People often ask me why I oppose Narendra Modi. And I often give my reasons and they come back with things like, think about the good, think about the growth he plans for the country, Look at the shining image India has in front of the world now etc… etc…. and we debate and then it gets lost in the middle. Modi is a good marketing guy even if he and his team has to twist the facts a bit. For some people that is ok because they take that as for the greater good of the country. Well not really, but we will get to that some other day.
Today I want to tell that my opposition is not just to Modi and it is the Hindu Nationalist agenda and any such euphoria that makes sensible people blind and complacent in the glitter. Over the past one year I have on a personal level tried hard to look in a different direction, to see if I have missed something, I have seen very sensible people become Modi supporters and join the Nationalistic bandwagon and these are people I respect and I really wanted to see what made me oppose.
Here I want to try and explain my thought process and various things that make me the stand I take; And my reason to oppose really has more to do than just with Modi and Gujarat, though that is a big fact. I also feel the moral responsibility to oppose based on my understanding of the world.. I repeat “my understanding of the world” so if you want you can now say that ‘your understanding is wrong’ and stop reading from here on… Because this blog is something I am writing for myself and people who would sincerely want to know how I think.
Before I start (and it might be long, and some might feel I am harping on much told before) there are two points I want to make; First that I have never used (at least as far as I can remember) the word ‘Fascist’ when I refer to the Modi Government and the reason for that is I have spent a good amount of my time delving deep into the plight of people in Fascist regimes and have found that the word is something I don’t even want to hear in the world around me and using it so loosely is because the gravity of that word is not clearly understood. Please feel free to let me know if I have used that and I would like to correct it. Second I generally do not like to do a comparison with Nazism for the same reason; Though Modi’s parent organization RSS leader Golwalkar has been open on his admiration of Nazism…. But on the second part you might find that I do start my argument from the WWII perspective. But it is not a comparison but more a premise of an argument.
The Banality of Evil
I want to start by mentioning one specific name ‘Hannah Arendt’, a controversial figure who introduced the phrase ‘Banality of Evil’ when she reported for the New Yorker the Adolf Eichmann trial. You can read more about her report and other details on the net but in a nut shell what it means is “People who might have committed heinous crimes may not be crazy fanatics at all, but rather ordinary individuals who simply accept the premises of their state and participate in any ongoing enterprise with the energy of good bureaucrats” Understand that this concept is so controversial to the point that people have even said that Hannah blamed the victims of the holocaust for what happened. Hannah had taken so much criticism for this from her peers, fraternity and friends. I can understand that such a theory by Hannah during the trial of a specific war criminal in the aftermath of such a holocaust can seem very inappropriate. But if you take that concept of ‘banality of evil’ and look if there is a possibility of that to occur in a futuristic time then unless you are damn sure it won’t, you have something to fear in many circumstances. The fact is in Germany it was not a land of fanatic Germans, but in India Gujarat under Modi happened due to fanatic Hindus and he could do nothing. Now he heads the country and so many more Hindu organizations have sprung up from no where and sadly many of them think in absolute fanatic ways.
The Good people won’t matter, because the dividing line will blur
A good amount of the people who are very sensible and now have taken the mic to defend modi will not have much of voice later as there are many who have never got into the streets to stand for something. This is again my opinion, from the people I have seen the ‘neutral but I support Modi’ gang are not the activist type and in my opinion will not oppose when they find things are out of control. A good amount of them will become classic examples of Hannah’s theory. You can try them later, but when it happens they will be the key ingredients of the mess.
The wide range of Modi following
Modi following is no more a single entity and while many Modi quarter says that is a great achievement and a proof of the position, I find that more problematic. There are people who follow Modi as big time supporters of him because they feel he stands for the Hindu, some say he is the only choice for India and that has to do with their congress (primarily Nehru family) aversion; some think a person like him will keep the Islamic religious irrationality in control, some feel that he is bringing back the old glory of India (however stupid that may sound, people really believe that), Some just support him out no other choice in hand. This wide range is disturbing in my opinion as the control will be in the hand of those who are the most stupid and fanatic and the others will just go silent.
The positive effect of Gujarat Pogrom Argument
I know many people might not have felt this but for me this was a big eye opener. When a supporter (a very nice man) told me “Gujarat riot did kill many people, and it is sad, but look at the positive side; after that there were no more riots” And I have repeated this many times and I wish to repeat it again because that is how stupid and dangerous that statement is. A statement like that 13 years later makes you wonder how easy it is to instigate people in a country like ours. The person believes that the muslims in the country are not rioting because they got 2002. Can you see the problem with that statement? I am of the opinion that the call for a Hindu Rashtra and pulling pieces from the ancient myth and history can go uncontrollable and people can fantasize beyond limit. This statement I feel comes from a need the supporter felt to defend an action and clear his God (modi) from it and putting him in a pedestal of ‘no question’. That need will enable him to commit crime without remorse.
The habit of mixing History, Myth and Present to darken the future
The Babri Masjid demolition though an old one is one such case that was spear headed by the ruling BJP and its allied small fanatic pieces. A mosque build in the name of historical figure was demolished as it was said to be on the land of a mythological character and all that for quenching the thirst of the present day fundamentalists. An act to win political brownie points by using the sentiments of a majority community. Criminal to the core… I have seen over years seen that friends who have opposed this action earlier now support it as if it was the right thing to do. I find that very disturbing the least to say.
Irrationality Irrationality and Irrationality
I am an atheist and a rational though I am accommodative of the choice for people to be irrational in their own personal time and space without troubling others. But when the head of my country makes a statement that the elephant god Ganesha is the example that plastic surgery existed in India and that Pushpaka Vimana says we knew to fly before the wright brothers did; it rings only alarms in my head. If you use such irrational things to create a euphoria to unite people that is plain bad. I do not really care if science was advanced back then, the fact is that, there is no evidence. This thought of advanced ancient India with flying chariots and plastic surgery gods does not serve any purpose for a peaceful future. I am ok people on an individual level exploring stuffs like this but having a national agenda to excavate should be seriously questioned.
Illogical and Irrational things from an unrecorded time should not guide us in any way because in the current stressful world it is natural that more and more people can fall on it as they like fantasies. If you know among Indians the belief in astrology and other mambo jumbo is also on the rise… more and more people think these stuffs matter.. even leading scientists start speaking this language. So when there is a party and a leader who promotes such kind irrationality I think it is important to oppose. It is digital irrationality.
Patriotism is not a Responsibility to defend irrationality
Now to the point I made before, I see the rise of irrationality that drives many peoples’ thoughts and if no one speaks against these things a time will come when people will NO more oppose and react, because the change happens so slow that you cannot react, just like heating the bowl of cold water in which you have a frog. As the heat builds up the frog goes deeper and finally dies because it cannot react, it loses its sense of how to escape. Even now when you ask people how come if India was so developed in ancient times and we do not have all that information now, they will give illogical reason like Mughal Invasion etc…. and I wonder how can the aeronautics and plastic surgery knowledge get destroyed by sword swinging invaders on horses and elephants. That question is muted and considered irrelevant….
Trying to catch up with Abrahamic Religions
Abrahamic religions are very irrational filled with stories that can be broken into pieces by even a third grader. But now when you question the hindu irrationality the answer you get is “We had a verbal tradition and not everything is written” And I wonder where else I have heard that.. Yes a narration by Ayisha; Prophet Mohammed’s wife on the hadith about stoning…. here is what she says “The verse of the stoning and of suckling an adult ten times were revealed, and they were (written) on a paper and kept under my bed. When the messenger of Allah expired and we were preoccupied with his death, a goat entered and ate away the paper.” Imagine how many people have been stoned in the name of a goat’s appetite.
Be a laughing stock rather than being silent
For me it is important to voice my opinion in opposition in places I think that opinions might not get voiced if we wait. May be nothing will happen as I say here and many people tell me, “you are just finding fault and such a pessimist”. I will be happy if nothing happens, and then I know will be a laughing stalk for others. I prefer being a laughing stalk for taking a stand on what I believe in rather than not doing it on pressure or popularism and end up thinking about it later when time is too late.
It is not about Modi, It is the Hindu Nationalistic movement, it is what I have learned
So It really does not matter to me what Modi does in future, My opposition is to avoid a situation where we will all lose our ability to react and not even know it. I do not care about Modi as a person on the helm, not more than the deranged Hindutva nationalistic ideology that is being thrust into the throats of people. So to friends who think I am just another pessimist pig. Well I am happy taking that less enviable role and stand by it and even fighting a solo battle, which many times I feel. Let time prove me wrong and I will be more happy than anyone to accept that I was wrong, but for now I oppose both Modi and the dangerous hindu nationalist agenda