It seems more likely by the day that Narendra Modi will take over as the prime minister of India around May 2014. Since he is not just a candidate of the BJP but a hardcore RSS choice, the history of India will witness an overt historic Hindutva turn. Theparivar’s ideological fount has pulled out all stops to ensure Modi wins, either on his own or by picking up allies for a comfortable majority.
People in India seem generally fed up with the Congress, a party also torn by internal rivalries, with its most dynamic political figure, Sonia Gandhi, unlikely to lay claim to the prime ministerial seat due to her “foreigner” image imprinted on the majoritarian Hindu imagination.
Another possibility in the Gandhi family, Priyanka, has been held in check to prevent the Wadras from taking over, and avoid Rahul Gandhi being eclipsed by his more articulate and personable sister.
Other national and regional parties are no match for the BJP which has the entire sangh parivar – and its many affiliates – solidly behind to secure a win for Modi. The RSS, which would still describe itself as a non-political, cultural organization, now has a spearhead in NaMo to drive it into power, a project aiming to notch up around 300 seats to rule without the distractions usually associated with democracy.
And as this strong, communal and racist organisation sees power within reach, fears are rising about the fate of Muslims and other minorities in the backdrop of the Gujarat riots to which NaMo owes his rise.
Though his juggernaut is being propelled by the development slogan, research-based analyses in major Indian magazines likeThe Week, Outlook and Frontline show that Gujarat is more myth than model.
Narendra Modi has been shown to have given industrial houses thousands of acres of land belonging to poor peasants, but the Indian masses still call it development, and are mesmerized. As ‘democracy’ and ‘development’ overshadow all other human aspects of the Indian reality, communalism, riots, conflict, poverty, injustice have become invisible.
In essence there should be no quarrel with democracy but practically it means nothing more than a change of hands and permanent rule by the majoritian mindset. The same is true of development which has dispossessed millions of poor peasants, and degraded environment. But in the case of NaMo’s RSS political project, both democracy and development mean much more.
Narendra Modi shot into “fame” after the Gujarat pogrom – and this is his real political achievement: in earlier riots, the faces of perpetrators would remain unknown and concealed, but in Gujarat, a chief minister came out openly, owned the riots politically, protected the criminals brazenly, and showed how Hindutva must proceed practically. With this, the NDA is now unstoppable.
And what will happen to Kashmir and Kashmiris under NaMo’s RSS rule? Will the situation worsen, and security agencies turn more ruthless in their anti-people campaigns, Gujarat-style, but under the cover of accepted draconian laws? Will life turn more harsh in Kashmir once NaMo comes to power? Will he pamper a particular community, and expedite the Hinduisation of Kashmir? These are genuine questions and fears which all Kashmiris must consider. So-called separatists cannot gloss over this reality with their boycott calls and leadership competitions. The challenge for them is real. The policy of appeasement adopted by some of the tribe is uncalled for. The real test is to face NaMo on the political horizon of India.
-burning bush will also appear on its regular slot this week