India is truly on the move. It is a move in the direction of a ‘New India’. If the name of a ‘New India’ provides the image of something in the direction of modern, hi-tech, advanced, progressive then it is time to think back. Yes the new India would be modern in terms of amenities for few but with supremacy of pre-modern identities, hi-tech technologies but its usage for propagation of low-tech ideas, advancement in terms of creation of institutions but manned by people who would take it in the direction of social regression, progressive but with its meaning changed to refer to a radical shift to a reactionary world. Under the garb of smart cities and smart villages would lay the un-smart of propaganda machinery.
The selection of Yogi Adityanath as the Chief Minister represents this emerging shift. Contrary to the intolerance debate, India is no longer intolerant. The state is completely tolerant towards polarising and divisive politics, accommodative and encouraging towards leaders with reputation for hate speeches. Yes communal, fanatics, goondas and criminal elements are being mainstreamed and accommodated to positions of power. If the earlier trend was to be accommodative of the corrupt and criminal to positions of power, the trend in ‘New India’ is to be accommodative of the ‘communal, fascist and fanatic’ elements.
In this new India, there is a hidden reality behind the mask which is worn. All the talk of development, governance, poverty, growth and progress is a means to cover itself and blame the opposition of being a practitioner of identity politics in the name of caste and minority appeasement. However, the reality not projected is their playing politics of majoritarian appeasement, minority exclusion and brahmanical resurgence.
In the new India, Tajinder Bagga, an internet troll known for carrying false propaganda in favour of BJP and for attacking Prashant Bhushan gets chosen asthe BJPs new spokesperson. All those with controversial track records would get accommodated to positions of power. Those earlier seen as ‘communal, fascist, fanatic’ represent the New India and the ones with the potential to carry India in the said direction.
What would the ‘New India’ further represent? Would it be opposition free India, anti-national free India, anti-development free India, and secularism free India as per the perception of the government. Does it represent a shift towards a theocratic state? Does it represent a direction in the movement towards curbing the democratic and human rights of citizens in the name of national security and development? Does it represent an attempt at curbing ideological and political dissent? Is this an ultimate shift towards the direction of fascism in which all rights are curbed to set up their dream of a theocratic Hindu India?
T Navin works with an NGO as a Researcher. He did his M.Phil from Jawaharlal Nehru University