The Prime Minister’s speech at the centenary celebrations of Aligarh Muslim University three days ago struck all the right notes, reminding the audience of the founding principles of the Republic and reassuring the country of his unwavering faith in the Constitution. He paid rich tributes to the eclecticism of the AMU, describing the AMU a 'mini-India' which teaches Urdu as well as Hindi, Arabic as well as Sanskrit.
Speaking through a video-link, the PM reiterated that the government’s focus on development made no distinction on religious basis; nor did it discriminate on regional or caste or community basis. “Politics and society can wait but the country's development cannot wait,” the PM said.
It is significant that Modi is the first Prime Minister to address the AMU since 1964, when then Prime Minister Lal Bahadur Shastri had spoken at a function there. Given the controversial image of the AMU, Modi’s prime ministerial address, free from any hint of sectarianism and without a discordant note, is remarkable.
Partisans on both sides of the religious divide might feel confused by the all-embracing message of Modi, but their cause would be better served if both sides heeded his uplifting message.