An evaluation of the government and Prime Minister Narendra Modi post its hundred-day governance on completion of 100 days in office was being eagerly awaited by many. Not many could foresee that the government was determined to go ahead with long-standing aspirations of the people to integrate national sovereignty with constitutional provisions and further implement such decisions which were in national interest and required willpower and undaunted courage.
A transitional constitutional provision like Article 370 had not only isolated Jammu and Kashmir from the rest of the country but had also constantly exposed the people of the Valley to cross-border insurgency and terror attacks. Their suffering saw no end with the continued genocide of indigenous Hindus resulting in their mass exodus. Those from the Muslim community not only witnessed harassment and extortion from separatists but also watched the rise of radicalisation, fundamentalism and instigation of their youth. The local leadership too was more a part of the Kashmir problem and often played to the tune of the separatists' agenda. After the abrogation of Article 370, terrorists have been threatening locals to boycott business and normalcy. They have killed a few, including a driver from the tribal Bakharwal community and recently shot a baby girl in Sopore. The constitutional provision of 370 was removed with the consent of the parliament which received tremendous support across the nation. The trifurcation of Jammu, Kashmir and Ladakh has received stupendous support from the people of Ladakh who had a long-standing demand of Union Territory status. This historic decision has leased a fresh breath to the stagnant, fear-struck socio-political situation in the region and will be hailed, not only as a feat in the first hundred days of governance of the present government, but as a starred page in the governance of the country in the 21st century.
The first hundred days of governance has also passed a landmark bill in empowering Muslim women against the obsolete and medieval practice of Instant Triple Talaq. In spite of the historic judgement delivered by the Supreme Court rendering Triple Talaq illegal, this practice continued to be prevalent in the society. This has led to the discrimination of Muslim women and deprived them of equality and dignity. The Narendra Modi-led government succeeded in passing this bill in its third attempt in parliament during the first session of the 17th Lok Sabha. This further confirms the conviction of the government to provide equal marital rights to all Indian women irrespective of their religious identity. Abrogation of Article 370 and Triple Talaq Bill will go a long way in terminating the culture of appeasement which has dominated Indian politics for a long time.
Education policy is a significant building block of a nation. One of the first initiatives taken by the present government after swearing in was to release the draft National Education Policy to invite suggestions from all stakeholders. This document could be the touchstone towards the decolonization of the Indian education system, which in the past missed out on including our rich heritage of holistic education. The vision for the proposed education policy is an India-centred education system which will contribute towards transforming our nation sustainably into an unprejudiced knowledge society. The proposed document emphasizes reconnecting with our Indian roots. For the first time, Indian languages have been given their due recognition and primary education is being encouraged to be taught in the mother tongue in the proposed policy. The fruits of a sound Education Policy will be borne in the coming decade where, to begin with, students with elementary education will have foundational literacy and numeracy in their mother tongue and the divide between curricular and extra-curricular studies will be dissolved.
Productivity at 134% in the Lok Sabha and Rajya Sabha at 102% (for the recently concluded parliament session) speaks volumes about the government's commitment towards serving the people. The present political dispensation of the country has chosen not to shy away from challenges unlike their predecessors who found solace in procrastination.
Mahatma Gandhi had said that political independence does not mean imitating others but to devise a system suited to our own conditions. Mahatma Gandhi called it Ram Rajya.
(Dr. Geeta Bhatt is an Associate Professor and former Member of the Academic Council, University of Delhi.)
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