OPINION
Bush, Obama said this on Diwali. Was it meant for Trump? Or Us?
- By Pandit Nasruddin Chichawatni
Bush, Obama said this on Diwali. Was it meant for Trump? Or Us?



ON THE DAY of Diwali, two former presidents of the United States of America, who had not spoken in months, said stuff that many thought was actually aimed at rebuking President Donald Trump, but a number of Indians in western democracies said the message was just as appropriate for India's saffron rulers.

 

Former presidents George W Bush and Barack Obama spoke at separate events, and both warned that the United States was being torn apart by ancient hatreds that should have been consigned to history long ago.

 

Also Read: HAPPY DIWALI, CM AMARINDER SINGH & PARKASH SINGH BADAL JEE - CHALO, PATAAKE CHALAYEN


Both the former presidents called for addressing economic anxiety through common purpose.

 

Political pundits in the US said while neither named Trump, there was little doubt whom and what they had in mind. Many of the readers in India said Obama's and Bush's words can be well heeded by Modi and his cohort in India, and will do the saffron party a lot of good if it paid attention.

 

Bush, the last Republican to hold the White House before Trump, addressing a conference in New York to support democracy, said America first had to "recover our own identity” in the face of challenges to its most basic ideals. In contrast to Trump who lashes out at targets with relish, Bush defended immigration, denounced nationalism and bigotry and bemoaned what he called the "casual cruelty” of current public discourse.


Even a casual student of Indian political scene can annotate the comments with references to the current political voices coming from within the ruling BJP and many of the Sangh Parivar's outfits.

 

"We’ve seen nationalism distorted into nativism,” Bush said.

 

Sample this sentence in the very beginning of Bush's speech:


"The great democracies face new and serious threats — yet seem to be losing confidence in their own calling and competence. Economic, political and national security challenges proliferate, and they are made worse by the tendency to turn inward. The health of the democratic spirit itself is at issue. And the renewal of that spirit is the urgent task at hand."

 

Who says it couldn't have come from a saner mind in India, perturbed by the rising levels of intolerance in the country?

 

"What we can’t have is the same old politics of division that we have seen so many times before that dates back centuries,” Obama told a campaign rally on a day when India was celebrating Diwali, a festival that has traditionally seen communities coming together in the spirit of joie de vivre.

 

"Some of the politics we see now, we thought we put that to bed. That has folks looking 50 years back. It’s the 21st century, not the 19th century. Come on!” Obama said, exactly when India was debating whether the ban on crackers was an attack on Hindus.

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Obama urged the people "to send a message to the country and a message to the world that we are rejecting the politics of division, we are rejecting a politics of fear, that we are embracing a politics that says everybody counts.”

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While analysts in the United States said the two former presidents speaking out so forcefully and eloquently amounted to a warning that some basic principles of democracy that both parties have long supported are in jeopardy, political pundits that Punjab Today spoke to said it was here that things were different in India.

 

"Even those who bash the entire saffron line from Narendra Modi to Yogi Adityanath to Sangeet Som fall back upon the old, divisive references to who killed Mahatma Gandhi and whether RSS took part in the freedom struggle. That amounts to denying the legitimate and often heroic role that people from both ends of the stream, BJP and Congress, and many others, have played in strengthening the cause of democracy in India," said a senior academic.

 

 Also Read & Watch Video - BRITISH PM THERESA MAY'S MESSAGE ON DIWALI & BANDI CHORR DIVAS


A reporter could not resist the temptation to ask Bush W. whether his message would be heard in the White House. The former president Bush smiled, nodded slightly and said, "I think it will.”

 

"Bigotry seems emboldened” and "our politics seems more vulnerable to conspiracy theories and outright fabrication,” said Bush, adding, "We know that when we lose sight of our ideals, it is not democracy that has failed; it the failure of those charged with preserving and protecting democracy.”

 

"Bullying and prejudice in our public life sets a national tone, provides permission for cruelty and bigotry and compromises the moral education of children,” Bush added.

 

Speaking in New Jersey, Obama urged the people "to send a message to the country and a message to the world that we are rejecting the politics of division, we are rejecting a politics of fear, that we are embracing a politics that says everybody counts.”

 

Obama had made it clear while leaving the White House that he will speak up if he saw the core values under attack.

 

Disclaimer : PunjabToday.in and other platforms of the Punjab Today group strive to include views and opinions from across the entire spectrum, but by no means do we agree with everything we publish. Our efforts and editorial choices consistently underscore our authors' right to the freedom of speech. However, it should be clear to all readers that individual authors are responsible for the information, ideas or opinions in their articles, and very often, these do not reflect the views of PunjabToday.in or other platforms of the group. Punjab Today does not assume any responsibility or liability for the views of authors whose work appears here.

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