By Shehzad Poonawalla
12 May, 2014
My dear Indian voters,
Here is a simple exercise. Try it out. For the next five minutes please read the following few character, personality and political-traits and do try to guess which prominent politician is being referred to. Trust me, the answer will surprise many of you.
Hint 1: One-Man Party
He establishes full control over his party, creates a personality cult surrounding him & forces the hands of his party's Executive Committee, many of who believe he is too overbearing, into electing him as their undisputed leader. In the process, he completely sidelines, his mentor & founder of the party to a symbolic post who ultimately resigns.
Hint 2: Emergence as a panacea for all ills
This is the reason often attributed to his rise....
"Of crucial significance is the widespread feeling that the political system and leadership is utterly bankrupt. In such conditions, the image of a dynamic, energetic, 'youthful' leader offering a decisive change of direction and backed by an army of fanatical followers is not altogether unattractive. Many with grave doubts are prepared to give him a chance. "
Hint 3: Anti-meat eating propaganda
A die-hard vegetarian, he believes more than ever that meat-eating is harmful to humanity and intends to tackle this problem also. Plans to introduce policies to cut back meat-consumption.
Hint 4: Invoking his "humble" origins
He was surely the poorest of us all. For lunch, he chose the cheapest item on the menu. But I never heard him complain, he never spoke of his poverty. Yet he had known poverty since his youth. As the others thought about their families, about their possessions and their money, he preached the battle for freedom.
Hint 5: Using speeches with catchy phrases
His inordinate use of trigger words helps him to maintain the support and attention of his audiences and allows them to get exceedingly excited about his speeches. These words add to his tactics of persuasion by creating word association. When referring to his country, he uses words that convey strength. When speaking about his opponents, he uses words that allude to weakness.
Hint 6: Controlling free-media
Some independent newspapers, particularly conservative newspapers and non-political illustrated weeklies, accommodated themselves to the leadership through self-censorship or initiative in dealing with approved topics. Journalists or editors who failed to follow these instructions are fired. Rather than suppressing news, the propaganda apparatus instead seeks to tightly control its flow and interpretation and to deny access to alternative sources of news.
Hint 7: Believing he is chosen by God for a "divine" mission
He says "I carry out the commands that Providence has laid upon me."
Hint 8 : His wealthy friends fund his political campaign
Prominent businessmen and industrialists financed his campaign and ascendency to power. See the whose-who of the capitalist class that funds his activities.
Hint 9: Makes promises galore
He promises riddance from inflation, corruption and unemployment, higher prices to farmers, profits to businessmen, economic development to the middle-class and restoration of the nation to its "rightful" place in the world. T he master speech maker offers them what they need most, encouragement. He gives them heaps of vague promises while avoiding the details. He uses simple catchphrases, repeated over and over.
Hint 10: Suffers from Fatal Narcissism
"It depends essentially on me, on my being, on my political skills," he says to his supporters.
Hint 11: His election posters & manifesto carry overt religious symbols and are centred only around himself, with only his picture appearing prominently.
What was your answer? It wasn't Adolf Hitler? Who were you thinking about?
Well, all I can say is that you clearly read too much in-between the lines. For those who are inclined towards research, I am quoting the various sources from which I have culled out Hitler's traits.
For the rest, let me just leave you with this one theme Hitler often employed while dishing out his speeches to a hypnotised Germany while campaigning for power - " Besser morgen " which roughly means "better tomorrow" or as we in India like to say "Ache Din Aane wale hain"
Source 1: Hitler had sidelined his mentor Anton Drexler
Source 2: Ian Kershaw in "The Hitler Myth" published in History Today describes how h istoric attachments to heroic leadership combined with a mastery of propaganda techniques were used to mesmerise Germany into acceptance of the charismatic authority offered by the Nazi 'Fuhrer'.
Source 3: In a diary entry dated April 26, 1942, Joseph Goebbels described Hitler as a committed vegetarian, writing,
"An extended chapter of our talk was devoted by the Führer to the vegetarian question. He believes more than ever that meat-eating is harmful to humanity. Of course he knows that during the war we cannot completely upset our food system. After the war, however, he intends to tackle this problem also. Maybe he is right. Certainly the arguments that he adduces in favor of his standpoint are very compelling."
Source 4: A quote from the archives of Hitler's propaganda
Source 5: Hitler's persuasive methods uncovered
Source 6: THE PRESS IN THE THIRD REICH
Source 7: " Hitler As he believes himself to be" compiled by Dr Stein
Source 8: "Who financed Hitler" by Antony Sutton
Source 10: " The Führer Myth: How Hitler Won Over the German People" By Ian Kershaw
Source 11: Posters of Hitler during his election campaign
I dedicate this article to Shri Mukul Sinha, whose loss will leave a great void in the avenue of civil rights and human rights activism. May his soul rest in peace.May his ultimate goal of Justice for victims of 2002 Gujarat riots be fulfilled.
Shehzad Poonawalla is a 1st generation, self-made, 26 year old, lawyer-activist engaged in politics and civil rights movement. Muslim by faith, Indian by conviction, Secularist by ideology and a committed Constitutionalist. Youngest Additional Private Secretary to Ministry of Parliamentary Affairs, Govt of India. Always ready to fight a battle, on the streets or in theTV studios. Fear nothing and nobody.
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