A resurgent India that is essentially Hindu is finding its identity with BJP
I am inspired, nay provoked, to write this Abracadabra after reading one of the most popular Weekly columns Point of View by T.J.S. George. A veteran journalist, author and highly regarded political commentator, George is honoured with Padma Bhushan. The title of his article was “All set for the next 20 years.” He was talking about the possibility of BJP Government lasting for another 20 years under Narendra Modi and Amit Shah considering the self-imposed BJP’s official age limit of 75 to hold an Office.
This is how George arrives at his conclusion. He says, “The power so carefully planned and attained cannot be short-lived. It is safe to predict that the present BJP leadership will stay in power for the next 20 years, perhaps longer. Here is the breakdown. Modi will complete his second term in 2024. That year he will be 74 years old and Amit Shah 60. Amit Shah will succeed Modi and win two terms ending in 2034 when he will be 70. He can remain PM for a third term until he is 75, the BJP’s official age limit.”
Surprisingly, George has not taken into consideration the most vital factor in politics — uncertainty. In fact, uncertainty is the only certainty in politics. We have seen it happen all over the world. In India too any number of times during the long and chequered rule by the Congress Party and even later.
Atal Bihari Vajpayee was considered a very tall leader. Pandit Jawaharlal Nehru, it is said, had even prophesied that one day Vajpayee would become the Prime Minister and it happened! But then, what happened thereafter? He could not bring the BJP to power for the second term despite the slogan ‘India Shining.’ The voters found this slogan as fake as that of Rahul Gandhi’s ‘Chowkidar Chor Hai.’ Many changes may take place in the next 20 years and it is possible that BJP might lose because of its reckless pursuit of extreme nationalism. Who knows?
No doubt the present result has surprised and shocked many. The stunning victory of the BJP, George admits, has stunned him no end. A couple of days back, I found a print-out of an article by senior journalist Tavleen Singh that appeared on Twitter lying on my desk. It was its headline that made me interested in reading the article. It said, “No revival of that old order: The idea of India in which there are privileges and not rights is dead.”
Claiming herself as someone born and bred in India’s ruling elite group of privileged Indians, she says, “We controlled everything. Politics, Government, Business, Foreign Policy, the Police, the Military and the Media.” This was possible, she says, because all those belonging to this ‘group of privileged Indians’ were courtiers in the court of the Nehru-Gandhi dynasty since Independence. The dynasty’s ‘Idea of India,’ Socialism and Secularism were all fake. Only Indians who spoke English well, went up in life during this period. All this made the Parliament a private club and the democratic process itself became the dynasty, according to the writer. Being born seven years before Independence, in retrospect, I find much truth in her observation.
An ordinary Indian for the first time was told that the voter has to choose between Kaamdaar and Naamdaar. ‘A working man and a Prince.’ A common man and the Congress. Congress mocked Modi in many ways and made fun of him. Here are some gems. Modi used to hug the Heads of States during his meeting with them and this gesture of his was sarcastically called Hugplomacy. I wonder what we should call Rahul Gandhi’s hug and wink in the Parliament. Remember? Similarly, the GST was called Gabbar Singh Tax. Though demonetisation helped bring out lakhs of crores of black money, the Opposition said it was intended to steal money from the public.
When Modi described himself as the Chowkidar of the country who will protect its wealth and borders, the Opposition brought in the issue of Rafale and called him Chowkidar Chor Hai. If you listen to Rahul Gandhi’s campaign speech, you would hear him use the words Chowkidar Chor Hai any number of times exhibiting bankruptcy of knowledge to speak about other issues. How can a chaiwala become the Prime Minister of the country? It was not just Mani Shankar Aiyar’s problem. It was the problem of the Lutyens’ elite club members. Modi is a Neech, declared an old Congress acolyte of Nehru family. This was the man who on his visit to the Cellular Jail in Andaman, when he was a Minister, got a commemorative tablet, put up in the solitary cell where Veer Savarkar was imprisoned for 13 long years for fighting for the freedom of our country, removed from its place. This is one example of how the ruling elite of Nehru-Gandhi era foreclosed for themselves the name and fame connected with our country’s freedom. According to an English TV channel, there are 464 institutions, buildings, airports and schemes named after Nehru and Gandhis.
Unfortunately, our own political leaders in the Opposition were demeaning their own Prime Minister. Fortunately, voters were not impressed.
According to Tavleen Singh, the past five years had been difficult for India’s good-old ruling elite led by Congress and its allies in the UPA. All those high officials, made-famous writers, editors of English newspapers, high profile TV anchors, inheritors of regional political dynasties, the Leftists and the so-called liberals suddenly discovered their importance diminishing; vanishing with Modi firmly entrenched in his Prime Ministerial Office. Both Hindi and Hinduism got redeemed, from the morass to which it had sunk, following the rise of BJP to glory and power.
The very same Left-liberals and leaders of the dynasty, who today scream that institutions of Democracy (Constitutional Bodies) are in danger under BJP, were conspicuously silent when these very institutions of Democracy like Election Commission, CBI, Judiciary and the very Parliament itself were made puppets in the hands of the Congress Party during 1975-77 Emergency days. Public memory may be short but when people are subjected to deceit and disinformation for too long, there will be someone like Modi to remind the people.
Incidentally, I have received a forwarded WhatsApp message enumerating how the national political scenario will unfold following the election results. It says, be prepared for a huge propaganda about EVMs being faulty and manipulated. Already a mass protest is planned in Mumbai in this regard for today at 5 pm.
Now, like in 2014, let us get ready to read about Lynching and Intolerance. We will soon read about Award-wapsi, activities by Urban Naxalites, anti-Hindi protests in Tamil Nadu, covert plans to discredit Modi and bring in Nitin Gadkari for the PM’s post, making allegations against the RBI, Income Tax (I-T) Department, Enforcement Directorate (ED) and Paramilitary forces and may be a press meet by Supreme Court Judges like in the last year.
All things considered, it is best for the country if our leaders of the Mahagathbandhan, UPA and NDA together work for Sabka Vikas with Sabka Vishwas — Development of all by taking everybody into confidence, both the majority and the minority.
At present, an impression is created in the minds of the minorities that BJP is their Enemy No. 1 which seems mischievous. The Prime Minister himself has given assurance, immediately after the results were announced, that the minorities would be well taken care of. No Prime Minister would like to be branded as a fascist or an oppressor of the minorities and diminish his own stature in the eyes of the world.
Probably, BJP wants the Hindus to be considered as First among the equals in this Hindu majority country and its policies guided by the spirit of Hindutva. As a corollary we can give the example of a Ministerial Cabinet. Though, all Ministers are equal, the Prime Minister is the First among the equals. We are all brothers, but one is the elder brother.
Let peace prevail. Amen.
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What Donald Trump would give to have rallies like Narendra Modi’s: the adulation, the machismo, the beautiful bigness of it all. Indian democracy makes American democracy seem quaint, puny and not so great.
Yet amid all this machismo, the subject about which you would expect the (Chowkidar) Watchman to be both most boastful and most watchful is largely absent: the economy. India is now the world’s fastest growing big economy.
Modi’s nationalistic pitch is being portrayed as not at all detrimental for the businesspeople and foreign investors who trust him. This year, overseas investors have bought about $10 billion of Indian equities, the most across emerging Asia after China, on optimism that the Watchman will retain power, without bothering to find out much about what he might do.
And India matters — not just as the world’s other great engine of economic growth but also as the other rising power in Asia, with thousands of soldiers along its contested borders with China and Pakistan. Amid all the words printed and earnest cogitation in the West about the nationalist ambitions of Xi Jinping’s China, the Watchman has been given a pass. And Modi’s influence will only grow. According to the United Nations, India will overtake China as the world’s most populous country by 2024 — the year that could also mark the end of Modi’s second term.
It is worth acknowledging both the good things Modi has done and the bad things he has not done since he came to power in 2014. Back then, he swept aside a stale, corrupt Congress-led government on the promise of economic reform and a record as an efficient, business-friendly chief minister in the state of Gujarat. Indian voters, perhaps correctly, ignored the impression created by the paid media and media in the West that Modi has better record as a divider rather than as an unifier.
Obviously Modi has run a much cleaner government than Congress did. He has ushered in a series of economic reforms, notably a simplification of its tax system. India’s infrastructure has improved: There are new roads and, crucially, many more toilets in villages.
But Modi’s greatest asset has been providing an alternative which though not entirely been free from drawbacks is being considered as full of hope for India’s future all round progress in sharp contrast to over six decades of Congress misrule with a plethora of scams from the Nehru family which preceded BJP rule in 2014.
Euphoric nonsense. Unlike Vajapayee, who was surrounded by a galaxy of able men, Modi is just an one man band. An one man band can not go very far. I am not so sure about the success of Modi’s government in this second term. What is worrying is the absence of a good opposition. That can breed problems which ends in tears. America is a great democracy, and there is no mob hysteria of leadership worship , unlike India. Indeed , the same is true in all great democracies in Western countries.
I have met Nehru in my student days, and our group who met him in Teen Murti Bhavan were swayed by his greatness and sacrifice. He was hence universally respected then. Though, he had a group of able men and women, the lack of good opposition ended his legacy. One of Vajapayee’s failures was that he assumed the success in the Hindi belt was suffice. Modi, not as great as Vajapayee in his oratory and appeal, should remember this.
Ultimately, Modi’s success will be measured by the economic success. His appointment of finance minister does not give confidence to those markets which matter.
totally agree, you cant go far alone or with shah. I mean the article by KBG is crap as usual, again no facts just BS, the very fact that he gets his daily news from whatsapp forwards says it all. There is no democracy without a strong opposition, the effects of which will be seen pretty soon. there is a big disconnect in people as to how democracy works in the first place. Without the Nehru, Gandhi or strong oppositions from the south we would not have an India for all, it would just be an India for the hindi speaking. Today, Modi and gang want to `remove the word secular from the constitution` and make India a Hindu nation, and tomorrow , I am sure they would like to keep India for just the hindi speaking and the rest can cry then! Modi will never be a Leader
@Chakravarthy. The late MGR , the cine actor and CM of Tamil Nadu used to attract mammoth crowds, the sizes of which Modi can only dream. India has myriad problems which makes it a massive third world country. Most voters are uneducated and they flock to listen to leaders like Modi deluding themselves that the leader will solve their problems, which they do not. This is unlike the Western democracies where local problems are solved by local governments and national leaders give the countries, strategic directions. Voters here are educated and they know the limits of leaders, and hence there is no wild swings of seats after general elections. Leaders are critically questioned.
Nehru modernised India, pulling it out virtually from the bullock cart age by planning and establishing industries, steel plants , hydro electric projects etc.. Yes, there were issues which he mishandled. His successors, did somethings good too. Otherwise,how has the country advanced so much in all sectors and stands as first powerful country in the third world? Decades ago, I joined the RSS and voted Jan Sangh persuaded by my friends. But their Hindi fanaticism, and extreme politics meant, I had to leave them. Modi is in danger of dividing India into Hindi and non-Hindi halves, and massively triggering Hindu fanaticism. As a Hindu, although living afar, I fear that this divided situation will be detrimental to India’s future. Modi needs policies and precepts which should unite India. He should ensure that non-Hindi belt, which do not have BJP governments,are supported well. Nehru did that well for a period, but the state congress governments let him down.
Modi should be beware of the rogue BJP bunch like that in Kerala which encouraged people to defy SC judgement on Sabarimala. That is not rule of law.
In a few months, Indians know whether Modi’s government will be any better. I agree, economy is the key. I also agree,his selection of the finance minister who has no track record of handling complex financial problems is a very poor choice, given the economy is looming large as the key issue.
It was British war time PM, Winston Churchill, who invented the fingers ” V” sign for victory, to lift the morale of British people at the time of WWII, when his country with other allies were fighting Hitler. It is strange to see an Indian PM showing this sign for what purpose? He should get on with addressing the problem his country faces quietly, taking all parts of the country with him, not only the Hindi belt.
The hidden agenda of the BJP, which has sway in the Hindi belt, is coming to the fore. The resurrection of the dead and buried proposition of three language formula, thrusting Hindi into the gullets of non-Hindi-speaking people of Southern states. Modi’s government has antagonised not only these states but also Bengal. Knowing RSS and Jan Sangh in my younger days, whose Hindi fanaticism was legendary , I am not surprised by this own goal of the BJP. They have not forgotten the massive riots when Lal Bahadur Shastri’s government in 1960s, tried this three language trick. Oh, well, that is India!!