During his recent trip to Washington, Prime Minister Narendra Modi invited American President Donald Trump to visit India. Trump assured Modi that his daughter Ivanka would attend the Global Entrepreneurship Summit in Hyderabad on November 28. Ivanka’s visit will definitely boost bilateral trade ties. However, it will be ‘good’ for India, if her father decides not to visit the South Asian country.
Why? Because (as it turns out), wherever President Trump goes, strange things, such as attacks on liberal democracy or on tolerant culture, happen there. Conservatives or nationalists become furious in those places after watching Trump. Keeping in mind the growing intolerance in Indian society, we can say that it will be better for India not to host the American president.
Let’s start the discussion with Trump’s ‘America First’ slogan. Currently, America faces various problems, like racism, Islamophobia, etc. Although the US started facing these problems during Barack Obama’s tenure as president, Trump encouraged nationalists to carry on racist attacks by delivering provocative speeches during his election campaign. Since then, a number of incidents of social intolerance have taken place in America.
We know that New York (Trump’s own city) was like a ‘melting pot’, where prejudice used to coexist with tolerance. There was a social balance, which made New York a totally different city. However, the scenario changed in November 2016. Soon after the Presidential Election, the police commissioner of New York confirmed that the number of hate-crime or violence increased by almost 31% compared to the previous year. While crimes committed against Muslims in that US city doubled, there was a 9% jump in anti-Semitic incidents.
President Trump arrived in Saudi Arabia in May on the first leg of his first foreign trip since taking office. Interestingly, a diplomatic crisis rocked West Asia immediately after the US president’s visit, as a Saudi-led coalition, which includes the UAE, Bahrain, Yemen and Egypt, abruptly cut off diplomatic relations with Qatar because of the tiny Arab nation’s alleged support for terrorism. There was no need to create a new problem in the region, which was already in trouble. Later, the foreign minister of the UAE admitted that the sudden step was taken mainly because of Trump’s tour and there was no other reason. The US president, himself, tweeted: “So good to see the Saudi Arabia visit with the King and 50 countries already paying off. They said they would take a hard line on funding extremism, and all reference was pointing to Qatar. Perhaps, this will be the beginning of the end to the horror of terrorism!”
In July, President Trump arrived in Poland. Attending an event at the historic Krasiński Square in Warsaw, he showered praises on Law and Justice Party leader Jaroslaw Kaczynski and also declared a war against ‘barbaric’ people across the globe. And after his tour, Polish leaders passed a new law, making way for the legislature to stamp its authority over the judiciary. As per the new law, the Parliament can appoint and dismiss judges in Poland. How did such a great conservative reform happen suddenly? The answer is simple: the arrival of Trump and his immense confidence in the country’s ruling party were reasons for this sudden change.
In India, the current political situation is not at all good. The ‘freedom of speech’ is in real danger in this country. Recently, taxmen raided a renowned media house as the house “allegedly” failed to repay loans it had taken from a bank. ‘The Argumentative Indian’, a documentary film on Amartya Sen, has been banned because the Nobel laureate economist used some ‘dangerous’ words, like ‘cow’ and ‘Gujarat’, in the movie. However, it is not the case that the ‘concerned authorities’ ban all kinds of derogatory comments. No action has been taken against Paresh Rawal, an Indian film actor and member of the Parliament belonging to the ruling party, who said: “Instead of tying stone-pelters on the army jeep (and using them as human shields), tie Arundhati Roy!” Rawal also described the renowned author as “the great enemy of Hinduism”.
Intolerance is a part of the complex history of the Indian subcontinent. Despite the fact that India is a “sovereign, socialist, secular, democratic republic” (as per the preamble of its Constitution), the Indian society has been very much ‘unstable’ since Independence (1947). Recently, ‘intolerance’ has become India’s ‘normal’ character. What will happen, if Trump arrives in India in such a situation?
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