Congratulations, Modi, on being the mascot of Hindu fundamentalism in India for two years

Published: June 6, 2016

Modi is not a changed man, rather he is trying to alter the secular hue of the country with saffron, the colour closely associated with Hindu right wing. It’s not a subtle anti-minoritism, it’s as brazen as it can be. PHOTO: AFP

India’s Donald Trump completed two years in office last week. We, Indians can relate to the fear the Americans may have on the possibility of the Republican leader winning the elections. We have been living in that anxiety and fear since 2014.

There are many people in the United States who believe that the raucous, divisive Trump will be a changed man once he becomes the president. They are willing to buy the argument that power will mellow him down.

The same argument was touted when Modi launched himself as the candidate for Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) for premiership three years ago. Many, who supported him – forgetting his involvement in the 2002 Gujarat riots and his majoritarian politics in the state – rationalised that Narendra Modi as the PM would be an inclusive leader and an agent of positive change in India.

Media, corporate houses, a section of intelligentsia endorsed him with the hope that the BJP leader means business and he exudes sincerity when he talks about ushering in a new era of economic development. Larger masses feeling disenchanted by the Congress regime believed each and every word Modi uttered. He played into the fears, insecurities, vanities and ambitions of the masses and secured their approval.

Two years down the line, Modi no longer appears to be the panacea for the ills affecting the state, but a symptom of a deeper malaise that confronts the Indian nation today. His is the manifestation of the lurking majoritarianism that threatens to devour the democracy nurtured so assiduously for more than six decades.

Modi is not a changed man; he is trying to alter the secular hue of the country with saffron, the colour closely associated with Hindu right wing. It’s not subtle anti-minoritism, it’s as brazen as it can be. If the minority is hurt, so be it – this seems to be the attitude of the government. A Muslim man was killed over rumours that he had consumed beef and the BJP never condemned the incident, instead the prime minister maintained an enigmatic suspense. Every now and then the Hindu radical groups associated with the BJP or Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh (RSS) question the credentials of Muslims in India. Their loyalty to the country is interrogated, and by altering history textbooks, they are being portrayed as the outsiders. Rabid anti-Muslim icons of the Hindu right wing group are getting institutional recognition and a place in history textbook.

The liberal and secular traditions of the country are at stake today. Anyone who questions the Hindu majoritarian agenda is being termed as anti-national. This mind set has stirred turmoil in university campuses as well. The students who question the majoritarian agenda of the regime are labelled as anti-national and a threat to the society.

No wonder there is currently a new kind of societal tension in India. The saffronisation project – as the right wing agenda is popularly called, has not only created new fault lines, but also accentuated the old ones.

The main culprits that were involved in the Malegaon blast case (who happen to be Hindus linked to the RSS) were set free and washed clean of anything indicating their penchant for targeting Muslims and patronising those belonging to the majority community. Most of those convicted in the 2002 Gujarat riot cases are now free on bail and leading a normal life.

In the last couple of years, Hindu radical groups have dominated headlines in India and they have unleashed havoc not only on social media but on society as a whole. If there is a historical parallel to the current situation, the present right wing government resembles the Ziaul Haq regime of Pakistan in 1980s. The Pakistani dictator institutionalised Islamic extremism in the country with its open support and imparted biased history to its citizens. That being said, India’s western neighbour continues to suffer the pain of this majoritarian fundamentalism.

Under Modi’s government, India is witnessing the same majoritarian makeover. Under the garb of democracy – a very dangerous trend is let loose in the country which will be a body blow to the secular polity and constitution of the country.

India accepted Modi as he promised economic reforms and development, but the BJP leader is working on a different agenda altogether. According to The Telegraph,

“Narendra Modi’s first two years in office can be summed up as a betrayal of great expectations…There has been a remarkable rise in the level of fear among sections of the population, particularly among minorities and among those who are opposed to Mr Modi’s regime.”

A popular public intellectual and social scientist, Shiv Visvanathan calls Modi “Frankenstein”, a scientist, who creates a monster that not only kills its creator but also devours everything else. In an article, titledThe facade of great celebration of India’s ‘most mediocre regime’, Visvanathan writes that,

“When the RSS runs epidemic over the country, I wonder if my era, my sense of the country is outdated.

For a man like me, who witnessed the 2002 riots, Modi is a non-negotiable entity.

Yet the country is cutting cakes and celebrating two years of Modi rule. It is as if one is caught in a huge B-grade play with a country singing happy birthday to Frankenstein.”

Modi might be celebrating his two years as a dawn of a new era, but there are many who are concerned about the unabated rise of Hindu fundamentalism in the country. The divisive forces that have been at the margin of Indian polity since independence, have assumed centre stage. Modi is the mascot of that force.

For the last two years, Modi has been focussed on tuning India into a rabid Hindu state.

sanjay.kumar

Sanjay Kumar

A New Delhi based broadcast journalist who reports on national and international affairs. He is a contributor to the Asia Pacific based magazine, The Diplomat. He tweets as @destinydefier (twitter.com/destinydefier)

The views expressed by the writer and the reader comments do not necessarily reflect the views and policies of The Express Tribune.

  • Someone

    You write the same rant every week. When are you going to come up with something new?Recommend

  • http://gravatar.com/skchadha SKChadha

    Sanjay ….. Put up your this Article in some leading Indian Newspaper (or anywhere else except in land of pure) and watch the response ….. :-)Recommend

  • Laughing Budha

    Typical Congress chamcha storyRecommend

  • whatever

    in todays time Modi bashing can keep your home running….Recommend

  • mazharuddin

    Biased write up. It is Not Zia regime which was responsible for Talibanization of society but It had started long back since time of Jinnah and Bhutto. It was Bhutto who had declared Ahmadiya as Non Muslims and propped up MARecommend

  • leela4fun

    This presstitute should settle down in Pakistan. Why bother with ‘Intolerant’ India? Maybe you can Arundhati Roy along with you. Will make a nice couple.Recommend

  • greywolf

    well said. bravo! we support your quest to remove this imbecile.Recommend

  • Headstrong

    :-) The truth hurts hey?
    At least India is not begging to be treated on par with anybody – more than I can say of you people…Recommend

  • basil

    If you have such an issue with our papers, then why are you always commenting on Pak newspapers? better stick to your hindu mata papers.Recommend

  • Bibloo

    Looks like they are coming out of the woodwork.
    Look at them boil in their Hindutva Hate. You can
    hear the teeth gnashing.Recommend

  • FrankOpinion

    And Pakistan is ?Recommend

  • Dipak Mehta

    This article was written by the jealousy of Nehru-Gandhi dynasty. Recommend

  • Aneesh V

    This article is mere rehetoric and does not even analyze the Prime Ministers performance since the last two years. There is not an iota of evidence for the wild allegations in this article. Recommend

  • welingkar

    For those ill-informed, like yourself: Modi did not develop the Indian Film Industry, nor does he guide the topics that directors should choose.
    ’18 million slaves’ as you put it- has happened over decades when your secular Congress was in power and did nothing- nor did the Vatican-appointee at the helm at INC.Recommend

  • Gratgy

    clickbait articleRecommend

  • Chethan Rajan

    Interesting read from a left wing perspective. But author must also know India have been a land of riots even before Modi or BJP existed. We have had Hindu-muslim fights since ages. Most of the major massacre and riots happened during Congress regime. Whom were the media people blaming back then? of course the congress government. So please refrain from blaming a government trying to bring in new reforms. Please start appreciating the good works and critic the bad one rather than blaming Mr.Modi. India is growing economically and is fastest growing economy in the world. I hate dynasty politics of congress, if they can end it and project a common man outside their “Gandi” family. We will vote them into power if Modi Government doesn’t keep up to their promises. Until then it will be always “BJP”Recommend

  • Sane

    Threats……. a Modi doctrine. You also have a fanatic and extremist mindset and believe in cleansing of Muslims and other minorities. What you have progressed in Modi regime. Analyze.Recommend

  • Sane

    One of the rationale voice from India. Although such voices are diminishing in India and Indians have largely engulfed by hatred against Muslims and other minorities, who live in fear.Recommend

  • aadi

    haha u didn’t gt any space in Indian news papers ? Interesting !!!! Now come people will say that i am Modi Bhakht blah blah etc but anyone who says this must remember, we might we whatever, the whole world now is singing in Modi’s tune. Whole world cant be Modi bhakht now….or can it be :)

    As for Pakistan …… a genuine suggestion. rather 2 :

    1. you cant be bigger than a line by cutting it short. You have to draw a bigger line to make the the first one look smaller.

    2. The first step to solve a problem is to first acknowledge that there is a problem.Recommend

  • ashwini

    Hello writer of this article , and also the author u have quoted some so called socialist Mr viswanathan, Can You or the author u have quoted show me a single article
    where you have highlighted how congress party openly allowed bangladesis to migrate to assam and change the demography , how congress and abdullah allowed the demography of kashmir to be changed , how in kerala the left and congress have allowed the demography to be changed by supporting particular communities and forcing others to migrate . Do you guys write how monetary allurements are made to poor and adivasis to change there religion to change the demography and then how they are scared by priests never to convert back .
    You seem to be one of those journalists who have a coin box attached to them when they put a coin sing a particular song . An absolute biased article by a hypocrite journalist to say the least and also your Mr shiv vishwanathan and his frankenstien BS .Recommend

  • Abhishek Chaturvedi

    a pakistani talking about corruption….LOLRecommend

  • http://gravatar.com/skchadha SKChadha

    if you hold Modi responsible for unfortunate Gujarat frenzied, in that case what is your take about Jinnah, when lakhs of people died during partition?Recommend

  • http://gravatar.com/skchadha SKChadha

    Analyse the Indian census data over the decades after partition, state by state and understand more.Recommend

  • http://gravatar.com/skchadha SKChadha

    this land is not only your prosperity, it is also land of my ancestors. It pains me when I see that a Gulshan is turned into Jungle during last 68 years. Read more about Hinduism, somewhere you will find your ancestry in it. Moreover, where is Islam in Pakistan? Gain more knowledge about Islam as it direct you to reach, wherever the knowledge is available (read Sura 2.269, 20.114, 29.20 … etc.)?Recommend

  • http://gravatar.com/skchadha SKChadha

    the tolerance in society, family and individual is cultivated by national discourse and you can watch in inter-religious debates in Indian Media. The conflicting views of different religions and expressions in public discourse appears to you as INTOLERANCE …. ? The Intolerance is visible when a nation prohibits conflicting religious discourse in Media for all religions ….. :-))Recommend

  • Fahad Raza

    is notRecommend

  • vasan

    Pl read about corruption index in wikipedia and the recent improvement in Indias ratingsRecommend

  • FrankOpinion

    is not what ? and is what?Recommend

  • Fahad Raza

    is not THE racist.. read the linkRecommend