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'Under Modi, the middleman has disappeared'

Last updated on: May 24, 2019 21:03 IST

'In Rajiv Gandhi's time, out of every Re 1 spent by the government only 15 paisa reached the public.'
'At this moment, I cannot say that the entire Re 1 reaches the common man's pocket, but yes, two-thirds of that money definitely reaches the common man.'
'And the rest of the money will also reach soon.'

IMAGE: Prime Minister Narendra Damodardas Modi is showered with flower petals as he arrives at the Bharatiya Janata Party's national headquarters in New Delhi to celebrate the BJP's victory in the 2019 Lok Sabha election on May 23, 2019. Photograph: Manvender Vashist/PTI Photo

After a resounding victory in the 2019 election for Prime Minister Narendra Damodardas Modi, many social scientists have been at a loss at what to call the second Modi tsunami -- and Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh ideologue Rakesh Sinha has come up with a theory.

Sinha, a Rajya Sabha member, declares Modi's re-election marks the end of Nehru-ism in India and the beginning of a new era -- of Modi-ism.

He quotes Marxist philosopher Frantz Fanon and says Modi delivered the goods to the poor without using the word 'Socialism'.

"This time, the Modi wave is from the rural areas to urban areas. Earlier, it was from the urban to rural areas," Sinha tells Syed Firdaus Ashraf/Rediff.com.

Is this election result the end of Nehruvian India -- an idea that was envisaged after 1947?

Politics and ideology is a method of evolution. It is not static. Nehruvian India is more or less a political concept borrowed from the colonial legacy and European ideological moorings. Therefore, Nehruvian India cannot give a decolonised solution to India. What Marxist Frantz Fanon imagined for Latin America and Africa, it is exactly that.

 

You are speaking of Frantz Fanon's theory which he mentioned in his notable work -- Black Skin, White Masks -- in which he said people hold a core belief, so much so that even when they are presented with evidence that goes against their belief, the new evidence won't be accepted.

Frantz Fanon said after the transfer of power, the Western world dominates the minds of people. They leave their seeds in the minds of people through (the English) language, through culture, through tradition and colonial legacy. That should be completely discarded.

We are fortunate that this happened in India in 2014.

If you borrow nationalism and secularism from the Western world, you cannot fulfil indigenous aspirations. If Saudi Arabia borrows imaginations from Asian philosophy or if Asia borrows imaginations from the USA, they are different people and have different standings.

So, the Nehruvian idea of India is a fraud imagination, therefore, I am saying Nehruism is finally over in India.

And it means that social, cultural, political and economics perspective of India has a new beginning. This beginning of Modi-ism began in 2014 and this verdict is a reaffirmation of that Modi-ism by Indian people.

Modi-ism reflects three things. Firstly, secularism is based on an egalitarian cultural concept, which discriminates against none. It rejects the concept of division among people on the basis of religion.

Secondly, Modi's programme since 2014 has been devoted to the people of India and it touches all the poor -- irrespective of caste and religion.

Therefore, to deny Modi any legitimate space has been countered by those people who are considered to be illiterate and marginalised.

They found that there is a State which is doing something for them, although the State is not making a slogan of Socialism.

The third part of Modi-ism is that he has consolidated nationalism into a world perspective. All the Islamic countries stood for India when he went to fight terrorism against Pakistan.

Therefore, the narrow discourse that he is anti-Muslim proved wrong. India is not like China. It is an open society where everybody knows what is happening.

Thirty years ago, the Nehruvian idea of India was under attack by L K Advani's rath yatra. It is here that Mulayam Singh Yadav and Lalu Yadav came up with illiterate, poor voters and saved Nehruvian secularism whereas sections of India's urban educated elite went with the BJP's idea of India.
So what changed? How did Modi grab that space of poor voters?

Modi reached out to the people through concrete programmes and policies.

They (Lalu, Mulayam) had given the slogan of social justice which was important at that time, but ultimately it led to the empowerment of particular families and particular individuals. Even the caste that they represented did not get proper representation.

For instance, five people from Mulayam Singh Yadav's family contested the election this time. Lalu Yadav made two deputy chief ministers and both of them were his sons (In reality, only Tejashwi Yadav was deputy chief minister; Lalu's elder son Tej Pratap Yadav was a minister). This gives a message to voters of what they are doing.

And in this election, a person going to the polling booth with his caste or community identity, Modi converted him into his citizenship identity. Therefore, this time the Modi wave is from the rural areas to urban areas.

Earlier, it was from the urban areas to rurals area as in 2014 Modi was new to India. This time the people have put their faith in Modi.

IMAGE: Bharatiya Janata Party supporters celebrate the party's amazing performance in the election. Photograph: Ajay Verma/Reuters

The Western media and many intellectuals are harsh on Modi, saying he divides the nation with his Hindutva agenda.

European intellectuals don't tolerate any opposition. They feel they can dictate to the Third World countries. These intellectuals feel Third World leaders are not fit to govern. These intellectuals define the parameters for governance and leadership, which Modiji has defied. Therefore, there is a collusion against Modiji.

In 2014, the British newspaper The Guardian said finally the British have left India. Now I am saying Nehruvian India has been completely replaced by Modi-ism in 2019.

What about scientific thought to be promoted in society which is at the core of the Nehruvian idea of India and is also mentioned in our Constitution? What happens to that?

Narendra Modi is working for the masses. He is connecting with the masses.

There is blind belief in Modi.

There is no blind belief. In a democracy, leaders come and go, but the one who is considered to be a leader is a leader who makes an impact on people's lives. And Modiji is doing that.

Indian tradition has a very rich legacy, whether it is culture or democratic tradition. We don't need a Western prism to see all these things.

When Modi visits Kedarnath, it becomes a matter of contemptuous discourse.

Modi's Kedarnath visit turned controversial as he was influencing Hindu voters on polling day.

How can a Hindu visiting a temple impact voters? Modi is a Hindu, so he will visit a temple.

But he is going with a camera, that is the problem.

He is the prime minister and being the prime minister he cannot avoid the cameras. These are all ridiculous allegations.

Had Modi visited a Goa church or any mosque, who would have raised objections? Nobody would have raised any objection.

India is a country which has a rich diversity and without diversity India cannot be imagined.

Those who criticise that we are homogenising society, they do not understand the Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh or even Modiji. We are not homogenising Indian society.

IMAGE: BJP supporters offer sweets after the party's victory in Ranchi. Photograph: ANI Photo

You talk of a Uniform Civil Code and yet say you are not homogenising society?

If that is the case, then the entire European laws are wrong as they follow a uniform civil code. They are the epics of liberal democracy, tell me any country which does not have a uniform civil code.

Uniform Civil Code does not mean Hinduisation of any personal law code. There is much diversification among Hindus as tribal populations have different codes and mainland people have different codes.

We are not going to create a common ritual like this is how you have to marry et al. There will be a democratic code where you have A, B and C as options. If you are Muslim, then you will get A or say B. This code is just to get gender empowerment.

The RSS believes in celebrating diversity. We believe in celebrating our neighbour's culture.

By talking of a Uniform Civil Code you are threatening the core pluralistic ethos of India, which Nehru envisioned.

The RSS has been working in Assam and they learnt Assamese. In the north east, we work and celebrate the north east's culture. We bring that to even south India. And south Indian culture to north India.

That is only Hindu culture.

It is a misnomer to say Hindu culture is not inclusive. It rather reflects Indian culture and gives space to umpteen diversities. You must understand the limit created by the Mughal period which was a small period in the history of India.

There was an India which was before Mughals, too. Pranab Mukherjee rightly said our history is 10,000 years old. We had pre-Islamic and pre-Christian eras.

I am not saying that we have to discard other cultures. India is obsessed with the Mughal period and Bahadur Shah Zafar played a very important role. Narendra Modi visited his mausoleum in Rangoon.

Those Muslims and Christians joining the RSS are feeling very comfortable in the BJP. Tom Vadakkan joined the BJP and he is more comfortable in the BJP than in the Congress. Ask him.

Modi-ism is failing badly in south India. It has failed to dent Nehruvian India there.

Till now, the BJP was considered an urban party. Then we were called the cow belt party. The Congress system has collapsed and we are filling that gap.

In Kerala, there was complete polarisation and whenever it comes to the BJP, two political parties which are enemies become friends.

We are for diversity and due to the endorsement of diversity, people like us. But the people who live in the world of perception wonder why the BJP is growing because they are prisoners of their own perception.

What about the fact that Nehru gave India the Indian Institutes of Technology and the Indian Space Research Organisation. Can you deny the fact that he gave stability to India as a country after Independence?

Nobody denies this. When I say Modi-ism is replacing Nehruism, that does not mean that I am denying the role of Nehruism in history or his contribution to India.

If Nehru gave IITs to India, then Modi gave double the number of IITs to India.

The same is the case with AIIMS. Every state today has one or two AIIMS.

Ayushman Yojana and other schemes are for the poor without taking the name of Socialism. We don't celebrate the word Socialism. Only once did we use the phrase 'Gandhian Socialism', during the Vajpayee era.

Marxists only gave slogans, but Modiji reached every proletariat's home and delivered the goods. We gave gas connections and electricity.

In Rajiv Gandhi's time, out of every Re 1 spent by the government only 15 paisa reached the public. Under Modi, the middleman has disappeared.

At this moment, I cannot say that the entire Re 1 reaches the common man's pocket, but yes, two-thirds of that money definitely reaches the common man.

And the rest of the money will also reach soon.

SYED FIRDAUS ASHRAF / Rediff.com
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