December 01, 2016

India: Modi's gamble in service of fascist Hindutva (Anuradha Bhasin Jamwal)

Kashmir Times - November 26, 2016

Modi's gamble in service of fascist Hindutva
By Anuradha Bhasin Jamwal

In June, David Cameron as prime minister of Britain, waged the greatest gamble of his life by holding a referendum on Brexit and lost his chair when the Britishers voted to exit out of European Union. Five months hence, would the demonetization of higher denomination currency notes be Indian prime minister Narendra Modi's Brexit? The demonetization move was brought in by weaving a mythical spin of wiping out black money from India, making the rich less rich and the poor richer. That is hardly likely to be the end result of the chaos that the move has pushed the country into without an adequate assessment of the amount of cash that is in circulation and how it would hit various aspects of economy. Whatever be the imagined gains, the move was a political gamble waged in run up to assembly elections to several states, including the key states of Uttar Pradesh and Punjab with the explicit ambition of selling this move as a crackdown on black money. How this move plays up on the imagination of the people going to vote will ultimately depend on several factors - the prolonged impact of the crisis, the inconvenience caused to the masses who have queued up outside banks and ATMs before the crack of dawn to withdraw their own hard earned money as well as the gullibility of the people, who can sometimes be mislead by false propaganda based less on facts and more on myths.

The demonetization move that has brought the country's economy to its knees, as of now, has a strong vote bank politics whiff to it. 'Will it or wont it work' is not the only question that is nagging? The far more crucial question is how will election results impact the conduct of Modi's government and the Sangh Parivar? The Modi government is expected to use both the black money card and the case of resumption of tensions at the borders to its advantage in the coming elections in a few months, though its chances of using them with a measure of success is doubtful at the moment. If the BJP and its allies win or even bag a decent number of seats, its confidence would naturally be bolstered and there is not an iota of doubt that it will spread its wings wider and bare its fangs of lethal Hindutva even more brazenly than it is doing at the moment. In all likelihood, it may lose and lose badly. But it would be naïve to think that this would mean this would prompt it to put its Hindutva agenda on the freeze.

The BJP won the last Lok Sabha elections with a thumping majority on the slogan of development and 'acche din', an impressive camouflage for its hate soaked Hindutva agenda. The fists were out of the glove, not long after Modi's rise to power. His patronage to lumpen elements of the Sangh Parivar is glaring. His abject silence towards beef controversy, harassment of minorities and intolerance towards freedom of expression and persecution of intellectuals by goons of the Sangh Parivar reveal his tacit backing to such expressions of fascist Hindu power. Another electoral win would surely hasten the process. However, a loss may not cap the agenda, though it may slow it down for a while.

Clearly, the RSS inspired BJP has an agenda that goes beyond fulfilling the constitutional obligation of governing the country as per its laws and values. It is fully aware that it may not, at least in the near future, be able to repeat the magic of 2014 and it has got three years more not to perform but alter the very idea of India with its perverse and divisive ideology. It is unlikely to give it up even after a probable shocking debacle in Uttar Pradesh. It may instead pursue its agenda with far greater venom in ways that might be unthinkable. The only saving grace in case BJP loses the elections is that the march of the Hindutva ideology may be put in slow gear for a while to allow the party to consolidate itself among its die-hard supporters. That should give a breather to the country's masses and also to the secular political opponents to shun their petty politicking, gear up and unite on a common agenda. Given the interplay of massive political egos, the petty interests and the myopia of such political leaders, that may be a case of big if. If they are wiser, BJP's loss in the coming elections could be an opportunity that must be seized. Otherwise, looking at the depths to which this present Modi government can go to in its utter frustration whether it is talk about war, nuclear war and its battering of people including oppressed communities or its actions that may result in complete ruin of Indian economy, there would be nothing stopping the madness of Hindutva amid an atmosphere of complete misery, chaos and distress. It is, of course, a case of wait and watch. Fingers are crossed!