This so called development hides
that the social indices of
Gujarat which are
very much on the lower side when compared to many other Indian states. What
matters in popular perception is the image more than reality. So this aspect of
Modi’s propaganda did sell well for a section of middle class not only in Gujarat but all over the country. Many a commentators do
buy this uncritically and attribute Modi’s victory to this factor. As its not
only the mall going middle class but even the suicide committing farmers
families, the starving dalits and Adivasis, who also vote, they feel the
reality of the ‘development’ of Gujarat in their lives, so a large turn out to
vote and in rural areas they did show that the so called development is from
the annals of make believe World.
The recent electoral victory of Narendra Modi, his third consecutive one (Dec 2012), has drawn lot of applause from a section of society and he is being projected as the BJP’s Prime Ministerial candidate. It’s another matter that BJP, itself is in shambles as far as electoral arena is concerned and its NDA allies are unlikely to endorse Modi, given his aggressive communal politics and the authoritarian style of his functioning. One knows that this victory of Modi was predicted by many exit polls, one also knows his victory was not a smooth sail, as by now the dissatisfaction from his policies, his style of functioning is adversely affecting a large number of
population. The people of Gujarat turned out
in big numbers to cast their vote.
Many commentators feel that his win is due to his development policies, that he has won again is an endorsement of his claims of development of
development model undertaken by Modi is a total surrender to the favored
industrial houses, which are having a gala time in Gujarat.
The shiny malls and roads of Gujarat hide behind them the travails of the
deprived and marginalized sections of Gujarat,
the villages in particular. Every Nano car rolling out from Tata car is
subsidized by the state to the extent of Rs 60000. The hype of development
propaganda, managed by the American Company APCO Worldwide, which has already
worked for notorious dictators like Sani Abacha (Nigeria) and Nurusultan
NAzarbayev (Life President of Kazagistan), has done its job well again. The job
by this agency has been done so well that anybody questioning the development
of Gujarat is receives various derogatory
labels. As a matter of fact what Modi has done is nothing unusual and states
like Maharashtra have achieved much better in
this direction, without the hype. Here comes one of the roles of Modi, not only
to hire an image maker but also to act like Goebbels.
Image Courtesy: Wikipedia
The major factor which has worked in Modi’s favor is the polarization which has taken place in
after the 2002 carnage. This is one episode of violence, which has separated
the communities on religious lines. While Hindus, have bought the line that it
is only due to Modi that they are safe, at the same time Muslims know that they
have not only been the major victim of 2002, but also that post 2002, they have
been totally marginalized in physical space, with ghettoization taking place.
They know that they are physically not safe and have been pushed back
economically and socially. The real fear is stalking the lives of Muslim
community as a whole. They have been relegated to second class citizenship.
Modi has given a clear message that the nine percent Muslims don’t matter to
him as he has made up his vote bank by consolidating the Hindus by instilling
the fear amongst them. Still all Muslims do not vote against them. To begin
with the Muslim majority areas have been delimited in a way that they can’t
influence in the electoral result, or the impact of their voting is minimized.
A section of trader-businessmen Muslims did vote for Modi for sure. Another
section had to vote for him out of fear.
As far as dalits and adivasis are concerned the social engineering unleashed by BJP associates VHP and Vanavasi Kalyan ashram has done its job and a section of these deprived sections has been won over to the Hindutva fold and vote for the BJP. The sense of insecurity amongst minorities and minority women is paramount, making them withdraw into their shells. The liberal space in the state of
has shrunk rapidly, more than in other states. The educational institutions
have been thoroughly brought under the management of academics sympathetic to
Modi’s ideology. The state now reminds one of a dictatorial state, as pointed
out by the ex- BJP chief Minister Keshubhai Patel himself. It can be called as
communal-semi fascist state. The major factor in the state is the polarization
and abolition of liberal space. This is ‘Hindu Nation’ in one state. One is
reminded of the USSR,
where ‘Socialism in one state’ was the slogan to begin with. In India while there are many states ruled by BJP,
it is Gujarat, which fits into this ‘Hindu
Rashtra in one state’.
The real danger today, which is reminded by Modi’s victory are manifold. To begin with the communal fascism is creeping in
through deeper pores of the nation. It is said that RSS is not happy with Modi
coming to power and becoming larger than the party, the BJP. This is a
contradictory situation. RSS on one hand wants to create a Hindu Rashtra. On
the other it wants to regulate the whole process. The contradiction is that RSS
ideology pushes the nation towards dictatorial thinking, as RSS itself is
modeled on Ek Chalak Anuvartita, (controlled by single supreme dictator), the
Sar Sanghchalak, whose writ is unquestionable. At the same time one recalls
that one of the characteristics of fascisms the single charismatic leader. Modi
fits in to that model very well. It is being said that in Gujarat,
the RSS and its progeny VHP, Vishwa Hindu Parishad has been marginalized. One should
know that the RSS and its non electoral progeny is there to make the ground for
creating a communal space in which BJP can then rough shod and work for Hindu
Nation. In Gujarat, these organizations are
redundant now as they have already played their role. With Modi’s victory it’s
clear that in India
the communal fascism is marching state by state, and in the social space, in a
Modi’s blatant proximity to industrial houses is again in tune with the pattern of a fascist state. Hitler was also the darling of big capital. Hitler had mass following amongst the middle classes and could co-opt the poor as its storm troopers, street fighters. Modi is walking the same path, the difference being that of speed and regional variation.
being the vast diverse nation, the Gujarat
pattern stands out very clearly as a repeat of German fascist onslaught with
many differences. The other BJP ruled states are adopting different paths, some
features being common. These common features are cultural infiltration, and
relegation of minorities to the margins.
It is in this situation that those committed to secular democracy need a rethink. At electoral level, the parties like Congress, Samajvadi, Communist and Socialist parties, do not perceive the threat to democracy and secularism as they should be doing. If they understand the implications of Hindu Rashtra, the impact of Modi in hiking up the communal politics and communal thinking, then they have to close their ranks. They need to rise above their electoral and prime ministerial ambitions and take this threat of communalism head on as a united front. That seems to be a very tall order to expect from these electoral formations which so far have not demonstrated their willingness to come together for the sake of principles. Is it thinkable at all these parties will contemplate more in terms of saving democracy and secularism rather than protecting their fiefdoms? Its time these parties wake and realize that unless they hang together, the danger of communal fascism taking over the country in the future is not ruled out. Still one knows all this is an optimistic urge. If wishes were horses!
What can secular elements do at this point of time? They have engaged in legal activism, advocacy work, done rehabilitation work and conducted awareness programs to the best of their capabilities. It seems their best is not good enough. The need for more innovative thinking to ward off the threat of looming communalism has become more menacing with the victory of Modi. It’s a warning signal of sorts to do our utmost to strengthen the values of freedom movement,
Liberty, Equality and Fraternity. It’s time
to remind ourselves of what the preamble of our Constitution tells us. It’s
time to build a real people’s platform for secularism and democracy. It’s time
for social movements to take this issue in utmost seriousness before the
situation is created that social movements will themselves will not be
permitted to march forward for the cause of human rights of the deprived sections