The remarks made by many Right-wing elements are best ignored at most times. But when an elected MP starts threatening the government to which he belongs, then it is time that those in authority gave a fitting riposte.
Sakshi Maharaj, an MP from Unnao in Uttar Pradesh, had indulged in a rant warning the government to fulfil the Hindu agenda along with the economic one. He backtracked later, saying that he was misquoted by the media.
There have been several statements from the so-called custodians of Hindutva like VHP leader Sadhvi Prachi, who urged Hindu women to have at least four children. When her remarks were condemned in the Press, the sadhvi replied saying she had only asked women to have four children, ‘not 40 puppies’! There have been others who have been urging women to have more children so that the Hindu rate of birth goes up and is not subsumed by other religions. That none of these fears of being overrun by other religions has any scientific basis should be highlighted along with the fact that the number of children any woman chooses to have is a personal choice. Producing more children in a family which is in poverty hardly seems a way to better the lot of Hindus.
The fact is that the Sakshi Maharajs seem emboldened by the fact that there is a perceived Hindutva-oriented government at the Centre. This notion must be dispelled. Whatever the proclivities of the BJP, the government has made it clear that they will pursue only a secular and inclusive agenda consistent with our Constitution. However, the government must be firm and vocal that these elements are not speaking in its name and that it has no truck with such regressive statements. The national population policy makes it clear that people have every right to determine the size of their family while making it clear that the government has the responsibility of allowing people to make informed choices. Sakshi Maharaj seems to have overstepped the limit in trying to pursue his Hindu agenda. He must be reminded that he is bound by the Constitution. And this message should be sent home by the highest quarter in his party.