Hindu dharma is implicitly at odds with monotheistic intolerance. What is happening in India is a new historical awakening... Indian intellectuals, who want to be secure in their liberal beliefs, may not understand what is going on. But every other Indian knows precisely what is happening: deep down he knows that a larger response is emerging even if at times this response appears in his eyes to be threatening.

Saturday, December 29, 2007

In Modi's victory nation has won - Big rebuff for UPA appeasement politics

By R. Balashankar

The BJP victory in Gujarat and Himachal Pradesh has sharply polarized the political buzz in the capital. It has charged the BJP cadre as nothing else before. For the people who believed the new century to be India’s, the Gujarat victory has come as a whiff of hope and assurance.

The BJP sweep in Himachal is equally important and it establishes a national revulsion for UPA, but the global attention the Gujarat election attracted makes it extraordinarily a trendsetter.

The huge, unprecedented reactions of the netizens to Narendra Modi’s exquisite and comprehensive win is a manifestation of the hope it has evoked. Modi received maximum support from women and youth. He was able to marry his development record with the sense of security he provided taking his battle to the hideouts of terror modules and providing safety to life and property. He raised both the living standard and life of the people of the state. Sonia Gandhi’s acerbic, shrill harangue, Prime Minister’s weepy, dodgy, unsure skullduggery or Rahul Gandhi’s road shows were no match for Modi’s hands on record of credible, clean and decisive leadership.

The mood was most appropriately summed up in the question put out by the CNN-IBN in its Face the Nation programme: Is Modi the new face of India? The response was overwhelming, a whopping 92 per cent said “yes”. Such polls may not be accurate indicators of the public mood at the national level. But a series of other polls across the country before and after the Gujarat verdict pointed to one significant aspect: Narendra Modi, his style, his diction and delivery have struck a new resonance across the country. He has emerged a cult figure, a new national icon.

What is it that makes Modi click? No other politician faced the kind of excruciating, cruel and biased persecution by the media.

The establishment in the country, even across the globe riled him. He was not backed by royal pedigree or ancestral fame. A simple RSS pracharak who refused to be cowed down by the urbane, westernized elite now has the media glorifying him to no end. He defied all the established logic of conventional Indian polity. He redefined his political parametres within the confines of Hindutva ideology in a modern, earthly idiom; palatable and conceivable to the common man.

The Man who prides himself the eternal Common Man introduced a new adrenal element into the hackneyed election debate in the country. Not even once he spoke of Ramjanmabhoomi, Article 370 or common civil code. But his entire campaign was anchored on the core concerns of the majority of Indians; on national security, territorial integrity and terrorism— above all the vision of a rising India free of exploitation, scarcity, backwardness and corruption. In that it was a national election fought on a regional format.

Modi’s emergence has national significance in more sense than one. It is both historic and evolutional. The critics defined Gujarat as the laboratory of Hindutva after the 2002 BJP landslide. They also consoled themselves by insisting that but for the bloody backlash of the Godhra carnage the results would have been different and that the BJP will not be able to sustain the frenzy.

There was no emotional appeal in 2007. It was a normal poll conducted in an unusually peaceful atmosphere recording high voter turn out. Modi proved all pundits wrong. The BJP rebels sadly played into Congress hands. The ‘hate Modi’ campaign was reminiscent of a medieval crusade. The secular charade aided and abetted by quasi-judicial, media, activist storm troopers had all the makings of witch-hunt, unheard in Indian history. Yet Modi won resoundingly, and the BJP vote percentage only increased.

In victory Modi is a picture of humility, grace, and magnanimity. Modi again proved his detractors wrong. He assumed the role of a unifier. Unlike Sonia Gandhi and other Congress leaders he did not appeal to base human instincts. His message was measured and nuanced, sticking to nationalism, security and development.

Congress played all the nasty tricks. Filmy dialogues, delivered in monotonous tone do not make for a coherent campaign theme. Congress campaign managers’ fetish for the word “lie” is so unambiguous that it remained the most jarring note in their speeches. The party that charged the entire BJP with being communal embraced every single defector from that party enthusiastically though the rebels continued to swear that their fight was not with the BJP but was personal. Obviously, the Congress allegation of communalism against BJP could not stick. With not so discreet aid from the Election Commission, legal luminaries, celebrated opinion moulders, money bags and media mughals Congress launched a frenzied, vituperative campaign. Catastrophe, catharsis, dooms day syndrome, they said and for once they suffered poverty for abuse and epithet. Murderer, criminal, ugly Indian, despot, dictatorial, heartless, unemotional, rabble-rouser, communal, haughty, arrogant, not even apologetic (for what?), maut ka saudagar, liar, baiman, makkar. The last five years of Modi-bashing has seen the so-called secularists in their venomous worst. As if there had been no other communal riot in the country. As if Gujarat and Gujaratis were the most heartless people on earth. Maliana, Bhagalpur, Muradabad, Nelli have all witnessed worse riots. In Gujarat the riots were neither premeditated nor one-sided. It was a spontaneous expression of outrage at the torching of 56 Ramsevaks in a train compartment. To call it a pogrom is the biggest lie of modern history. It was very different from the genocidal Delhi carnage of 1984. The BJP has been in power at the centre and states and the 2002 post-Godhra is the lone communal riot under a BJP rule, unlike the Congress and Communists under whom riots have become passé. That is why the orchestrated vilification of the party looks motivated beyond politics.

Modi always spoke of the 5.5 crore Gujaratis. The Congress on the other hand worked the society into caste and communities. Not only the Hindu-Muslim card, but they played the Koli, Patel, tribal, urban and rural divide. In the end Modi demolished all these assumed barriers and proving the poll analysts wrong won more seats in rural and vanvasi areas. This came from all regions.

But this one-sided propaganda, hate campaign gave Modi a psychological advantage. It generated so much goodwill across the world, among Indians for him and all their prayers and sympathy worked for him. As if from nowhere Modi emerged as the symbol of Indian angst against the conspirators bent on defaming and defeating India. This is the national relevance of the Gujarat outcome.

Modi has personified the young Indian assertiveness, the synthesis of leadership and ideology engineered into a political development technique.

Narendra Modi is the most celebrated chief minister of India today. A man of enormous accomplishments: organiser, writer, underground activist during emergency, administrator and politician, his qualities include his acute powers of observation, his enormous sense of humour and his ability to communicate in beautiful, flawless prose. These gifts make his political discourse a wonderful damnation of contemporary appeasement avocations of the UPA. His eccentric splendour a massive hit with the masses. He is one of the proudest, cleverest and most statesman-like of all politicians. And his pseudo-secular detractors look like finely drawn caricatures of unchanging, melancholic, stubbornly ruthless demagogues who lost their script and direction.


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