THE PERCEIVED THREAT OF NARENDRA MODI
The recent Supreme Court probe order for the role of Narendra Modi in the 2002 Gujarat riot has been a platter of unbound jubilation for the Modi-haters. Like unleashed hungry dogs they have pounced with numerous articles and columns gracing the English news media. It was as if the Supreme Court has given a life line to all those who are participants of “who wants to be the ultimate Modi-slayer”
I happen to come across this particular column and could not resist the temptation of responding. The responses are italicized, bold and within parenthesis.
It is published in http://www.blogs.ivarta.com/A-RESPONSE-Taliban-India/blog-273.htm
A RESPONSE BY ARINDAM BANDYOPADHYAY TO
“The Taliban is already amidst us in India” ,
by Jyotirmaya Sharma
THEY WILL NOT COME FROM PAKISTAN, (you are right, some of them are already in India and demonstrate their talents from time to time in the serial bombings of the various cities, not to mention the ones that are frequent visitors in Kashmir for ages. Others when they come will be from a place that would be ‘former Pakistan’ after the actual Talibans are done with that country) THEY ARE HERE IN THE FORM OF NARENDRA MODI AND HIS ZEALOTS (I am impressed that you did not use the term ’saffron or Hindu’ zealot.)
THE Supreme Court has asked the SIT to probe Narendra Modi’s role in the post- Godhra riots in Gujarat in 2002. But that will not still the chorus for Modi as a future national leader of the BJP. (You cannot be that naïve to believe that a probe order from a court debars one from becoming a leader. You need to see the bio-data of our sitting MPs – a quarter of them are proven criminals. Perhaps in your jubilation you have forgotten that a probe is not a conviction. Or may be Modi is a different beast and should be treated with subhuman laws and a mere announcement of a probe is enough to establish his guilt.) As it is, the timing and context of the Modi- for- PM demand is curious. (You yourself have used the word ‘future’ national leader – I am not sure whether the meaning is clear to you. If that still sounds untimely to you, how about the sycophantic Congress slogan of our dear ‘Raul Baba as Prime Minister’ material)
In part, it is admission that the BJP- led NDA will have to wait a few more years before making a bid for power. But it also implies that the prime- minister- in- eternal anticipation and perpetual desperation, Lal Krishna Advani, has failed to capture the imagination of even his own flock. (No comments on this brilliant deduction – almost Newton-like wisdom)
Other than the obvious reasons, there is an obvious tactic at play here: the BJP hopes that Modi’s name as a future leader would actually help win some votes in these elections. (For your information Mr Modi is a three-times democratically elected CM of Gujarat, and has been elected the best CM of India for three years in a row by India today survey, polling almost as much as the first and second runners-up, Sheila Dikshit and Nitish Kumar, put together. The BJP cannot boast of a dynasty and its slaves – their leaders are not so fortunate to become MP because of their names alone. They are dependent on hard work to prove it to their electorate. Modi is already their star campaigner, in case you did not know that, and is expected to get a little more than ’some votes’ – may be enough to spare the current PM of 4 more years of shame and agony of looking up to No.10 Janpath for instructions and / or save Raul Baba’s from remaining an eternal bachelor, allowing him to have a happily married life with his ‘foreign’ girlfriend.)
It is an appeal to the highly voluble, if not sizeable, number of the Indian middle class, which has not merely discovered the simple joys of voting, but has the temerity to now reclaim the public space they have for so long spurned with mighty disdain. (Is that your concern that the Indian people have become interested in choosing the right leaders and are refusing to accept the deceptions fed to them for most of the last 61 years post independence? Are you frustrated now for underestimating the Indian democracy?).
It has two things in common with Modi. The first is a certain brand of vulgar impatience and haste (Yes, ask any Gujarati and they will agree that this man is impatient, for he is on a mission. The Gujaratis love him – he has done more for Gujarat in 7 years than what the Congress could not even formulate in several decades), a hallmark of the mob as well as the tyrant, (you can keep on abusing him in frustration, but definitely he is not the character of a meek and spineless person, camouflaging as a leader. Unfortunately, common people respect and like such ‘macho’ men who walk their talks and feel pity for those, who sacrifice their dignity and self esteem to line up and take orders from a foreign lady) born out of a sense of self- proclaimed purity and righteousness. (It is actually not self proclaimed – it is his enemies who agree that he is incorruptible and does not indulge in nepotism – a quality that is so rare in Indian politics today, that, that could easily be the sole reason why the rest of India would want Modi to be their leader too.) The other is a misplaced sense of aspiring for such indeterminate goals such as ‘progress’ and ‘ development’, (actually progress and development is what a government is supposed to do – I can’t blame you for not knowing that, since it is clear that your sense of governance is defined by what Congress has done over decades – to give a dynastic Prime Minister to India with each generation. No doubt they claim that they are with the poor ‘aam aadmi’, for as long they are there, the poor will remain poor with them) a chimera that leaves everyone out of the equation other than the sort of worthies who stood on a stage and argued for Modi’s elevation as prime minister.
There is, then, little difference between the two Aruns, Shourie and Jaitley, and Ambani, Mittal and Tata: they feel emboldened enough to suggest who the next prime minister ought to be (You are right – you want to make sure that there is only one voice in India who can choose a PM for the country and the rest should remain sheepish. At least these guys do not fancy themselves as Prime Ministers unlike the Lalus, Mayabatis, Powers and Gowdas) without a care in the world for the democratic process to decide on such weighty issues. (Wow! You think about democracy? Is that the process where you get chosen, not elected, to become a Prime Minister. Is it the method by which you remain all-in-all of a national party without any election for your lifetime? Or is it the way by which you get simply named as the general secretary of a national party or projected as a future Prime Minister because your dad or your grandma was so?) The message from them is: we know what is good for you. We represent the country because we produce wealth or facilitate in its production. (Do you mean you do not want wealth and production for the country? Or is it that the wealthy and productive should have no say of their own and are to be shunned away and their voice throttled?)
Apart from the cheerleaders for Modi, it would be instructive to look at the man himself in terms of three statements made recently. In the absurd debate regarding whether Manmohan Singh is a weak prime minister, Modi came up with a priceless statement. He dared the prime minister to hang Afzal Guru in order to prove his strength and establish his machismo. There was a time when Gandhi shook a mighty empire through nonviolence and yet never abandoned fundamental moral principles in order to take on the British. He broke laws that were unjust, but understood the importance of laws as a guiding framework for any civilised society. Killing someone just to prove an imaginary idea of strength had no place in his moral universe. (I hope you do not mean to say that executing a convict as per the direction of the Supreme Court violates the legal framework of the Indian civil society. Or is it that Supreme Court’s orders should be carried out in different formats – one for the Modis and one for the Afzals.
And talking about the ‘Mahatma’ – the man who wanted Congress to be dismantled and dreamt a Ram Rajya in India and the man who is Congress’ favorite icon to project and brainwash people to remain docile and non-aggressive. It is the same Congress though, who now questions the antiquity of Ram Sethu and even the existence of Ram.
Let me give you a piece of History. This is what Clement Richard Attlee, (British Prime Minister 1945 – 51) during a visit to India told Mr. B.P. Chakravarti, acting Governor of West Bengal, about the real grounds for granting independence to India. Attlee cited several reasons, the most important were the activities of Netaji Subhas Chandra Bose which weakened the very foundation of the attachment of the Indian land and naval forces to the British Government. Being asked about the extent to which the British decision to quit India was influenced by Gandhi’s activities, Attlee’s lips widened in a smile of disdain and he uttered, slowly, putting emphasis on each single letter – “mi-ni-mal.” (Emphasis added.).
That was how much regards the British had for the ‘naked fakir’ and his ‘independence by nonviolence’. To claim that Gandhian nonviolence alone gave us independence not only discredits thousands of freedom fighters who died for their country, but is also one of the greatest hoax of Indian history that the Congress and off course the Western and westernized Indian media wants us to believe, akin to the equally ludicrous claim that only Congress can manage India post independence.
This is not Munnabhai series, Mr Sharma. It happens only on celluloid that the villain’s heart changes with flower bouquet. Even celluloid hoodwinks cannot wash out the fact that the same Munnabhais are caught with AK 47.
In real life freedom comes with blood shed and if you freshen up your history knowledge you will see a lot of blood was shed to attain India’s independence. The Congress can try its best to wipe out the contribution of Subhas Bose or teach that Bhagat Singh was a terrorists but the Indian people will continue to adore their portrait in their homes and their heart.)
Modi represents an alternative ‘morality’, which seeks to justify, albeit covertly, encounter killings in the name of swiftness and expediency. (Since you are a Professor of Politics Mr. Sharma, do I need to remind you of the encounter killings of Andhra Pradesh peasants by Congress Home Minister Vengala Rao, the naxal encounter killings of West Bengal by Congress CM Siddharta Sankar Roy or the Khalistan encounter killings of the Indira Gandhi government. Do I need to prolong the list? Were those parts of alternative morality too? Did Nandigram pass your morality test?)
This haste, too, is born out of a disdain for constitutional and legal procedures as well as from the self appointed role of judging who the ‘enemy’ is and finding effective ways of dealing with such real and mythical enemies. It is a mechanical world of action and, in this instance, unequal and opposite reaction, untouched by norms of ethics and morality. (’Disdain of constitutional and legal procedures’ you say? Does that apply to the recent cases of Navin Chawla, Jagdish Tytler, Sajjan Kumar and Ottavio Quattrocchi too? Is blatant manipulation of the Election Commission and the CBI (aka Congress bureau of Investigation) the constitutional right of only the Congress lead government? Are you not self appointing yourself and passing judgment on your enemy?
Have you for once tried to find out the actual unbiased truth behind Gujarat riot? Have you ever tried to see through the maze of motivated lies and half truths that have been conjectured by the likes of Teesta Seetalvad? How come your ethics and morality can easily side step those issues?
Were you equally vitriolic over the 1984 anti- Sikh riots Mr. Sharma? Did that pass your ‘morality and ethics’ test? Did you consider that a case of ‘unequal and opposite reaction’? Did your sense of judgment pass a ‘convicted’ verdict on Prime Minister Rajib Gandhi for his famous quote, “when a mighty tree falls, it is only natural that the earth around it does shake a little”? Have you ever accused him for ‘responsibility’ for the death of 4700 plus Sikhs all over the country in the same way that you accuse Modi for the Gujarat riot?)
Modi’s disdain for the old and for children also springs from a corpus of ideas that are far removed from any acceptable version of the Indian ethos. The polarities represented by the ‘ budhiya’ and the ‘ gudiya’ remark comes from a 19th century European set of ideas that celebrated the useful, able- bodied, young, masculine, virile individual who could work in factories, contribute to development and progress. This view found the old and the very young to be a burden on society, a universe far removed from a world that venerated a Vyasa, a Vashistha and a Bhisma, and found merit in the lives of a Dhruva and Prahalad. In this sense, Modi is a worthy inheritor of Golwalkar’s mantle and the only hope for the RSS. It was after all Golwalkar who categorically suggested that once an RSS worker grew old and infirm and ceased to be useful to the organisation, the best course left for him was to sit by the wayside, beg to keep body alive, and die. It is another matter that an old and infirm Golwalkar was looked after by the same organisation and his health became a priority for the RSS in the last years of his life. This accent on youth and machismo also was the very stuff that Hitler’s version of a fascist movement found its sustenance from and thrived on, peddling this skewed idea.
Lastly, Modi’s recent statement that he is ready to be hanged in public if charges against him regarding his complicity in the post- Godhra riots were to be proved is enormously important and is to be taken seriously.
Mussolini, the Italian fascist, was summarily executed by communist partisans and hung upside down.The bodies of Mussolini and his mistress were then hung on meat hooks from the roof of a petrol station and stoned by civilians. In this country, till such time that civilised values are still in place, people are not hung in public.
There is a rule of law, however flawed, that takes care of crimes and doles out punishment that affords a degree of dignity to even criminals.
Medieval forms of justice are no more in vogue in this country and will not be so till such time that the Indian people actually commit the grave error of allowing an authoritarian individual like Modi to assume the office of the prime minister.
Let us recap the three statements Modi has made in the past few months. These were about hanging a man pronounced guilty as a sign of strength, about old women and little girls playing with dolls, and about himself being hanged in public.
There is an uncanny resemblance in all the three to what we have known all along as the Taliban’s preferred way of meting out justice. We frown on these kinds of barbaric acts and the Sangh Parivar often implies that there is a relation between these forms of barbarism and the religious affiliation of those who indulge in these acts.
In rightly expressing our moral indignation against the Taliban, we forget that the Taliban will not enter this country through our northern borders but is already present in an indigenous version in the form of Modi and his supporters.
The Taliban of today is only a mirror image of the irrational and mindless rage of Ashwatthama, the son of Drona in the epic Mahabharata . Modi is the inheritor of Ashwatthama’s rage. In the epic, Ashwatthama had to ultimately pay for his deeds. But before that he wrecked destruction and brought sorrow to countless people. Is Modi’s future and fate the same as that of Drona’s misguided son?
(I have to admit I got a little lost and tired reading the rest. I am not sure what exactly is your phobia with Modi and what is it that you are trying to convince us? You have made him a hater of old and young alike (and in the process polluted some sacred personalities from the so called ‘mythological’ Hindu scriptures and itihaash), then you brought in a European mindset minus an Indian ethos, soaked it in fascism of Hitler, dipped it on barbarism of Mussolini, spiced it up with his mistress, sprinkled it with Sangh parivar and Golwalkar, decorated it with Ashwatthama and Drona and finally iced it up with Taliban to make it a proverbial ‘khichdi’.
The nutshell it seems though is your warning to the Indian people that they will commit a grave error if they allow an authoritarian individual like Modi to assume the office of the prime minister. In your hatred towards Modi, you have exceeded even your own limits. You have insulted 5.5 crores of Gujaratis and taunted and challenged the wisdom of the electorate of the whole country.
What would you do Mr. Sharma if the Indian people actually commit the grave mistake?
Will you walk over to the side of the real Taliban? Do you have a lot of money to give enough jizya tax? Or are you ready to convert for your survival? Will your family go with you? Did your wife agree to cover herself up in the burqah? Are you comfortable with the idea of your daughter becoming an illiterate child-bearing machine? Are you going to buy an AK 47 for your son’s birthday?
Wake up Mr. Sharma and learn to see the larger picture. Get over with the mindset of petty politics and bickering. Running a nation is more than mere lecturing and back biting. Very few Indian politicians have actually tried to do something for their land with a vigor that can be compared with that of Modi. It is acknowledged not only by his admirers but even by his rivals both in state as well as from outside Gujarat and supposed victims.
India actually needs a lot of Modis, to move into the 21st century. It is the age of globalization. A villager in a remote place in Gujarat is now able to boast of drinking water and electricity and is capable of watching what is happening in the rest of the world and connecting over the internet with them. Don’t you want that for the rest of India?
The threat of real Taliban encroaching on to the sovereignty of our country is not a conjecture anymore. The Indian people have seen enough. They understand what they will need to survive even the next few decades.
And they will decide that. Do not underestimate them.
The author teaches politics at University of Hyderabad