ATTACK ON NARENDRA MODI BY ACADEMIC COMMENTATORS
DR. SESHACHALAM DUTTA
The HINDU daily is the lone vehicle of one sided opinions publishing articles attacking Modi, whereas many in English media in India, earlier hostile to him, have adjusted their stance and are less strident. Recent columns in the Hindu by Shiv Visvanathan (April 5, 2014) followed by Ananya Vajpeyi (April 10, 2014) in succession are holdovers illustrative of one sided uncritical spewing of venom couched in verbose writing. Shiv Viswanathan’s column is outright abusive and clearly disparaging of Modi, although Ananya’s is more civilized, but it is just as destitute of substance.The Hindu’s journalistic attitude of one sided and partisan reporting and its opinion columns are criticized by many readers and its ‘reader's editor’ Panneer Selvan has presented elaborate defense. The press in general in India cows down to the party in power and particularly to Congress which had been in power for most part of post-Independence era. Indira Gandhi sent her troops to break and destroy Indian Express during the emergency and the lesson is not lost on the publishers of the Hindu. The publishers meekly accept the Journalistic prostitution, to use the words of Jawaharlal Nehru himself, of towing the Congress party line. Thus “The Hindu” continues to operate under a misnomer basically remaining critical of Hindus rather than objectively focusing on the strength and interests of the majority Hindu society in India.
Visvanathan writes that each contestant to Prime minister’s position represents “WELTANSCHAUUNG,”
Modi being an “ERSATZ” of BJP. Modi an Ersatz? Weltanschauung? Procrustean? He is referring to global view (meaning western view) of Modi which depicts him as of inferior quality to become a BJP leader leave alone a Prime Ministerial candidate! Why not simply say so rather than use such bombastic words? By using ostentatious style he wants to impress that he has something profound to say. In east of Mississippi such linguistic style is called ‘bull…’. The summary of his article is just this: Modi is a mediocre, a despot, a straw man, a second rate mimic of Vivekananda, a bully, inauthentic, uncivilized, paranoid, inadequate and he suffers from an arid sibling rivalry.
To put it simply, Visvanathan doesn't like him: he hates him.
There is very little to analyze in his article. He does not provide justification for his hatred of Modi. He compares Modi to Vajpayee. The election is not about Modi vs. Vajpayee, it is Rahul Gandhi vs. Modi. Is Rahul comparable to his grandfather Jawaharlal Nehru? Leave alone Rahul compared to stalwarts like Chidambaram or Kapil Sibal. He could never hold a candle to Shashi Tharoor. Visvanathan has no arguments, in good conscience, to promote the ‘Dynasty” in the Indian democracy. So he chooses to run down Modi. Then he goes on to bemoan the fate of Advani, who had his chance in two election cycles and was ineffective as a leader. In a democracy, when leader fails to lead, he should gracefully step aside and yield place to someone else. In this BJP is more modern than many political parties in India and comparable to organizations in advanced democracies. BJP is not locked into selecting and electing sons, daughters and daughters-in law of its current leaders like it is done in most backward countries. Praising Vajpayee as a poet and charismatic leader and comparing Modi with him for his literary talents is a sheer intellectual dishonesty unworthy of an academic writer. The author has little to advance the arguments to support Sonia or Rahul, for he has none, except to accuse Modi for being too harsh on Sonia as a foreigner and Rahul as her “royal” successor. It is true that Indians do not have self-respect as a Nation of a billion to elect a white woman to indirectly rule India after 200 years of “servitude to White Man.” The campaign started two years ago by Minister Pranab Mukherjee (now the president) naming Rahul as a successor to Manmohan Singh. There is a sense of entitlement to the throne in the Nehru-Gandhi dynasty promoted by Congress. That is what Modi is drawing attention to. Vajpayee or Advani did not have the courage to confront Congress for this self-degrading primitive act. They could not even bring attention of the public to what Nehru himself had said: ‘When dynasties rule, fools come to power’. They were content with deference shown to them by Sonia Gandhi. There are occasions when Advani even obsequiously apologized to Sonia. I commend the courage of Modi to call a spade a spade. True democracy is based on the notion that every citizen has the same right to the highest office regardless of his station or birth. Congress wants to promote their oligarchical hegemony in the name of entitlement politics throwing crumbs to SCs, STs and BCs and further fragmenting Hindu society, in such a way that each fragment becomes much smaller of a minority in essence, even smaller than Muslims and Christians. All these groups are consequently lowered in status to Muslims and Congress seeks the Muslims and the Indian Christians as their constituencies, hence the Congress party has a need to resort to the false slogan of secularism. India has only tribal casteism and no true secularism.
There is one constant refrain against Modi, in fact, the only one, a shopworne one, that he was responsible for the death toll in the Hindu-Muslim riots of 2002 in Gujarat. Congress used this spurious opportunistic charge and tried their best to shackle him unsuccessfully. He was exonerated by every investing body and finally by the Supreme Court. But Visvanathan in his wishful fantasy argues that the law is “sanitized” to let him go. Is Indian law sanitized? Congress Government in Delhi spent ten years to defame him, destabilize his government and convict him and at the end it has failed.
Let us examine what this Riot is all about. The train in which some Hindus were returning from Ayodhya was stopped at the Godhra railways station. A Muslim Congress leader organized gangsters, poured gasoline and torched one compartment. Many were injured and 25 people were torched to death. This unprovoked organized massacre of the Hindu pilgrims outraged the Hindus all across Gujarat and they started a riot and killed several Muslims in retaliation, as it happens in any religious riots. In retaliation for this attack by outraged Hindus, Muslims killed several more Hindus which triggered a chain reaction by Hindus. All this happened in a matter of two days. At the end, several Hindus as well as Muslim families lost their lives and property, characteristic of communal riots in India.
This was not the first communal riot in Gujarat. Any sensible person should ask: “Who started the rioting first”? How dare a Congress leader from a minority community organize the massacre of Hindus who are members of majority community? The answer is simple. The Muslim forming the essential power behind the political constituency of Congress, the Congress has no courage to take them on. Also, there is a general belief and attitude that Hindus are cowards, as Akbaruddin Owaisi from Hyderabad has challenged that if police forces were removed for just one day, he would show to Hindus what kind of massacre the Muslims are capable of inflicting on the Hindus and he says he can show what Muslims can do. As Naipaul in his travel diaries of Pakistan writes, Muslims brag that one Muslim is equal to four Hindus when it comes to fighting. This attitude is further encouraged by Congress adopting them as electoral constituency.
Initially Modi was accused as Ananya Vajpeyi writes, Modi “planned, incited, encouraged, tolerated, enacted or helped mass violence against Muslims.” Who encouraged the violence against Hindus? The argument is about numbers that more Muslims died than Hindus does not hold water. Why not ask what events led to this unfortunate event which started with Muslim massacre of Hindus? After all the travail of undergoing numerous investigations by tribunals and court appearances and final exoneration of Modi, he is asked to apologise!!! Apologise for what and to whom? Who did apologize for millions of Hindus massacred and to millions of Hindus who lost their properties in 1947? The inept Congress leaders who promoted hatred are no longer there to apologize. The failure of all leaders in political spectrum, mainly of the grand old Congress party, were responsible for the holocaust of 1947.
The darkest aspect of this episode in Godhra in 2002 is that several Indians, including some legislators in India are so shameless that they ask President Obama of US to punish Modi, their own leader and chief minister of a state in India (equivalent to a Governor of a state in US) by refusing him the visa to enter the US - asking a foreign Government to punish their own leader!!! In the U.S there is a saying all political differences stop at the waterfront. Indians who still have no pride have yet to learn that. No commentator has brought himself to abhor this disgusting gesture of Indians residing in foreign lands.
Issues facing India are the establishment of true democratic system and curbing corruption. Visvanathan admits grudgingly that Modi is not corrupt—not fiscally corrupt, he says. Fiscal corruption is what Kejriwal and other well meaning people are talking about, stashing billions of rupees in tax havens, not corruption of souls.
No one knows how good Modi would be as a Prime Minister. But any academician should write on this topic only cautiously with evidence-based analysis. Otherwise he is disgracing his standing in the academic circles. The best examples of academic writing on this topic is illustrated by the article in the Indian Express by Pradeep Chibbar and Rahul Verma of Berkley university (March 19,2014) who analyze the decline of Congress. Shiv Visvanathan and Ananya Vajpeyi may have something to learn from it.
Dr. Seshachalam Dutta (email@example.com)