• July 19, 2024

Modi unleashed

(First published on August 8th, 2020)

Prescience and foresight are the most fetching attributes of wisdom. Two mundane examples come to one’s mind. The first is of the American television series House of Cards. Before it came to an unseemly end, it highlighted two important trends that are now considered a part of the US political reality. The growing influence of Russia in US politics and the abuse of private data to win elections.

The second is that of George Kennan, a deputy head of mission in Moscow who in February 1946 wrote a very long wire (some say 8,000 words long) to the US secretary of state, James Byrnes. Dubbed as the Long Telegram, when the message could not have the desired effect, Kennan contributed an essay to Foreign Affairs in July 1947. Based on his findings, like his Long Telegram, this piece carried under the pseudonym X presented a case for the containment of the USSR. And this time it changed the world as we know it.

On August 5, 2020, Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi sat dressed as a Hindu shaman ready to inaugurate the Ram Mandir at Ayodhya in Uttar Pradesh. If the ceremony was rich in rituals, the air was also thick with symbolism and memories. For Modi, this was the culmination point of a long journey. A journey that started with a chariot ride in 1992 which led to the demolition of the Babri Mosque right where the temple is to be built. The episode left 2,000, mostly Muslims, dead in communal violence. A Google search of Modi Rath Yatra returns many pictures in which Modi stands like a shadow with LK Advani, the BJP firebrand who led the charge against Babri. That shocking act of sabotage had catapulted BJP into the mainstream. Although Advani never got his heart’s desire to be India’s prime minister, Modi had been brought to power in the 2014 national elections. Modi had then run a campaign on the platform of good governance. For five years there was no improvement in governance. When he ran again in 2019 that promise had been replaced with an appeal to the baser instincts of the masses. Modi’s entire career is paved with the blood and tears of innocent citizens. Ayodhya, Gujarat, Muzaffarnagar, and on. And yet no one saw this coming? There was a long list of powerful endorsements after all. But wait. You have not heard about the symbolism yet.

The construction of a temple where a mosque stood for three centuries has the symbolism of its own. The demolished mosque was named after Emperor Babur, the founder of Mughal rule in India. The Muslim Mughal dynasty was still in power when the British took over India. In a way, this demolition was a revenge for the centuries of Muslim rule. Hindutva activists claim that the mosque was built after demolishing a temple. The claim is so weak that after the demolition of the mosque the case seeking permission to build a temple there could not be settled decades for the want of evidence. No visual proof. No certain evidence. Only circumstantial if emotive arguments. Then Modi came to power and like a chameleon, the Indian Supreme Court changed its colour. If this inauguration ceremony shows total disregard for an embattled minority’s sentiment, it also epitomises the total collapse of the Indian democratic institutions.

But there is more. Usually, Hindu ceremonies are organised according to star charts. But not this one. In choosing August 5 as the inauguration day, the Modi government was conveying a message. One year ago, on this day the Modi government unilaterally terminated the centre’s contract with its disputed if only Muslim state, Kashmir. The abrogation of Articles 370 (the special status clause) and 35(A) (empowerment of the state legislature to define permanent residents) took place in a wholly unconstitutional manner. So flimsy was the constitutional ruse that the craven SC refused to hear the case, lest the whole thing may fall apart. The abolition of Article 35(A) is more sinister. The said article had protected the local population from the onslaught of outsiders in the beautiful state. The abolition has opened the floodgates for outside settlers bringing the local population under pressure. The Modi government has an elaborate plan to turn the local population into a hunted minority by settling non-Muslim outsiders. The message was loud and clear. “Like we are replacing the Babri Mosque with a Hindu temple, we will replace you with Hindutva extremists”.

But the story does not end here either. It is true that Kashmir has gone through hell in the past year. If the picture of a toddler sitting atop the chest of his grandfather killed by the authorities could not open your eyes, nothing would. But the hatred of Modi and his mentors in the RSS is neither limited to the Muslims nor Kashmiris. The political identity of Hindutva has grown in a way that it loathes all three Abrahamic faiths and attempts to appropriate the history and symbols of all pagan religions displaced by Christianity, Judaism, and Islam. That is precisely why Savitri Devi was so successful in infusing Political Hinduism with the trappings of Nazism. That is precisely why many neo-Nazis worship Hitler as an avatar of the Hindu god Vishnu. And that is exactly the reason behind the affinity between India’s Hindutva forces and the white supremacists in the West. After Modi and his cabal are done with India’s Muslims they will go after Christians and other Indian minorities. The Hindutva project also believes in the creation of Akhand Bharat (greater united India) which includes colonising all its South Asian neighbours and converting them to Hinduism. Once they are done with the region they will inevitably go after the Judeo-Christian nations. That is the whole point of aligning with white nationalists throughout the West. That all such nations can be brought down from within. The world is silently empowering the biggest group of Nazi sympathisers just because it is useful in containing socialist China, just like it empowered Hitler in order to contain the USSR.

I once told you that this cabal hated Obama just because of his Muslim middle name. Right now, they are pulling all stops to get Kamala Harris nominated as Biden’s running mate just because her middle name is ‘Devi’.

Incidentally, on August 5 the US Department of Justice announced a reward for anyone who could provide information on foreign interference in the US election. As someone who has constantly been pointing out the obvious, that Trump surrogates Shalabh Kumar and Steve Bannon have been influencing the US elections at the behest of Modi’s government, I sincerely believe I have earned that reward. The stories about the Russian or Chinese interference make little sense when you see how Bannon’s Cambridge Analytica mined data to support a certain outcome and how Salabh Kumar reached out to Trump right in the middle of the Access Hollywood fiasco. Both these factors work when you see how these two men have aligned after the elections and are now actively lobbying for Modi and against China. If you cannot put two and two together then you do not deserve the foresight of those who can.

Published in The Express Tribune, August 8th, 2020.

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