Ever since the Narendra Modi government came into power, the left felt a sense of absolute despondency and the Right felt a sense of absolute emancipation. Both are wrong. Narendra Modi has won a constitutional election, through the constitutional process and has been appointed to a constitutional position meant to run the constitutional system in a constitutional way.
The left believes his appointment to be unconstitutional, him to be unconstitutional and expects him to work as the fascist they make him out to be. The Right wants him to surrender constitutionality in at the altar of ideology. Modi, the Prime Minister, refuses to do either and in the process, frustrates the left and disappoints the right.
If the first tenure of Prime Minister Modi was a time of experimentation for him and the people alike, the second tenure brought a definiteness to the very abstract and shaky optimism of the first term. Suddenly even those who boasted the democratic moorings of much-maligned man, suddenly want him to be a dictator. We want him to fight the battles we ourselves are not willing to get into for the fear of our clothes getting sullied, particularly with respect to the minority.
The Hindu voters, neglected for long and maligned for no good reason, thought him to be a medieval-age warrior in his war-fatigues, ready to die and kill for what we construed to be true Dharma. We looked at Modi, the politician as some kind of mix of a religious fanatic with constitutional authority. He is simply not the guy. And we as Indians must thank our stars that Narendra Modi is not the person we thought him to be and want him to be. We, both on the left and the right, want him to work in a manner that flatters our illusions.
This is a dangerous demand for a democracy to have from her leaders. Left to his own designs, every Modi has the possibility of turning into an Indira under Emergency. We must tread that path very carefully. Power corrupts and absolute power corrupts absolutely. To even suggest to a politician, a power unhindered, an authority unchallenged (in return of turning into a war machine for his proclaimed ideology) is a call for dictatorship.
We need to take a broader view of the polity. This is what I said when a heap of garbage on the street corner was shared as a justification for NOTA option in MP elections, and this is what I say now. The leftist-Islamist force is attacking in desperation. The statement of a noted journalist-cum-politician wherein he wanted to hold the citizens by their collar for voting Modi back in power, illustrates the sense of desperation, albeit craftily covered by cunning sophistry. As they attack temples, lynch Hindus, rape cases are reported with scary regularity- people want Modi to go all out, as a kind of knight from the ancient time, with his sword shining under the lone moon. He cannot do that. He is called names for that. His masculinity is mocked. But then when a person becomes large enough to embody a nation, his strength cannot be measured in muscles. Prime Minister Modi’s brute strength is not in midnight attack by the Police at a Muslim Basti (like the one on Ram Lila Maidan by Congress government). His strength shows in Mission Mars, Chandrayaan, Surgical Strikes and the Latest weaponry for the forces.
The ideology of a nation is not defended through street skirmishes. These are the battles fought beneath the surface. There are many ideologues who have emerged and flourished in the confidence which previous Modi government brought to the majority community. Today, for the first time in Seventy years, out of continued shame and embarrassment merely on account of being numerically larger, Hindus are emerging. It did not help us much that India’s first leadership was headed by a near-atheist prime minister, who presided over nation being partitioned over a fake narrative of insecurity of the minority and latter leadership was equally embarrassed about its Hindu roots. Now that the Hindus has emerged out of forced embarrassment, guilt and shame, as little as an utterance of a religious slogan sounds like a war-cry to the intelligentsia. But this is a battle that we as believers and citizens need to fight. Modi cannot fight this battle for us.
Another thing which happens in such times of transformation is the emergence of orthodox ideologues. They are smarter people who are willing to become the shepherd of a ready flock of sheep. Such moment of ideological flux will always bring in unscrupulous men who will try to build their armies using the anxieties of the masses. Just as Islamist fanatics play on the insecurity of the Muslims, Hindu fanatics will play on a fake narrative of being abandoned by Modi to create insecurities thereby creating their fiefdom of faithful fanatics.
India has 20% Muslim population. It is absurd to believe that we can get rid of our Muslim friends. It is absurd and impossible. The leftists and Congressis have struggled hard to create into Modi some sort of Muslim-slayer. Now the right-wingers want Narendra Modi to settle into the mold created for him by the left. You cannot wish Muslims away. The same society which gave us Owaisi has also in the past given us Abdul Hamid, APK Kalam and Ashfaqullah Khan. The way Indian politics played post-independence, the Congress continued with its previous game of appeasement of the minorities, initially adopted to ween away the Muslims from the league. In the process, the leaders committed to Indian thought and idea like Dr Rajendra Prasad, KM Munshi, Patel, Pant and Lal Bahadur Shastri were sidelined. This overall radicalization of the Muslims, created a united and fanatic force to support Congress in the name of faith, without asking for good governance, liberty, education. The liberal Muslims like Arif Mohammad Khan were pushed to the sidelines and the narrative was built that Islamic faith could only flourish with the subjugation of the Hindus.
Fanatic thoughts supported subtly by wily intellectuals crowded the ghettoized Indian Muslim society and still does. The rich would send their kids to Europe for studies and insist on Madarassa education for the poor. Modi is trying to bring in a society in which Ashfaq could live happily with Ram Prasad Bismil. We must ensure that Ashfaq of Muslims society outnumber the Owaisis. We must understand this and support him. This is not to say that there is no flab in Modi 2.0. There are non-performers. There are those entrusted to be the voice of the majority when no one takes their plea. They need to step and not let the majority feel an orphan. The case of Hauz Qazi is not because of the failure of Modi, rather the failure of local leadership. The administration is a heavy machine and continues to work in the fashion of last seventy years, but Modi has given us a recourse. When the police wantonly arrests Hindu activists, you know you can raise voice and it will be heard. It is not that a Hindu activist of Hauz Qazi will be thrown to prison charged with terror for a decade without any charge sheet. Let us count our blessings. Ideology must be strengthened from the bottom. We need to read our history, our past, our philosophies. Battles of ideologies are not fought in the marketplace.
“If there is anything that links the human to the divine, it is the courage to stand by a principle when everybody else rejects it.” ― Abraham Lincoln
If today, Modi as a Prime Minister is able to stand by our constitution, in face of attacks from both the ends, we must thank our stars. We must not want to unleash a demon.
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.