June 16, 2024

MOON Desk: Modi might break Nehru’s record of getting re-elected for a third successive time and by doing so drive the last nail in the coffin of Nehruvian notion of secular Indian nationalism. RSS’s religious nationalism is well on its way to erase the imprimatur of secular Indian nationalism and its pluralistic ethos. The syncretic and welcoming nature of Hindu creed that once threatened the particularism of rival religious creeds is giving way to a muscular nationalism that is misanthropic as well as xenophobic. It thrives on segregation instead of integration and in a country where nearly a quarter of humanity confronts 22 official and 122 major languages the cultural homogeneity of Hindutva creed is an unwelcome anachronism.

Modi’s India nowadays is a toxic brew of carpet bagging corporate witches being cooked over the smouldering embers of divisive politics and discriminatory social practices that are so widespread and systematic as to attract the sobriquet of crimes against humanity. Small wonder then that the Genocide Watch, a credible international human rights watchdog, has declared IIOJK, under Indian occupation since 1947, and annexed since 2019, as an area entering the ninth and the second last stage of the genocide. The annexation has been challenged in the Indian Supreme Court but the independent analysts prognosticate a sorry end to the litigation. The price of Modi’s re-election would be high both for the Hindu nationalists as well as the minority communities.

Modi is also feeling heat due to the regulatory fraud of Gautam Ambani’s companies which as per the investigative report of a New York-based investor Hindenburg Research showed corporate irregularities that led to a scandal that erased $110 billion out of the wealth of the Adani Group.

Adani was the main financier of Modi and a beneficiary of Modi’s political clout in his home state Gujarat. Modi is facing criticism at home and abroad for his partiality to crony capitalism. According to Renaissance Capital’s Robertson the flow of foreign investment that was thick and fast has dwindled in last three months because of the scandal. Now what would a man like Modi do faced with these heavy odds? With his overweening ambition and sedulously nurtured image of a Hindutva Champion he is expected to project a machismo as the election date approaches in 2024. The default reaction of Modi in the past has remained the stoking of fires of communalism to win the sympathies of the far right fringe of Hindu electorate. He did that successfully in 2002 in Gujarat and thrived on those riots to burnish his credentials as a hardboiled Hindu revivalist.

According to a Congress leader Shankersinh Vaghela the Godhra train incident in which 50 Hindus were burnt to death was a false-flag operation staged by Modi to mobilise the rabid far-right Hindutva votaries for his selfish electoral gains. Similarly in 2014 in Muzaffarnagar UP the communal hatred was stoked to win the Hindu votes. The 2019 Balakot cross-border attacks are a fairly recent reminder of the whipping up of nationalist sentiments before the elections. Already the former governor of Jammu and Kashmir Satyapal Malik and Supreme Court Lawyer Prashant Bhushan have insinuated at the possibility of a false-flag operation at the Ram Mandir being built over the Babri Masjid at Ayodhya by faking an attack by Muslim extremists. The fires of communalism stoked by such an act would be used to whip up Hindu nationalist sentiment for shoring up the sagging electoral fortunes of a beleaguered Modi in UP.

BJP and its RSS musclemen believe in demonisation of Muslims to whip up the paranoia of Hindu nationalism especially before battling it out at the hustings in an electoral arena. A cornered and politically vulnerable Modi confronted by a strong electoral alliance INDIA may revert back to his default mode of a staged pantomime of a communal conflict or the cross-border attack. The world must stay vigilant.

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