The divisions in India did not start with Modi’s BJP, nor were created by him. These were crafted, nurtured and cynically exploited by the Congress
A number of western liberal media have been promoting the eyecatching headline in TIME magazine, ‘Modi Divider in Chief’. It would be convincing if the phenomenon of India’s vote bank, castism, divisions and communalism was a new problem that germinated in the BJP years.
The preferred Indian political party of many western liberal media and in fact ‘intellectuals and academics’ with left leaning, is the Congress party as it appears to talk the talk. It does not walk the talk, but facts are ignored when idealism blinds analysis as is common in any evangelists approach.
The congress understood the score quite early on. It labels itself ‘secular’, claims to give minorities equal rights and boasts of working to improve the lot of ‘lower castes’ and the down trodden. If ever there was a PR genius that could make Satchi and Satchi look amateurs, the Congress propaganda machine is one.
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The divisions in India did not start with Modi’s BJP nor created by him. They have been birthed, nurtured, cynically exploited and entrenched by Congress over the 54 years of rule it enjoyed as a ‘dynastic’ party since 1947. Calling itself democratic, inclusive and party of the people, the Congress is in fact an autocratic political machine run by one family and its sycophantic courtiers.
Congress ruled India uninterrupted for 31 years and brought democracy down on its knees with dictatorial rule in the infamous ‘emergency’. Then after 1978, with brief interlude by other parties, it has ruled almost continuously until 2014 when it rightly became a marginalised party, so much that there was talk of extinction. But like characters in Zombie films, it keeps on rising again.
In all those years, communalism increased manifold, caste became institutionalised like never before in history and drafted as a vote bank, poverty failed to improve, corruption became an acceptable form of transaction patronisingly labelled ‘rent’ money by economists, internal violent conflicts for secession increased from one (Kashmir) to seventeen, the police lost its soul, freely engaging in extrajudicial executions with impunity and in fact introduced new methods of torture that came to be adopted by countries elsewhere; and the Indian Army continued in its role of being an army of a colonising occupation power killing more of its own citizens than any other army in the world.
But while Congress learnt how to master and then fine tune the British colonial strategy of divide and rule, it also deftly handled western liberal countries with words such as secular, unity, championing the underprivileged. Its record in office is anything but exploitative.
Its approach to Indians has been exactly like British colonialists, one of despising the population, its culture, its values and manipulating Indian diversity to hold on to power. The Gandhi family son in law betrayed it when in 2012 said ‘Mango People in a Banana Republic’!
Through its years Congress developed a subtle approach of blaming Indian civilisations, its cultures, its belief systems and its people for the ills of the Indian State, while piously acting as the ‘reformist campaigner’ desperately trying hard and asking for western patience while it brought its people from the dark ages into European enlightenment! Doesn’t say much for a civilisation that goes back 5000 years, invented arithmetic, metallurgy, astronomy, pluralism and much more. In the Congress party’s depiction of Indians, all that Indians have done for 5000 years is managed to weave ‘saris’, cook ‘curries’, create hippy music and build some monuments.
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It is no wonder that the western liberal media found a companion in soul in Congress. Nothing pleases it more than to know that somewhere across the world there is an evangelic liberal trying hard to introduce secular liberal democracy into the alleged dark and primitive culture of its people.
Western academics flocked to promote this and cloned legions of orientalist Indian academics now populating western and Indian universities without critical faculty of their own in their intellectual approach. Like medieval Christian crusades, western liberalism blinds itself or mitigates the excesses of the converts. Some facts that liberals don’t like to face or hear let alone say are:
There was one caste listed on the schedule caste register in 1947. It was a mischief invented on a national scale by British missionaries. By 1980’s the number of people with caste consciousness had increased to the entire Indian population and the schedule list had grown to over 3000 with privileges, disadvantages and vote banks. Congress nurtured and promoted it to harvest it as a toxic political capital! Never before in Indian history have so many community groups been so aware of ‘caste’ or their apparent caste.
Ironically when the one time Congress and its break away Janata Dal had the opportunity to have a leader from ‘lower caste’, Jagjivan Ram, it quickly pushed him sideways! His famous words ring “Iss kambakht mulk mein chamar kabhie prime minister nahin ho sakta hai.” (In this wretched country a cobbler can never become the prime minister). The BJP on the other hand made the son of a tea seller as leader of the country!
Poverty in India was around 80% at end of colonialism, thanks to British exploitation. Sixty years of Congress rule did nothing for the poor except slogans. It managed to reduce it by 10%! Unashamedly, Congress prime minister Manmohan Singh and his Chief Planning Commissioner, economist Montek Singh, used economic jiggery pokery to claim India’s poverty had fallen to 30%. If there ever was a bigger spin to hide a party’s total failure. Poverty by the two ‘Crafty Singhs’ was counted in calories eaten every day, not in terms of shelter, decent meal and clothes, let alone education and standard of living. Neither the UN nor the Noble Committee took their creative economic models of re-categorising poverty as a serious contribution to intellectual ideas.
Human Rights took on a new meaning in the Congress years. Mrs Gandhi, unleashed police brutality unknown before. Mass forced sterilisation, executions of political activists in ‘fake encounters’ and sending the army at a drop of a hat against Indians campaigning for greater rights was a norm. She politicised the army, dismissing Generals who did not agree to kill their own citizens. Under her the Army was used exactly as the colonialists did, against Indians to keep the family in power.
Congress fostered over 80 detention laws in India. And it even suspended the State’s fundamental duty of protecting life and liberty, enshrined in Article 21, by enacting the 59th Amendment of the Constitution in 1987, which was later brought to an end by international pressure.
No less an institution than Oxford University honoured her blood thirsty democracy with a Indira Gandhi Centre for Sustainable Development. Under pressure the name has changed but scholarships continue. Perhaps it should be named Indira Gandhi scholarship for Sustainable Dynasties by Oxford’s liberal dons. Oxbridge, it must not be forgotten, are essentially missionary colleges created at one time to crusade for Christianity but now western liberal hegemony.
Congress cynically manipulated minorities. It created a fear psychosis among Muslims about Hindus. It took the Hindu vote for granted. It managed to make the majority of Indians (Hindus) feel ashamed of their success and freedom! That has backfired as the hapless Hindu, fed up with guilt, has flocked to the BJP. Unfortunately the BJP has fallen into a Congress created narrative of inverse victimhood.
Congress then used the Sikhs as a scapegoat in 1984, portraying them as unpatriotic and galvanised Hindu vote to rally around a national crises that it had manufactured in the first place. Over 60000 Sikhs have been killed under Congress rule.
Congress attacked one of the most sacred places of India, the Harimandir Sahib, revered by Sikhs, Hindus, Buddhists, Jains and even Muslims through history. Yet in 1984 Congress managed to turn a majority of North Indian Hindus against this deeply revered institution!
It was during Congress rule that over 4000 Sikhs were massacred in Delhi with tyres around their necks, butchered with long knives and beaten to death with iron bars, a model of institutional led mass violence that began to be copied around the world. The orgy of genocide was conducted by Congress leaders with help of State resources! Can’t see liberal Oxbridge scholarship permitting a paper on the Congress contribution to art of mass violence.
It is only under Modi BJP that the perpetrators are being brought to court. The silence is interesting from the likes of Guardian, Time, New York Times or even the Labour party when Sajjan Kumar, one of the main Congress leaders who directed the violence was finally incarcerated in 2019. Congress leaders like Tharoor who was Assistant Secretary General of UN, never tried hard to get his party to convict the culprits of 1984 genocide of Sikhs. So much for his UN role as champion of human rights!
As for Kashmir, more Kashmiris have died for their rights under Congress period than non Congress rule. No serious effort was ever made to resolve the matter until BJP.
Even in corruption, Congress is a world beater. While British politicians gained notoriety and dismissed for £100 expense scams, politicians of Congress have been charged with corruption deals of over £100 million a time and managed to be acquitted!
India does not just need to marginalise Congress. It needs to free itself of this vile dynastic machine as colonialism’s zombie attack on Indians. It is as democratic a party as family owned Workers Party of Democratic People’s Republic of Korean (North) is.
Modi and BJP inherited a country already divided, already entrenched in caste and grounded by mass poverty and revelling in corruption. Contrary to what the TIME magazine is suggesting, Modi is not divider in Chief. The country was already sustainably and violently fragmented by Congress into vote banks for seventy years. TIME magazine needs more informed writers!
Modi is a populist because he is from the masses, speaking the language and mind of the ordinary person. Whereas the dynasty Congress has supported is from the super elite, the most upper tier of the upper caste Brahmins of Kashmir who have traditionally been obsessed with their fair colour, and as a caste always avoiding marrying anyone of a dark complexion. What can be more un Indian than the Gandhi family. But then what can be more symbolic of colonialism’s lingering shadow in India than the Gandhi family.
The BJP evolved its politics in a period of angst and desperation under the powerful and oppressive period of Congress raj. Many of its leaders were victims in the infamous emergency. It has not thought out its purpose in the evolution of post-colonial Indian consciousness properly. It is trying to introduce the ‘Indian’ in the Indian State and define it but has gone about the wrong way, translating victimhood into a political ideology.
After the brutal and destructive years of Congress, it is not easy to ignore the BJP membership’s anger. But the BJP needs to do just that. It needs to find and create a narrative that unites the country, respects its civilisation and its peoples and heals the deep divisions, acrimonies, economic dis-equilibriums and State violence. Playing divisions is not a natural path for the average Indian. Besides Congress is a much skilled machine at divide and rule.
The BJP needs to start a serious conversation with the civilisations of India. It needs to rethink the essence and relevance of Hindutva agenda and even words such as Hindu as a national identity. It is right in trying to contest the theologies of both Christianity and Islam in the Indian context. Both these religions are offensive, predatory and as un Indian as can be. It is extremely offensive in the Indian civilisation to call someone else’s prophet, religious leader or Guru as a false prophet and declare someone else’s belief as false or in need of redemption. Both religions carry that as a head banner. India needs to ‘Indianise’ these religions, but violence, hate and forced reconversions is not the appropriate approach.
Contrary to the reports in the media, BJP under Modi is far more open to listening and engage in serious conversation for a better future and dignity for Indians. It is rightly not interested in Indian liberal academics and voices still nursing a crusade to secularise and Europeanise Indian civilisation.
Modi is seen not only as a threat to the western liberal elite of India, but a challenge to western liberal hegemony in the world, who saw India as their greatest asset. It is not surprising that 70 years of bloody divisions and castism are being blamed on 5 years of Modi rule! Why let facts come in the way of idealism!
Despite the incidents of violence and political rhetoric of BJP stalwarts, the real numbers of hate, divisions and State led communal attacks under any single Congress period is manifold more than under Modi. That does not mitigate Modi’s BJP. But given the political landscape the party inherited and the sincere dreams of BJP, Modi is the best hope for a India that can get on the path to realise true Swaraj and a 5000 year old civilisation can offer something more than a curry and hippy music to the world.