Tuesday, May 20, 2014

Sanjay Kumar - Should Only Minorities Be Worried Over Narendra Modi?

By stealth, wealth, and media barrage a phalanx of powerful interests is trying to create a public opinion favourable to Narendra Modi. It appears the entire privilegenstia of the country, the super-rich capitalists, professional elites, entrepreneurs of the religion, top bureau-cracy, including retired Armymen and police, upper castes, media pundits, even NRI acade-mics, are united in their enthusiasm for Modi. From Ratan Tata to Ramdev, people have been told how the man is the only saviour of a country in crisis. 

What exactly do this bunch of rich and privileged, but discontented, people hope from Modi as the PM is important for the future of the country. The moot point here is the difference between declared intentions and actual motives. Perhaps even more important is the response of Modi’s political opponents, because that indicates the kind of resources the country can fall back upon when confronted with the reality of him in power. The moot point here is a lack of understanding of the significance of the usual, non-Modi type of politics for ordinary Indians. The stakes are high indeed. Far from what the phalanx and its ideologues claim, it is actually this politics which is their target, and which they wish to change under Modi.

The most prominent charge levelled by Modi’s opponents is that he is communal and divisive, and will alienate the minorities. From Laloo Prasad to Prof Amartya Sen, that appears to be the chief misgiving. If the charge against Modi is so framed, then by implication it also appears to be asserting that if there had been no Gujarat 2002, Modi and the kind of politics his party represents will be as good or bad as any other party politics. Are the minorities’ misgivings about Modi the only fact that the rest of Indians should worry about? Is the hesitation of minorities about him the only legitimate concern that may stop the man from reaching the PMO?

It would be really stupid of the majority of Indians if the minorities, who constitute about 15 per cent of the people of India, were the sole social group which may prevent the ascent of Modi to power at the Centre. Because in reality the man is dangerous for most Indians. Among many, here are a few reasons.

The Man and his Character
First, the man’s persona. Individuals do not make history. However, tinkering with a system, or wrecking and destroying it are far easier than making, and here individuals have played a big role. Modi is pompous, arrogant, aggressive and too much taken in by himself. The moral economy of neo-liberalism in India promotes precisely these qualities among humans, a partial reason for his popularity. Such persona-lities can be found among property agents who lie through their teeth, many drivers in urban India who violate every rule of traffic and get violent if they do not get their way, and loud TV anchors given to hyperbole and falsification. 

To understand full public implications of such a personality type consider the recent incident when Modi after voting showed his party symbol near a polling booth, against which an FIR was lodged under orders from the Election Commission. What was his response? In a press conference in Tirupati the next day he went like ‘What wrong did I do? I only showed a lotus.’ This is like the reply of children who have learnt the art of lying but have not yet internalised the important lesson that facts of any matter have durability, which cannot be wished away by turning one’s eyes away from them. Our man though is not only a seasoned liar, but he also seriously believes that he can turn any set of facts his way. He sincerely believes that he can make no mistake, and that whatever he does is actually the best... 
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