– Prem Singh
(This article was first published in April 2019. The same is released again for new readers)
Narendra Modi has been a recipient of consistent acceptance and support from various corners/ sources which favours his eligibility as the Prime Minister. Although after five years of being Prime Minister, a lot of people have come out of the lure of Modi, yet an unreal aura is being created about his future Prime Ministerial role, as if it is a certain occurrence. Whether or not the voters are in agreement with this aura, will be revealed on May 23, 2019, when the results will be announced. The truth is that Team Modi, corporate houses, RSS/BJP, National Democratic Alliance (NDA), mainstream media, and above all blind and ‘independent’ Modi supporters stand firm in certification of his eligibility. Narendra Modi’s own voice, however, echoes the highest in the chorus of Narendra Modi’s eligibility. This tremendous urge for Modi’s eligibility cannot be without reason. It is also not easy to unravel the underlying complex reasons behind this phenomenon. Yet the main reasons can be attempted to be culled out.
Those weak souls have been kept apart from these analyses, who still believe the preposterous notions built around Modi as if he is some kind of an incarnation. The ordinary working masses also have not been included, as they are cursed to follow the narrative prepared by the class exploiting them. In this write up an attempt has been made to investigate those people who endorse Modi’s eligibility despite of a compendium of false statements (including those pertaining to his marital status as well as educational qualifications), lies, ignorance, superstition, hatred constantly demonstrated by him. These are the very same people who are educated, successful and empowered spread over in the country and abroad. Or at least are moving on that path.
Let’s begin with the corporate houses. Modi’s use of the vast wealth of corporate houses in his last election campaign, his use of government funds for his image building projects as a prime minister, advertising for Jio SIM, joining of Neerav Modi in the delegation at World Economic Forum, misusing the state machinery in aiding Vijay Mallya and Mehul Choksi to flee the country, making law which helps in keeping corporate funding to political parties covert, implementing demonetization to break the financial backbone of small traders and small farmers, imparting anticipatory eminent status to Reliance Jio Institute which exists only on paper at the moment, ignoring the public sector undertaking aircraft maker Hindustan Aeronautics Limited (HAL) which has over 60 years of experience in aircraft manufacturing and instead making Reliance Defence Limited a partner of French company Dassault with the intention of grabbing the Rafael deal, direct appointment of private sector experts on the rank of Joint Secretary in various government departments, accelerating unregulated privatization process in every region including public sector undertakings … are enough evidences to expose that Modi’s eligibility for corporate houses is axiomatic.
It is a sufficient proof of Modi’s eligibility even in the eyes of the RSS/BJP that none of his leaders can oppose Modi’s corporate-based policies. Because the RSS/ BJP are satisfied that Modi has made a central office costing around Rs 1000 crore in Delhi, the headquarters in Nagpur is bursting with prosperity and enjoys coverage in national-international news, and also because unprecedented wealth has been arranged both for present and future security. RSS thinkers are absolutely aware that in Modi’s reign, they are the only people who are beneficiaries of government posts and government sponsored awards. The entire Sangh Parivar has accepted that the ‘lotus’ of ‘cultural nationalism’ blossomed in the slopes of corrupt and vulgar capitalism under the leadership of Modi. This is the same RSS/ BJP which extracted resignation from L.K Advani from the Presidency of the party for he called Late Muhammad Ali Jinnah as secular while travelling in Pakistan. But it is the same party which didn’t even raise an eyebrow regarding Modi’s extraordinary visit to Pakistan’s Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif without any official program. Because they understand that Modi did not go to meet Nawaz Sharif for ‘Muslim appeasement’. He must have gone to further the interests of some big businessmen!
Modi’s educated, successful and empowered supporters are people who are deeply intoxicated with the idea that Modi has cured Muslims forever. When Modi talks about destroying Pakistan and terrorists, then in their consciousness, just like Modi, are Indian Muslims. They have learned from Modi, which they are unknowingly infecting in their children too, that living in constant hatred for Muslims is the achievement of ‘Hindutva’ in life, and that is also the ‘true patriotism’. These people have to be blind supporter of Modi’s eligibility. There should be no need to say that this middle-class section, which has education, employment and business facilities in ‘Congress Raj’, has become very prosperous during the neo-liberalization period.
Let’s engage a little bit in what Narendra Modi himself thinks about his eligibility? Here in his interview to a film actor, Modi said that he would sometimes go to the forests for a few days. There he used to engage in conversations with the self. His jumla ‘What is mine, I will walk away picking up my bag when there will be time’, has gained currency. By such occurrences he perhaps tries to show that his personality preserves a sense of renunciation (vairagya). Discussions pertaining to renunciation can be found in contemplations around the world including India. The renunciation of Shamshan Ghat is famous. Certain occasions and situations lead to the realization of insipidness of life. In this state the person drifts away from worldliness and is oriented toward self-realization (Recovery of True Self). Though he soon returns to worldly life, but such momentary sense of renunciation and efforts of self-realization are not always meaningless. The person tries to see life renewed and live by rising above his shortcomings and weaknesses.
It seems that Narendra Modi’s soul-searching has not led him towards self-realization, rather it has made him more and more self-indulged. Otherwise, if a person states a wrong fact, interpretation, or utters bitter word for someone, it bothers him and he becomes restless to rectify his mistake. Given the opportunity, the person tries to correct his mistake at his level. Not so with Modi. After propagating ignorance, frenzy and hatred, he starts organizing the next opportunity with the same enthusiasm. Of course, in his own eyes his eligibility is above doubts and suspicion. That is why his anger is directed at those who raise doubts and suspicions over his credibility. Modi has infected this ‘virtue’ in his supporters too well. Both (Modi and his supporters) believe in disposing those who suspect and question him.
Modi is the first person to be his own merit admirer. His success is that he has emerged as the biggest event manager to propagate his ‘qualities’. It goes without saying that this function of propagating his qualities is integral to his corporate character. In such narcissism Modi might be, and quite erroneously, led to believe that corporate houses are his toys. While the truth is that he himself is the pawn of corporate houses. Literature, especially the European novel, is replete with such narcissistic heroes. In spite of all their self-grandeur, they are actually mere toys of status quo. The culmination of these heroes is characterized with depression and suicides. However, just as Modi’s eligibility for corporate capitalism is axiomatic, it is the same for Modi – he is the axiom of corporate capitalism.
An important source of the acceptance of Modi’s eligibility is international politics and diplomacy. Countries with economic, political and military domination, such as America, Russia, England, France, Germany, China, keep full knowledge of the leaders of the world – be they are in power or opposition. It is not that these countries do not know about Modi’s knowledge of ‘history’ and ‘science’. They are very much aware of communal fascist history of Modi. In 2005, the US banned Modi’s entry into the country due to 2002 Gujarat’s communal riots which the Americans termed as a trampling of religious freedom. After the 2002 riots, Britain broke official affiliation with the Modi government of Gujarat for 10 years. Many other countries strongly condemned Narendra Modi for the riots.
But soon after Manmohan Singh the search for a natural leader of corporate capitalism led them to Modi, who was already running a special laboratory of neo-liberalism in Gujarat, and in this way, he had become the first choice of some of the country’s corporate houses. A foreign delegation met prime ministerial candidate Narendra Modi in Delhi. After becoming the Prime Minister, the US restored his visa. President Barack Obama called him to address the joint session of the Congress and provided him with a private dinner. On the invitation of Prime Minister Narendra Modi, Obama accepted to become a special guest on Republic Day of India. The next story is known to all. Prime Minister Narendra Modi opened up various sectors, from retail to defense, for hundred percent Direct Foreign Investment (FDI). In fact, an agenda of these neo-imperialist powers is to destroy the spirit and heritage of opposing imperialism from India. These powers know that if the power remains entrenched in RSS and Modi it can achieve this goal much easier and faster. This specific dimension of Modi’s eligibility in the eyes of the neo-imperialist powers is significant and worth considering.
This discussion, which examines Modi’s eligibility, will remain incomplete if it ignores the role of progressive and secular camp. Without elaborating on this subject, it can only be said that the anti-corruption movement under the aegis of India Against Corruption (IAC) spoiled the entire socio-political scenario before the 2014 Lok Sabha elections. This entire story has been captured in the book ‘Bhrashtachar Virodh: Vibhram Aur Yatharth’ (Vani Prakashan, 2015). The movement, which was launched with the aim of destroying the alternative resistance to neo-liberalism in order to promote it to the next phase, also brought the leader (Narendra Modi) of the next phase. In that noise of ideological nihilism, the governmental communists had seen a Lenin in the NGO don named Kejriwal, and had gathered to make him an alternative to Modi. (Before Modi’s call for a Congress-free India, the players of anti-corruption movement had written Congress’s obituary on their behalf.) In this way the struggle of alternative also entered the next phase! In the mainstream Indian politics, it was decided that the battle is now between neo-liberalism and neo-liberalism. That means there is no fight with neo-liberalism. Whatever the quarrel is, it is about caste, religion, region, family and person. Or, to get maximum share in the neo-liberal loot of country’s resources and the labour. That’s happening in the whole country. It right to say that Modi is a mere pawn in the hands of the corrupt and vulgar capitalist forces. But, in this form, he represents the ruling class of India.
(The writer associated with the socialist movement is a former teacher of Delhi University and a fellow of Indian Institute of Advanced Study, Shimla)