Infosys founder NR Narayana Murthy has become the first business leader to speak out against growing intolerance and fear among minorities in the country, saying the government’s first priority should be to restore confidence among the people so that economic growth is not affected.
He said there is “considerable fear” among both minorities and people of different regions and pointed out that countries affected by strife and distrust did not make speedy progress.
“I’m not a politician, I’m not interested in politics...but the reality today is that there is considerable fear in the minds of minorities in India,” Narayana Murthy said.
“There is considerable fear in the minds of people of one region living in another region, for example like we had in 1967, when South Indians were treated very badly by Shiv Sena in Mumbai – today there is a lot of that worry,” he told NDTV.
Narayana Murthy said he received “lots of emails” and a “lot of people talking to me” about these problems.
“So I would say the first priority for this government, or for that matter any government both at the central and state level, (is) to bring back the confidence, the energy, the enthusiasm, the trust in the minds of every Indian – that this is our country, I have all the rights here, I am very safe and therefore, I will work towards the betterment of India,” he said.
“...over the last 300 years, data on facts tell me that no country has made speedy economic progress unless there is no strife, there is no distrust, there is no fear, unless the majority community does not oppress the minority community, does not want the minority community to do what it wants,” he added.
Over the past few weeks, writers, academics and scientists have spoken out against growing intolerance and suppression of the freedom of choice and expression. More than 40 writers have returned prestigious government awards to register their protest.
Narayana Murthy said it did not matter which party is in power but the government’s first requirement is to “create an environment of positivism, confidence and trust and an environment of ‘I belong to India’”.
“Therefore I am not worried about what concoction of government is where but the reality is we have to create an environment of peace, harmony, trust enthusiasm and energy and then we can get to economic matters.
“Let me assure you that unless we sort that problem out, I don’t think we will be able to bring back growth, I don’t think we will be able to solve the problem of poverty, to eliminate the sad cases of poor farmers committing suicide.”