"It’s not that everything is bad, but on the core issues of the idea of India, on secularism, he does not respect the cultures of others"
While his policies on Sri Lanka and China are commendable, Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s stance on “core issues” reflects intolerance and stands in variance with the idea of India, the Chairman of Kasturi and Sons Ltd, and former Editor-in-Chief of The Hindu, N. Ram, said here on Tuesday.
“It’s not that everything is bad, but on the core issues of the idea of India, on secularism, policy towards minorities, Article 370, on banning beef-eating, he does not respect the cultures of others,” Mr. Ram said during a panel discussion on “Minorities and the media: at a crossroads” at Maulana Azad National Urdu University. He spoke of the need for the Muslim community to introspect on issues such as gender equality and women’s education. Mr. Ram wondered why reaction to an increase in the country’s Muslim population “bordered on paranoia.”
Prominent journalist Shekhar Gupta faulted the secular media for having taken up extreme positions in the aftermath of the Gujarat riots in 2002, as a result of which they found themselves lost after the Lok Sabha elections last year.
Columnist Swapan Dasgupta said secular parties lived in denial of the “half-truths” in society.
That Indian Muslims were a harassed lot was “established wisdom” in the Pakistani media, said Editor-in-Chief of Pakistan’s Friday Times, Najam Sethi.
Mr. Ram, chief guest at the inaugural session, called for in-depth study into the profiling of Muslims and the issues connected with them by the media, since an impression had gained ground that there was stereotyping of the community. He said the Urdu University was highly qualified to take up the study and if any cooperation was required, the Asian College of Journalism, Chennai would be willing to offer it.