Former union finance minister and home minister P Chidambaram said that there have been only three occasions– partition, the demolition of Babri Masjid and now– when India has been most polarised.
While speaking at the launch of his book ‘Standing Guard-A Year in Opposition’, he said:
“How many of us realise how polarised the Indian society has become? Please talk to your Muslim friends, please talk to your Dalit friends. Please talk to people who have small farmholdings.”
He further added that there exist great insecurity, great apprehension among the poor and the country is heading towards a deeply divided and a polarised society.
Castigating the Modi government for its failure, Chidambaram said that in just one year, the narrative of the government has dramatically changed from development to division.
Taking a dig at Human Resource Development (HRD) minister Smiriti Irani, who justified the actions taken in JNU row, Chidambaram said:
“What do we understand by a university? The university is not a monastery. We are confusing between universities and monasteries. A university is a place, where I, as a student, at my age, have the right to be wrong. In a university, there is no need to be always profound as I can be ridiculous also.”
“But, the real debate should be how an insensitive university drove a first-generation learner from an underprivileged family to commit a suicide,” he said.
Expressing his concern about the current scenario, he said that the present situation worries him.
“Is it just madness or is there a method to this madness.? The year did not end with a narrative dominated by the economy. It ended on a completely different narrative. Instead of a rise in economy, we have a rise in intolerance. Instead of a narrative of cooperation, we have a narrative of confrontation.”
Former Prime Minister Manmohan Singh, Rahul Gandhi, CPM General Secretary Sitaram Yechury, former Planning Commission deputy chairman Montek Singh Ahluwalia, Justice B N Srikrishna, Congress leader Kapil Sibal and former National Security Advisor Shivshanker Menon were also present at the event.