Reams of paper have been put to worst use by denigrating Narendra Modi as the choice of world’s oldest and largest democracy in foreign publications like the New York Times and Washington Times.
There used to be a time when media was meant to report on what people thought, in the current age of cultural colonialism, the Western media has taken it upon itself to define the democratic choices for the people of India. The fear of Hinduism which the West keeps on alluding to borders on plain Hinduphobia.
While writing this piece, I did notice one interesting thing. If you write the word “Hinduphobia”, MS word marks it as an incorrect word. Such a term does not exist in the Western lexicon. Not acknowledging something does not mean that it does not exist. It merely means that this is one phenomenon, not a new one, but a real one which no one wishes to acknowledge. In this land, Hindus were ruled for centuries, in spite of being a majority, by the minority foreign religions, counting on the peace-loving nature of Hindus.
That said, I try to look at what the return of Narendra Modi with an overwhelming mandate might mean to different people. I may be wrong, I may be right or I may be somewhere between being totally correct or totally incorrect.
What does Modi’s return mean to India that is Bharat?
It is an opportunity and occasion to be what they are supposed to be, the modern believer in a long, line of cultural history, the continuum, often called Sanatana. When Hinduism began, it was not a religion per se, rather a philosophical zeal to understand the world and to establish a system of existence in an otherwise disorderly world. There was no other competing religion. Dharma, what was then called, was nothing but the right way of living- respectful to the people and the world around us. It was a commitment to truth.
The ancient Vedic philosophers did not want to convert others to their beliefs, did not want to rule other lands. When empire-building religions came about with Military Generals cum philosophers, the Hinduism of India found itself at loss. The very diversity which Hinduism celebrated became its curse. Wedges were drawn from one Hindu against another, and slowly and slowly the land under the world’s oldest religion shrunk. The antagonism against Hindus was unprecedented. The Christian and Islamists were confused by the people for whom religion meant invading the unknown, the realm of truth, and who had no idea of using religion for invading lands, converting people, gaining numbers.
In an era when the fight for supremacy was going on as Crusades, the separation between the King and Sage, which was termed as separation of the Church and the State in the secular western world, a new thing in the west, but long existent in the east, was odd for the foreigners. It took centuries for Hindus to come back to the unifying nature of this religion. It also took them centuries to understand that Sanatana was termed Sanatana or Eternal at the time when there was no competing religion, when the thirst for truth was ever-expanding and the compass of morality ever stretching to include people from Iran to Indonesia to Vietnam, as tribes moved into the fold of civilization.
As the land shrunk under the feet of Hinduism, the hollowness of the word Sanatana started ringing loud in the minds of people in the only land in the whole globe which still had Hindus in majority numbers. The land of the origin of Hinduism was handed over to the Hindus, broken, fractured. In a world, with 50 Islamic nations, and 15 belonging officially to Christian religion, the now much-demonized third largest religion in the world, Hinduism, has no Hindu nation on the face of this Earth (even though the partition of India was done on the basic premise that since India will become a Hindu nation under Congress, Muslims need a separate nation). Not being an imperialistic religion and being inherently secular, Hindus have not minded it much. In fact, any demand of Hindu nation has been most opposed by Hindus themselves.
Hindus of this nation were widely split across caste and language. However, what this election has proven that Hindus have not got tired of ceding space and are now intending the hold on to their last citadel of Sanatana. In Modi, we hope the Christian antagonism towards Hinduism we find in the West today, will give way to the affection of Emerson when he wrote affectionately about “the genius of Hindoos, whom no people have surpassed in the grandeur of their ethical statement.” We can hope that in the next five year, the editor of Washington Post and New York Time stop demonizing those very people about whom Voltaire had written as “Peaceful and innocent people, equally incapable of hurting others or of defending themselves.” They are only embarrassing themselves by trying to create demons out of one of the most peaceful races and the most accommodating religion.
What it means to political pundits :
Indian media, in particular, and Indian intellectual space, in general, has been largely captured by the left-leaning and West-facing people. They considered the first tenure of Narendra Modi as an aberration to the natural order of things. They had worked hard to keep the dictatorial tendencies of earlier Congress leaders, primarily from the first family, hidden from the people with a dishonest narration of history. Largely conventized, they hated anything Hindu and would look down at anyone with a bent towards Bhartiyata.
Such is their intellectual arrogance that they believed that the larger masses will simply follow them as far as electoral choices are concerned. They tried to split the choices and then tried to figure out if the masses will choose nationalism over issues like employment, farmer crisis and such. Little did they understand that the two are not cross-purpose to each other, not mutually-exclusive desires for the people. In reality, both work together. If you love your nation, you will want it to succeed economically as well.
They somehow missed the point that a Rahul Gandhi who stands in JNU with those who raise slogan to break the nation, and represents a constituency still stuck in prehistoric age of development, represented neither. Rahul Gandhi, as oppossed to Narendra Modi, stands a failure both on Nationalism and Development and the split which the intellectuals tried to effect was of no use. They tried to downplay the upsurge of cultural revivalism and got it all wrong.
Even today, they think Modi is the factor. Narendra Modi, the man, is not the factor. It is what Narendra Modi represents, matters. He represented the execution of policy, he represented honesty of intention (which made people forgive him biggest difficulties imposed by something like Demonetisation). They tried to fan outrage, but the poor of India stood by Modi, solemnly, silently, decidedly. When the intellectual mafia hit out at Modi, ostensibly moved by the plight of the poor; the same poor common folks stood up to defend him. They identified themselves with Modi, as Indians, beyond caste, creed and religion, and they understood that these elite classes with their champagne glasses weren’t after Modi; rather they were against the ordinary man who could not speak eloquently in English and who went about work to make ends meet and Modi merely stood in the middle of this cross-fire between the Haves and the Have nots.
By crediting the win to his Charisma, they are trying to hide their failure in reading the winds of change. They got so busy in reading between the lines that they forgot to read what was written on the walls. They still continue to delude themselves as if Modi was some pied-piper of Hamelin and the people of India mesmerized kids.
What it means to Opposition and the Congress:
It means to the Congress and the collective opposition that they must stop fooling people. It is amazing looking at the Congress manifesto which reeks of pathetically low opinion they have of Indian masses. The elitist minds who advised Rahul Gandhi should be sacked for making such a shoddy agenda paper and Rahul Gandhi should be sacked for accepting and releasing it.
The position they took on AFSPA, article 370 and Sedition under the garb of Freedom of Expression somehow gives one an idea as if the election was fought in Kashmir where majority people hated the Indian Army, hated the idea of India. Such a manifesto might have given them some seats in Kashmir, but to expect this manifesto to bring them vote in India was absolutely stupid.
Someone ought to have told Rahul that being in opposition doesn’t mean opposing everything that BJP does. It could also mean countering it by better promises. If BJP promised to remove Article 370, If Rahul Gandhi had sense, he should have cited the failure of Narendra Modi to do it in last 5 years and promised to remove it in first six months of gaining power.
And then, there is another message for the Congress. The elite birthday party club of Vadra family does not hold any meaning for the masses of India. The ship has sunk under the weight of its own entitlement with Jyoiraditya Scindia, Vaibhav Gehlot, Deependra Hooda, Sushmita Deb all going down, including Rahul Gandhi in Amethi. It shows that India is coming out of the new generation Princedom and will not be subservient to a slavish sense of loyalty.
Then Candidates like Kanhaiya Kumar and Atishi Marlena going down with a pathetic performance shows that the candidates propped by media houses win only in literature festivals, not on the ground. There is a Shivpalganj of Rag Darbari out there in India whose inhabitants far outnumber the inhabitants of Middlemarch. These Ganjahe, much to the chagrin of the strategists of the opposition, are not much impacted by the vicious and vile editorials in Washington Times. They are beyond Cambridge Analytica.
What does it mean to Modi supporters?
The wars of civilisation do not end in one season. They run through centuries. When Islamist invaders started spreading Sufis around promoting conversion, they weren’t looking at five years. When the missionaries landed in Kerala, they were not looking at the next five years. These are civilizational wars which run into centuries. It is not only the Government which will do it, it is the people who need to become a participant in this. We have ceded much and need to say, this much and no further. We have to be one, be great people and continue to demand great leaders to lead us. We must not fall into the trap of fighting amount ourselves. We all, who are the product of shared history and shared civilization stand as one. If we start running now, there will not be enough Earth for us. Let is pin our heels down and stand guard, irrespective of Caste, Language, region and Religion.
The curious case of missing Muslims:
There is very little Muslims representation in the Indian polity. It does not augur well that whatever little representation is there, is limited to people like Azam Khan. Instead of Muslim leaders, we should have leaders who are Muslims. This is a little confusing but it makes perfect sense. A Muslim leader will advocate cow slaughter because it rubs Hindu noses into dust. A leader who is Muslim will be representing Hindus of his constituency and will take care of the faith of his Hindu electorate.
An example of this is APJ Abdul Kalaam who was a leader who happened to be a Muslim. Just as Modi is an Indian leader who is a Hindu. Just as George Fernandez was not a Christian leader, he was an Indian leader who was a Christian. His issues were national, his causes were of the collective. Muslims need to find such leaders and Hindus must support such leaders. We need to work out ways to outnumber Owaisi with Ashfaqullah Khan. It is a time for the Muslims to step out of the Ghettos and vote and work for India, not for the community.
We are at the cusp of a new dawn. Let us, as Indians, rise to the occasion.
A technology worker, writer and poet, and a concerned Indian. Saket writes in Hindi and English. He writes on socio-political matters and routinely writes Hindi satire in print as well in leading newspaper like Jagaran. His recently published Hindi satire collection “Ganjhon Ki Goshthi” is on amazon and getting excellent reception and readership.