Nobel laureate Amartya Sen on Saturday said people of the country were being divided for “political opportunism”. Sen also lamented that the colonial practice of imprisoning people due to political reasons is still being continued, decades after India gained independence.
“There is an effort to divide Indians…create a rift in the co-existence of Hindus and Muslims on account of political opportunism,” he said during a virtual address at the centenary celebration of ‘Anandabazar Patrika’.
The first edition of the vernacular daily was published on March 13, 1922. Prafullakumar Sarkar was its founding-editor.
“At that time, several people in the country were jailed for political reasons…I was very young then and often used to question whether this practice of sending people to jail without committing any crime will ever stop. Subsequently, India became independent, but this exercise is still very much in existence,” the 88-year-old celebrated economist said.
Earlier this month, expressing concern over the current state of affairs in India, Sen had said people should work towards maintaining unity. He also said that divisions should not be created on religious lines.
“I think if someone asks me if I’m scared of something, I would say yes. There is a reason to be afraid now. The current situation in the country has become a cause for fear,” the celebrated economist said at the inauguration of Amartya Research Centre in Kolkata’s Salt Lake area. “I want the country to be united. I don’t want division in a country that was historically liberal. We have to work together,” he said.
Asserting that India cannot belong only to the Hindus or to the Muslims, the octogenarian stressed on the need to stay united in line with the country’s traditions. “India cannot be (a country) of Hindus only. Again, Muslims alone cannot make India. Everyone has to work together,” Sen had added.
Meanwhile, also on Saturday, taking a dig at Prime Minister Narendra Modi, Congress leader Rahul Gandhi said people are now telling the prime minister that the obstacles “created by him” such as the LPG price hikes, fuel prices breaking all records, the “Gabbar Tax loot” and the “tsunami of unemployment” have exhausted them and he must stop now.
Gandhi’s dig came over Modi’s recent remarks at a large public meeting in Andhra Pradesh’s Bhimavaram after he unveiled a 30-foot bronze statue of legendary freedom fighter Alluri Sitarama Raju on his 125th birth anniversary.
Recalling Alluri’s war cry to the British, “Dum hai to mujhe rok lo” (stop me if you have the guts), the prime minister had said the people of the country are now using a similar slogan, “Dum hai to humein rok lo”, as they are bravely confronting many challenges and difficulties.
“The prime minister said — 133 crore Indians are telling every obstacle, ‘if you have guts, then stop us’,” Gandhi said in a tweet in Hindi. Under the Bharatiya Janata Party’s (BJP) rule, the prices of domestic LPG cylinders went up by 157 per cent, fuel prices broke all records and the “Gabbar Tax loot” and a “tsunami of unemployment” hit the country, he alleged.
“In fact, the public is telling the prime minister — these obstacles created by you have exhausted us, now stop,” the former Congress chief said. (PTI)