Category Archives: Politics

Why Modi supporters are so vitriolic

very-angry

People often complain that most of the Modi supporters on the Internet (including social media websites like Twitter and Facebook) are quite uncouth, insulting and simply abusive. Although I am myself a Modi supporter, I’m not going to disagree. I’m not writing this to make excuses and to validate my political inclination, I’m just doing some literary thinking, as I myself have often become, mistakenly, target of this vitriol.

The right wingers, as they are called (Sagarika Ghosh termed them “Internet Hindus”) on the Internet are an unorganized, voluntary group. Contrary to what many Congress supporters claim, there is no particular orchestration when it comes to spreading information and forming opinions – everything happens randomly.

There are a few select individuals who seem to be hired by either the BJP or the media wing of Modi, but I’m pretty sure that more than 99% of the vocal BJP/Modi supporters are voluntary. Some are fed up with the Congress, some feel bad about the way India has turned up, some abhor the sycophantic and dynastic politics the Congress culture promotes and some might also be the so-called Islamophobes and right wing fundamentalists, but the moot point is, nobody pays them and they don’t gain anything except for ideological satisfaction when they articulate their ideas in support of the BJP/Modi.

The supporters of the Congress (read anti-BJP/anti-Modi) are mostly shady elements, scholars, intellectuals and journalists who live off the government grants and doles, and communal as well as casteist elements who want to keep the society divided so that India doesn’t truly become a united country. When they support the Congress, they have vested interests (because, who would support Congress without a vested interest?). Since they have vested interests, they come up with all sorts of lies and deceits to support their propaganda. They can be vicious. They use filthiest pejoratives. They have access to print and electronic media and they constantly spew venom in order to perpetuate their cause. It is a vicious nexus and herein lies the reason for vitriol among BJP/Modi supporters.

Since no professionals are involved, people don’t mince words when they express themselves and it also means that sometimes they use language that they shouldn’t use. They are so fed up with lies that they have become sore. Sometimes, mistakenly, they also resort to similar lies, which of course harms their own cause.

Since conventional politicians and intelligentsia have no control over how the information flows on the Internet, people with alternative views have a free run. They cannot be stopped and they say whatever they want to say. Just as it happens in the real world, when there is unmitigated freedom, some elements misuse it, and this happens when in the name of supporting the BJP/Modi people cross limits.

Many say that when BJP/Modi supporters heap abuses upon Congress supporters they are either retaliating or they do it out of frustration. On the other hand when Congress supporters heap abuses upon BJP/Modi supporters they do it out of malice and cunningness. My personal experience has shown that this might be true.

If you observe the patterns of both BJP/Modi supporters on one hand and Congress sympathizers on the other, you will notice that Congress sympathizers will keep mum whenever some misdeed of the congressman comes to surface, but they will retweet even the smallest of news that one way or another castigates the BJP and its supporters (even if it is a blatant lie). BJP/Modi supporters don’t do this. In that regard they are quite impartial.

The bullshit about secular forces and communal agendas

Pseudo-secularism in IndiaThere is lots of brouhaha about secularism and communalism in our country and for the non-political layman it might be quite confusing. Actually it is a racket being run by political parties. Take for instance the BJP. It espouses the Hindu cause, or at least that’s how it has gained its prominence. The notorious Rath Yatra culminated into Babrimasjid demolition and this gave the BJP its permanent place in the annals of right-wingism, even internationally. The Gujarat riots further added to the saffron extremism tag. But that’s a different story.

Secularism in our country is confused with minority appeasement. Always criticize Hindus, always mollycoddle Muslims, always keep the ashes of casteism smoldering and there you are, a blue blooded secularist and liberalist. So that’s why, despite being the most communal party in the country, the Congress gets to accuse the BJP of communalism. Highly casteist and communal parties like Samajvadi Party, RJD, JD(U) and such are constantly striking up “secular” alliances to keep the “communal” (read the BJP and its tributaries) from coming to power.

If you carefully study the patterns of the recent decades you will find that the BJP is the least communal party simply because it doesn’t believe in majoritism and minoritism. Gujarat is a good example. Under Modi both Hindus and Muslims are prospering. The BJP doesn’t fight elections with slogans like reservations for Muslims and lower castes and freebies for the poor. They promote all-inclusive growth that can benefit every section of the society. I’m not claiming whether the party really means it or not, but at least that is what they constantly communicate. Having said that, if you care to do some study, all BJP-ruled states are far ahead of other states.

In all other states where the Congress and other secular parties are ruling, the Muslim community is in doldrums. Recently Mulayam Singh Yadav claimed that the Muslims have contributed the most towards the growth of the country. The government ruled by his son gives compensation to families of terrorists just for votes. With Muslims constituting more than 12% of the would bank in U.P., they are certainly a force to reckon with.

According to this Business Standard article the condition of Muslims is worse than SC/ST especially in the states ruled by the so-called secular parties. Why is it so? Why is it being claimed that even while the right wing communal forces have been kept away, Muslims in India are worse off than they were at the time of partition? This is because these “secular parties” have been taking the Muslim communities for a ride ever since the word secularism became fashionable. Neither the secular intelligentsia not secular parties are interested in actual growth because when real growth happens, people get ample space to think, and when they start thinking, they start asking questions and they start expecting more. These mediocre intellectuals and political parties cannot afford this.

I am actually surprised when the BJP representatives don’t protest vociferously upon being called communal and even right-wing. This is the only party in the country that is actually not communal. It might not be secular in its representation and vocalization, but it is certainly secular in spirit.

The BJP should move on, leaving Advani to his devises

Building a national party is no mean achievement. The country will always credit LK Advani and the people of his time for building a party with a pan India presence within a few decades. No other party or individual has been able to achieve this feat. Not even Congress, which was born out of the freedom struggle hangover. Almost all the post-independence political parties have had to satisfy themselves with, although strong, regional appeals, but there is no party other than the Congress, and randomly, the Communist Party, except for the BJP, who has been able to form governments in multiple states.

Having a desire to become the PM of the largest democracy in the world is not a crime, but Advani must understand that his time has gone. History did give this party plenty of time, at least compared to other parties, he and his party just couldn’t cash it. Remember VP Singh fell Rajiv Gandhi’s government with just a single scam and here the UPA coalition has given the BJP scam after scam, and the party did nothing under the likes of Advani. If he doesn’t realize this, if he doesn’t gracefully accept this, he must be out of his mind.

If the approach of the BJP was so effective before the elevation of Modi why couldn’t the party rid the country of Congress? Something was definitely missing. They have had their chances aplenty, and they missed them. Heck, They couldn’t even build the Ram temple. If now people think that there is some hope under Modi’s leadership, I think the people of the country deserve it.

They actually did this in Kolkata

These days I’m reading Joseph Anton by Salman Rushdie and in this book he has explained how he sometimes used to attend writers’ conventions and ceremonies despite the sword of the Iranian Fatwa hanging over his head. He would arrive at the venue unannounced (only the police and a select few among the organizers would know), deliver the speech or receive the award, and then leave immediately. People would be caught by surprise, and nobody would get a chance to stage a protest or do something more nasty.

Anyway, I’m not sure if he was supposed to attend the promotional event of the upcoming film, Midnight’s Children in the same manner(based on his double Booker Prize winning eponymous book), but something really bizarre happened in Kolkata.

When the West Bengal chief minister Mamata Bannerjee got to know of the impending Rushdie visit, she instructed the state machinery to stop him from coming at all cost.

And did you know what they actually did? The police started making calls to various Muslim organizations, asking them if they knew Rushdie was planning to visit the city, and if yes, if they were planning to protest. They didn’t know that he was coming, and now that they knew it, they’d certainly protest, was the reply. Hence, to maintain “communal harmony” he was barred from attending the event. So the police as well as the politicians openly (or covertly, if they had some traces of dignity left in them) colluded with the prospective miscreants to get out of an unpleasant or politically uncomfortable situation. Can it get more pathetic? Of course.

The organizers of the event themselves started denying that they had invited the writer of the book on which the movie is based. Rushdie openly said it on Twitter that not only he had been invited, he had also been sent a plane ticket and an accommodation had also been made in a hotel. Some of his related tweets are:

The 30 years of communist rule had considerably destroyed the sense of politics, industry and culture in the state, but under Mamata Bannerjee even the moral fabric seems to be going to the dogs (with due respect to the canine fellow beings). The ideological putrefaction has rooted itself to such a degree that they don’t even pretend. Salman Rushdie can impact the vote back, so he shouldn’t come, no bones about it. Someone draws Mamata di’s cartoon, throw him behind bars, WTF is freedom of expression? All sorts of barbarities take place in the state, but who cares? Just keep the pot of communal politics brewing and there doesn’t need to be even a semblance of civilization. Even if you have to collude with lawbreakers, just keep playing the tried and tested communal cards.

News resource

It’s extremely difficult for India and Pakistan to have a cordial relationship

The passions in the country have been again stirred up by the latest round of brutal killings by Pakistani soldiers (or intruders, or LeT fanatics, whatever you like to call them) in which they even took away one of our soldiers’ head. The rumor has it that Hafiz Saeed, the mastermind of the 26/11 Mumbai attacks recently offered Rs.500,000 for every head of Indian soldiers produced by Pakistanis. The veracity of the offer hasn’t been established yet (nothing can be established beyond doubt when it comes to Pakistan) but it shouldn’t surprise anybody if he really made this offer.

The problem with Pakistan is, its identity depends on an invariable hatred for India. According to this blog by MJ Akbar,

Pakistan’s hard line towards India is held by the Army, which takes the final call on India, whether in strategic planning or real-time response. Its thinking is rooted in Partition. India won freedom from the British. Pakistan won independence from India. Pakistan’s fundamentalist patriots therefore locate the existentialist threat from India.

The main takeaway from the above paragraph is “India won freedom from the British. Pakistan won independence from India.”

Just imagine, a big chunk of the Pakistani population migrated to this part of the world in 1947 because it didn’t want to live in India, especially with Hindus (who, for more than 800 years, had been their slaves and subjects) as ruling majority. On the other hand, Hindus and Sikhs who came to India during partition were forced to flee, otherwise they would have been butchered — they never wanted to leave the land their ancestors had tilled for centuries. There are different psychological dynamics on both the sides. Whereas in India, people are nostalgic about the land they left behind, in Pakistan people detest the people they left behind.

There is a glaring emotional disconnect. Can this disconnect be surpassed, or mended, or overlooked? I am not an expert and whatever I’m saying here is from the perspective of a laymen.

I think India will have to learn to live with hostile neighbors. I think it is easier to have a good relationship with China than with Pakistan. With China the differences might be ideological to a great extent, and racial to some extent and both these differences can be worked out. With Pakistan the problems are religious as well as historical.

As a religion, sooner or later we will have to accept that Islam cannot be at peace with other religions. Do we have a secular Muslim majority country anywhere in the world? Is there religious freedom in any Muslim country? In India the Muslim population has constantly increased since 1947. Can you cite any Muslim country where a minority population has increased? Even where Muslims have migrated to other countries they have had constant conflicts with indigenous populations, such as in many European countries. I’m not saying that this problem is with every Muslim, but with majority of them, it is, and if we’re looking for a permanent solution, we will need to acknowledge that and define a geopolitical philosophy accordingly.

Historically, especially concerning Muslims of the Indian subcontinent, as mentioned above, they dominated this land from the 11th-century till the British overthrew them. They were expecting that after gaining independence, the power would come back to them. They were so blinded with this inveterate hostility and the desire to rule, that they preferred to carve out another country rather than settle for a Hindu-ruled nation.

Unfortunately for them, things didn’t work out the way they might have imagined. Whereas India has experienced, despite massive corruption, caste politics, external terrorism and internal extremism, a gradual social and economic growth, for Pakistan the journey has been downhill. They never reached the old Muslim grandeur and to their utter dismay, their Hindu neighbors are living much better lives. Even Muslims in India claim that they’re better off in India compared to their counterparts in Pakistan.

So all this has generated frustrated anger and inferiority complex, and a sense of divine betrayal. One cannot get rid of such a feeling easily. You can gauge their unmitigated loathing for India by the fact that instigators of mass murders in India like Hafiz Saeed become national heroes over there. They don’t even pretend.

Add to this their military establishment that totally controls their politics and foreign policies. It’s in their army’s interest to project India as a perpetual bogeyman the country needs to be protected against, at all costs. Due to this the army has enjoyed unhindered prosperity because nobody can dare oppose them.

Not only Muslims in Pakistan, even Indian Muslims nurture this disconnect, but that’s another topic.

So what should India do?

India should stop being the nice person constantly seeking approval from other countries. Since their religion and attitude can never allow them to see Indians as worthy neighbors, they will need to be shown their proper place. No, I’m not suggesting launching a war, but India must act tough and make it clear that there are some things that are simply unacceptable.

They cannot digest India’s superiority in the Indian subcontinent? Too bad, they would have to come to terms with the reality. If they harbor terrorists that kill our people on our soil (or anywhere else), we shouldn’t rest until those terrorists are brought to book. There should be no confidence building measures and no peace talks until people like Hafiz Saeed roam free and spit out hateful speeches against India and instigate terrorist acts.

There should be no games, no cultural activities between the two countries unless Pakistan stops, completely, overt and covert acts of aggression against India. The condition must be unequivocal.

What about the peaceniks on both sides of the border? Should their voice be suppressed? There are surely people on both sides of the border who want to rekindle the old charm and under its aegis have nostalgic trips down the memory lane. Just as it is a reality that most Pakistanis don’t see eye to eye with their Indian neighbors, there are also people, although in minuscule minority, who want to live together, peacefully, happily ever after. On private levels they can go on doing this stuff, but they shouldn’t force the state to indulge in such activities unless all the burning issues are resolved.