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Protests a test: Can govt not read signs of times?

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It’s too early to say whether the unschooled student protests at many of the nation’s universities will impact the country’s politics at a time when the ruling BJP under Prime Minister Narendra Modi and home minister Amit Shah seemed to be fully in control of the national affairs. It is, however, hard to ignore the fact that the protests have cast a shadow in the Modi-Shah power hologram, a tiny one no doubt, but a shadow all the same. At a time when the political Opposition seems all but decimated — despite Maharashtra, Haryana and Jharkhand — the students have in their own small way restored the voice of protest to the country which is so essential in a functioning democracy. The BJP monologue has been turned into a noisy colloquy. Cynics would say, and they may well be right, that the students will soon get back to their studies and they will be busy with their lives and careers after that. The presence of a Kanhaiya Kumar with his political engagement will not make much of a difference. But what is heartening about the student protests, and there is no need to exaggerate its epic proportions, is the energy and innocence they bring to it. These protests are an assurance that democracy is doing fine in the country.

These protests also test the political maturity of Mr Modi, Mr Shah and the BJP. They can call these expressions of political dissent immature, but they would be committing a grave blunder to tag them as “anti-national”. The temptation of many........

© The Asian Age