistic? To achieve this, he has asked people to vote the BJP in. The rest of what he said about development got lost in the unnecessary propagation of a nationalist government.

Yes, the situation in J-K leaves much to be desired. Chief minister Omar Abdullah seems to have lost the plot and the PDP seems to be able to do little apart from attacking the National Conference. But to suggest that nationalism is the prerogative of the BJP is both unfair and unwarranted in the present circumstances. To add fuel to the fire, we have the state public health engineering minister, Sham Lal Sharma, saying that J-K now needs a Hindu CM. He asks why we had President APJ Abdul Kalam in a country which has 12% of Muslims and Manmohan Singh as PM in a country were Sikhs amount to only 2%. He also lamented the fact that of 7,000 employees in the civil secretariat, only 200 were Hindus. It is astonishing that he was not shown the door for trying to communalise offices that are achieved solely on merit. We were not aware that there was a majoritarian quota system for the posts of prime minister and president or indeed the civil secretariat. The governments of States and the Head of State are all appointed through democratic means. So just because there happen to be more Hindus, it is not a given that plum posts will go to them. We should be proud that high achievers like Mr Singh and Mr Kalam were able to hold high office in a country where Hindus are numerically dominant. This shows the inclusive and democratic and secular nature of our society.

Instead, we now have people trying to create trouble where none existed. Jobs in any sphere cannot be decided on the strength of the population but on merit. J-K needs a competent government devoted to development, India has a competent PM and an exemplary president. Their religion or caste or community does not matter as long as they do their jobs. At least the majority of the people don’t care, but then they are not trying to win elections through less than savoury means.