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PM Narendra Modi against appeasement politics, avoids Iftar parties
It was more of a shock, rather than a surprise to me, when certain sections of the media reported that PM Narendra Modi shall be hosting an Iftar party during his visit to Srinagar on July 17. Having closely followed him during his 2014 Lok Sabha election campaign and also during the previous years before he eventually became the PM, it was unimaginable for me that a person who was totally against appeasement politics would do such a thing. Later on, the air was cleared after Times of India reported that the news of the PM hosting an Iftar party at Srinagar was merely speculative.

Indian politics has seen these antics forever. Anybody who's somebody in Indian politics hosts an Iftar party, to show his closeness to minorities and poses wearing a skull cap to please the shutterbugs. The next day you see newspapers filled up with such photographs, where politicians can be seen in their fancy attires hugging each other in sheer madness.

To me it looks more like a Page 3 event or a fancy dress show, rather than a religious one. Trust me, if you interview any of those politicians, they would not be able to tell you what the true meaning of Iftar is and what is its significance. For them it is just another stunt show which is held annually to rope in another vote bank.

Congress president Sonia Gandhi hosted an Iftar party yesterday and the Honorable President of India, Pranab Mukherjee is hosting one tonight. PM Narendra Modi is known to be different, and thus follows a totally different approach towards such events. He has always maintained that he does not believe in appeasement politics and maintains a significant amount of distance from such events.

His ideology of non-appeasement politics caught public attention during his sadbhavna fast event at Ahmadabad in 2011, where a Muslim cleric, Sayed Imam Shahi Saiyed offered him a skull cap, which he politely refused and asked the cleric to offer him a shawl instead. The cleric being hard pressed for choices, offered NaMo a shawl. Later on the cleric expressed his displeasure by quoting to media persons, "Narendra Modi's refusal to accept the cap is not my insult but an insult of Islam."

During an interview to India TV NaMo had said, "If by wearing a cap one becomes a symbol of unity then nobody has ever seen Mahatma Gandhi, Sardar Patel and Pandit Nehru wearing this kind of a cap. Actually a kind of deformity has come in Indian politics where anything can be done for appeasement. My job is to respect all communities, respect the values of all communities but I have to accept my own values. I live with my values. Hence, I don't bluff people by wearing a cap, or getting clicked. But I believe that if somebody shows disrespect to another person then he should be given the strictest punishment."

PM Modi has always been criticized by the opposition for not hosting Iftar parties, an obligation which his predecessors including Atal Bihari Vajpayee followed with much fanfare. But he has strongly put his foot down and refuses to budge under pressure.

PM Modi is most likely to skip today's Iftar party being hosted by the President too, citing prior engagements as the reason. The PMO released a statement yesterday saying, "The Prime Minister will chair a meeting with Chief Ministers from the Nort-Eastern states, including Sikkim, at 1900 hrs tomorrow."

It is not the first time that PM Modi has skipped the Iftar party hosted by the President, but for the second consecutive time. It was shortly after coming to power last year, that PM Modi and a couple of his senior ministers gave a skip to the Iftar party at the Rashtrapati Bhawan. It is a clear indication towards his ideology and his rational thinking against appeasement politics.

Being a broad minded Hindu myself, I totally agree with PM Modi's approach. You are who you are, and you certainly do not need to shun your own identity for pleasing someone. Respecting every religion is important but more important is maintaining your own individuality. If we cannot respect our own religion, then there is no point in showing inclination towards another religion. Being born as a Hindu who practices Hinduism, PM Modi is under no obligation to wear a skull cap or attend or host Iftar parties.

As the Prime Minister of India on the other hand, he should treat all communities at the same level and worry more about their development, rather than hosting or attending Iftar parties, which according to me are a criminal waste of time, and this is perhaps what the PM seems to be communicating by refusing invites to such events. Kudos to the PM for sticking to his ideology, as ideologies are not mere wearables which need to be changed everyday.

Editorial NOTE: This article is categorized under Opinion Section. The views expressed in this article are solely those of the author and do not necessarily represent the views of merinews.com. In case you have a opposing view, please click here to share the same in the comments section.
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