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Sunday, September 22, 2013

SPIRIT OF MODI IS DETECTED EVERYWHERE

By Swapan Dasgupta

If my good friend and Information and Broadcasting Minister Manish Tiwari who is showering media organisations with the full generosity of Bharat Nirman was to make himself even more popular, he should initiate a six-figure, tax free award for the most ‘supportive’ newspaper headline of the day. That he hasn’t done so as yet is unfortunate but he should be inspired by a headline on page four of the Delhi edition of Indian Express which may have displayed devastating political prescience: “No Modi effect, BJD sweeps civic polls.”

That the people living in the small urban clusters of Odisha are voting along traditional lines for municipal polls and not being swayed by pictures of NaMo pasted on walls by a BJP that still remains a poor third party in the state should, perhaps, be giving sleepless nights to someone in distant Gandhinagar. Indeed, by this logic, some of those BJP leaders who felt left out and eclipsed by the Parliamentary Board resolution of September 13 may still be fancying their chances as today’s Lazarus. Who knows, the ripples from small town Odisha may even persuade the BJP that putting up umpteen hoardings of the Man from Gujarat may not help divert the attention of the voters of Delhi state from the shortcomings of its local leadership.

In the whodunits of the pre-1945 era, the invariable refrain was that the butler did it. In the pre-election scenario of India 2013, the spirit of Modi is detected everywhere. According to this ‘narrative’ (a good word jargonised by a tribe of academic mystics across the Atlantic), good and ‘secular’ Indians are busy  exorcising the evil spirit from their lives—as the Indian Express detected they successfully did in 65 of the 66 urban bodies that polled last week in Odisha. Likewise, the bad, communal people who don’t share the prescribed “idea of India” are apparently busy invoking the evil asura at mahapanchayats and sending forth the fanatics to either butcher innocent minorities or destroy their homes.

Who says “Indiana Jones and the Temple of Doom” was a well-crafted but macabre Hollywood fantasy? According to the “narrative” we hear from alarmed intellectuals who are reading and re-reading their dusty copies of William Shirer, Ian Kershaw and Richard Evans, India in 2013 is exactly where a European country was in 1933. The only difference is that in 80 years a black paintbrush moustache has evolved into a white beard.

Like the ‘foreign hand’ which Indira Gandhi used to warn the country about from the months preceding the Emergency, sections of India have been engulfed by something resembling a ‘great fear’. For intellectuals, it is the great fear of a ‘narrative’ change and attendant losses of privileges that came from being part of the larger Nehruvian consensus; for a minusculity of aesthetes who are uncomfortable with people they didn’t go to school and college with, there are contrived fears of being forced to drink gau-mutra as a sun-downer; and for yet others, it is a fear of the very ‘idea of Modi’ that is disorienting.

Whether or not all these diverse fears will coalesce in 2014 to give the thumbs-down to the challenger is best left for assessment in the coming months, particularly after the December elections to the state Assemblies. Frankly speaking, it doesn’t matter very much if the intellectuals and the aesthetes treat the electoral outcome as a wake or a memorial meeting for a dispensation that has outlived its national utility. What is more relevant is whether the unending alarmist propaganda  has a more sinister objective: to create panic among India’s Muslim minority.

Indeed, this is what appears to be happening. The reason why a small incident in Muzaffarnagar escalated into a serious communal riot had everything to do with the cynical politics of the Samajwadi Party-led government of Uttar Pradesh. What some people hoped would be a ‘controlled’ conflagration to reinforce a ghetto mentality abruptly went out of control and led to some deaths and large-scale dispossession. Ideally, the anger of those who saw their belligerence backfire horribly as the clashes spread to the countryside should have been directed at the political leaders who cynically used them as cannon fodder. Unfortunately, they have been encouraged by the entire secular establishment to view the Muzaffarnagar riots as a trailer of what is to come if Modi becomes PM. Cabinet Minister and Congress ‘strategist’ Jairam Ramesh said this quite explicitly, and this inflammatory formulation was greeted without any sense of outrage by the professional secularists. Indeed, the tensions in UP have become the occasion to press for the grotesque Communal Violence Bill which aims at the permanent compartmentalisation of India into a majority and minorities.

The reason should be quite obvious. There is a desperate attempt to shift the focus of the general election from the UPA’s governance deficit, its patronage of corruption, its failure to harness India’s potential and its lacklustre leadership to identity issues. The calculation is that a sustained policy of selective indignation—no tears were shed for the Dalits who too suffered grievously from the riots—and the arousal of minority anger will in turn trigger a counter-reaction and shift the focus away from bread and butter issues. Behind the lofty concern for the “idea of India” lies a willful desire to blind voters from the most pressing issue: the future of India. 

Sunday Pioneer, September 22, 2013

17 comments:

Anonymous said...

Sir, your language is sometimes too cryptic and many fail to understand the sarcasm.

Anonymous said...

hm..

Anonymous said...

completely agree with your read of the situation sir, a concerted effort is being made to change the narrative by many of the so called intellectuals

Anonymous said...

I could not understand much of what he wrote in this. I routinely enjoy his writings / TV debates.(My other favourite is R.Jagannathan. But Swapan's writings/speeches are brilliant and unmatched. He truly is a keen observer and what amazes me is his knowledge of historical events before 1947 and his interpretations of writings and speeches of those era in a totally unique light. I guess this article must be aimed at "those", who would have "got" it (the slap). That I came here following Rajdeep Sardesai's Tweet, gives me some clues........I will try to re-read this article again.

Anonymous said...

It is strange in India that parties like Samajwadi in UP (Yadavs) or Rashtrawadi in Maharashtra (Marathas) who polarise voters in the name of caste, are termed Secular. We look forward to leaders like Modi in all parties who will rise above caste considerations and deliver on order and good governance. Mahesh Prabhu Chendvankar, Mumbai

Anonymous said...

Brilliant, Mr Swapan. You are truly one of India's greatest intellectuals. This article does not enforce any opinions. It just lays bare the prejudices at work.

Anonymous said...

" Ideally, the anger of those who saw their belligerence backfire horribly as the clashes spread to the countryside should have been directed at the political leaders who cynically used them as cannon fodder."

He means Muslims, of course.

"..led to some deaths and large-scale dispossession." Of whom, you ask? Muslims, of course.

So, Muslims brought it on themselves even when when the first guy killed in the conflict came from them. Got it. Carry on, please.

Anonymous said...

The truth is , muslims of India would soon realize what an asset Sri.Narendra Modi IS.

All these decades they have suffered from group think complacently functioning as one big vote bank forever considering congress , dmk & communists as their 'saviours'.

Thus they never cared to integrate.
Even very yuppie muslims from Mumbai I have seen reading only Akbar & Birbal stories of Amar Chitra Katha series. Would maintain Dilip Kumar is THE finest actor.
Among HINDUS they had this supercilious attitude. Outside India would attempt to forge cordial ties with the same HINDUS singing " we are all Indians".

At least some among them must have realized what a mess they are in. By banking upon congress & leftists of India.

The entire world is scared of their ideology. And have WOKEN up.
Sonia Gandhi dynasty might still count upon the support of Vatican.
But no other country in this world is THAT STUPID to turn a blind eye at their corruption & scams filled track record.

Angela Merkel winning in Germany portends future trend of events.
She is the Narendra Modi of GERMANY.

Anonymous said...

The truth is , muslims of India would soon realize what an asset Sri.Narendra Modi IS.

All these decades they have suffered from group think complacently functioning as one big vote bank forever considering congress , dmk & communists as their 'saviours'.

Thus they never cared to integrate.
Even very yuppie muslims from Mumbai I have seen reading only Akbar & Birbal stories of Amar Chitra Katha series. Would maintain Dilip Kumar is THE finest actor.
Among HINDUS they had this supercilious attitude. Outside India would attempt to forge cordial ties with the same HINDUS singing " we are all Indians".

At least some among them must have realized what a mess they are in. By banking upon congress & leftists of India.

The entire world is scared of their ideology. And have WOKEN up.
Sonia Gandhi dynasty might still count upon the support of Vatican.
But no other country in this world is THAT STUPID to turn a blind eye at their corruption & scams filled track record.

Angela Merkel winning in Germany portends future trend of events.
She is the Narendra Modi of GERMANY.

Anonymous said...

Anonymous @11:39PM , Sep 22 above,

Do not act so self righteously indignant. Everyone knows how very dhimmified UP is under Samajwadi & how very dhimmified ENTIRE India is under congress's misgovernance.

I am certainly not blaming ISLAM. As many countries like UAE , Kuwait , Oman do NOT resort to appeasement of Indian muslims to the detriment of Hindus settled there. Governance is very FAIR & GOOD.

In UP the very police refuse to register FIRs if the culprit involved turns out to be a muslim.Protected by political mafia. This has gone on for too long.

Why did the muslim boy eve tease a HINDU girl in the first place? Your Holy Book does not condone such acts. Mulayam does.

The premeditated incineration of HINDU farmers, their tractors & mass slayings followed soon -all perpetrated by muslims. Police were forbidden from stopping at the behest of Aslam Khan.

When congenitally so VIOLENT what business do you have "co-existing" with HINDUS WITHIN India.

It is time you QUIT for Timbaktu & Somalia. Agitate for reservations in Timbaktu. And Haj subsidies.

Mulayam Singh Yadav's name has been linked for decades with jihadists.

All the world over firing upon non muslims & KILLING them , including children are being done by jihadists. Beslan came to my mind while hearing about Kenya's shootings in a mall owned by a non muslim.

Those random shootings in schools etc by some christians abroad have INVARIABLY been linked to the ingestion of psychiatry drugs.

Anonymous said...

Anonymous @11:39PM , Sep 22 above,

Do not act so self righteously indignant. Everyone knows how very dhimmified UP is under Samajwadi & how very dhimmified ENTIRE India is under congress's misgovernance.

I am certainly not blaming ISLAM. As many countries like UAE , Kuwait , Oman do NOT resort to appeasement of Indian muslims to the detriment of Hindus settled there. Governance is very FAIR & GOOD.

In UP the very police refuse to register FIRs if the culprit involved turns out to be a muslim.Protected by political mafia. This has gone on for too long.

Why did the muslim boy eve tease a HINDU girl in the first place? Your Holy Book does not condone such acts. Mulayam does.

The premeditated incineration of HINDU farmers, their tractors & mass slayings followed soon -all perpetrated by muslims. Police were forbidden from stopping at the behest of Aslam Khan.

When congenitally so VIOLENT what business do you have "co-existing" with HINDUS WITHIN India.

It is time you QUIT for Timbaktu & Somalia. Agitate for reservations in Timbaktu. And Haj subsidies.

Mulayam Singh Yadav's name has been linked for decades with jihadists.

All the world over firing upon non muslims & KILLING them , including children are being done by jihadists. Beslan came to my mind while hearing about Kenya's shootings in a mall owned by a non muslim.

Those random shootings in schools etc by some christians abroad have INVARIABLY been linked to the ingestion of psychiatry drugs.

sravan srinivas said...

Sir ,
I share your thoughts and feel that they are rational , I failed to understand why this is failed to be understood by people ,might be as I am failed all my life understand the reasonableness of reservations in education ,is there any middle way where the right of the center Hindus can reach out to average Muslims in North India , my personal feeling ,being from South is ,the Hindu Muslim issue is purely a North India Issue and had no relevance , both Bihar and UP being under a structure that is feudal and the fruits British education and civilization- thinking ,is not available ,this problem is still existing and try to loom over other major issues that are pertinent to the average Indian

Anonymous said...

Swapanda, you are a generous man and ascribe too much by way of honest "ideological" and "well intioned liberal" motive to the opposition to Modi among the people that you describe.

The explanation is simpler. There are people all over the country (but especially in Delhi) who have assiduously cultivated their contacts with the Congress in general and the Gandhis in particular for decades and have milked this for decades for the hundreds of billions that are lying stashed away in offshore accounts and in benami property in India. We discovered (but did not learn the appropriate lesson) that Burkha Dutt was working as a "dalaal" for the Congress party. How many such "dalaals" exist among the "chattering classes"? And how many such dalaals will go out of business and their "daal roti" will get wiped out if Modi wins? It is this which is causing panic.

Hemant Bhattbhatt said...

I follow your posts regularly Mr. Dasgupta and quite enjoy your way of digging and style of presenting. But sometimes you make it too hard for the reader to comprehend your prose. If people won't understand what you write, they won't read you any more. Substance won't matter if it doesn't reach the grey cells. I know you don't do it deliberately but please simplify your writing a little in order to appeal to an even larger mass. "Communicate to express, not to impress" - Dale Carnegie.
Apart from this suggestion, loved this article as usual.

Anonymous said...

I am deeply upset at reading comments by certain people finding fault with Swapan Dasgupta's writings.

There are very few among Indians like Swapan Dasgupta , M.J.Akbar, Madhu Kishwar , Chandan Mitra & a few more who can communicate EFFECTIVELY writing GOOD English.

Whereas the majority of Indians who write comments & make their living calling themselves journalists (but paid congress agents like barkha dutts to rajdeep sardesais) FAIL miserably. As they lack both SUBSTANCE & STYLE.

I am reminded how the majority of Indians could not appreciate a Sathyajit Ray but heaped praise on Manoj Kumars & Raj Kapoors.

The fault is NOT with Swapan Dasgupta.

Anonymous said...

If certain people find the prose of Swapan Dasgupta "difficult" they should look up the dictionary & learn the meanings.

Instead of asking Swapan to dilute his style. That is like Indian producers insisting on including "item numbers" to make an otherwise good movie marketable.

Let me give another analogy.

Lots of puerile debates & discussions are presented in various Tamil tv channels of Tamil Nadu. The half baked panelists & judges who preside fail to bring clarity ONLY because they have not graduated from worshipping EVR , Vairamuthu & anti Vedic DMK DK founders. Their Tamil is seductive enough for the masses of Tamil Nadu who do not care to read
Arunagirinathar , Thirumular & Pattinathar.

The solution is PROSCRIBING EVR & useless poltroons. Not cavilling at Arunagirinathar's Tamil & CONTENT.

Hemant Bhattbhatt said...

My suggestion did not intend to criticize Mr. Dasgupta. I am a huge fan of his writings. He is surely one of the most prolific writers of our time. All I wished to convey is while putting forth his points and maintaining his sarcasm and style, he should try to avoid ambiguity. Readers should not feel they are solving a puzzle. And it has nothing to do with the vocabulary, even simple words may come together in such a way that would make it tough to conclude sense. However few of his other fans seem too intolerant to take any positive suggestion in its true spirit.