DUBAI: Reiterating the need to stand united in testing times, Former Indian finance minister Yashwant Sinha said on Tuesday that no community can flourish if it only caters to itself.
In an exclusive interview with Arab News, Sinha said that as a leader, one has to think beyond one’s own community. “You have to be Indian -- not Muslim or Hindu,” he said on the sidelines of an annual dinner organized by the Aligarh Muslim University Alumni in Dubai.
Sinha was a senior leader of the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) before he quit the party this year. He held several portfolios during his career span, including that of former Indian administrator, politician, former finance minister, and minister of external affairs.
Confident that things will change for the better after the elections next year, he said: “Mark my words, things will change in India. I am not losing hope. Next elections will bring new hope to the country.”
He added that whatever communal damage has been done by the present government, it will be undone with the establishment of a new leadership as things will be back on track, adding that “this is all temporary”.
“The positive part of today’s India political structure is that we have numerous new faces and fresh blood. People like Hardik Patel, Kanhaiya Kumar, Tejashwi Yadav will change the dynamics of Indian politics,” he said.
Nearly 600 people attended the annual Sir-Syed day. Along with Sinha, famous Indian journalists Arfa Khanum, Punya Parusan Bajpai, and Aligarh city Mayor Mohammad Furqan attended the event.
Speaking to the audience earlier in the day, Khanum criticized the role played by the media in India. “[Popular] Indian media is hurting the democratic values of the country to the extent that they have become the perpetrators of communal hatred and violence,” she said.
She added that the Indian constitution is in danger and that the country is slowing moving towards a state of civil war. “There is no holy book that is in danger in India. The only one book [which] is in danger is the Indian constitution.”
While discussing the role of education and Aligarh movement for the Muslim community in India, Khanum said that education is the only way to survive. “Education without empowerment and independence is useless. Empowered education will bring leadership to the community, which is the only answer to bad politics,” she said, adding that disassociating from politics is not the solution.
“The only answer to bad politics is more and more good politics,” she said.