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Modi's Victory: Portents
For Indian Democracy

By Ram Puniyani

30 December, 2007

Surpassing many predictions, Modi did very well
in the recently held assembly elections, (Dec.
2007) bringing his victory tally to the one close
to post carnage elections of 2002. While 2002
elections were preceded by an unprecedented
polarization of the society, in the current one
it appeared as if there are many a factors which
will go against Modi, the internal dissidents,
the incumbency factor, the efforts of secular
groups and slightly better efforts by Congress.
This gave the impression that the results will be
touch and go, but they turned out to be similar
to the previous one giving him a massive mandate.

This makes many a things clear for us. One, the
polarization has seeped in very deep in the
Gujarat society. The observation is that after
every communal-violence, the major player of the
violence, in this case, RSS affiliate, BJP,
becomes stronger. In this electiona also, as was
the case in the last elections, BJPs performance
has been best where the carnage was maximum. In
other parts of the country the polarization is
reaching towards the critical line from where the
rupture in fabric of society becomes
irreversible. It seems that it has already become
so in Gujarat. Gujarat which began as a Hindu
Rashtra laboratory seems to be turning in to a
factory of Hindu rashtra. One of the major
success of RSS combine has been that it has been
able to propagate successfully that Hindu Rashra
is for the benefit of all the Hindus, there is a
struggle between Hindu and Muslim interests, RSS
is on the side of Hindus, while others are
against the interests of Hindus. The real fact is
that in the name of Hinduism, RSS is merely
playing with the identity of Hindus and enhancing
an agenda which is against the social
transformation of caste and gender, which is
against the interests of majority of Hindus.

Further it has succeeded in instilling the fear
of Muslims in the majority community. The formula
used is that all terrorists are Muslims, baying
for the blood of Hindus and RSS combine is their
only savior. The propaganda is that while so many
terror attacks are taking place all over the
country, the Hindus in Gujarat are safe due to
Modi/BJP/RSS. The fact is in during NDA regime
and also during the rule of Modi major terror
attacks have taken place including the attack on
parliament and Akshardham. This, so called
attitude towards terrorists is projected by RSS
combine as Nationalism. Nationalism as such
should mean sticking to the values of freedom
movement and Indian constitution. The second
illusion created is that of progress of Gujarat.
As such Gujarat was already amongst the leading
developing states. Now it is being presented that
all this is due to Modi. Goebells is being beaten
hollow in the techniques of innovating the
propaganda techniques.

Sometimes what matters is not the truth but as to
what is propagated and made a part of social
psyche. One cannot but draw many analogies from
Hitler who went on to create a fascist state, and
in due course do away with the democracy. This
also led to the disintegration of Germany and its
terrible defeat the World War II, rupturing the
German national fabric. There also, one saw the
charisma of one person overshadowing the party.
There also the polarization was brought in and
sustained by targeting one after the other
community or social group. In Gujarat one sees
the targeting of Muslims followed by the
Christians. What will follow next will unfold
shortly? The only difference between the German
and Gujarat analogy is that in Germany the nation
came under the impact of the fascist boots at a
rapid pace in most of the parts of the state,
while here the trishuls are marching at different
pace in different states. In Gujarat the RSS
agenda seems to have come close to the peak,
while in other states, the march is on and is in
different stages of intimidation of democracy.

The journey of Hindutva fascism in Gujarat began
with the anti dalit riots of 1980-81, followed by
anti OBC riots of 1986. Both these crystallized
the support base of Hindutva, the upper caste,
affluent sections. The NRI Gujaratis, the money
order senders, played no mean role in
consolidating the native fascism. The alienated
NRI Gujaratis fed the local divisive politics
with dollars and pounds, aggravating the divisive
politics. Conscious social engineering was
deployed to co-opt Adivasis and dalits into the
Hindutva fold from late 1980s. For co-opting
Adiviais, Vanvasi Kalyan Ashram campaigned
against the miniscule Christian missionaries and
attacked the tiny Christian community. For
co-opting other deprived sections, including
dalits, intense religiosity was promoted,
Pandurnag Shstri, Asaram Bapu and Morari Bapu
etc. ploughed the ground for BJP to reap the
harvest. Section of urban people saw the benefits
of the type of intimidation brought in by RSS
affiliate politics. While Muslims and Christians
were directly hit the major goal was to subdue
the dalts and Adivasis, to ensure that they
remain where they are, that the status quo is

With Ram temple movement, the polarization along
religious lines went on deepening. The state
sponsored genocide on the pretext of Godhra
sealed the issue. The laboratory took clear
shape, all necessary instruments in place. The
experiment began. Carnage was conducted with RSS
affiliates playing the coordinating role. No
rehabilitation for the carnage victims, no
justice for those who suffered violence and then
their gradual marginalization from social sphere.
The relegating of Muslims minority as second
class citizens has become an established fact and
a section of Muslims even started the campaign to
reconcile to their changed status. A large
section of Muslims saw that the only alternative
for them is to be on the bent knees, to join in
the victory celebration of the murderer-in-chief
of the genocide, which led to their miseries. Yes
life has to go on irrespective! Some sheep are
beginning to cultivate the illusion that wolf is
their savior.

The indirect fall out of this was the eventual
ghettoization of the community in Gujarat and its
fall out all over the country was in the form of
widening gulf between religious communities. It
set rolling the similar phenomenon all over the
country. While electorally BJP sounds weak at all
India level, the seeds of communal politics and
polarization have been sown all over.

While comparing the BJP/RSS politics with fascism
in the decades of 1990 one was hard pressed to
explain the absence of a charismatic leader at
the national level at that time. Classically
fascist movement has to have a charismatic leader
at the helm. While Advani was spearheading
Hindutva agenda and Vajpayee was wearing the
liberal mask very cleverly, none of them had the
requisite charisma to send the crowd into frenzy
to call for the extra judicial killing of a
criminal. Modi has filled the gap and that too
very effectively. Not only he is getting away
with justifying the fake encounter, he is able to
project it as a sign of bravery and courage. With
observations of Gujarat poll, with the type of
charisma, which Modi has cultivated, the analogy
with Modi-Hitler, Hindutva-Fascism is more or
less complete.
History does not repeat it self in the same
manner. In Germany Fascism rode all over Germany
with uniform speed, with speed which was
blinding, and went on to target Jews to begin
with. RSS, the patriarch of all Hindu right wing
organizations, began in 1925; it is from 1980s
that is has been able to actualize its political
agenda in a serious way.

While Modi's victory will pave the way for total
abolition of liberal space in Gujarat, the party,
BJP, has already been overshadowed by one supreme
leader. Those dissatisfied with him are shown the
door. The plight of minorities and weaker section
is going to be worse. A section of affluent
middle class will shine while the majority
deprived sections' voices will be put under the
carpet in the name of Gauravi Gujarat, under the
slogan of development. And of course development
will never reach them.

At national level, the rising communal forces
will derive encouragement from this and in other
states like Karnataka; BJP will try with stronger
assertion. The BJP ruled states will strongly
implement the Hindutva agenda i.e. emotive, anti
minority and anti poor policies in a more
systematic way.

Modi's victory is a warning signal of transition
of sub critical fascism, transcending the
critical line to strangulate democratic values in
an ideological form all over the country. The
disarray in the BJP will give way to strong
optimism, to strive for power at center. All this
may take place sooner than later if the secular
movements do not wake up and broaden their reach.
Even today those standing for secular values are
much more in number and strength than those who
have came under the spell of divisive forces,
communal forces. The point is can they come
together to ensure that the country does go in
the direction being asserted by Modi/BJP/RSS type
politics? Need that the vision of founding
fathers of India is brought back to the social
and political arena, that pluralism, justice and
harmony is made the central focus of our movement.

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