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January 12, 2020

Protests to help make better India: Mani Shankar Aiyar

Lahore

January 12, 2020

LAHORE : Former Union Minister of India Mani Shankar Aiyar has emphasized that India needs to act carefully under the emerging circumstances or it could end up in a dark valley.

He was speaking at a session on “Is Liberal Democracy Dead?” along with former Portuguese Minister Bruno Macaes on the opening day of ThinkFest here at Alhamra Hall-II on Saturday. Pervez Hoodbhoy moderated the session. Mani Shankar said that Hindutva in India is just like a concept of Christianity in the West, yet it hasn’t been accepted by the people of India. “Hindutva has emerged just 90 years ago and suddenly captured India in 2014. It could go worse in India, but the people of India led by students and women are resisting it, and that’s where is the hope for a better India,” he said, adding that India must not emulate Pakistan’s example of creating a state based on religion, and must preserve its secular identity. “What India must learn from Pakistan is the smooth way of transfer of power from one democratic government to another in the last three general elections,” he added. How fascinating, he says, is the way an all-women protest in Shaheen Bagh, Delhi, 24/7 for the last three weeks in which women are reading out the preamble of the Indian constitution, which sent out a strong message loud and clear that democracy matters. “When people are enlightened and resisting it like this, the state has to correct itself even if it doesn’t want to,” he said, adding that the battle would continue as the protesting women, students and children held out a candle of hope for the future generations of India. “Things get worse before they get better,” said former Portuguese Minister Bruno Macaes, while responding to a question on whether liberal democracy is dead or not. Today, he said, global warming and artificial intelligence are more powerful phenomena than any superpower in the world and they would steer the world in their own way. “So yes, things will get worse, for now,” he added.