Modi tweets after swearing-in as PM promising a ‘developed, strong and inclusive’ India. Now in each of these categories, Gujarat is the model this man offered to his target audience during his campaign, and he has been given a healthy mandate. His party, his political parentage, and his cheerleaders in intelligentsia all worked hard to achieve it, using the social media effectively for the purpose.
Let us have a look at what kind of ‘developed, strong and inclusive’ Gujarat he has sculpted during his tenure at the helm there. After all that is what he and his cronies sold in the electoral markets recently.
To start with, it should be remembered that Gujarat was one of the front-running developed states much before the Godhra man emerged from the coach number B6 of Sabarmati Express. He never outdid the previous performances, but, let us acknowledge, he did maintain the tempo in good gear. Businessmen made good money. GDP was healthily above national average. On the flip side though under Modi, human indices plummeted. As for pulling above the poverty line, Gujarat barely matches the national average. This is actually not as flattering in absolute terms as in percentage. So how this economic development made Gujarat strong and how much?
Malnourished children, anaemic women, a criminally inequitable distribution of created wealth, swank and squalor side by side. What kind of strength this is? But then there are takers for such a model. That is the strength he is perhaps referring to. An economy strong on and by inequality. Now who are these takers? The burgeoning unscrupulous middle class bred by the famed liberalization of the outgoing Prime Minister’s stint as Finance Minister. Here Gandhi comes to mind. End must justify means. Well, Vivekananda too said something like this. Great feats cannot be achieved by crafty means. They say they say espouse Vivekananda. Well, some development that too.
And how inclusive this gentleman has been so far? Here is a man shockingly inebriated with the lessons he learnt in RSS sakhas and in the school run by them, an evolved man who believes scavenging is a ‘spiritual experience.’ Doesn’t it tell volumes of the man’s vision of human equality? And then what type of ‘inclusiveness’ such a vision can engender? Falling back on his Gujarat model, we can get some idea perhaps. He steadied the ship of a precariously faltering government and a limping party in 2002 by ghettoizing the society along religious fault lines, with venom and hatred as plinth.
Now Gujarat comprises ‘Hindustan’ and ‘Pakistan’. Ask any who’s gone to Ahmedabad and visited areas like Juhapura and Bombay hotel area. (Remember, he was contesting against ‘miya musharraf’ in Gujarat assembly elections in 2002? Remember his nasty comments like : “What should we do? Run relief camps for them? Do we want to open baby- producing centres? We are five and we will have 25 offspring. Gujarat has not been able to control its growing population and poor people have not been able to get money.” —The Asian Age, Sept 15, 2002
Muslim women in Juhapura, a vast Muslim slum sans roads, schools and hospitals
Remember his Shohrabuddin shrieks? Ask those too who’ve visited rural Gujarat where dalits and other lower castes can’t take water from the wells and pumps used by the Savarnas. Here was an OBC chief minister who’d been bridging the religious and caste ridden cracks like this. By widening them. Widening them by either hatred or cunning or both. Well, they have their own model of inclusiveness approved by their parivar, the Sangh Parivar, which this gentleman implemented by taking away the individual liberty of religious choice by legislation and then bringing the tribal Christians into the fold by arm-twisting them in ‘Shabri Kumbh2006’ into accepting them they are Hindus. Filling any government application with anything other than Hinduism in the ‘religion’ column disqualifies them automatically. The trend is ominous indeed.
And the zealous visionary went on to take slices of his vision to Muzaffarnagar and to the Bengali heartland, the Barak Valley in Assam and West Bengal during the recent general elections. He took with him his own campaign machine and his own machinist to Muzaffarnagar. A machine that de facto summarily annihilates whatever it thinks is not integral to its inclusiveness. A machinist who has made and perfected the machine since the days of Sohrabuddins and Prajapatis. Satraps he got locally. Sanjiv Balywans, Ramakant Yadavs and Giriraj Singhs. National background music like Togadias and Singhals were always there. In UP they received good accompaniments like Imran Masuds.
So meticulous was their work, that they could virtually disenfranchise almost 20% of the population. Sanghi hawks like Singhal and Uma Bharti eloquently wax how needless these votes are in their scheme of inclusiveness. And Modi himself bays for the blood of ‘Bangladeshi illegal Muslim immigrants’ in Assam and West Bengal. They are experts in deciding how much the poisonous dose of communalism and where. Well, here too takers galore. At least 30% of voters, according to some estimates. Turning one against another, is it not development, a la Na Mo ?
Home Minister Rajnath Singh
Now let us take a look at the team he has picked up for implementing his idea of ‘strength, development and inclusiveness.’ Almost every other person in the list has RSS roots. With a Home Minister like Rajnath Singh, one can have as good as it gets. Here’s a Masters in Physics who holds being gay is unnatural. One can perhaps have such species in this part of the world. The choice of HRD minister is a perfect measure of the intellectual muscle of our Prime Minister himself. Cabinet berths to ‘performers’ like Sanjiv Balywan sends out clear message about their future template for social engineering.
Nothing new or surprising. The ‘model’ has been in place in his ‘model’ Gujarat for last one decade and with great success. Gujarat 2002 was okay for their target audience. So was Muzaffarnagar and Assam in 2014. It will remain so wherever and whenever it takes place. Some development this too. Development of an exclusive kind of inclusiveness. Uma Bharti might well head a ministry of disenfranchisement!
On the economic front they will create wealth, even while breeding some more inequality. After all his party is a pro-capitalist one. Remember India shining of 2004? And they have brought us a government that money can buy. So payback time begins soon.
One remembers his impassioned televised speech as the newly inducted Chief Minister before after the ghastly Godhra episode. What he said and what he let happen just after that right under his nose were in stark contrast – showing how grimly hypocritical he could be. And then his bemused crafty smile in response to Vajpayee’s Rajdharma rhetoric . Well, cunning has no place in a civilized value system. It’s the very antithesis indeed. But who cares? With his cunning and hypocrisy, he has stunningly succeeded so far. Worse could be in store for us with him as the CEO.
Remember Ashish Nandy’s chilling warning: “I still remember the cool, measured tone in which he elaborated a theory of cosmic conspiracy against India that painted every Muslim as a suspected traitor and a potential terrorist. I came out of the interview shaken and told Yagnik that, for the first time, I had met a textbook case of a fascist and a prospective killer, perhaps even a future mass murderer.” Now Indian voters, in their rage over Congress misrule and corruption, have voted in such a man as their leader.
Mr.Nandy had further warned, The Gujarati middle class will have to pay heavily – culturally, socially and economically – for its collusion with the recent pogrom.” But the ‘development’ of Gujarat has made the Hindu Gujaratis quite complacent, ignoring the systematic marginalization of their own fellow Gujaratis belonging to another religion. And so Indians in the rest of the country seem to have walked into a trap. What next, let us hold our breath and watch – also intervene if the parivaar seeks to replicate the Godhra experiments elsewhere.