Lok Sabha poll results show India not 'Hindu Rashtra': Amartya Sen

The eminent economist stressed the need to be politically open-minded, especially when India is deemed a secular country with a secular Constitution.
Nobel laureate Amartya Sen
Nobel laureate Amartya Sen (Photo | PTI)

KOLKATA: Nobel laureate Amartya Sen has asserted the recent Lok Sabha poll results point to the fact that India is not a ‘Hindu Rashtra'.

He also expressed displeasure that keeping people behind bars "without trial" has continued in the country since the British rule and it is more in practice under the BJP government in comparison to the Congress regime.

"That India is not a Hindu Rashtra only has been reflected in the election results," Sen told a Bengali news channel at the Netaji Subhas Chandra Bose International Airport here.

The 90-year-old economist arrived in Kolkata from the US on Wednesday evening.

"We always hope to see a change after every election. Some of what happened earlier (during the BJP-led central government) like putting people behind bars without trial, and widening the gap between the rich and poor, are still continuing. That must stop," he said.

The eminent economist said there is a need to be politically open-minded, especially when India is a secular country with a secular Constitution.

"I do not think the idea of turning India into a Hindu Rashtra is appropriate," Sen said.

He was also of the opinion that the new Union cabinet is "a copy of the earlier one."

"The ministers continue to hold similar portfolios. Despite a slight reshuffle, the politically powerful are still powerful," he said.

Sen recalled that during his childhood when India was under the British rule, people were jailed without any trial.

"When I was young, many of my uncles and cousins were put in jail without trial. We had hoped that India would be free from this. Congress is also to blame for the fact that this did not stop. They didn't change it... But, this is more in practice under the present government," the Nobel laureate said.

On the BJP losing the Faizabad Lok Sabha seat despite building the Ram Temple in Ayodhya, Sen said attempts were made to overshadow the country's true identity.

"...Building the Ram Temple spending so much money...to portray India as a ‘Hindu Rashtra' should not have happened in the country of Mahatma Gandhi, Rabindranath Tagore and Netaji Subhas Chandra Bose. It shows an attempt to neglect India's true identity, and it must change," he said.

Sen also said that unemployment was on the rise in India, and sectors like primary education and primary healthcare were being neglected.

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