Modi’s disrespect for tradition

Radhakanta Barik

Mark Twain, who was smitten by the mythology of the city once said, "Banaras is older than history, older than tradition, older." This explains the crux of the culture of city. Here Buddha walked from Gaya to Banaras to speak out his lessons he has learnt from his meditations. Here some primitive religions of paganism exist and people come here to worship these pre religious traditions. Hinduism believes that it is an important city for them. As Kabir believed that the city provided him creating his metaphorical observations on life and society. One of  Kabir’s Dohas tells us that – “It is Hari who lives in our hearts who is not far away from us”. Here the most important Islamic institutions are standing near by the Hindu temples. Aurangzeb’s brother Darasikho came here to understand the mysticism of Hinduism here and he lived here next to the temple and learnt it. Beautification of the city by Modi destroyed these historical remnants of the civilization where Darasikho lived. Here people come to liberate their souls as they believe souls do not die only body dies. The river Ganges has eighty ghats which come into the novel of KN Singh “Ashi Ghat” where hot debates and discussions used to happen. Today the city has taken over by the saffron colour which is like the dirt of river Gangas here.  Many colours of the city and splendors of the city have faded by dominance of the Saffron colour but it is not true colour of the city.  The city has brought many schools of classical music which makes the city more vibrant. The City’s vibrancy gets reflected in Sahanai of Bishmilla Khan and Sitar of Ravishankar. Ravishankar desired to build a classical music school.  Will People of Banaras look beyond Modi who does not fit into its egalitarian and multi religious traditions of the city?

Modi's speech at the election rally has been prepared by the RSS headquarter. The script is not his. He is only the ‘his master’s voice’ of the RSS. At least the speeches in Gujarat and Maharashtra have got approval from the RSS. Modi is not speaking as a politician or as the leader of the NDA. He is not talking as the Prime Minister of the biggest democracy. His speech is according to the dictates of the RSS as Savarkar's blue eyed boy Modi is speaking. In Gujarat he speaks according to the needs of the VHP and Bajrangdal. In Maharashtra he speaks for the Sanatan Sanstha who are involved in various crimes against the rationalists and liberals and Ambedkarites.  Months before Govind Pansare shot dead he presided over the literary festival here. The killing of the rationalists inspired a novelist Pravin Bandekar to write an Orwellian novel Indian Animal Farm in Marathi.

Let us examine his speech at Gujarat that as the border state of Pakistan there he spoke "Ham ghush kara mare ghe" and in Maharashtra he selected in Nasik to speak in defence of Pragya Thakur whose charge sheet got prepared in the court here where the court refused to give her bail. That attacks on churches in Sri Lanka would not happen here as he is heading the state it was happening before 2014. In other words he justified the action of the group led by Pragya Thakur and others in Malegaon case. He spoke in Wardha where Gandhi spent his creative phase for preparing for some blueprint for solution to agrarian crisis and an alternative thinking regarding the Panchayati Raj. That missiles are not for Diwali but for attacks on Pakistan. He spoke that he would go for nuclear war against Pakistan if required. It is irresponsibility of the Prime Minister Modi speaking the language of nuclear war against its neighbor. Where are you going? This is the narrative in opposition to constitutional democracy and Gandhi, Ambedkar, Nehru as they dominated politics in Indian Republic and built pillars of democracy with their hard works.71 retired civil servants have written an open letter where they have said that the Prime Minister Modi cannot “escape the irony of his party seeking votes in the name of fighting terrorism and at the same time endorsing the candidature of a person accused of terror crimes.” Ms Thakur as a candidate could have been dismissed ,  “as yet another example of political expediency by no less a person than the Prime Minister who had termed her candidature as a symbol oof our civilizational heritage.” The letter said that for Ms Thakur, Karkare died not because he scarified his own life defending our but because she had put a curse on him for daring to investigate her. (The Hindu April 26,19)

Modi's real face is coming up in the second phase of general election that they stand by Savarkar and his Hindutva in undiluted manner by selecting the candidates from the Hindu terror group. Those involved in heinous crimes are allowed to contest the election that blurring the sanctity of political democracy. For them there is only one morality that violence a means to achieve the target of the Hindurashtra. They do not mind to be branded by others as terrorists for them they are nationalists. In the first phase they gave slogan of national security and vote in the name of soldiers. Gandhiji met Savarkar in 1909 over the release of the book Hindi Swaraj whose book talks of inter religious faith and family and kinship as the basis of society. Savarkar spoke in a sentence did not elaborate there that he believed in violence. Gandhi wanted to know the meaning of it as it did not mean anything and it needed to be placed in the context. But he avoided to debate with Gandhi. Gandhi went to Pune to discuss with him in the morning walk. He went to his village in Konkan belt where he avoided to converse. As Modi did not have any tradition of conversation and that is the reason he avoided five years for not holding any press conference. Vajpayee was a different as he was a poet and he had a wider friend circle. Modi's narrow vision reflects in his political language like - "Ghar me Ghus kar marenge'. The Election Commission has avoided taking action against Amit Shah and Modi. The Election Commission of India has advised all political parties not to use national security in election campaigning. But Modi has gone to his home state where he used Balakot and India is having missiles to be used against the Pakistan than Diwali. He does not follow the code of conduct or the guidelines. He is above the all such public institutions. He uses emotive language in Gujarat knowing well as Gujarati understands anti Pakistan language. "But we immediately went and did dhamaka and destroyed one of their aircrafts. They (Pakistan) trembled. One pilot was caught, they thought they got something by chance. So opposition told what about our pilot's life, they forgot about this major attack a day before. If our pilot is harmed then you know what Modi will do." (Indian Express April 22,19)The Balakot used in such a blatant manner to rouse emotions in Gujarat and the language of election speeches has got mixed with jingoism and vulgarity in the case of  Modi. That Pakistan is scared of Modi rather than India. It is interesting here to note that while the attack was going on Modi was in the picnic spot of Uttarakhanda and enjoying his picnic there. This contrasting picture requires to be placed here to expose his false bravado.

But Yogi speaks in an abusive language for which the Commission wants to take action as Yogi's campaign is harming the BJP prospectus, perhaps banning does not affect Modi and Shah. It is clear that in Mathura when he went with Hemamalini people disappeared from the stage. She went and invited her husband Dharmndra to show some political mettle. Let us tell these leaders that they have to do home work before speaking as they have narrow imagination or no imagination.

 Modi had a big road show while going for filing his nomination from Banaras. The print media gives a coverage of the show with a picture. A picture tells many things and communicates many ideas to the voters. But the electronic media gives a picture of his worshiping in the famous temple which is hanging behind while discussions are going on NDTV. Yes Srinivas Jain conducts the programme in a liberal manner and but this discussion may not communicate much where the picture of Modi worshiping will speak more than the one hour discussion. Liberalism demands that religion and politics need to be separated but here in a discussion you do that by providing a picture like this by showing religion as a grand spectacle which will daze Indian crowd. Is it an intelligent design of NDTV by siding with Modi without telling it. The electronic media has been sold to the Modi regime and either they are bribed or their owners who are industrialists under pressures but the message is clear they are harming Indian democracy without taking an independent stand. 2019 general election is going to be big battle for Indian people who are going to fight for democracy vs fascism. The media must tell us which side they are standing either with people or the Hindutva forces. There is a famous song of Jonhie  Walker which talks: Dar gaya which speak out of the electronic media.

Prof Ghanshyam Shah who is an expert on Gujarat politics and society has given an opinion that people are fed up of Modi but not confident of the Congress Party. This observation needs to be evaluated by us. As I keep in touch with developments of Gujarat and wrote some articles on Gujarat. Modi is not a politician like any ordinary politician who is interested in power politics only. He carries his narrow vision as a RSS pracharak which he implemented in Gujarat as the chief minister. Hindituva agenda believed in Chatru varna which he reinvents in Gujarat that the Dalits and Muslims were targeted by the Caste Hindus and his government supported. As the BJP believed in mobilisation of their support base with the help of communalism but restricted to prior to coming to power. Modi created a large scale riots after replacing Patel as the chief minister. As a RSS pracharak he selected Godhra as the place where the train caught fire. He used state machinery to prove a point which is close to RSS that the Muslims carry swords in their hand and in another hand Koran that they target the other religious groups. He developed a theory to prove this theory of the RSS in Godhra. He violated the basic principle of police administration and allowed the dead bodies from Godhra to be carried to Ahmadabad which roused emotions and his supporters like VHP and Bajarangdal went ahead with the riots in the cities and in some villages. This created a fascist party apparatus which is being challenged by the Congress Party. After coming to power at the centre he has extended the fascist party apparatus in many parts of India. The Congress Party and with other opposition democratic forces led by the Congress party today which is the political strategy of people of India in fighting fascism vs democracy. Prof Shah needs to understand the politics of the Congress Party in the context of present global and national politics. Prof Shah do not want to give this credit to the anti fascist struggles of various political groups led by the Congress Party.

Prof Radhakanta Barik, retired as Professor, Indian Institute of Public Administration, New Delhi

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Apr 28, 2019

Prof Radhakanta Barik [email protected]

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