Modi as a leader: some critical comments

Radhakanta Barik

What is political leadership? It is more than management and different from it. It has similarity with a boatman who manages his boat in normal time and shows leadership while showing the direction at the time of flood or cyclone. In normal time the rowing the boat is given to anybody who wants to do it but in abnormal time he stands with the wood which movement directs the boat in stormy water. Here the boat does not move in the straight line from one bank to another. It moves in a tangential manner and for reaching the next bank which requires pulling of the boat by ropes to its berth. This has similarity with the movement of a football in the field which moves in a crisscross manner to score the goal with a soft touch. On the football field the ball moves in a tangential manner to reach at the penalty box and then scoring the goal happens. Politics requires a leader whose passes move in a tangential manner to reach the goal post. Both football player and boatman and political leader move in the similar manner. They do not move in the straight line.

Modi as a political leader moves in the straight line which he learnt from one day cricket match according to his own quotation where the ball moves in the straight line. This observation has been given by Modi when he reached in Ahmadabad for taking over the chieftainship in 2002. This is a pracharak mentality and he invested in communal riots of 2002 and got the result. It is a straight-line thinking. His decision in the context of demonetization to benefit straight from the UP election by making opponents without any flow of money. His 2019 election speech targeting the Pakistan. All these decisions helped him to get power but without having a leadership quality to manage the crisis in economy and society. Here he as a leader failing in providing basic thrust to political democracy by holding discussions and dialogues with many and reaching the conclusions and then taking a decision which has a wider implication.

Leadership is being discussed in the media. Political leadership is only thing no colleges or management institutes can teach the youths to be political leaders. The only place where political leaders are being produced is the universities. This government is not happy with the proposition for which they want that elections to students unions are being banned. Some of their leaders are telling JNU and Jamia that these students need to study rather than doing politics. This message is important in the context of present day politics. Political leadership is being learnt by students by getting involved in constructive works. But for the Hindutva they do not need such leaders they want their leaders to get involved in communal politics by creating riots. In an interview with some young leaders in Gujarat one realized this point that more riots you create one can reach the post of chief minister.

After Modi arrived in Delhi his performance has not got evaluated by the public, media or by academia. For 2019 general election has been fought on jingoistic issue like anti Pakistan. This reflects in his sudden decline in popularity as he is unable to show performance. Economy is gone to deep morass. The health front the Corona has exposed the government's un- preparedness to confront the powerful disease Besides the poor health infrastructure in most of the states the lack of preparedness exposes them. Testing kits got imported in the beginning of Lockdown-2 which has been found that defective and expensive kits according to Delhi High Court. Corruption is there in buying ventilators and PPE according to the Gujarat High court which exposes the truth that whenever people are in difficulty, public to be cheated. This has come to the public domain. Modi avoided going to face the public as shown in the State assembly elections of Jharkhanda and Delhi. it looks like that Modi may not go at all to address the public in the coming elections of Bihar and Bengal as the migrant labour issue has been so badly handled that exposed the Modi Shah leadership.

Pratap Bhanu Mehta a leading commentator on national issues in the Indian express in his article (I E) raises a very serious question: Where is the Leader? Then in his analysis he finds that the present leadership's inability to understand the depth of crisis Indian Republic is facing but there is a leadership vacuum on the top. Today's media and propaganda machine are busy in building 'the myth of the leader'. At the same time he feels that there is a vacuum of leadership on the opposition front which I do not disagree. I personally feel that there is a collective leadership which can face the challenges Indian Republic. On the opposition front the way Rahul Gandhi has shaped himself in confronting the reality needs to be underlined. Furthermore, he has an open mind to discuss the economic and political issues with the leading intellectuals of the world. Then he is able to build a trust with the leaders of the opposition parties. He has built a bridge among the left and liberal leaders on the opposition front. He is able to raise questions to Modi, the so called unchallenged leader. This brings the critical point that Indian Republic is facing the darkest chapter because of the consent of powerful Indian capital who wants an authoritarian rule. The ideology of Hindutva is threatening secular progressive constitution of India.

According to the former chief Statistician Dr Pranab Sen Indian growth will be - 12 percentages for the year 1920 and 11 percentages unemployment with 50 million unemployed people. This is an alarming scene but politics will be dominated by Hindutva forces and Modi Shah are investing in politics rather than economics. Coming four years India will experience worst politics in terms of violent class conflict. Moreover whoever wins in the states the BJP will rule as they have enough money for investment in politics of India. It has started with MP and now it going to be Rajasthan, they may lose Bihar and Bengal coming election but they will rule those states by buying MLAs and MPs. From anywhere you look it will be saffron in colour. East will be saffron, South will be saffron, West has already saffron and they are ready to break the government of Maharashtra soon. North will be in their hands. Indian map will be a map of saffron and then national flag will be saffron in colour.

Gujarat as a model state which encouraged the BJP to collect votes in the name of Modi in 2014 general election. The model state gets exposed by the Ministry of Water Resources of Modi government. It has written a letter to Gujarat government that the proposed policy of covering the water tap connection to the tribal and scheduled castes is very low in comparison to other states. It is proposed to cover only 5.84% of the 10.62 lakh SC/ST households. The state does not give priority to the welfare of SC and ST in the state as per direction of the central government led by Modi. This brings out truth that the model state of the BJP does not work for the common people in provision of water connections which is critical for the quality of life. I did some studies on evaluating the welfare measures of Tribals and found that they destroy the community life of tribals by forcibly displacing them from their original surroundings. The BJP run NGOs are provided fund to help the tribals which do not reach them. These are the corrupt organisations. This was happening when Modi was the chief minister.

After listening to the NDTV (9-6-20) on conspiracy dimension of Delhi riots one realized that Modi- Shah have applied the well designed strategy to confuse the Indian public regarding Delhi riots. They experimented the strategy in a crude manner in Gujarat and got exposed by the media. The Godra incident in the train was an accident which they blamed the Muslims as a conspiracy against the Hindu Ram bhaktas. Dead bodies were brought to Ahmadabad to flare emotions against the Muslim community. The police force worked in close with the RSS members to create riots of which many of them got punished after a long legal trial. But they have invented the old strategy to apply in the case of Delhi. The anti CAA movement was so popular and created new leaders specifically women activists. While anti CAA movement was going on the BJP leaders were busy in inviting Trump Modi meeting in Ahmadabad. With the end of the meeting the BJP leaders like Kapil Mishra and other cabinet ministers were vocal in threatening the Muslims and after three hours the riots started by the Hindutva forces that came from outside and local party workers helped them. Then Lock Down got declared where curfew got declared in Delhi and Shaheenabagh protest got dismantled. In the meantime, the police started preparing the charge sheets against the activists and arrested some of them. The court is playing hide and seek game with the arrests of these activists and some of them are women activist. But the media exposed the conspiracy angle which cannot stand unto the scrutiny to the court and public actions.

Javed Aktar getting Richard Dawkins award for his thinking as defined as rationalism, secularism is a big jump in the world of scientific thinking in time of COVID19. As the Hindutva forces decides to play their communal card in handling the disease into Hindu and Muslims has failed. In America Trump blamed it Chinese virus all these false propaganda have failed. It is a disease needs to be treated scientifically and there is no religious or national dimension. We have to be careful to look at everything in a rational manner which can create hope and strength to confront such a powerful disease.

American public protests on 'Black lives matter' has gone into deep research works and found that the most of the leading industries such as Microsoft is having only 5% of share of black people in the total human resources invested in the company. There is a demand for rise in employment and some form of reservation for blacks and Latino going on by the protesters. In India some years back the UPA-1 took the demand for reservation of SC/ ST in the private sector but it has not been taken seriously. On the contrary Modi government has encouraged the Judiciary to intervene negatively in the context of reservation in state sector. Supreme Court says some time back that reservation is not going to work in the promotion. Last week another comment comes from the Supreme Court that the reservation is not a right. This brings the Modi government to play from the backdoor politics as some judges openly working in abolition of the reservation.

In England the protest movement in favour of Black lives matter has turned into a progressive movement in favour of the statue breaking. In Oxford and Cambridge there are statues which symbolize the racialism. Rhodes statue has been broken by the protesters who control a part of Africa and renamed it as Rhodesia. He institutionalized scholarship in his name and many Indians availed it. The worst is Churchill who stood for racialism and colonialism is the target of the protesters. He was caricatured in the play by Utpal Dutt where he acted as Churchill. This helps radical consciousness to grow in India. This is a big movement against structural racialism.

In collective memory of people Vietnam revolution stands fresh when Vietnam liberated from American imperialism. This led to a massive protest politics among American students. The whole world celebrated the year 1973 and in Delhi there was a massive protest in the late evening led by students from JNU and other universities. The year after there was a mourning of Allende's overthrow in Chile by military coup supported by the American imperialism. Today's anti racialism protest in America stands the third glorious moment in the history where millions of people involved against the institutional racialism where discussions and debates happening in a big way regarding the representation of the black and Latino in the private and government administration. The movement continues more than a week now. The US President Trump has decided to send the army to control the situation but getting opposition from various institutions of the state such as judiciary, Senate and governors and mayors. The TV channels are holding discussions while protest going on and the journalists are giving sharp opinions against the racialism. This movement is against the American imperialism and racialism. Will it bring more democracy in America? It seems that this movement will strengthen the movement for democracy where participation of common people both blacks and whites want to end structural racialism.

It is not simply Lockdown declared by Modi for managing Covid19. It is a multi-pronged strategy for controlling human freedom and restricting the movement of working people. It is a declared police state during the period. They arrested students leaders from JNU Jamia and DU. They have succeeded to control the independent voices of NDTV (English) Nidhi Razdan an independent voice who was in charge of the Left Right Centre as a moderator who successfully handled two bulls in China cup on the Hindutva: one is Patra and another Sinha both were working as spokesmen for the BJP and RSS. This has angered the Shah Modi who sent ED against the owner of the channel Pronay Roy and this made them unhappy but could not do immediately. They waited for the opportune moment to force her to resign. The first step she was removed from the left, Right centre discussion and sent her to read news at 9PM which nobody listens to it. Then the signal was given to her by which she has been forced to send in resignation. She was visible here in the various protests in Jantar Mantar for protecting democratic rights. She took a strong stand on her home state J and K when abrogation of Art 370 was done. She boldly reported the happenings in the state. She is going to USA where she will be invisible figure of vast number of Indians either they are silent or scared to attend the Civil Rights protests in more than hundred cities of America. She is not a scholarly person who can easily contribute to theoretical discourse on journalism. Wish her best luck.

EMS Namboodiripad's writings I used in writing of my research works. He has a deep insight into social processes of Indian society. He has never lost touch to that reality. That social reality in India can be understood in a framework of class- cast manner. Those premises worked his whole scholarly works. In his autobiography he says that as a member of Brahmin caste association he protested against the conservative group leading the association on the issue of untouchability and widow remarriage. Widow remarriage becomes a critical issue over which the caste association broke into two groups. While I was writing the work on Land caste in Bihar politics I found the similarity with the caste such as Bhumiar where the important kisan leader Swami Sahajananda used to work but somehow he did not take up the social issues among them but brought them to left politics as independent peasantry group. After Sahajananda's death the caste Bhumiar could slowly turned into a conservative one in Bihar politics. This is the difference with the leadership style of EMS and Swami Sahajananda. This is their in my book on Bihar politics. While working over a paper on Kerala I used his journey to Delhi as a young student where he described the platform scene in the railway station where 'Muslim Pani and Hindu Pani' was available. This was not existing in the South and he finds that social movement in South was progressive in the early 20th century.
His scholarship is so vast we the researchers can use for social analysis.

In the Lockdown phase policemen were absent from the city and either they were busy in handling the migrant labour or preparing the false cases against those activists who were involved in riots of Delhi. Their absence has not been felt by Delhi crowd as the crime rate is the lowest in Delhi. The same situation prevailed some years back when doctors went on strike but the death rates in hospitals turned to be lower than average. Nargais Dalal a leading editor of Times of India wrote an article that absence of doctors has not increased the death rate in Delhi. In remembering her I want to tell this story of such a brave journalist.

I wrote two books on Bihar. The major work is Land and Caste in Bihar politics. In this book I gave some space for Lalu Yadav a charismatic leader with imagination for capturing the problems of Bihar. In his first term I got a chance to discuss the developmental activities of his government and found that he had appointed the civil servants who are from backwards or Dalits as district Collectors and gave them freedom to act. For the first time his government succeeded to provided houses for the poor dalits. His government could energize the bureaucracy which was very lazy. As I was doing research work I got a chance to meet some civil servants of Bihar at Secretariat. They used to come around 11 AM and pushed to their homes at 1PM. This behaviour of civil servants got changed and they came at 11 but stayed till 5PM. He gave emphasis on health administration and for the first time I found the doctors were in their seats in Patna Medical College. This was a turning point in administrative history of Bihar. On the front of schools, he helped to create schools for cowherds which is a novel idea. But his administration got stiff opposition from the bureaucracy controlled by the upper castes who create problems on the path of development. Lalu Yadav has been branded as corrupt when the whole system is cracking and democracy dismantled. He remains a political hero for masses of Bihar. On his birthday I want to salute him as an academic critic of him.

War replaces politics. Politics is a creative activity where diplomacy and principles work in foreign policy. Indian foreign policy was based on non-alignment which has got replaced with an axis of three Modi, Trump and Netanyahu who all believe in war and violence. America, India and Israel have created axis which brought the natural death to non-alignment. Three right wing leaders have worked for creating war in global society. This has brought Modi to war front. His abuses against Pakistan explains his hatred. His 9 times visit to China create fear in his heart. He is basically a timid politician. According to local people in Leh and Ladakh the Chinese and Indian army is making moves over a month. The government is feigning that they are not aware of Chinese a move which is an absolutely wrong. They wanted to use this border clash for diverting his failure on home front specifically handling of Covid 19 and the issue of migrant labour. But they are not aware that one puts fingers into fire there is every chance that fire will burn the fingers. He himself thinks that he is a magician in Indian politics who can play with fire and enjoy the life. This did not happen which led to killing of twenty soldiers and many more injured. This has not benefited his politics of hatred against China although the RSS has destroyed one Television set by throwing from the balcony by declaring the boycott of chinese goods which is being shown in a favorite channel. This is like Premchand's famous story where a trader wants to show boycott of foreign clothes by burning one old piece. As a trader’s party the BJP wants to show his hypocrisy in Indian public life.

War is going to be disastrous for Indian people which needs to condemned by all. Here a poem written by me against war is given below:

(All war is bad)

War is a phobia for him
War is a mass hysteria
war allows some to plunder wealth
in buying arms and ammunition
We spent more money for these
We have no money for health and education
Our people are dying on Corona
No ventilators no testing kits
our army is armed with modern arms
they create noise on Himalayan front
It is where Lord Shiva travels
Here one make OM Shiva
Each hill here looks like Shiva
Nobody builds a temple of Shiva
He stands and sits with meditation
His peace is getting disturbed with the noise
in the media
All channels used to speak on Corona
Today they are speaking against China
The King is enjoying his meal of 67 items
the soldier and people have no food
The Lockdown has alienated workers
The Lockdown has alienated artists
The lockdown has alienated industrialists
Middle class are pushed to their drawing rooms
They are looking at Ramayana
They see Ram with arrows without a smile
From an ideal person to evil spirit
this class used their dead brains
For creating the King the most powerful
Today king says that they will teach China
They do not do their everyday work
They do not see people's anger
They do not see the hungry masses
they demand for food
demand for monthly income
they demand national treasury should work for them
This is the time to create a war phobia
Himalayan hills look reddish
blood is going to be splashed
Guns are creating noise
it is a mischief by the king
People are unhappy of his leadership
He is not ready to solve the problem
the unemployed youths demand jobs
The old need security
the factories are closed
the guns are creating noise
Sharks are ready to make money
the media has turned crazy
noise noise everywhere
No peace
No silence
No thinking
No imagination
No diplomacy
But King has a Chanaky
he makes laws for arresting the youths on false charge
He has no time for diplomacy
we are in a war mood
The king wants war
we live in an age of hatred
we live in age of intolerance
we live in age of ignorance
we live in age of stupidity
In this age every flicker looks as if light
This is the age of bitterness not brotherhood
This is not age of friendship
This is the age of arrogance and false pride
This is the age of racialism
This is age of communalism
We have already declared war against our people
Kashmir is burning
We want war across the border
we want to be nationalist
I am not a nationalist
I am not a patriotic
I am a humanist
I stand by all human beings
Wherever they live in
They are my people
Their sufferings are my sufferings
I oppose the war
all war is bad

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Jun 23, 2020

Prof. Radhakanta Barik

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