Sunday, December 23, 2007

MODI'S 'INDITVA' SAVES INDIA FROM REAL COMMUNALISM

The impossible has happened. Never before in the history of this country has any Chief Minister, or even PM, come back with such an emphatic, domineering and positive verdict after being in the chair for five years. Is it due to the performance of his government or due to what the ‘secular’ parties and media call ‘Moditva’ in a highly judgmental and disapproving manner reeking of arrogance and reverse fascism?

Rajiv Gandhi had won the biggest ever victory, an emotional one, after his mother’s assassination in 1984. In the next round he lost because high emotions have to be followed by an equally high performance, where he tripped. The BJP too, after its high in the wake of the Ram Janmbhoomi movement, could not repeat its electoral successes for the same reason.

“(Mussalmanon ki) Maut ke Saudagar”: These were the most communally inflammatory words uttered during the Gujarat elections by any responsible national leader of any party.

Though the first two words in that description of Modi were unuttered, the statement was to tell the Muslims of Gujarat, indeed the whole of India, that Narendra Modi was the murderer of Muslims. What was the intent of the statement? At its most ‘benign’ end, which not even the staunchest supporters of the Congress can contest, it was to re-ignite the hatred and fear of the Muslims so that they would vote as a complete bank for the Congress. At the other extreme, such an inflammatory statement coming from the topmost leader of a party which calls itself secular was incendiary enough material to inflame violent communal passions which could have lead to communal riots, not just in Gujarat but elsewhere in the country too.

After the Tehelka sting operation made national headlines, I had written that some of our leaders, their pliant advisors and those in the media had lost touch with real people. The 2002 riots were no different from the Delhi riots of 1984. I had then itself said that the flame lit by Tehelka, instead of burning Modi, had not only made him almost invincible in Gujarat but had also provided the BJP with an unbeatable Prime Ministerial candidate. The post, a must read, can be found here.

The hyphenation of Tehelka with Delhi 1984 took the wind out of the campaign that was being planned to defeat Modi by inciting communal hatred. During the election campaign itself, Modi spoke about development of Gujarat for the benefit of “five crore Gujaratis”, without making any differentiation on communal grounds. The media accused Modi of shifting to Hindutva when he found that his development agenda was not working. No one had the courage or integrity, except Lord Meghnad Desai, to condemn the blatantly communal statement of Sonia Gandhi, which actually gave a communal colour to the campaign and helped Modi to speak about terrorism and terrorists, not Muslims, not even once.

Why did Sonia Gandhi utter those horrifying words? Was it because of even more disconnected advisors and script writers who thought it would get the Congress all Muslim votes? Or was it because the Congress found that the people of Gujarat were solidly with Modi because of his exceptional performance as Chief Minister? Or was it with a view to collecting Muslim votes based on a communally inflammatory agenda across the whole of India in future elections? That alien script writers also had a role to play is evident from the fact that words of Goebbles, suitably translated, were used most inappropriately by Rahul Gandhi too to describe the Modi government.

The communalization of the Congress party has very serious long term implications for the country. Simply put, due to the arithmetic of elections, the Congress wants to win future elections by wooing a limited set of voters only. First, it wants to get the complete lot of Muslims to look at no other party. Next, it wants to make maximum inroads into the SC and ST vote banks. The remaining Indians who are Hindus other than SC/STs are splintered enough to not exist in the scheme of the Congress as a solid vote bank which needs to be wooed or appeased. Everyone knows that it is from this very lot of hopelessly divided ‘majority’ Indians that we have those who are at the forefront of committing collective hara-kiri by blindly aping a rootless western type of liberalism out of a peculiar sense of guilt mixed with snobbish ‘superiority’.

This is the extremely dangerous communalism that does not allow any meaningful discussion on terrorism which is perhaps the single biggest long term threat that this country faces but refuses to face. Thus, when Modi talks of tackling terrorism and terror, he is pounced upon as being anti Muslim. The Prime Minister is honest enough to warn the country of the dangers of Naxal terror and ask the states to ruthlessly weed it out. But when it comes to Islamic terrorism which is a gift to the country from an inimical country, Pakistan, he loses his voice and ability to say or do anything. The communal politics of the Muslim vote takes precedence over national security. In any another civilized nation, such inaction, which has already cost thousands of lives would be called treason. But when Modi, in response to a Congress leader calling Hindus terrorists, asks a crowd of Hindus at an election rally whether they are terrorists, he is called communal!

On December 16, 2007, I had written about the Modi phenomenon, about the born leader that Modi is and the enormous energy unleashed by him which is going to increasingly dominate the national political landscape for a long time. I had also mentioned then that Tehelka and the relentlessly inflammatory haring back to the 2002 riots to scalp Modi are going to backfire with a ferocity that will surprise all. This post can be found here.

Modi has roared back with an unmatched thunder which has once again exposed what I have been saying: Many of our national leaders, their advisors and the English media are completely disconnected from the real people of India. One leading journalist, smug with all-pervasive knowledge after five days in Gujarat said that Modi would lose because he had asked farmers to pay for power, something which no other politician had got away with. Another saw communal ‘fear’ in the state. No one told the nation that Modi had shown unprecedented courage and integrity by refusing amnesty to almost two lakh cases of power theft in the state on the eve of elections.

Modi, they all said, would be mauled, even if he did scrape through with a small margin, because he would not be able to whip up the communal frenzy that he did in 2002. As the election results show, despite its dangerous efforts to whip up communal passions, the Congress did well only in the areas of Central Gujarat which were affected by riots in 2002, while it was routed humiliatingly almost everywhere else in the state. Clearly, Modi has not won so massively on a communal plank.

Sagarika Ghose, in her column in the Hindustan Times of December 21, 2007, was perhaps the only one from the mainstream English media to acknowledge that the political environment in Gujarat was ‘Opposition free’, with the media being the only opposition to Modi! She had also acknowledged that in Gujarat, media activism was becoming political activism. How badly stung some of the politically polarised journalists were after Modi’s victory rubbished their ‘lap-dog’ analysis is epitomized by the way a journalist tried to score a final point. Would Modi would be able to get a visa to the US notwithstanding his big win, was the juvenile query of that award winning journalist!

Modi victory represents the victory of what I call ‘Inditva’. It is the victory of an India led by a firm, scrupulously honest, courageous, decisive, charismatic, macho and unapologetic leader who has a vision for the country as a whole. No matter what those cocooned analysts may say, the one fact that real India understands clearly is that Modi talks of all five crore Gujaratis; tomorrow he will similarly talk of and work for all 100 crore Indians, not 15 crore Muslims, 85 crore Hindus, or the crores belonging to other communities and castes. To do that with any conviction, you have to first have the courage and integrity to be proud of your own identity. That is, in my view the ‘Inditva’ that has won in Gujarat today.

Modi, it can be said with some relief and pride, has saved India from the poison of real communalism that is being spread in the guise of secularism by those who either have no roots or do not want to acknowledge them, only for a few votes more.