Prime Minister Modi, his speeches and the art of deception

Bhabani Shankar Nayak

India needs investment in health infrastructure by establishing more medical colleges, research centres and hospitals. Indians need more doctors, nurses, pathologists, pharmacists, medical technicians, laboratories and hospital managers. These facilities are central to public health infrastructure in India. Instead of providing these facilities, Mr Narendra Modi, the PM of India asks Indians to clap and light candles. Clapping and candles will not help patients and doctors. It cannot stop the spreading of diseases and pandemics like COVID-19. India needs schools, colleges, universities, industries, employment and all other modern infrastructures.  In every crisis, there is no policy response but Modi addresses the nation as if his speeches can heal the broken republic of India. His speeches symbolize the art of deception; abandoning his constitutional responsibilities for the citizens of India during different crisis. In spite of all his failures, his popularity among Indians continue to surprise many.

There are three questions central to understand the rise of Modi, RSS and BJP. The first question is what explains the appeal of Narendra Modi to unforgiving Indian voters. The BJP won last two general elections under his leadership. The second question is how did the fringe elements of fascist Hindutva cultural movement led by RSS become mainstream in Indian politics and society. The third question is how did strong constitutional institutions became so fragile after the electoral victory of Modi led BJP.

The answers to the three questions can be found in the works of German philosopher Erich Fromm. His book Escape from Freedom (1941) outlines that fascism and its leadership grows when citizens surrender their freedom and “the readiness to accept any ideology and any leader, if only he promises excitement and offers a political structure and symbols which allegedly give meaning and order to an individual's life” (Fromm, 65:282). Manufacture crisis and fear are twin projects of Hindutva fascist forces in India. RSS and BJP provide a deceptive nationalist ideological narrative based on Hindutva symbols which is neither history nor Hindu religion. The strong leadership of Modi and RSS is based on false propaganda. Modi is a master of such a project that destroys very cosmopolitan fabric of Indian civilisation.

BJP and RSS pursued the politics of otherness by propagating the Hindutva politics of hate against Muslims and captured the political environment created with the failures of Indian Congress. It created a false sense of insecurity created by global war against Islamic terrorism. It helped BJP and RSS to pursue its politics of hate against Muslims. It also spread a false sense of threat to Indian national glory due to Indian Muslims allegiance to Pakistan; which is not true in reality. Indian Muslims are patriotic and nationalist like anyone else in India. Historically, RSS and BJP are the real and original anti nationals of India. However, human beings desire for order and security under a strong leader provided grounds for the propaganda that led to the victory of Modi led BJP.

The reality of Indian economy and society reveals failed politics of Modi led fascist Hindutva in India. The menace of demonetisation, Goods and Services Tax, unconstitutional abrogation of Article-370 of Indian Constitution, Citizenship Amendment Act, lynching of Muslims, imprisoning human rights activists and political opponents, gunning down leaders of rationalist movements are some of the ideological achievements of Modi led fascist BJP and RSS government in India. The rising tide of unprecedented social disharmony, unemployment and acute economic crisis is battering India today.  These are self-inflicted pain induced to Indian society and economy by the architects of Hindutva fascism to manufacture crisis, fear and otherness. This is a Hindutva shock doctrine to transform secular India into a Hindu Rashtra envisioned by Hindutva fanatics inspired by Adolf Hitler. This shock therapy is essential to sustain and manufacture further crisis that will allow RSS and BJP to enjoy absolute power in India. It will cost Indians their freedom and constitutional, secular and liberal democracy.

The opposition to Hindutva fascism under the leadership of Modi and his deceptive political practice is inevitable for the survival of the unity and integrity of India. The opposition parties need to develop their own agenda and stop responding to the diversionary and deceptive tactics of Modi led Hindutva fascism. It is important for the opposition parties to recover from their inner tiredness and political resignation. Political despair and depoliticization are twin weapons that create fertile environment for the establishment and growth of Hindutva fascism in India.

The mass movement against Modi need to create an alternative narrative to counter the misconceptions created by Modi’s propaganda machine. It is important to highlight the ideological threats of Hindutva fascism in our society by looking at lynching of Muslims, Dalits and human rights activists. The movement based on reason, science, sense and sensibilities defeated fascism in history. This is our historical responsibility now to defeat Hindutva fascists to write the history of new India free from all forms of bigotry.

Bhabani Shankar Nayak, Coventry University, India

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Apr 7, 2020

Bhabani Shankar Nayak

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