|Shadows of Trident: Modi as Prime Ministerial Candidate|
By Ram Puniyani
From last several months (April 2013) the Bihar Chief Minister Niteesh Kumar is becoming more vocal about his opposition to his electoral ally BJP projecting Narendra Modi as the Prime ministerial candidate. He went on to say that the PM candidate should be one who has a secular image, in obvious reference to Narendra Modiís role in Gujarat carnage of 2002. He also said that it was ok to work with Vajpayee or even Advani should be ok. It is clear that all three; Vajpayee, Advani and Modi are from the same political stable of RSS. They are all the trained swayamsevaks of RSS, believing in the ideology of Hindutva, which wants to bring in Hindu nation in place of secular democratic India. Vajpayee played his role in this direction in his own way, i.e. projecting a liberal image at a time when nobody was willing to touch the BJP even with a barge pole. At that time its role in Babri demolition and consequent communal violence was too fresh in peoplesí memory. Advani was the one to bring to fore this divisive agenda. Same Advani later tried to put forward a secular image by calling Jinnah as a secular leader.
Kumar and his likes have given respectability to the BJP starting from Jaya Prakash Narayan. He has no ideological compunction as the longing for power is what matters more to him. Today why is there such an opposition to Modi? One reason may be to woo the minorities for electoral purpose which is very clear. For all those who wish to uphold democracy and the liberal democratic space for struggle of weaker sections of society, it is much more pertinent that Modi-BJP remain on the margins and defeated electorally. Irrespective of the calculations of Niteesh Kumar it is clear to any student of politics that now BJP is making a transition from a party working for communal agenda to the communal fascist party in action, especially with Modi as the leader. This communal fascism was inherent in its agenda right from the beginning but it is becoming apparent lately, more so with Modiís possible candidature.
This transition of BJPís politics and Modiís candidature for prime minster ship is a signal of sorts of the descent of fascism in India. This fascist potential may become actualized if ignored by those political formations which are committed to the interests of weaker sections of society and for liberal values. The classical fascism which trampled Europeís Germany and Italy had certain characteristics, which are there in the policies of BJP and more so with Modi being on the helm. The major party of UPA, Congress, is also for some of the economic policies which BJP is insisting on. There are more points which fit into Modiís persona being a fascist one. To begin with more than any other leader his harsh unrelenting opposition to minorities is a ploy to consolidate the majority community. Surely this communal polarization has been going on in India more so from last several decades through the communal violence. The latest in this is that RSS seems to have outsourced some of its vehemence to the communalized state apparatus. This was so much visible in the recent Dhule (Maharashtra) violence where the police itself went on to kill the Muslims on some pretext. The polarization along religious lines and communal fascist mobilization is also being achieved through the acts of terror, which are attributed to the Muslims, irrespective of who does it. In this polarization; Modi is the hero of the section of society, which is fed with the poison of communal propaganda.
The communalization of different wings of state is now becoming qualitatively different, as a section of bureaucracy in particular is on the same page as the communal forces. The state of media, where the divisive thinking is projected in a sensational way and the outpourings of RSS family are highlighted is a more than just a matter of concern. The societal culture, the retrograde values being dished out through TV serials of the genre of Saas bhi kabhiÖ have their own role. The hordes of God men have played no mean role in glorifying the values which are a modern version of caste and gender hierarchy. These values are the base of sectarian politics.
Modi has, more than others become the darling of big business and the IT-MBA class. This section of middle class were also the fulcrum upsurge of Anna-Kejriwal-Ramdev trio, which tried to create distrust in the parliamentary democracy and hyper projected the symptom of corruption rather than looking at the system which gives rise to this abominable phenomenon. The Tataís, Adaniís and Ambaniís are all gaga about Modi as he has been gifting away subsidies and land to them in a manner which shows a clear collusion between big business and Modi. Parallel to his creating an illusion of development, Modi has successfully propagated about himself, an image which is that of a mass leader. In the analysis of political phenomenon of fascism in India one knew that fascist onslaught is led by a mass charismatic leader. Now with the help of self generated propaganda and supported by the big business Modi has filled that gap.
The parties like Congress also have tried to work towards an authoritarian state, trying to restrict democratic ethos. In contrast Modi is a living embodiment of totalitarianism, wanting to abolish any dissent and liberal space. Seeing the pattern of politics prevalent in Gujarat one knows the total dominance of Modi, where the opposition to the mass leader cannot survive in any form. Many a friends try to confuse between authoritarian regimes and totalitarian fascism. Earlier many political streams tried to label the emergency regime (Indira Gandhi 1975) as a fascist one. The mistake in that is that emergency was not a product of mass movement, which the BJP-Modi led movement is. Modi seems to be filling the missing slot of the mass charismatic leader in Indian scenario. Whatever be the reasons for Niteesh Kumar to oppose Modi, we need to realize that yes Modi is different in todayís context. Ashish Nandy was very accurate when he said that Modi has a classic fascist persona. Nandy had also written an article 'Blame the middle classí, that again sums up the class base of Modi and the looming fascism in India.
Still the game is not lost. The unevenness of Indian political scenario is a saving grace against the homogenizing totalitarian politics of Modi and company. The regional diversity and struggles of democratic and oppressed sections is the major force which can halt the march of Communal Fascism with Modi as the leader. The point however is; will this be actualized in practice as the role of Congress has been very suspect as for as secular values is concerned. In popular imagination Congress is held responsible for the anti Sikh violence of 1984, which is true. It is also true that Congress has indulged in opportunism as for as secular values are concerned, and BJP-Modi are clever enough to capitalize on that. Irrespective of the party affiliations and shades, one thing is sure that unlike other electoral formations, which are fairly opportunist in different degrees and do compromise as for as secular values is concerned. Still none of these should be compared with BJP-Modi as the latter are the electoral wing of RSS, the organization wedded to the agenda of fascist Hindu Rashtra. Unfortunately currently many a countries are witnessing the fascist streaks in the garb of politics in the name of religion, Islamo-fascism being another such tendency which has been trampling our neighboring countries.
We need to realize that democracy has no substitute. The politics masquerading in the name of religion is a sure recipe for the destruction of democratic edifice in the country. In India the other point to note is that here this fascism has been growing at a comparatively slower pace, which may distract our analysis from its real character. It is in tune with this that critics of Hindutve fascism are labeled as being anti Hindus, that is a propaganda which appeals to the raw religiosity of section of society. Itís time that all democratic elements form a united front to thwart to fascist onslaught on the country, if the country is to be saved from long dark tunnel of totalitarian politics represented by Narendra Modi and his ilk.