New Delhi: Former Reserve Bank of India (RBI) Governor Raghuram Rajan on Friday backed Bollywood actor Deepika Padukone for her silent protest against JNU violence and standing in solidarity with the students. Praising the actress, he said for some people, truth, freedom and justice are not just lofty words, but ideals worth sacrificing for.
In a blog on Linkedin, Raghuram Rajan also commended Election Commissioner Ashok Lavasa doing his duty impartially despite harassment to his family as an example of the same.
Rajan also condemned the JNU violence, saying that the news of a gang of masked assailants breaking into one of India’s leading universities and then going on a rampage for hours, attacking students and faculty members, entirely undisturbed by the police, is “worrisome”.
On Deepika’s 10-minutes impromptu visit to JNU three days ago, Rajan said despite putting attendance at her latest movie, ‘Chhapaak’, at risk, the actor “inspires us all to take stock of what is truly at stake”.
And when a Bollywood actor “registers her silent protest by meeting with the victims of the attack on JNU, even though she puts attendance at her latest movie at risk, she inspires us all to take stock of what is truly at stake”, he said.
Rajan said one has to be truly cynical to not be moved by these actions.
“These people show through their actions that they think truth, freedom, and justice are not merely lofty words, but ideals worth sacrificing for. It is they who are fighting today for India that Mahatma Gandhi gave his life for. It is they, who never marched to win freedom, but today march to preserve it, who give us hope that Rabindranath Tagore’s dream into that heaven of freedom, My Father, let my country awake, will continue to be a reality,” he wrote.
He went on to add, “young people of diverse faiths march together, Hindus and Muslims arm-in-arm behind our national flag, rejecting artificial divides stoked by political leaders for their own gain”.
“They show that the spirit of our Constitution still burns brightly,” he said. It must be noted that many people, mostly students, across India have taken to streets to protest against the CAA, on the concern that it makes religion a criterion for granting citizenship.
Without naming Lavasa — the sole member of the Election Commission who refused to give a clean chit to PM Modi and Home Minister Amit Shah in the matter of electoral process violations — Rajan said, “When an Election Commissioner carries out his duties impartially despite the harassment it brings upon his family, he asserts that integrity has not been completely cowed.”
Soon after the BJP won a second term, investigations were initiated against five members of Lavasa’s family. Rajan went on to praise bureaucrats resigning and a few journalists working tirelessly to get the truth out.
“When officers of the administrative service resign their dream jobs because they do not believe they can serve in good faith, they are living testimony that the sacrifices made by the generations that got us freedom still inspire emulation,” he wrote.
“When some members of the media work tirelessly to get the truth out even as their colleagues succumb to government pressure, they demonstrate what it means to be a dutiful citizen of the Republic.”
Rajan said makers of the Indian Constitution had come through the horrors of a fratricidal Partition and sought to create a more united future by drafting “a document that attempts to draw out the best in us in a spirit of common purpose and pride.”
“What better resolution for the new decade than to re-dedicate ourselves to ensuring that this spirit burns strongly in each one of us?” he said. “In these troublesome times, let us work together to make India that shining example of tolerance and respect that our founders envisioned, a beacon once more for a weary world. Let that be our task for the new decade.”
Rajan said while the identities of the JNU attackers remain unclear, many of those attacked were activists, and neither the government-appointed administration nor the police intervened.
“When even elite universities become literal battlegrounds, accusations that the government is attempting to suppress dissent – even if by apathy rather than design – gain substantial credibility,” he said, adding it was easy to blame leadership but in a democracy the public also bears responsibility.
“After all, it was the citizenry that put our leaders into office and acquiesced in their divisive manifesto, which they have taken as their marching orders,” he said, adding that democracy is not merely a right but also a responsibility — a burden to be the keepers of the Republic, not merely on election day but every day.
(With PTI inputs)