In order to gain the victory in the elections of 2004, the then ruling Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) raised the slogan of ‘India Shining’.
In fact BJP led NDA government wanted to befool the innocent masses that because of their reforms over the last decade, India had progressed overnight and had attained a status whereby it had started shining in all fields. This indeed was a misleading concept, based on economic optimism and Indian development in the field of information technology. The concept was supported by the copious crops in year 2003, following the timely and favourable rains. Apart from economic gains, the nationalists BJP leadership of India wanted an international protuberance of India, especially in the post 9/11 scenario, where India wanted to present its image of a soft power in the comity of nations. Projected under the former Finance Minister, Mr. Jaswant Singh, the India Shining campaign, casted India millions of US dollars through Grey Worldwide Advertising Company. Following this phrase, the Indian political parties have been toying with-both sarcastically and in dead earnest. A phrase coined by the political bigwigs and joyfully tom-tomed by the Indian consumer market; “India shining-welcome to the India of the 21st century”. As per Indian writer Mr. Anil Chawla, in order to raise its image in the eyes of masses and at global level, “Government of India spent close to Rs. five billion on an advertising campaign that announced India Shining”. The leaders of NDA Government gave an impression that they have done more for the country in just five years than all governments of previous fifty years. According to them, India is on the way of becoming a superpower. On the contrary, their opponent, Congress led UPA Government claims that BJP has only promoted the ideology of Hindu extremism and terrorism in Indian society. Upon its failure to win the election – 2004, the BJP leader and candidate for premiership, Mr. L.K Advani said that we have given good governance to the people and were confident to form government and “the impression even among the opponents and foreign analysts was that we will win....but we lost...one, due to over-confidence and secondly, using some wrong slogans like India Shining...,". Mr. Advani further said that though it was a valid slogan, but out of place for our election campaign. “By making them verbal icons of our election campaign, we gave our political opponents an opportunity to highlight other aspects of India's contemporary reality...which questioned our claim." The critics of the Shining India slogan which include intelligentsia, men at streets and even the politicians who have been categorically pointing out that India was overwhelmed by the issues like poverty and inequality. The India Shining slogan was seen by majority of the people including BJP allies of NDA government as “glossing over a variety of social problems facing the people of India” especially those living on the country side/ villages. The system of justice in country is ought to be a foundation for the democracy. In shining India, the corruption of courts is at peak, thus making the very basis of democracy as shaky and creaky. Apart from courts, the level of corruption in India has reached to an extent that, it is no longer possible to get anything done without greasing the palms. Indeed the India Shining, the so called world’s largest democracy is a land of extreme contradiction. On the one hand, it has second highest number of billionaires, whereas on the other it is home to the teeming millions who scarcely keep the wolf from the door. Minorities and lower Indian castes are totally vulnerable, open to exploitation by higher Indian castes without any remorse and state protection. Contrary to its claim, India has never demonstrated to be a secular state, neither could she upheld its claims of a social welfare state. Its dominant castes have always committed unprecedented breach of international obligations of fundamental human rights of lower classes and Dalits. Indian police and security forces have been found quite often in extrajudicial killings, including staged encounter killings and custodial deaths. Surprisingly the security forces officials who commit human rights abuses generally enjoy de-facto legal impunity. Apart from this, harassment and arrest of human rights activists; extensive societal violence and legal and social discrimination against women; forced prostitution; child abuse and female infanticide; widespread inter-caste and communal violence; religion-based violence against Muslims and Christians are regular features, clearly reflecting the Indian insensitivity and exposing her tall claims of a secular state. The India shining has given a new trend to the state sponsor terrorism in Occupied Kashmir, North and Northeastern states, state of Gujarat and brutalities against Sikhs are some of the examples. The so-called Shining India, in fact is home to the world’s largest number of poor people inhabiting a single country. Out of its over one billion population, an estimated four hundred millions are living below the poverty line. More than 40 per cent of the population is illiterate, with women, tribal and scheduled castes particularly affected. Because of poverty, there is a sharp increase in the ratio of deaths through suicides. According to an official report of India, nearly 70% people live in inhuman conditions. A national survey held recently indicated that majority of people living along countryside have their daily earnings less than rupees 30. In March 2007, it was pointed out by Asian Director of Human Rights Watch, Brad Adams, in a UNO organized conference against discrimination that, "The UN Committee's concluding observations confirm that India has failed to properly protect Dalits and tribal communities." After having known the reality, one has to shore up the Indian even-tempered psychotherapists who strongly believe that, as a slum dweller, India is facing multiple problems in all fields. Indeed, a vast majority of Indians do not know where their next meal is going to come from. Therefore the fact remains that India is neither shining nor will shine ever. Rather, it is a shelter less inn for the majority of its underprivileged masses.