4 Years Later

Modi wave is vanishing and it is vanishing very fast. Four years later Modi loyalists simply do not know how to revive the 2014 euphoria. An evaluation of the four years of the Modi government must take into account two important distinctions that make the present regime different from its predecessor. The earlier regime was not against corporate interests and was ridden with many scams. Yet it tried to maintain a balance between various conflicting interests, something which came to be looked upon as 'policy paralysis'. The present regime after doing away with this 'policy paralysis' is serving the interests of the large corporate houses led by Ambanis, Adanis and their like with greater vigour and shameless subservience to multinationals. It is this corporate bigwigs who were the principal backers of Narendra Modi in the 2014 parliamentary polls and are now demanding proper returns. And Modi has obliged them through populist jingoism and manipulative politics. First of all, the Modi government tried to impose a new land acquisition act seeking to give much larger facilities to the big business at the expense of the farmers and farm workers. Secondly, it sought to restructure the industrial relations with the explicit purpose of taking away whatever rights workers enjoyed. This exposed the anti-Labour face of the government so much so that even the trade union wing of the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP), the Bharatiya Mazdoor Sangh (BMS), had to speak against it. Thirdly, it launched a 'demonetisation' drive against 'black money', conveniently ignoring the fact that in this country black money and black wealth are hardly kept in hard cash. Thus the demonetisation, which caused intolerable suffering to millions of ordinary depositors and led to loss of billions of man-days proved to be a damp squib because 99% cash notes returned to banks. A final aspect of Modi's economic reforms is the Financial Resolution Deposit Insurance Bill which, if implemented, will put the interests of millions of common depositors at stake while the corporate houses, who have squeezed the banks hard by taking billions of rupees as loans and not repaying them, will roam about merrily.

The Modi rule differs from its predecessor in intensification of oppression on dalits and religious minorities, i.e. Muslims and Christians, and even rationalists. Killing innocent Muslims in the name of cow vigilantism, flogging dalits for skinning dead cows, trying to put up a dalit friendly face while virtually practising untouchability, distorting Indian history in all sorts of ways with the help of some chosen puppets, letting criminals accused in blast cases get away with impunity by influencing the investigation or even the judiciary—these are some of the methods employed by the Modi dispensation to consolidate its rule during the four years. And all in the name of nationalism and patriotism and Indian heritage.

After plastic surgery in elephant headed-Ganesh, the saffronites now see a case of test tube baby in Sita. Uttar Pradesh deputy chief minister suggested that goddess Sita was born in a pitcher. At that point of time some project of test tube baby existed! King Janak used a plough, and a baby came out from the pitcher! It's a tragedy that India today is ruled by ignorant bigots.

Those who are aware of the history of the Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh (RSS) should understand that this Modi-type of nation building is rooted in the British imperial project of divide and rule. The pampering of the monolithic Brahmanism of the Orientalists helped in establishing the Manuvadi gospel of caste oppression. These were partly reworked and reshaped old ideological beliefs fostered by the British imperialists that the Sangh has clung to. The abject surrender to the British raj of their founding theoretician gives the exact colouration of the Sangh Parivar's relationship with imperialism. Now, loyalty to British imperialism has given way to loyalty to the USA (and Japan) and Modi is clinging to the coat tails of Donald Trump. On the other hand, there is greater alienation from the neighbours, e.g. China, Bangladesh, Sri Lanka and Nepal.

All these are sought to be mitigated by the vigorous propaganda of 'Hindu unity' and relentless attempts to intensify communal polarisation. But their edge has been blunted by new dalit awakening and statements of even BJP MPs like Savitribai Phule and Yasovant Sinha.

Talks of bringing back Swiss bank money, paying their prices (50 percent above production cost) to farmers as per Swaminathan Committee Report or creating 20 million job opportunities are heard no longer, because proven bluffs cannot be repeated, and the Vijay Malya-Nirav Modi episodes have blackened the face of the Modi-Shah combine beyond repair. Jingoism may serve the hotter curry for some fools. But the outcomes of the recent by-polls in several states have shown that this may not deliver the goods for Modi, even when billions of rupees are spent on election propaganda while foreign firms are hired to do their publicity work. The successive defeats in by-elections have caused serious tension in the saffron camp. But the Opposition is still disunited and politically bankrupt otherwise they could have utilised the issue of continued hike of petrol and diesel prices for three weeks and raging inflationary impact on all essential commodities to their advantage.

Vol. 50, No.49, June 10 - 16, 2018