Posts Tagged ‘Narendra Modi’

On Narendra Modi & Hindutva

May 10, 2009

As mentioned in my last post here are my thoughts – even if quite delayed in time – on the article “India’s New Face” by Robert Kaplan in the Atlantic on Narendra Modi. The article best symbolizes how the “secularists” use language without facts to put down what is not right according to them. Also, there are enough instances in the article where a false is repeated enough times that it becomes the truth.

 

The preamble to the article shows who is close minded where BJP is mentioned as a “chauvinist” party, which anyways cannot be substantiated, except of course by our “secularists” who will brand anyone who is nationalistic and who would want all people to be bound by the same law of the land (remember that the uniform civil code is opposed by these secularist activists and parties).

 

Still with the preamble how did the 790 Muslims killed (for me even this is a very high number anyways) become 2,000? How come so many Hindus killed in police firing not mentioned – the number of Hindus killed is around 250. Here is an interesting article by an ex-DGP of Gujarat how the mainstream media distorted facts. What does Mr. Kaplan mean that the state has become a stronghold of Hindu extremism? What are the statistics that go to prove this theory?

 

Onto the article Robert Kaplan now tries to mention that capitalism “benefits only the majority and not everyone” and hence implying that this benefits only Hindus and socialism that India adopted would change the situation. This is amazing!

 

“But the spirit of India has undergone an uneasy shift in this new era of rampant capitalism and of deadly ethnic and religious tensions, which arise partly as violent reactions against exactly the social homogenization that globalization engenders. Gujarat finds itself once again at the heart of what is roiling India, and what singularly menaces the country’s rise to “Great Global Power” status.”

Even more interesting thoughts about capitalism as the globalisation is what is helping India come out of the  clutches of the “so called socialist: Governments that ensured India did not progress and made sure inequality only widened. Globalisation has ensured that everyone who was capable and tried could grow and this was irrespective of religion.”

 When Robert Kaplan mentions about the “social homogenisation” does he want people living in narrow traditions continue to do so and not progress in the new World order?

 

Mr. Kaplan thankfully accepts that Godhra was the reason for the Gujarat riots but by saying “The Muslims who reportedly started the fire had apparently been taunted by other Hindus” he has justified the actions of the Muslims involved in the killing of the Kar Sevaks. So taunting of people is reason enough to roast 50+ people alive and a mourning in the capital was invitation by the Chief Minister for people to start a riot!  Wonderful analysis indeed and to call such people intelligent sure means I am steadily changing my dictionary definitions!

 

“Mobs coalesced and Hindu men raped Muslim women, before pouring kerosene down their throats and the throats of their children, then setting them all on fire. Muslim men were forced to watch the ritualistic killings before they, too, were put to death. More than 400 women were raped; 2,000 people, overwhelmingly Muslim, murdered; and 200,000 more made homeless throughout the state.”

I have the analysis by JK on Arundhathi Roy on her story of how women were raped to mention here and also what about the indictment of Teesta Setalvad by SIT that they have falsified information. Also, if 790 Muslims were killed as per the Government of India report what is this total number of 2,000 people of whom the majority were Muslims?

 

What an untrue statement “In a remarkable three terms as chief minister, he has never apologized, has never demonstrated regret of any sort for 2002” as I have seen on television so many times where Mr. Modi regretted what happened in Gujarat and I can only assume that Mr. Kaplan never watched Indian news channels and read Indian papers: or actually our Indian mainstream media did not repeat these statements of Mr. Modi.It seems Mr. Kaplan by mistake mentioned “Furthermore, his machine-like efficiency, financial probity, and dynamic leadership of the government bureaucracy have made Gujarat a mecca for development, garnering more internal investment than any other state in India. Migrants, both Hindu and Muslim, from throughout India have been streaming into Gujarat to find work at its expanding factories. “As this is against his point of the rift widening between both the communities.

 

With a single statement “As Hindu ideologue and innovative CEO of Company Gujarat, Modi in many ways embodies his state’s history: his character testifies to Gujarat’s vibrant, outward-looking entrepreneurial spirit and its hard-edged communalism, and his trajectory follows the larger trends that have brought the state, and the country, to this uneasy moment” Robert Kaplan not only made the entire Gujarat Hindus communal but also attributes the Indian majority for the problems of today. The common people of India when exposed to such statements usually end up lapping  them up and end up as self-deprecating individuals; how else can the hundreds of years of attacks that the country was victim to  be ignored and also taken to the extreme that the majority was the perpetrator of the crimes!

 

“Faith—both Hindu and Muslim—underpinned the business networking, providing a social and cultural framework. Thus have two devout, highly distinct ethnic and religious communities operated easily within Gujarat’s cosmopolitan framework. Even as the state leads India in electronic governance and indexes of economic freedom”

Can we not interpret this statement of what Robert Kaplan mentions that both communities co-existed was due to the secular nature of the majority community? Had it not been for such a mindset would such coexistence for so many years been possible? On the contrary the dwindling of the Hindu population in Muslim dominated areas including Kashmir, apart from Pakistan and Bangladesh, needs to be compared before jumping to wrong conclusions.

 

“Gujarat’s post on a frontier zone of the subcontinent exposed the state to repeated Muslim invasions. Some of the worst depredations came at the hands of the Turco-Persian ruler Mahmud of Ghazni, who swept down from eastern Afghanistan and in 1025 destroyed the seaside Hindu temple of Somnath. During a trip to India last fall, whenever I mentioned the events of 2002 to Hindu nationalists, they would lecture me about the crimes of Mahmud of Ghazni. For these Hindus, the past is alive, as if it happened yesterday.

This combination of geography and history has made Gujarat fertile ground for Hindutva

It was not only Gujarat but also most of the Indian subcontinent that was subjected to the excesses of the Muslim rule so am curious to understand how only Gujarat has become the fertile ground of Hindutva or will I hear that the entire country has become communal now…

 Also, to repeat my point ad nauseam the issue is not what had happened but refusing to believe and accept what happened in the past.

 

“Information technology enabled standardized and ideologized versions of Hinduism and Islam to emerge: just as Shiites became united across the Middle East, Hindus became united across India and the same for Sunni Muslims. Meanwhile, the spread of education made people aware of their own histories, supplying them with grievances that they never had before. “The Hindu poor are blissfully ignorant of Mahmud of Ghazni. It is the middle class that now knows this history,” explained one local human-rights worker. That is why Hindu nationalism is strongest not among the poor and uneducated, but among the professional classes: scientists, software engineers, lawyers, and so on. In the eyes of this new, right-wing cadre of middle- and upper-middle-class Hindus, India was a civilization before it was a state, and while the state has had to compromise with minorities, the civilization originally was unpolluted (purely Hindu, that is)—even if the truth is far more complex. “

Thank you Mr. Kaplan for atleast conceding that the Indian state did suffer immensely in the past. But what shocks me is how he finds a problem in people coming to know about their past and seeing history as it is  and that seeming to be the real reason for the current Muslim problem. It seems to be that we should be ignorant of the past and negate whatever has happened and also continue to be told we are good for nothing  no civilisation and communal goons, wonderful indeed that our human rights workers (whoever it was mentioned in the above paragraph) help this “fact” be more reinforced for progeny.  Moreover, if the truth of our history is more complex than we believe to be then am sure  Mr. Kaplan will agree that he should not have over simplified  what he heard about Mahmud of Ghazni to be the only reason for the current day issues.

 

“The economic reforms of the 1990s, which brought India truly into the vanguard of globalization, aggravated these Hindu-chauvinistic tendencies. Because the socialistic nation-state of Hindus and Muslims had become a thing of the past, both groups needed a strengthened communal identity to anchor them inside an insipid world civilization. This need has been especially apparent among Gujaratis living overseas: even as successful immigrants in the United States, they have engaged in a search for roots that they have transmitted back to relatives at home. “

I am absolutely at loss of words and think below my dignity to even make a logical statement to such perverse and immature generalised axioms.

 

“In fact, a preliminary report by a commission from his own state bureaucracy had already absolved him of any wrongdoing.”

Again subtle statements that tend to give the impression as if the commission acted at the behest of Narendra Modi. What in fact is true is that Justice Nanavati is a retired supreme court judge who also probed the 1984 anti-Sikh riots.

 

 

he manically dedicated himself to development, sleeping less than four hours every night, up at 5 a.m. to check his e-mail and read the local papers, visiting about 3,000 of the 7,000 villages in the state, and empowering the lowest reaches of its bureaucracy through his slogan, “Less government, more governance”

As usual Robert Kaplan contradicts his own point of how Mr. Modi is autocratic and after a couple of paragraphs the opposite point is made that Narendra Modi has empowered people to take decisions. People have such a strong opinion of Narendra Modi that they cannot help but try to criticise him even  on a positive point.

 

The following statement is a reinforcement of the perverted thinking of Robert Kaplan’s ilk: “Perhaps it was a Machiavellian ploy: first, allow RSS forces to launch what most neutral observers said was a methodical killing spree in 2002, and then turn toward development after you have used violence to consolidate power and concentrate the minds of your enemies. But Machiavelli believed in using only the minimum amount of cruelty to attain a positive collective result, and thus any more cruelty than was absolutely necessary did not, as he put it, qualify as virtue.” What he goes onto allude is that not only was Modi deliberate – I am waiting one day for people to start blaming Modi even for Godhra not only post-Godhra –  but make him a very very cunning man.

 

I am not sure if any person has already sued Mr. Kaplan  for branding Gujaratis communal and also most of us the same: “Either Modi will fit his managerial genius to the service of that idea, or he will stay where he is. Hindus elsewhere in India are less communal-minded than those in Gujarat, and that will be his dilemma.”

 

“You couldn’t help but understand Hindu feelings about Muslim depredations of this temple, one of India’s 12 Jyotirlingas, or places with “signs of light” that symbolize the god Shiva. And yet, as emotions crackled like electricity all around me, I also couldn’t help but think of what Hanif Lakdawala had asked me, in a plea as much as a question: “What can we poor Muslims of today do about Mahmud of Ghazni?””

While nothing can be done about the past the problem is that we are taught that this did not happen because of the communal nature of the Islamic invaders I would only request Robert Kaplan and Hanif Lakdawala to put thinks in perspective and also ensure Muslims are not pushed deeper into their ghettos by selectively talking about the oppression and leave out all the good aspects of the Indian democracy.