Wednesday, July 24, 2013

Good Modi, Bad Modi

By Naseer A Ganai

India seems divided these days. It is divided between those who bash Modi and those who praise him. Those who support Narindera Modi say that India has moved on despite 2002 pogrom. They say Muslims are happy in Gujarat. They are breathing, they are eating. They are walking. They have been seen living. They have moved on, so should others, they argue.

Let us talk about development model of Modi. Puppies get under Land Cruisers, trucks, even scooters. That is part of life. There is no big deal in it.

However, anti-Modi camp is outraged that Modi can become Prime Minister. They have forgotten everything about Congress. Ask them about 1984, they say, “some riots took place in the country following the murder of Indiraji. We know the people were very angry and for a few days it seemed that India had been shaken. But, when a mighty tree falls, it is only natural that the earth around it does shake a little.”

They argue, they have moved on since 1984. They have moved on despite Nanavati commission report, which says, attacks on Sikhs in 1984 were “made in a systematic manner and without much fear of the police; almost suggesting that they were assured that they would not be harmed while committing those acts and even thereafter.”

The report adds, “male members of the Sikh community were taken out of their houses. They were beaten first and then burnt alive in a systematic manner. In some cases tyres were put around their necks and then they were set on fire by pouring kerosene or petrol over them. In some cases white inflammable powder was thrown on them which immediately caught fire thereafter.”  And Congressmen were leading this bloodshed.

They have also moved on from 1989 Bhagalpur.

Bhagalpur riots took place when the Congress was in power in Bihar and Jagannath Mishra was the chief minister and Rajiv Gandhi was the prime minister. It is said during his visit to areas affected by riots, Rajiv Gandhi, the prime minister, ordered transfer of the then superintendent of police, K S Dwivedi, for his controversial role in anti-Muslim riots. The transfer order triggered protests from the VHP and Gandhi had to rescind the order. That year in Bhagalpur around 1,000 Muslims were killed. According to a researcher, Muslim men, women and children were hacked with machetes, entire families were killed and dumped in ponds, or people were locked inside their homes and burnt alive.

Life moved on. Congress, which didn't show courage to transfer a S.P. in Bhagalpur, now reminds us about 2002 Gujarat.

If Congress can rule India despite 1984 and 1989, despite hundreds of anti-Muslim riots across the length and breadth of India since 1947, why can't Modi. The idea of India is to move on despite pogroms, crimes against minorities and denial of right to self-determination to Kashmiris. Idea of India is AFSPA, which is in vogue in Nagaland since British handed over India to Congress in 1947.

People move on. Intellectuals in India move on. That is why this hate-Modi campaign sounds outrageous. It is ironical that intellectuals, NGOs and all outraged people, who are unnecessary outraged over Modi’s elevation in BJP, are sad over dumping of L.K Advani by the BJP.

On December 6, 1992, it was Advani’s Rath Yatra that culminated into demolition of Babri Masjid. But now Advani is a secular leader to them. They have never expressed any outrage against a "decision of indecision" of the then Congress Prime Minister PV Narasimha Rao who was praying in temple all the while when the mosque was being razed to the ground by the ‘moderate, elated and enlighten Hindus.’

Rao is known for his famous quote; "It is not that I don't think about it (a decision). I think about it and make a decision not to make a decision."

His indecision was his decision on December 6, 1992, when a 500-year-old Babri Masjid was pulled down at Ayodhya. But they remember Rao for economic liberation, not for demolition of Babri mosque. So if others want to remember Modi for development, not for 2002, what is wrong in it? If Nitish Kumar can be secular despite elevating K S Dwivedi in 2011, why cannot Modi be counted as secular? After all it is question of puppies. If Advani is acceptable to them despite December 6, 1992, why is Modi unacceptable? Selective memories are not the domain of a single party.

They will not be outraged if BJP tomorrow chooses L.K Advani as its Prime Ministerial candidate. He is liberal to them now. After all he went to the mausoleum of Jinnah and wrote some words of praise for him.

Amartya Sen is the latest intellectual to join Modi bashers.
Leading intellectual historian, Perry Anderson, beautifully sums up Indian intellectual while explaining Sen’s dilemma. He says: “In late 2010, readers of the Indian press could find a headline ‘Nobel Laureate takes India to task for tolerating tyranny.’ Where would that be? Below, Amartya Sen uttered a plangent cry. ‘As a loyal Indian citizen,’ he exclaimed, ‘it breaks my heart to see the prime minister of my democratic country – and one of the most humane and sympathetic political leaders in the world – engaged in welcoming the butchers of Myanmar and photographed in a state of cordial proximity.’

Then Anderson explains it this way: “Moral indignation is too precious an export to be wasted at home. That the democracy of his country and the humanity of his leader preside over an indurated tyranny, replete with torture and murder, within what they claim as their national borders, need not ruffle a loyal Indian citizen. If we turn to Sen’s book 
The Argumentative Indian, we find, in a footnote: ‘The Kashmir issue certainly demands political attention on its own (I am not taking up that thorny question here).’ Nor, we might infer from that delicate parenthesis, anywhere else either. Nobel prizes are rarely badges of political courage – some of infamy – so there is little reason for surprise at a silence that, in one form or another, is so common among Indian intellectuals."

Modi phenomenon is not something unusual. Modis have been always there. They have been favourites of Congress, but only when they were in Congress. But this Modi is not part of the Congress. He is not under the fa├žade of secularism of Congress. He is blunt. He says what he means. He is a Hindu nationalist like Congress men and women. He says proudly that he is a Hindu nationalist and Congress men and women don’t say it. They prove it by their indecisions. Rao is an example.

Modi is a threat to the Congress. That is why this Modi is not good for them. That is why he should be denied visa to USA. That is why he should be reminded of 2002 again and again, that too by those who have no regrets about 1984, 1989 and Kashmir. This is really outrageous.

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