It’s time again to find out what’s been happening in the great and wonderful Republic of Hindunazistan.
A few weeks ago, in the last episode of this series, I’d said something about a major state election which Narendra Modi was on the road to losing. I’d also told you lot that it wouldn’t have been a major election, and it wouldn’t have been Modi who lost it, but for the fact that he campaigned as the face of his party (the BJP) in the state, making the election a de facto referendum on his rule.
As you’ll know by now, that rule, now well into its second year, has not exactly produced the promised results. In fact, as even Hindunazi ideologue Arun Shourie – an acerbic writer whose wit I have always enjoyed while disagreeing with him on just about everything under the sun – says, the BJP’s rule has been “the Congress plus a cow”.
The Congress refers to the previous, totally venal, regime of the Congress Party, which was so dysfunctional that even people who despised the Hindunazi ethos voted for the BJP in 2014, desperate for a change. As for the cow – well, as the BJP’s promised Golden Age recedes further into the distance with each passing day, it has fallen back on hardline Hindu fascism, as symbolised by its obsession with the cow.
If you haven’t read my previous article on Hindunazistan, you might as well go and do it at this point, because I’ve talked about the cow in that in some detail.
That election I talked about was in the state of Bihar. It was at one time the heartland of empires which ruled the Indian subcontinent from Afghanistan to the Bay of Bengal. Today, though, it’s a highly overpopulated and desperately poor province, plagued by underdevelopment, illiteracy, and endemic crime and lawlessness. Under a succession of venal political leaders who exploited caste and religious divides for their own purposes, the condition of the state grew so bad that people began leaving in droves to work as carpenters, cobblers, barbers and labourers all over the rest of the country – only to be resented and often attacked by others who claimed they were taking away jobs that rightfully belonged to the locals.
Does this sound familiar from elsewhere in the world?
The situation in Bihar probably reached its nadir in the 1990s when a populist politician called Laloo Prasad Yadav took power. A showman if there ever was one – Donald Trump could take tips from him – Laloo Prasad Yadav had only one single saving grace; he was, and is, a committed secularist and an opponent of Hindu fascism. He put a stop to the savage communal riots that ravaged Bihar in the 1970s and 80s at regular intervals and totally smashed the Hindu right in the state. On the other hand, he allowed corruption to reach unprecedented levels, and criminals from his Yadav caste ran amok with impunity. By the late 1990s to the early 2000s, Bihar was under what was called “jungle law”, where kidnapping for ransom was an industry, village workshops made illicit weaponry and sold them to criminals, and the rule of the government existed not at all.
|Laloo Prasad Yadav|
Laloo Yadav was at the time in jail, after he was implicated in a major scam. When he was forced to step down as the state’s chief minister, he – in a typically jaw-dropping act of audacity – put his semiliterate wife, Rabri Devi, in power in his place. Rabri Devi was, naturally, a rubber stamp – Laloo Yadav and his coterie of bureaucrats ruled through her. As before, there was peace between the religions, but in every other way the situation got worse and worse.
At last the people of Bihar had had enough. They voted out Laloo Yadav’s party, the RJD, and put into power an alliance between the BJP and the JD(U) led by one Nitish Kumar. It should be noted that this would not have happened unless substantial sections even among the Muslims (who form 15% of the population of Bihar and had of course supported Laloo Yadav) and other non-Yadav castes had changed sides. Laloo Yadav’s misrule had alienated so many people that everyone assumed he was finished.
You couldn’t imagine just how much they were wrong.
Meanwhile, Nitish Kumar had taken over Bihar. There is something very strange about Nitish Kumar: as far as anyone can make out, he is one of that almost mythical species, an honest politician. Like Laloo Yadav, with whom he has had a long friendship, he is also a secularist. And, unlike Laloo, he has no tolerance for corruption and crime.
Under Nitish Kumar, then, the endemic Bihari lawlessness began, slowly, to reverse itself. Kidnapping for ransom stopped. Development, albeit in dribs and drabs, finally reached villages which had never seen piped water or electric lights before. Nitish Kumar had a BJP deputy chief minister, Sushil Modi (no relative of Narendra Modi) who made no attempt to stoke up religious passions and in fact helped in the development agenda. Bihar, if it didn’t quite prosper, was no longer sinking into the morass.
And then it was that Narendra Modi became the BJP’s candidate for the prime minister’s post in Delhi.
I have said that Nitish Kumar was a secularist. Narendra Modi, as I have said in every single one of my articles mentioning the man, is anything but. Nitish Kumar may have been, as he has been accused of doing, looking to dump the alliance with the BJP anyway; but in any case Narendra Modi was not acceptable to him as the prime minister. He withdrew from the alliance, the BJP won a huge number of votes – and seats – from Bihar in the national elections, and Narendra Modi came to power in Delhi with a huge majority.
It would seem that Nitish Kumar had gambled and lost.
Meanwhile, Laloo Yadav had been released from prison on bail, and had apparently been doing some hard thinking of his own. He and Nitish Kumar went back a long way; the latter had even, as I recall, gone to get Laloo’s mother’s “blessings” before taking on her son in the elections which he’d won. So it wasn’t exactly a handshake across barbed wire when the two parties, the JD(U) and the RJD, formed a “Grand Alliance” along with the remnants of the Congress Party to fight the elections this year.
[There is another extremely venal Yadav politician, Mulayam Singh Yadav, who heads the Samajwadi Party in the neighbouring state of Uttar Pradesh. Mulayam Singh, who has a history of canoodling with the Hindunazis, was given an opportunity to join the alliance too, but refused. His reasoning probably went this way: if he joined it, then Laloo Prasad Yadav’s chances of winning would improve. If Laloo Prasad Yadav won, he would be better placed than Mulayam Singh Yadav for the position of leadership of the Yadav caste. So it would be better if Laloo Prasad Yadav lost. It was a typical bit of cynicism by Mulayam Singh, whom nobody now trusts at all.]
Meanwhile the BJP had also tacked on an alliance of a disparate collection of a few small caste-based non-Hindunazi parties, which it assumed would attract the votes of the castes they represented.
Apart from all these, there was a Muslim party of such overwhelming lack of significance that even Muslims laughed at it, and a small Maoist presence. So this was the lineup going up to the elections, which were to be held in multiple phases in October and November.
Now, remember this: despite Nitish Kumar’s best efforts, Bihar is still a desperately poor state with abysmal levels of development. Its contribution to the national economy is at best negligible. The Biharis are perfectly aware of this, and know that there’s still a long way to go – but, significantly, they know now that this is something that is now possible. It’s not as though they’re condemned forever to wallow in the slough of despond. And, as a corollary, on the national level, who rules Bihar is not that important. It’s just another state, or should be.
Therefore, the strategy that the BJP should have attempted was to focus on development. It had a perfectly good candidate in Sushil Modi, who had done as much as Nitish Kumar to help the state recover from the misrule of Laloo Yadav and his predecessors, and who, besides, had no interest in sectarian rabble-rousing. Instead, in a decision as predictable as it was moronic, it unleashed Narendra Modi on the state.
Why was this predictable? Because, as I’ve said in past articles, Narendra Modi is virtually the dictator of the BJP now. He’s shunted aside all his seniors and rivals in the party, and rules by Führerprinzip through a small coterie, which controls all access to him. This coterie is headed by a particularly toxic individual called Amit Shah, who is despised by many in his own party but who has Narendra Modi’s total trust.
Narendra Modi, as Führer, does not delegate. His style of ruling is 100% top down. He’s been set up to the admiring gaze of his acolytes, the Modi Bhakts as they’re called, as though he’s god almighty, and nothing is impossible to him. That he should yield centre stage to a mere underling like Sushil Modi was nothing he would countenance.
And why was this moronic? The people of Bihar have no interest in communal violence. They’ve suffered terribly from it in the past, and then learned to live in religious harmony for a generation. It has been 26 years since there was last a communal riot in Bihar, and, as a Bihari woman said, all she wanted was that her children should be able to grow up in peace. And in Laloo Yadav they had a man who was, whatever else he might be, a hundred per cent secular; while in Nitish Kumar they had another man who was not only secular but also honest and in favour of development. Why on earth would they look elsewhere unless given excellent reasons to do so?
But Narendra Modi gave them no reason to do so. He unleashed what has been called the ugliest, most communal campaign in years. He informed the Biharis that “a particular community” (meaning, Muslims) would siphon off their jobs if they voted for the Grand Alliance. Amit Shah went one further – Pakistan, he said, would celebrate with firecrackers if the BJP lost. The party also loaded local newspapers with advertisements about the cow and how it had been insulted by Laloo Yadav and Nitish Kumar.
Meanwhile, the media, which is these days more of a public spectacle than anything serious, went to town pumping up the election as a referendum on Modi, that it was a make or break affair, that it would decide if the “Modi wave” was still on, and the like. It would not, of course, have done so without at least partial BJP encouragement. The election was all about Modi’s ego, and the BJP wanted nobody to forget who was in charge.
In other words, all this was exactly what it should not have done.
All this, of course, was information anyone could access. And anyone with half a brain and the analytical ability of a grasshopper could have seen the way the wind was blowing and come up with exactly the same conclusion as I did, that is, the Grand Alliance was on the way to wiping the floor with the BJP – and that when it did, it would be Modi’s defeat, more than anything else. Remember, I had said weeks ago that the BJP would lose.
Somehow, though, this seemed to have totally escaped the attention of all the opinion pollsters and the news channels. They all – with one exception – predicted a victory for the BJP and its caste ally parties. The one exception was a poll which couldn’t even, according to the people who carried it out, find any major channel willing to publicise it...even though it had got the figures almost a hundred per cent correct.
Then the results came in: the Grand Alliance swept the polls, getting over a two-thirds majority; the BJP’s allies were wiped out, and the BJP itself saw its seats almost halved. Among the rest, the Maoists got two seats, and the Muslim party I mentioned got, predictably, nothing at all.
And the media was shocked. Shocked, I tell you! How could this ever have happened that everyone got it all so wrong?
The message from the people of Bihar was so unmistakable that one would have thought even the Hindunazis couldn’t but see it. They told the BJP, in no uncertain terms, “Please stop treating us like fools. Stop telling us how to live our lives, what to eat and wear, whom we can or can’t fall in love with, what movies or books we can read or can’t. Stop trying to divide us by religion. We’ve been there before and we don’t want to go back there again. You were voted to power to govern. Go back to governing, or you’ll find that when the next national election comes round in 2019, you’ll be tossed out on your ear in Delhi just like you were here. You have been warned.”
Do you think the Hindunazis took the warning?
One of the most illuminating ways of judging Hindunazi mood is to read the comment sections of online news sites, such as Outlook magazine. Hindunazis are hugely overrepresented online. For one thing, they have specifically targeted young urban professionals for brainwashing, because of course those are the people who can be of most use to them and who are already invested in the Hindunazi pro-capitalist, pro-Big Business ethos. For another, Modi has a troll army whose only function is to shout down all dissent online.
So this was the response of the trolls, when they’d finally got over their shell-shock: the blame was to be put on the Muslims, who voted together against the BJP. That the Muslims form 15% of the population of the state, and are concentrated in only a few areas, wasn’t relevant. Nor was it that the Muslim party was wiped out. It was somehow the Muslims’ fault, because they all voted together. And it was also the Hindus’ fault, because they didn’t unitedly vote for “their” party, the BJP, but for the Grand Alliance, even though said Grand Alliance was almost totally comprised of Hindus as well. Solution: the Hindus, obviously, will need to be made more “united”, that is, more fascistic, more driven by fear, more amenable to do exactly what the Führer tells them.
Do you think this is a strategy which will work?
Obviously, in a party now run on Führerprinzip, the Führer himself can’t be blamed for anything, and since he depends on his coterie, the coterie can’t be to blame either. So the BJP circled wagons, muttered to each other, and came out with a response that “everybody” was to blame for the debacle. As critics at once pointed out, this basically meant that nobody was responsible. After all, you can’t punish everyone.
So farcical had this become that a section of senior leaders in the BJP, who had been shunted aside, made their dissent known. Most of them had held top positions in the last government the Hindunazis had held in Delhi, from 1998 to 2004. The prime minister of the time had been a genial buffer named Atal Behari Vajpayee, who, despite being a Hindunazi, preferred consensus to rule by diktat, had excellent personal relations even with the Communists, and who had even decided not to send troops to Iraq to help in the Amerikastani invasion after the Congress Party had protested. Today, Vajpayee is old and decrepit and nobody knows exactly what his thoughts are on anything, but his former deputies are clamouring loudly – and accurately – that the current course followed by the party will only bring disaster. In this, whatever their motives, and bringing Modi down is certainly one of them, they are undoubtedly correct.
And, of course, this was too much truth for the Hindunazis to handle. They’d managed to smear Arun Shourie (he of the “Congress plus cow” comment) by claiming he was no longer a member of the BJP; but they couldn’t blow off these others so easily. So they came out with a statement saying that these sentiments “should not have been aired in public”. Of course, the very idea of making the statement was to air it in public, so that everyone knew that there was dissent in the BJP. But the BJP no longer tolerates dissent.
Meanwhile, as I said earlier, more and more intellectuals have been turning in their public awards as a form of protest against the increasing fascist intolerance in the country. The figure I cited last time was forty; it now stands at well over four hundred. There was no way the Hindunazis could ignore it. They could react in two ways: they could either mend their ways, go back to governance, and drop the radical Hindunazi agenda like a hot potato. Or they could, you know, call the protestors anti-nationals, traitors whose only purpose was to defame India in the eyes of the world.
Do you have the slightest doubt which course they adopted?
The day before the Bihar verdict was out, a superannuated Bollywood actor and failed quiz show host, Anupam Kher, who has never hidden his Hindunazism, conducted a “march” in Delhi to protest against these dissenters and traitors. He got together a full five hundred people, including other failed actors, third line celebrities, and common hoodlums, and conducted a procession up to the President’s official residence. The media covered it like it was the most important event of the year, but it was only a small procession of foul-mouthed, abusive Hindunazis who taunted and insulted female journalists and the like. After the Bihar verdict, Anupam Kher vanished from public view like a frog slithering into pond scum.
The Hindunazis have not, naturally, learnt their lesson. In the largely Hindu, but also very egalitarian and cosmopolitan, state of Karnataka, they are now leading “protests” against the state government’s move to honour the memory of a former king, Tipu Sultan. Tipu Sultan, who died fighting against the British colonial imperialists, is in the Hindunazi view a tyrant who oppressed Hindus. In reality, he had granted concessions to Hindu temples and contributed large sums to their upkeep, but when did reality ever matter to Nazis anywhere? All this campaign – which has included death threats to people including senior actor Girish Karnad, a Hindu – has done is to disgust people even more.
At this point, I will do something that is not in character. I will tell the Hindunazis exactly how they can turn this whole shambles round and still somehow salvage the situation before they drive off a cliff. I’m generous like that, but I’m also perfectly safe in assuming that not only will they never read this, if they do, they’ll disregard all advice coming from a despised leftie like me. So here goes:
Dear Prime Minister Modi
Let me remind you that you were elected on a plank of development, progress, and anti-corruption, not on an agenda of spreading Hindu fascism. It will not do to assert, as one of your minions did some time ago, that since the people voted for you they’ve given blanket permission to do as you like. If you had campaigned on a plank of Hindu fascism, you would never have got anywhere near power. I am sure you are aware of that.
Let me further remind you that you were elected by people across India. You are not a rubber stamp of a political dynasty, one who has never won even a municipal election, like your contemptible predecessor Manmohan Singh. You are a politician who has fought his way up. You know how easy it is to fall.
And fall you most certainly will, unless you immediately change not just your course, but your very method of governing. This is not, as you may have discovered, a nation which will be dictated to. People resent being told what to do, especially when they also find that those doing the telling have not made the slightest attempt to fulfil the promises that they have made.
So this is what you must do:
Sack the coterie around you. Get rid of them once and for all, most importantly Amit Shah. He is an individual so despicable that getting rid of him alone will fill people with relief and a measure of gratitude towards you. It shouldn’t be so difficult for you; you’ve certainly used enough of your former colleagues and subordinates as disposable stepping stones on your path to power. Do the names of, say, Gordhan Zadaphia, Mayaben Kodnani or Haren Pandya ring a bell?
Once you have got rid of the coterie, re-engage with your party. Start talking to people, including party members. Remember that democracy is about consensus. Even the opposition parties have a role to play; and if you talk to them, discuss things with them, you can even sow dissension among them and prevent them getting together. At the moment, all you’re doing is driving sworn enemies into each other’s arms, to band together against you.
Third, please get rid of the Hindunazi fringe. They do you no good whatsoever, they don’t translate into votes, and they are actively losing you support among the vast majority of Hindus, who are, and will remain, probably the single most liberal set of religious believers in the world. Remember what the people of Bihar told you? Do you want to hear all the people of India say the same thing?
Fourth, kindly get rid of the troll army. Insulting people online does you no good, because the trolls are not only pathetically inept, they are also useless. Till today, only a tiny fraction of Indians go online at all, and of those who do, most don’t even look at news sites or the contents of online debate fora. All these trolls do is tell you that you have a much greater amount of support than you actually do.
Fifth, stop trying to influence the media. You’ve canoodled with them long enough to know that they won’t get you votes. And when they fail to get you votes, your minions insult them, thus ensuring their support to you next time round will be less than wholehearted.
Sixth, please stop spending almost all your time abroad and get down to work in this country. You weren’t elected to spend the next five years going on jaunts at taxpayers’ cost all over the earth. Even your supporters are beginning to look at this behaviour with consternation.
Lastly, learn to be humble. You are not the owner of the nation. Still less are you a Grand Leader of any kind. The more you set yourself up as one, the worse the consequences when you fail.
I say all this in the knowledge that you will do none of these things, and, as such, will doom your party to further degradation and defeat.