The Unholy Nexus

A Correspondent

Narendra Modi’s ascent to power was the outcome of a corporate-Hindutva alliance. The corporate India agreed to accept the Hindutva agenda of the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) because they were confident that Modi would overcome the 'policy paralysis' displayed by Manmohan Singh and push their interests to the extreme. The foreign multinationals also lent support to Modi in the hope that their pastures in India would be broadened. Narendra Modi has so far remained more or less faithful to their expectations. One striking example of this is ordinance on land acquisition, and another is the raising of permissible FDI in the vital defence sector. Already moves are afoot to abolish the NREGA, and to use the money thus saved for more 'productive' purposes, ie as a means for granting more concessions to the corporate lobby, which is supposed to constitute the most productive class in the country. Narendra Modi's victory in the parliamentary polls was actually a victory of the corporate-Hindutva alliance, although the BJP secured only a little more than 31% of the votes polled.

There are of course rifts and contradictions within the alliance. On the recent setback faced by the BJP in the Delhi assembly polls, a famous economist, himself a tireless crusader against the 'subsidy regime' and a staunch advocate of the abolition of the NRGEA, has commented in a leading English daily that the BJP lost because it tried to push the Hindutva agenda too far. It is worth quoting him at some length, "The BJP seemed far more interested in projecting Hindutva than in winning an election. Its maharajes and sadhvis, now elevated to the status of MPs and in full voice, its Adityanaths, its affiliates like Togadia daily provided television comedy to the nation with their counsels to women on dress and the number of children they should have and what should happen to them if they met a boy on Valentine's Day, their theories on the ancestry of those who do not revere Ram and their comparative analysis of Mahatma Gandhi and Nathurarn Godse. And while this so-called 'fringe' entertained people with their antics, more responsible ministers ran berserk, demanding that Hindu scriptures should be adopted as 'National Books' and recited every morning in school. By not silencing their voices, the BJP and Narendra Modi created an image of themselves as belonging to the tribe of Hindutva fanatics". (The Telegraph, 19 February, 2015) The venerable economist, ostensibly sad at the BJP's defeat (the BJP's share of votes is, however, more than that in the parliamentary polls) refrains from commenting on whether the corporate agenda of 'development' is in the final analysis beneficial to the people at large. It is clear that the defeat of the BJP is a setback not for the Hindu fanatics only, but for the domestic and foreign big businesses also. The social costs of the agenda of corporate-led 'development' have already been immense, as the events in Chhattisgarh and elsewhere have demonstrated clearly. Narendra Modi has also turned back on his pre-poll promise of bringing back Swiss Bank money deposited by Indians to the country. Unfortunately, these issues do not at all figure in the analyses of these economists. Nor do they consider the point that Modi's own state, Gujarat, is still a middle-ranking state in terms of the Physical Quality of Life Index, despite the investment of many billions of rupees there in recent years.

What is missed in such evaluations is that in order to establish its absolute hegemony, the corporate houses need an absolutist ideology too. The agenda of Hindutva, with the concurrent distortions of history—something of it was witnessed during the earlier Vajpayee regime—have come handy. This is the way the Indian variant of fascism is coming to establish itself. This is not the fascism of the mother and son type, when the lumpen elements under the overlordship of Sanjay Gandhi, along with urban hoodlums dominated the scene. This new fascism will feed itself on intensified repression of workers and peasants, and try to gain legitimacy by propagating the ideology of Hindutva. But how far it will succeed is as yet uncertain.

Vol. 47, No. 36, Mar 15 - 21, 2015