Modi's Theatre of the Absurd

The Citizenship Amendment Act (CAA), the National Register of Citizens (NRC), and the National Population Register(NPR) strike at the very roots of secularism in India. The subversion of Indian Constitution by the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) is not accidental. They have been waiting in the wings for long only to hit back at the so called secularists at an opportune moment. And that moment has come now as they have succeeded in getting brute majority in both houses of parliament. BJP is only implementing one of the key agendas of the Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh (RSS), its parent organisation and ideologue—RSS does not believe in secularism and secular nationalism and instead believes in religious nationalism.

These days Modi frequently makes oblique remarks against Muslims, this probably the first time the head of an Indian Government, otherwise the biggest functional democracy in the world, is directly pointing fingers at a particular minority community so blatantly and nakedly. For the present the protests over the citizenship controversy are continuing, growing and spreading across the country. Faced with massive unrest and sporadic violence, the Modi-Shah combine looks a bit worried, albeit they are determined to implement their scheme of things.

If anything it is a business as usual practice of Indian ruling elites to bash Pakistan whenever they encounter political turmoil on the domestic front. They have been doing it since the days of Nehru and Modi despite his saffron ideological orientation, cannot be an exception. Harried at home and abroad over the citizenship issue the Modis are now on the offensive against the Opposition, particularly on Pakistan's deliberate policy of systematic and planned persecution of religious minorities, dalit hindus to be precise, in that theocratic hell. What is more the international community too is not in favour of India imposing undemocratic Citizenship Act. On December 13, 2019 soon after the President of India gave his assent to the notorious CAA, the United Nations High Commissioners for Human Rights released powerful press statement criticizing India's new citizenship law as it violates India's obligations to UN charter, conventions and treaties. BJP's elaborate counter campaign, notwithstanding it is unlikely for them to get walk over the citizenship question as the fate of millions of Indians hangs in the balance. But to compare India with Pakistan is a silly affair as it no longer cuts ice because people are increasingly getting accustomed to it.

The wounds of 1947 are so deep rooted that ordinary Indians can easily be mobilised against Muslims who are being identified with the devil called Pakistan, Pakistan's relentless diabolical game to destabilishe India, economically and militarily. In truth Congress party is no less responsible for this super-charged communal situation. Even on CAA they talk less while remaining vague for most of the time and taking advantage of spontaneous outbursts through the country. The things are getting out of control the man-army of Modi and Shah are trying their best to resurrect the enemy in Pakistan. Whether Pakistan can save the Modis from crumbling is a different matter. BJP is trying hard to reverse the anti-government tide without much success. Bad things can be turned into good. Also, the reverse is true—good things can be turned into bad. Congress party's approach to the citizenship issue deserves serious scrutiny. They are saints, after all it was originally their brain child. Not that they are totally opposed to the idea of citizenship law. What all they want is to amend some clauses here and there.

As for Pakistan the less said the better. They won't change their course of action against even in 1000 years as the late Zulfikar Ali once said in connection with nuclear bomb. At a time when the modis are caught on the wrong foot the Islamic bigots and religious fanatics managed to kill a Sikh youth in Peshwar and vandalised the Nankana sahib Gurdwara though Prime Minister Imran Khan condemned the attack but mere condemnation won't mend it. It is simply not enough.

In truth finding no other option to stop the anti-CAA rage from NE to Maharashtra to Karnataka and Kerala the Modi government is playing the safest card of Pakistan. For many decades all shades of communal outfits in India habitually refer to Pakistan and Bangladesh in order to highlight hindu persecution and marginalisation in those countries. They never explain how with a huge security arrangement all along India-Bangladesh border alleged large scale infiltration could take place round the year. It's a puzzle!

Pakistan or for that matter Pakistan's nefarious activities allow the Modis to divert public attention from alarming economic downturn. No amount of statistical jugglery can hide the bitter reality—the dream of economic super power is fading very fast. With ever growing economic power in the hands of a few Fortune-listed billionaires such an economic catastrophe is bound to happen sooner or later.

For one thing represents everything reactionary in Indian politics: comprador capitalism, social injustice, anti-secular communalism, casteism, patriarchy and oppression of the marginalised wage earners. They distort history to glorify an imagined past. The crises plaguing the economy will not subside any time soon unless the very economic base of BJP is attacked in its totality.

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Vol. 52, No. 29, Jan 19 - 25, 2020