Friday, April 4, 2014

The Metaphysics of the Political Imagination: Narendra Modi, the Indian Intellectual and the 2014 Elections

A look at the world of politics, statecraft, diplomacy and books

A noted Indian "sociologist" in a center page article in the Hindu (April 5, 2014) has made some bold and superficially interesting speculations abort the brand of politics Narendra Modi represents.  I wonder why such eminent sociologists do not subject the Congress Party and its mascot, Sonia Gandhi to the same kind of rigorous scrutiny as many of his conclusions can with equal justification be extended to the Congress. In politics style matters as much as substance and when Indian intellectuals train their guns on one individual and suddenly find his ideological soul mates like Atal Bihari Vajpayee and l K Advani more authentic than Narendra Modi from a "civilization" point of view, then we know that something is seriously wrong about the logic behind such ideologically constructed posturing. Until not that long ago, Indian middle class intellectuals, particularly the tele intellectuals of the JNU breed were articulating  their wisdom in terms of sound bytes aired on NDTV which   drove home just one point: the BJP and its politics is a threat to the "secular" values of the country and by default must support the Congress party. The intellectuals found it both prudent and professionally rewarding to mouth the empty slogans of "secularism" and "inclusion", the stock in trade of high political discourse in India/.

The JNU brand of tele intellectuals were never enamored of the politics of the BPJ and if they start discovering  virtues in Atal ji and Advani ji it can only mean that any kind of rhetoric is justified when it comes to Modi bashing. All the three leaders named above share a common vision of an India that is strong, free from corruption and can hold its head high in the high table of world politics. Unlike the intellectuals who hog prime time television in India, Modi does not seek the approbation or approval of the western world. It does not matter whether Economist endorses Narendra Modi. However, the intellectuals like the author of the center page article referred to, thrive on signets of professional recognition from the Western media and institutions. This particular intellectual was opposed to the nuclear policy of India, and throughout  his long and distinguished career has not criticized USA for the slaughter in World War II  or the repeated acts of armed aggression all over the world. Yet when it comes to India they will pose as if they are the civilizational strength of India lies in its ability to produce publicists like themselves.As far as Narendra Modi is concerned his public rhetoric is civilized and yes, his language is strong and effective but does not degenerate into gutter rhetoric like Mrs Sonia Gandhi and her Congress courtiers. Why does this man not take the Congress woman to task for making public discourse so  vulgar and coarse.

As a sociologists, the writer must be aware that in terms of social inclusion as empirically measured by voting percentages and seats won, the BJP scores much higher than it rival the Congress. At least in North India, most of the SC reserved seats and ST seats have been won by the BJP and there is no use in taking recourse to the Marxist line that such figures only represents false consciousness on the part of the "subaltern" classes. At the end of the day the tele intellectual is always right and facts be damnned. Why let facts and empirically verifiable date come in the way of a politically correct and rewarding statement. The intellectual goes on to gratuitously advive the BJP   to be more "discursive" more "conversational". The discursive space in Indian politics is hogged by the Congress and its academic bandwagon who have monopolized public space in the name of secularism and nationalism. If they want to suggest that the hysterical style of ranting against electoral adversaries like the way Sonia, Rahul and other members of the First Family, the Royal Dynasty represents discursive expanse and a conversational style of politics, I am afraid that people will not accept. The electorate sees the shrill hysterical ranting of the Congress as hate mongering and it is time that the soft intellectuals like the author of the center page article recognize the political style of the dynastic fascists as divisive and fraudulent

To harp on Jaswant Singh has become fashionable. Suddenly the opponents of Narendra Modi have rediscovered the virtues of Jaswant Singh after his rebellion. But the same class of tele intellectuals were berating him until the other day for the views on Partition and his analysis that Congress too was responsible for the Partition and do In need to remind my readers of what they said about Jaswant Singh when the then NDA Government released the Taliban prisoners in exchange for the passengers of the Indian Airlines flight which was hijacked to Kabul. I agree Indians do not have a sense of History, but if "sociologists" who write about the civilizational strengths of the BJP should choose tom ignore recent events then it is not oversight but deliberate distortion for political purposes. Is there anything "civilizational" about Sonia Gandhi or Rahul Gandhi. If Narendra Modi is faulted for not being "civilizational" them I wonder if the hate filled rhetoric of the First Family is civilizational.

It is obvious that the writer has not followed the Campaign of Narendra Modi and therefore is unaware of the reasons why he resonates all around the country. He is not an "ersatz"version of the BJP as the writer inelegantly puts it, but rather one who has crafted his political message keeping the complex realities of an ever changing India. The fact is that Narendra Modi has jettisoned the old style identity politics and has changed the terms within which India debates its future. And "sociologists" of course are livid as he has out did them in their own game. He has crafted a message of social and economic development based on the principle that the State has to ensure that the basic structure within which resource transfers and nation building takes place is in tune by and large with the aspirations of the people. And he has successfully sold the argument that the economic downturn in India is linked to the massive and egregious corruption under the congress. What is offensive or objectionable about this fundamental message. Governemnts will be voted in and voted out not on the basis of real and invented identities but on the grounds of performance as seen by the common man. I do not see anything alarming in all this and wish the author had used the resources of his mind to reflect on the conditions prevailing all over the country. The sense of gloom and doom are there in the eyes of eveyone except the starry eyed wonder struck sociologists of JNU.

The upcoming elections will mark a decisive turning point in the history of India. Under Narendra Modi, India will be able to stand and take strides towards improving its economy, living standards and social harmony all of which were ruthlessly compromised during the past 10 years.

This writer can say that Dharampal will certainly endorse Narendra Modi.

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