Deconstructing Modi Part 1

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“Hospitality. Logicality. Technicality. Practicality. Sociality. Physicality. Legality. Regality. Geniality. Vitality. Totality. Originality. Punctuality. Spirituality. Immortality… WHO’S THE MAN? HE’s THE MAN. NaMo Namo ”

                                                                         –The Namo Youth Anthem [Video]

As a purveyor of popular culture and the general state of things, one of my abiding interests lies in deconstructing extreme popularity.

What is “extremely popular?”

Here is how I look at it. When armies of strangers, with no direct stake in your well-being (your relatives , paid PR and those in it for quid pro quo do not count), spend countless hours of their mortal lives, risking Carpal Tunnel syndrome, ruptured arteries and the very sanity of their souls, verbally or virtually garroting anyone who doubts your absolute awesomeness, or make youth anthems with the words “Last Air Bender” delivered in an accent that makes Mallika Sherawat sound as authentically American as Clint Eastwood, that’s when you have made the cut of extremeness.

If after reading this paragraph,  “Justin Bieber” comes to mind, then you are on the right track. He evokes extreme reactions. But to consolidate the concept further,  here are some more examples of the “extremes”.

Salman Khan is one.

Shahrukh Khan is another. (As an aside, the reason why I never reviewed “Chennai Express” was because I realized that the exercise would be like trying to evaluate a holy book through the prism of rationality and science, something that can only lead to death by blasphemy. “Chennai Express” cannot be judged on the parameters of good cinema or of conventional aesthetics  , because it is purely a religious experience, and hence immune to analysis. Like God speaking from behind a burning bush.)

For a few glorious years, Himesh Reshammiya made the cut of extreme popularity, when blog posts made on the original “kala dadi” from Gujarat by your humble interlocutor, used to get angry comments from people with monikers like HIMESHROCCKKKS who would type in ALL-CAPS, in case you didn’t get the message the first time.

And now Narendra Modi. If you have any doubts about the “culti-ness” of Modi, or as Prabhuji would ask “Koi shaq ya sawaal?”, I would refer you, not just to the Modi youth anthem guys, but also to the body of work by the mellifluous  Rocky Mittal, the Chand Bardai of his age, whose superhit song “Dabanng Hai Modiji Thar Thar Kaanpe Virodi” is a personal favorite of mine.

If this is not a religious following, I don’t know what is.

What makes  Narendra Modi so intriguing is that because he doesn’t quite fit the mould of superstardom  . In India, we have a health disrespect for politicians and the proof of that is the greatest mirror of our collective mind, namely Bollywood, where politicians are almost always negative characters. There have been regional political satraps who have had almost religious followings, (like NTR and MGR) but they were moviestars before they became politicians, and their God-like popularity never spread beyond the hinterland of their movies.

Narendra Modi however was never in the glamour business.  He isn’t camera-friendly in the way the members of the Gandhi family are. He does not have the calm eloquence of a Vajpayee or the physical presence of a late 80s-early 90s Advani. Nor does he instinctively command the respect we in India give to academic authority, which is what benefits Dr. Singh and Dr. Kalam and Kejriwal (he is, after all, an IIT-alum).

One could imagine Modi as a power-behind-the-throne of the Ahmed Patel type , but as a cult figure that brings in the crowds purely on his own appeal, not really so.

But there can be no doubt that he is, the single biggest political brand in India today,  the kind that comes once in a generation ,with millions of passionate followers and equally passionate haters.

And so one has to ask–“Why?” The answer (or rather attempts to discover it) is important not so much because of Modi the man (not that he is not important, being as he might be the future king) but because of what it says about us, as a nation, because after all, our cult figures are nothing but mirrors to our collective souls.

When I use the word “nation” here, I might be a bit more grandiloquent than I should.  I mean the urban middle class, which is where I belong and whose way of thinking I can claim to have some insight into. I have no idea as to how Modi is perceived elsewhere, in the villages for instance, or why he should be popular there and I do not even want to speculate because my experience of being Indian has little in common with those who get six hours of power daily (if at all) and have to walk miles to get potable water. (There are, after all, many Indias)

Some would of course question my basic thesis, namely that Modi is insanely popular among the Indian urban middle class. To be honest, I cannot provide real data to support my claim (and how I wish there was a Cricinfo like site for everything where Statsguru would give all answers). What I base my assertion on is largely anecdotal evidence, based on social media and interactions with people of my age group and there I have seen a large number of Modi-followers whose faith spans the spectrum from “qualified acceptance” to “knees-shaking-Oh-MY-GOD-he-looked-at-me devotion”. (He is the laaaist airbendaaahhhh). At the very least, we can agree that Modi evokes a response across urban India, and that you would be hard-pressed to fine someone with even a slight interest in politics that does not have a strong opinion of him. Which is what being a cult figure is all about.

A point in passing. Pwning social media or the hearts and minds of urban India does not necessarily imply a pathway to the throne of Delhi, since Indian elections aren’t as direct as American ones. A Modi fanboy in Calcutta, no matter how motivated, will have a choice between TMC, CPM, Congress and possibly the crazy independent from Bongo Premik Party whose agenda is to build a lover’s park where couples can make out without being bothered by the cops (in my opinion, the last being the best option available to a rational Calcutta voter). Hence the million Likes on his Facebook page or the ability of his followers to make him trend on Twitter, at will, does not necessarily translate to votes, and that will remain the Modi-team’s biggest headache from now to the elections. (In contrast, Salman and Shahrukh Khan’s social-media muscle does translate to bums in theaters, and by extension revenues in a much more direct manner, as a Shahrukh Khan fanboy in Calcutta *can* see “Chennai Express” five-times and not be forced to choose between Jeet and Dev for the evening show.)

There is a strong body of opinion that states that Modi’s popularity is but a midsummer’s night’s dream, a chimera, a  smoke and mirrors trick of Modi’s evil PR agents, the evil American firm APCO, the designated bugaboo.  Unless they have on their payroll Gandalf, Saruman and Dumbledore, it is highly unlikely that they and just they can be responsible for creating a Modi bubble where none exists. And if personal brand consolidation through carpet-bombing PR was so easy, one would wonder why the Congress would not have been able to do it for their candidate, Rahul Gandhi, given that they have never showed much reticence in splurging, often public money, on promoting their chosen ones. (All those double-page ads in newspapers with faces of Gandhi family members have been staple fare for decades).

This is of course not to say that Modi does not have a well-funded PR machinery working for him but to ascribe his entire popularity on their operations is about as much lazy partisan nonsense as the Modi-fan line that anyone who does not sing “Who’s the glare? Namo Namo? Who’s declared? Namo Namo”  is automatically a Congress stooge, a #chormedia and #dalalmedia representative who has sizzled baby ears for breakfast.

This is again not to imply that there are not Congress stool-pigeons in the mainstream media, who in the garb of neutrality, push the party-line (not that they don’t criticize the Congress, they do, because they have to, a bit here and a bit there, to keep appearing neutral). All I am saying is that anyone who is not a fan of Narendra Modi is not automatically a Rahul Gandhi fanboy, in the same way that saying that “Ek Tha Tiger” is horrible does not imply I have a Shahrukh Khan as DP in my Twitter profile.

And I know this is all complex and confusing.

In the course of a few posts, I hope to analyze, without the blinkers of irrational hate or the pink glasses of unquestioned love, the Modi phenemonenon, the why-s and the wherefores, the narrative and the counter-narrative

I say “hope” because whether I actually follow through with this depends on what we in Jadavpur University would call “enthu”, a complex bio-chemical function that takes as input parameters like motivation, time, mood, once again time (I have books to read, books to write, and a 8 month old daughter to look after, after all).

Let’s see what happens.

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83 thoughts on “Deconstructing Modi Part 1

  1. Arnab da, keep up the enthu. Not that I wish to tell you what to do- but just as an observation, many well-meaning authors have had a cop-out on this topic. There’s no point being apologetic about what you feel is right and bringing in an artificial neutral tone just to prevent accusations of being a ‘fanboy’ or ‘congressi’. It’s an important election- what you write matters.

  2. Dont get all praisy on Modi. A CBI case might await you.

    Nevetheless, Modi led BJP seems to be reaching the escape velocity of forming the next Govt.

  3. Out of curiosity, would you write this if you’re living in India? As you’ve identified, general reaction is either you’re for something or against it, there is very little room for nuances, wouldn’t you be worried about a more visceral/violent reaction? Just wondering about though process when writing articles that are “negative” towards the political class of India

    • I would write this if I was in India. Writing politics is always fraught with risk, but then writing about movies, especially big-ticket big-name ones, also is.

  4. Arnab,

    This point is perhaps central:

    “A point in passing. Pwning [SIC] social media or the hearts and minds of urban India does not necessarily imply a pathway to the throne of Delhi, since Indian elections aren’t as direct as American ones. A Modi fanboy in Calcutta, no matter how motivated, will have a choice between TMC, CPM, Congress and possibly the crazy independent from Bongo Premik Party whose agenda is to build a lover’s park where couples can make out without being bothered by the cops (in my opinion, the last being the best option available to a rational Calcutta voter). Hence the million Likes on his Facebook page or the ability of his followers to make him trend on Twitter, at will, does not necessarily translate to votes, and that will remain the Modi-team’s biggest headache from now to the elections. (In contrast, Salman and Shahrukh Khan’s social-media muscle does translate to bums in theaters, and by extension revenues in a much more direct manner, as a Shahrukh Khan fanboy in Calcutta *can* see “Chennai Express” five-times and not be forced to choose between Jeet and Dev for the evening show.)”

    India has a Single Member District system with plurality elections, where the single largest vote getter wins in each constituency. Thus, Modi/BJP can either win with a landslide or face successful opposition from unexpected quarters. Why? Because a cohesive group of just 25 or 30 percent of voters behind one candidate can get their MP elected over 70 percent of voters behind the 3/4 candidates. Or, Modi may lose badly because smaller parties can form coalitions to achieve the same end, and because in the SMD system (as you point out) one votes based on preferences regarding local candidates and/or parties.

    There are also other important questions, in terms of voter behavior and coalition building: will his popularity translate into votes in BJP held rural areas (with local candidates); what will his nomination do for minority votes for parties in the NDA alliance; and, given his polarizing status, which allies from states with large minority populations will join the governing coalition?

    Anyway, excited to hear your views on the matter.

    Sincerely,
    Vasabjit

  5. As much as I enjoyed reading your blog, so did I enjoy you second book. So when can I expect the next blog and the next book (hope that is a political thriller, given that you have written a beautiful horror genre already!!)

  6. Indians love to hero-worship. As in all cases of hero-worship, rationality gets thrown out of the window. One only needs to see the extreme cults of personality around movie stars to get a feel of this phenomenon. Most hero worshippers are not too keen on analyzing or even knowing facts. This is true for Ganguly fans, Tendulkar fans, Shah Rukh, Salman or Rajni fans, or even fans of President Kalam. In most cases they are woefully ignorant of the intricacies or nuances of these personalities that they are ready to die for or shed blood for, or their achievements, their shortcomings, their backgrounds, and stands on issues.
    With the so-called Modi phenomenon, it is scary because this person is not a sportsperson, or an entertainment and media personality. He is potentially the person who will lead a nation of a billion people, someone who can impact our lives in ways we may not be able to fathom. Should this choice be dependent on hero-worship, or his worshippers?
    Anyone who, in the past one year, has confronted Modi fanboys on the internet with facts that are contrary to their blind deification of the man, and have been labelled as unpatriotic, on the pay of the Congress (a favorite of course), or abused in imaginative language, or simply called Muslim (which I’m sure is a ghastly slur for them), can vouch for the fact that this cult-of-personality, intolerance of criticism and utter disregard of contrasting opinion cannot be good for the country, not when it is coming from 20-somethings in the prime of their youth. Most of these people were even perhaps too young when Modi grew in infamy. They don’t know what transpired, and are not interested in knowing. Supporting Modi is the new “cool”. Abusing Congress or any opponent of Modi is the new cool. Being overtly abusive towards half of the country from the anonymity of the internet is the new cool. They don’t care and don’t even understand the irony, and what it means for Indian democracy that an unelected unrepresentative body is propping up their beloved hero to head the “world’s biggest democracy”.
    One wonders why that is. It is surely not a well thought out, organized “movement” on behalf of the youth. I would love to see any one of these angry, foul-mouthed fanboys list out just 10 points of difference in policy espoused by Modi and his political opponents, or articulate how Modi proposes to steer the country out of its current financial crisis, or how he proposes to lead a coalition of opportunistic corrupt regional parties and still take the gutsy decisions it will take to pull India out of its current misery, especially since the only form of governance he has known is a dictatorial one, surrounded by sycophants and yes-men for over two decades.
    I’m not holding my breath.

    • This is exactly the same thing that’s been in my mind for a while. This is exactly what I feel at the moment. Thank you for expressing.

      • You do realize that your long rant followed by backslaps from your fellow travellers, if done in reverse (i.e. for Modi), would qualify for “trolling”. Of course you don’t.

    • You don’t need 10 point. Just one good weighted point .

      People expect Modi’s regime to be (lot )less corrupt than current one .

      That solves many problems 🙂

    • Shubs, its people like you who have enhanced the personality cult of Modi. You have made sweeping generalizations about his supporters. And its the selective amnesia of yours where you don’t want to remember anything on policy front that Modi has said in numerous forums, which drives people to lose patience with people like you, Sagarika Ghose and so on.

      I’ll try to patiently answer your anxieties but would not spoon feed you. That is because you would not have cared to ask the same questions of the current regime, and on receiving vague generalities as answers, voted for BJP.

      Here is the thing about policy vision of Modi. His central theme is Minimum Govt and Maximum Governance. He has been practicing this Gujarat. Just watch the Network 18 Think India event where he spoke about a wide range of innovative governance practices. At a recent event by Citizens for Accountable Governance in Delhi he spoke of how JNNURM can be better used to bolster the rural economies of areas adjoining an urban centre by including solid waste management under its ambit. He was asked to prepare a report on it by MMS. He prepared it and shared it with him. Then he was told to share it with Montek, but Montek sat over it for a year. Thereafter he decided that he would go ahead anyway and implement it in Gujarat without central aid.

      His views on Infrastructure are very well known and it can be felt in Gujarat today. And please dont give me that shit about Gujarat was already a developed state before him. I can say this with authority since I was born there and still live there and I can see the difference in my lifestyle over last 10 years. For any budding entrepreneur its the best place to be. Even during the recent floods in Baroda and Surat, there wasn’t even a minute of power cut. This is unimaginable elsewhere or 10 years before in Gujarat. I remember people pelting stones at a GEB office when they cut power during 1996 WC quarter final India vs Pak. So Gujarat has certainly come up a long way.

      He is the first politician who has dared to say that Govt should be playing the role of a facilitator and not a provider in every sector. Tell me which other politician will dare to say this. This kind of thinking is very risky(politically) and unpopular in India. But he knows that with the support he has of the people, he must use this mandate to do the right thing. This is what separates him from the others.

      He can give you very minute detail of each of his initiatives because he relentlessly follows them up. Even at the FICCI women’s event he talked about initiatives for women empowerment like waiver of stamp duty for properties registered in names of women etc. But all that media cared to highlight was that he referred them as “Maa” and “Behen”. And the same media criticized him when he criticized “Dehati Aurat” remark of Nawaz Sharif. Such is bias of Indian media.

      I can go on and on on this topic. But you need to understand that its time we rise above this colonial mindset of believing whatever media throws at us. They’re so shameless that to grab TRPs and circulation they come up with “Rambo Act” theory on their front page, and when proven wrong print correction notice on 11th page.

      The same Sagarika Ghose’s channel nominated Akhilesh Yadav as Indian of the year. What does CNN IBN have to say now?

      So please research extensively(specially in case of Modi) before believing the media. This is a very important juncture in India’s history. If we dont grab opportunity today, we might not get it in other 20 years.

      • First of all, irrespective of the Sagarika Ghose barbs, thank you for responding without mentioning that I’m on the pay of the Gandhis/Italians/Vatican…take your pick. I have no idea why you think Sagarika Ghose and I are alike. Is it the bad english?

        There is a lot of myth-making around Modi.
        While I certainly don’t believe that Narendra Modi is the first Indian political leader to espouse small government, let us assume that he’s the first one who has managed to market the mantra to the newbies. Good for him, and for those of us who believe in it too.
        Something like the toilets-not-temples mantra that suddenly is the new unbelievably groundbreaking thought, now that NaMo has said it…:-)

        Similarly, Maharastra, Madhya Pradesh did not just sit around on their asses waiting for government hand-outs to get themselves to where they are today. However, it is not fashionable to speak about the skills of their CMs.

        “He is the first politician who has dared to say that Govt should be playing the role of a facilitator and not a provider in every sector. Tell me which other politician will dare to say this. ”
        Are you serious? You have never heard of this before NaMo made this grand pronouncement?

        But that’s all rhetoric. Development in Gujarat is always talked about, in a positive way, in spite of the many reports on low human development growth indicators. However, there is no doubt that Gujarat is a success story on many fronts. We would like that economic success to be replicated in the rest of the country. But would we like the rest of the Gujarat story to be replicated in the rest of India too? That remains conveniently unsaid, and un-addressed. Would we like a significant section of the population of the country to be, well, invisible, as in Gujarat? Would we like a divisive leader being painted in the colors of a decisive leader? Would we like a dark past to be painted over, pushed under the carpet as an uncomfortable under-belly of the happy-shiny story? What about the sinister side of the Gujarat story? Did it never happen? Once Modi is crowned, is he going to do a Ashoka and renounce his past and his stripes? Judging from what his trusty lieutenants are engaged in as pre-election preparation across much of the country, common sense would ask us to differ.

      • Vadodara or Surat are not the representative of condition of entire Gujarat state, especially the rural regions of Kutch or Saurashtra. I would like to see how Gujarat’s condition has changed when it comes to law, healthcare and environment in last ten years.

        When a gun trotting politician like Radadiya defects from Congress and lands in BJP, it says a lot of Modi’s stance on corruption and lawlessness (assuming that at state level, policies of BJP and Modie are interchangeable).

        Most of the major municipalities in Gujarat’s cities are held by BJP and I don’t think lives of citizen’s have been altered by having BJP at its helm

  7. Great topic for discussion but an underwhelming first part, I am afraid. Long and meandering, not sure what exactly you intended to say. Will keep coming back though for the remaining parts, hopefully it picks up steam from the next post onwards.

  8. As with most of your blogs, a very good post. The part that intrigues me most is the pseudo-neutral journalists. What exactly is their motivation for bias, is something that I have often wondered about. Rabid Modi fans accuse that money/power/favors are their motivation, but I don’t believe that. True they may curry favors by being in proximity to powers-that-be, but I don’t think the likes of Rajdeep Sardesai’s are driven by that. The money and power are just icing on the cake.

    To wit, even before 2004, when NDA was in power and it seemed like Cong is down in doldrums, they were very much anti-NDA. The likes of Murli Manohar Joshi were criticized (rightly) for interfering in the running of IIMs and IITs. (The same people and media kept their mouths firmly shut when Arjun Singh screwed them in even worse way, so I don’t buy that they actually did it out of their love for IITs/IIMs). That’s just one example, but I always felt an inherent anti-establishment bias then. But when UPA came to power and raped pretty much every institution – IITs, IIMs, AIIMS, CAG, CBI, the protest these media raised was much much less. So it is not anti-establishment that drives them. The only hypothesis that I could come up with was that they’re anti-RSS / anti-hinduism. It’s probably what passes for “liberal” thinking in India.

    • @ nobody
      Your hypothesis about the mainstream Indian media’s bias towards Congress + “anybody who uses the word secularism” could be right.
      That “they’re anti-RSS / anti-hinduism ..It’s probably what passes for “liberal” thinking in India”, is also the conclusion that I came up with, while dealing with the media as one of the spokesperson for VHP- America.

      Most of the media people come from a small cross-section of the society.
      Upwardly mobile or rich urban English educated Indians with degrees from different “humanities” departments of Universities (often from Metroes).
      1. This section of the population by virtue of its background inherently has a left of center bias (as have most of these humanities departments). Anything that has the term “Hindu” attached to it, in their opinion cannot be good, and has to be backward.
      If they find anything good, they quickly dis-associate it from Hindu dharma, and use the generic word “spiritual” to represent it. The only thing that makes any dent in some of their opinion is if the same thing is presented by a “white man”.
      2. They (the secular media) and for that matter most Indians, completely lack any theological and philosophical knowledge of Hindu dharma. On the other hand they have a decent understanding of Judeo-Christian-islamic fundamentals, and are quick to associate them with the generic representative term “religion”. So in their mind, they bracket “Hindu dharma” in the same paradigm definition of the word”religion”, and feel that all the ills of the Judeo-christian-islamic world by extension must be associated with Hindus too.
      3. the steady incentivization of anti-Hindu agendas through monetary and mobilization benefits from different out-of-country sources, adds to the problem.
      All in all, its not just the money that convinces the types of Sakarika Ghosh and Burkha Dutts and Shekhar Guptas and Singhvis to go anti -NDA. It is a heady mix of ideological disassociation, education and upbringing and strategically offered incentives, that makes it extremely difficult for the Hindutva icons like Modi to get into their good books.

      • The ones who need to learn about Hindu dharma are the Sangh Parivar. Just a copycat of the Nazis and the fascists. No hint of sarva dharma sambhava there

  9. Arnab,

    I will not question the significance of your opinion, nor will I judge it. It would suffice to say that your opinion is based on what you read and hear in US. If the internet wouldn’t have existed, armchair pundits like you would be going through an existential crisis too.

    “All I am saying is that anyone who is not a fan of Narendra Modi is not automatically a Rahul Gandhi fanboy”

    This statement of yours highlights everything wrong with the Indian deomcracy. We have too many fence-sitters, too many voters who do not deserve the right to vote. The fact of the matter is that we have two choices in Modi and Rahul, and we have to choose. Isnt that what voting and elections are all about?

    People have been cheering the introduction of the “None of these” option on the EVMs. But then, that button is there because of us. We refuse to participate in politics and governance, and then we want everything to be modified according to our wishes. We deserve the current breed of politicians because we made it too easy for them. However, the brave thing to do would be to chin up, accept our mistake, and choose.

    P.S: Kejriwal is a Ramon Magsasay award winner, an ex-IAS officer, and a RTI activist. But you mention him as an IIT alum. Isnt it about time to get rid of the complex, Sir?

    • You make a very valid point about fence-sitters. Indian voters will be faced with two choices – BJP (led by Modi) and Congress (led by RG). About time people make up their mind.

    • Aanchal,

      I am one of the “NO MODI”, “No Rahul” brigade, and I don’t believe we have just two choices. Don’t make this look like an American Election. We have multiple choices and these multiple choices are genuinely good. The best part of Indian democracy is choosing a local representative who i can talk to…if not everyday, at the very least once a year.

      What my choice does in forming the central government, is his/her choice and I cannot deny him that right since i have also loaded him with the responsibility of my well being. Neither you, nor Modi, nor the Hon. Supreme Court can make me forgo this freedom, this luxury to choose from multiple options.

      India is not a homogenous country, you cannot expect BJP to have solid roots in Arunachal, just like you cannot expect Congress to bother anyone in Gujarat.

  10. One Risk for Modi which the Congress feels is bst way to tackle him in long term is to ‘keep MMS running now and help creat a supernova of expectations from Modi’. Let him form the govt after elections . Then hoping he may not be able to fullfill most of wild expectations of the fanboys he will be swpet away in subsequent elections. Till then Rahul baba can complete his high school and learn to speak properly.

  11. You’ve become way more cautious in your posts. There’s disclaimer after disclaimer. That’s not like your articles of old, where you just straight out expressed your thoughts. That’s what a blog should be.
    Anyways, now that you’ve devoted the first blog on this point to disclaimers, hopefully the following ones will be straight from the top pf your head.

  12. @ nobody
    Your hypothesis about the mainstream Indian media’s bias towards Congress + “anybody who uses the word secularism” could be right.
    That “they’re anti-RSS / anti-hinduism ..It’s probably what passes for “liberal” thinking in India”, is also the conclusion that I came up with, while dealing with the media as one of the spokesperson for VHP- America.

    Most of the media people come from a small cross-section of the society.
    Upwardly mobile or rich urban English educated Indians with degrees from different “humanities” departments of Universities (often from Metroes).
    1. This section of the population by virtue of its background inherently has a left of center bias (as have most of these humanities departments). Anything that has the term “Hindu” attached to it, in their opinion cannot be good, and has to be backward.
    If they find anything good, they quickly dis-associate it from Hindu dharma, and use the generic word “spiritual” to represent it. The only thing that makes any dent in some of their opinion is if the same thing is presented by a “white man”.
    2. They (the secular media) and for that matter most Indians, completely lack any theological and philosophical knowledge of Hindu dharma. On the other hand they have a decent understanding of Judeo-Christian-islamic fundamentals, and are quick to associate them with the generic representative term “religion”. So in their mind, they bracket “Hindu dharma” in the same paradigm definition of the word”religion”, and feel that all the ills of the Judeo-christian-islamic world by extension must be associated with Hindus too.
    3. the steady incentivization of anti-Hindu agendas through monetary and mobilization benefits from different out-of-country sources, adds to the problem.
    All in all, its not just the money that convinces the types of Sakarika Ghosh and Burkha Dutts and Shekhar Guptas and Singhvis to go anti -NDA. It is a heady mix of ideological disassociation, education and upbringing and strategically offered incentives, that makes it extremely difficult for the Hindutva icons like Modi to get into their good books.

  13. Arnab,
    Have you ever given thought to a readers of this blog who feel ” jivan Safal” if they are FIRST in comment list without expressing any opinion ? Arnt they like NaMo followers?

  14. Greatbong says “You do realize that your long rant followed by backslaps from your fellow travellers, if done in reverse (i.e. for Modi), would qualify for “trolling”. Of course you don’t.”

    No, I don’t actually. I don’t accuse anybody of trolling. So forgive me for saying I don’t see your point.
    I just pointed out that Modi fanboys have no regard for dissenting opinion and always respond to criticism by abusing the messenger. What’s the relation between that and your comment?

    • The point is the generalization. I can say that you and the other commentors who are patting your back are exhibiting the same pack mentality that you so despise. I have seen this time and again. When those dubbed “liberal” criticize, it is a civil discourse and point of dissent. When others do it, it is abuse. Talk about “victim card”.

      • Yes, I did generalize. But you are perpetuating a false equivalency. Either you have never been on the receiving end of fanboy abuse and hounding (as narendramodiplans.com found out to its misfortune), or you’re genuinely unaware of the extent of this online phenomenon today. As you yourself mentioned, being critical of what Modi stands for does not imply being a bhakt of Rahul or Sonia Gandhi. Now if only you could explain this to the NaMo crowd, I would take your point about civil discourse being a two-way street.

        Of course there are those with whom one can have an actual conversation about Modi, case in point being commentator Ram above. But they are few and far between.

      • I have been at the receiving abuse of fanboy abuse from people who have your viewpoint. Trala. Welcome and smell the roses. But of course, no one can smell their own roses, as the saying goes. I have lost assignments, had bad reviews of my book, and have even had unpleasant experiences at my own book events, because I do not subscribe to certain “correct” opinions. Finally, your sanctimonious patronizing (“You may not know what happens on the online world”) is noted with much amusement.

      • Arnab-bhai, one does not expect to win a snarkiness contest with you on your own blog…:-) And though I’m a long-time reader, and have seen you unnecessarily take on commentators before, I’m a little surprised at the hostility…:-)

      • Do give me a list of “necessary” and “un-necessary” and I shall do my best to follow it on *my blog*. And in case you didn’t notice, it’s you who come across as hostile and intolerant to contrary opinion, while accusing others of being the same. Now take that double shot of irony, kindly.

      • I’m sorry that you misunderstood. ‘Unnecessary’ merely because for years you have floated topics which have generated heated exchanges and all shades of opinion. Your blog has been a platform, but your personal leanings towards any side has not, in most cases, colored the debates.
        That’s why being called a troll by the author of this blog while simply expressing my opinion on his comment space is, shall I say, ‘surprising’.
        Apologies for being verbose again. I don’t want to hijack the discussion.

      • Greatbong, unfortunately, this time its you who’s being a little hostile to one of your readers. Honest option, and no, I don’t know Shubs, neither agree completely to his original post. But, merely agreeing to something doesn’t make one “troll” and “fellow traveller.”

        Gah, man, what happened to your old quirky humorous best? 😉

  15. Apologies to Greatbong for another “long rant”. However, I have learnt from the legends of your blog’s commentspace (such as Rishi “Utsav” Khujur, YourFan, etc.) over the years, who have rivaled some of your posts with the verbosity and wisdom of their comments…:-) Not that I can claim to ever match their supreme awesomeness…

    I think the question of media bias in India is essentially a red herring. It’s a “victim card” played when all else fails. If a media personality shuts down a logical line of reasoning by abusing his/her position as the presenter of a “show’, I can understand these claims of media bias. However, I have hardly seen these anecdotal allegations backed by any kind of facts. Most claims are from people who live in the US, including some of my very close friends. Their main source of information on this issue? YouTube. I think that explains a lot.
    Again, I know it’s fashionable to claim media personalities are on the pay of this or that political party. But Arnab should know better. He gets called out by both his right and the left leaning readers for bias!
    As an example, during the Muzaffarnagar riots, as the embers of the fires still smoldered, a politician as seasoned as Subramaniam Swamy sat in the studios of CNN-IBN and declared how Muslims should realize that Jats always gave back as good as they got. Now that may be his opinion. Heck, that may even be true! But was it prudent for him, as a national level politician, to say this on national tv, at a time when people were killing each other over smaller and more trivial statements and rumors? I certainly don’t think so. And I know dissent from the popular narrative is not the in-thing on this blog space. So when he was chided by the show’s anchor for making irresponsible statements, I’m sure the conspiracy theorists saw it as media bias. And that’s just a small example of what feeds this kind of victimhood.

    One reason may be that the right in India does not have its own media space, other than a few print publications, which are frankly speaking, are in urgent need of moving to the 21st century, and are not what get the Facebook and Twitter generation going. So the only outlet they have is to demonize any media house that does not reflect their school of thought.
    In the US, Fox and MSNBC are the ones with overt political leanings and they are caricatures. Nobody takes them seriously. The result is that since calling MSNBC “left leaning” only elicits a “duh!”, leaving the right to label everything from CBS and ABC to CNN and the BBC (let’s not even start on Al Jazeera in the US!!!) as leftist channels instead. It’s the dumbing down of all rational debate. Any point of view, however reasoned, is labelled, tinted and demonized as being based on sinister conspiracies. And it’s sad that this phenomenon has made a grand entrance in India as well.

    • Shubs,

      When there are two most probable options namo or raga naturally any statement against one is taken as an endorsement of another if it is not then you are taking a middle stand where you do not endorse anybody. So I want to ask what is the significance of your point is it the option NOTA. An opinion has to be expressed by covering both positive and negative aspects along with your logical stand on the issue if you have some spine to express and not criticize just for the sake of it. Namo has the ability to deliver and most importantly can articulate his achievements, issues, connect to people which I think is the main reason for his following. Expecting a person to be a saint, deliver, communicate and all other things is an exercise of dreams. Yes namo has his negative aspects so does raga while they have their positive points. Playing a victim card has been fashionable these days. I ask you why are you writing your opinion rather keep it to yourself when you know/fear it is going to result in backlash . Is it just to show that you are more rational than most people?

      • Yes, perhaps I am taking a middle stand and not endorsing either of these two options. My dislike of Modi due to his track record is perhaps much much more than my dislike of Rahul Gandhi because of his non-achievements. Does that indicate a lack of “some spine”? My opinion HAS to be expressed. Else the loudest narrative is taken to be the accepted one! There is a lot of generalization about the so-called “urban middle class” and their wholehearted endorsement of Modi. I’m pointing out that that is a myth.

    • “Any point of view, however reasoned, is labelled, tinted and demonized as being based on sinister conspiracies. And it’s sad that this phenomenon has made a grand entrance in India as well.”
      I’m not sure if the phenomenon of shouting down dissent or labeling it as conspirator is new to Indians, whats new is the access to mass media and social media… Indians have always prided their lack of ‘rational thinking’. We have always been argumentative and cynical of change – nitpicking kejriwal for his devious political designs while completely over looking a completely disastrous alternative in Sheila Dixit, for instance.

  16. Greatbong. As someone pointed, dont sacrifice truth in order to appear neutral. Do provide genuine shortcomings of Modi. And do answer whether there is any alternative to Modi.

      • Shivraj Singh Chouhan doesn’t have personality befitting a PM. He hasn’t marketed himself effectively either to BJP cadres or to the supporters of BJP. If you are merely shooting in the dark, then why not Arun Shourie? You need to be a realist..a PM candidate needs a certain momentum that will propel him to the top post. Modi has succeeded in creating the momentum for himself, others have not..

  17. This was kind of a nice appetizer. Waiting with bated breath for actual deconstruction. I have been a regular on your blog. You are fun, profound and thought provoking. Even though the next article which you are contemplating inspires very strong emotions. Please do publish it. and there might be a storm for a while. It will pass and I/we will still come back here to enjoy your blog.

  18. A ki abar SRK elo kotheke:o except him nothing seems to be complete, BTW Chennai Express has grossed 424 Crore worldwide so far and yet to be released many parts of the world:), I agree its not among SRK’s best films but it emrgd as the hurricane at Boxoffice..ki r kora jabe, a film like Chennai Express is enuff to bcom a monster hit with his Holi epic stature..narayan narayan as KRK wd say;)

  19. U r right about CE, AS its SRK film and as bcoz law of physics doesn’t apply to him, so just watch n enjoy 🙂 bye happy pujo to all

  20. Arnab, whats wrong with fanboyism for Modi? Most of those who look at this kind of fanboyism with contempt (stand up comedians, for example) are not above fanboyism themselves. Many of them are fanboys of American TV series like Breaking Bad or movie directors like Nolan. What’s the point of being of being a fanboy of a fictional character like Batman? Why is hero-worshiping a movie director better than hero-worshiping a politician who has at least delivered the goods?

    Unlike fanboyism of movie stars or directors which is completely useless activity, fanboyism for Modi has changed the political landscape of India for good. Considering the extent of opposition Modi faced in his own party, it would have been impossible for him to become BJP’s PM candidate without the voracious support he got from millions of his worshipers. The true horror of the scenario of LKA becoming the default PM candidate is that it would ruined any chances of BJP coming to power at the center and with congress struggling to gain even 100 seats, the third front consisting of the likes of Mulayam Yadav &, Mamta Banerjee would have been the frontrunners to form govt in 2014.

    Shouldn’t we be grateful that Modi’s online army has succeeded in pushing LKA off the center stage and have helped revival of BJP which is extremely important for the formation of a stable govt in center in 2014? If the nation gets a halfway decent govt in 2014, the credit for that would go to Modi’s irrational, fanatical and passionate army of supporters, not the cynical fence-sitters.

    To put it other way – If you aim for stars, you might at least hit the moon. The fence-sitters who see themselves as realists and mock the naivety of dreamers, are never the ones who contribute to changing anything. The Modi-bhakts may be stupid in aiming for stars but at least they are forcing a change.

    • So what you’re essentially saying is that Modi fanboyism exists. It is irrational and sycophantic, jettisons facts, creates a cult of personality in a political system which is supposed to be based on ideas and participation (ironically in the exact same mold as that of Indira Gandhi), dumbs down rational discussion by shouting down dissenting ideas, creates myths, repeats untruths until they are taken as accepted facts, tries to shut down debate on negative aspects of the personality by attacking the questioner’s motives. But it is still a force for good in the “world’s largest democracy”?

      • And what you’re essentially saying is that because Modi fanboyism exists, we should not consider a more competent leader for PM and instead elect a foolish child who tears ordinances and gets reprimanded by mommy as PM of a nation of over 1 billion people.

        Whats more irrational – a leader working up his way to the top spot or a dumb child born with silver spoon in his mouth being given the top spot by sycophants around him who parrot his every word and change their opinion based on what the stupid kid says. If anyone epitomizes the cult of personality, it is Rahul Gandhi. At least, Modi has detractors within his party..you won’t be able to find a single congressman who has guts to say a word against anyone from the family.

        Now you might say in your defense, like Arnab, that anyone who is not a fan of Narendra Modi is not automatically a Rahul Gandhi fanboy. In the same way, anyone who is not a fan of Rahul is not automatically a Modi fanboy. There exists a huge class of voters who are not delusional bhakts of Modi but would vote for him because they consider him a better PM material. I exist in this category of voters..My choice has not been influenced by the fanboys, but I recognize their contribution in helping Modi become PM candidate.

        All charismatic politicians have fanboys..Didn’t Obama had an army of irrational fanboys who saw him as a messiah of peace and even gave him Nobel Peace Prize? Why get agitated over poor fanboys of Modi when irrational fanboyism exists at the highest levels including the Nobel committee?

      • “And what you’re essentially saying is that because Modi fanboyism exists, we should not consider a more competent leader for PM and instead elect a foolish child who tears ordinances and gets reprimanded by mommy as PM of a nation of over 1 billion people.”

        And THIS is where this discussion always takes off on a tangent.

        Shekhar, you believe that this election is a personality clash between Modi and Rahul Gandhi, and this is how Modi’s party wants to play it. There are many, many people in the country who don’t. They consider this election to be about India, and do not want a leader as divisive as Modi to lead their country. Nor do they want a leader as inexperienced as Rahul Gandhi to lead their country.

        The reason this fact cannot be digested or understood by “many” Modi supporters, is because to them this election is less about India and more about their hero vs their perceived villain.

        Of course Obama had an army of fanboys, still does. Do you listen to Bill Maher – the biggest and loudests fanboy there is.
        But at least, the worst these people could do by electing him to power would be to put blind faith in his inexperience. The worst Modi’s fanboys could do by electing him to power would be to take the architect of one of the darkest periods of modern India and put him at the helm of affairs of the whole country.
        There is a difference.

      • “The worst Modi’s fanboys could do by electing him to power would be to take the architect of one of the darkest periods of modern India and put him at the helm of affairs of the whole country. There is a difference.”

        This is just your stupid opinion..and your opinion regarding Modi’s role in Gujarat’s riots is no better or worse than genuflecting opinions of Modi’s fanboys. For me, those riots were no worse than any of the hundreds of communal riots that took place post-independence. If the riots made that period one of the darkest periods of modern India, than every year post independence during which riots took place were dark periods of modern history. Singling out just one tragic event that happened over a decade back and was never repeated is not very rational of you, and for me, you are more irrational than the worst fanboys of Modi.

        People like you shouldn’t be talking about democracy because obviously you don’t accept the opinions of majority dismissing their views as cultish while you consider your own foolish opinions as exalted.

      • “There are many, many people in the country who don’t. They consider this election to be about India, and do not want a leader as divisive as Modi to lead their country. Nor do they want a leader as inexperienced as Rahul Gandhi to lead their country.”

        There are many, many, many, many more people in the country who don’t consider Modi as a divisive leader. (Firstpost poll has given BJP/Modi nearly 90% votes, while Congress barely gets 7%). I never considered Sonia or MMS as my leader and for me they are terribly divisive. (frequently engineering communal riots, dividing people on caste basis, blatantly pro-muslim, anti-hindu..the list of their divisive policies is endless).

        What makes your opinion on Modi more weighty than my opinion?

        “The reason this fact cannot be digested or understood by “many” Modi supporters, is because to them this election is less about India and more about their hero vs their perceived villain”

        That just your dumb perception. For me, a Modi supporter, this elections are about steering India in the right direction so that growth and employment can be revived Vs misgovernance and massive looting by congress buffoons and crooks. Modi, for me, is just the right man in the right position, who has successfully channelized the mass disenchantment with congress misgovernance and yearning for good administration, in his favor. If he becomes PM and is able to set things right, I will continue rooting for him, if he fails, we will again start our search for a better, more competent leader.

      • Shekhar,

        In my opinion, Modi and Sajjan Kumar are in the same mold, tainted by their complicity in extremely violent events and evoke the same disgust among many, definitely including me. I’m sure you will not support the politicians involved (and aren’t they always) in the “any of the hundreds of communal riots that took place post-independence” for the candidature of PM of this country; how is Modi any different? Because he’s been at the helm of affairs of one of the more affluent states in the country for more than a decade (according to the narrative of Modi supporters at least)? However, while Sajjan Kumar is (rightly) labelled a criminal by most, Modi is lionized for similar crimes by his followers, with the common refrain being that this “most able administrator that India has to offer” was only able to “helplessly” watch as the Chief Minister of his state, no less, as 2000 people were slaughtered under his watch. I’m sorry, but this is where our opinions radically differ (and thanks for letting me know you consider mine to be “stupid” and “foolish”…:-) ). 2002 was NOTHING LIKE the “hundreds of communal riots that took place post-independence”, simply based on the brazenness with which this individual conducted himself during the event, and has ever since. Not the India I want for my children. Thank you.

      • “2002 was NOTHING LIKE the “hundreds of communal riots that took place post-independence”, simply based on the brazenness with which this individual conducted himself during the event, and has ever since. Not the India I want for my children. Thank you.”

        Why have you picked the foot-soldier, Sajjan Kumar, and not the Commander-in-chief Rajiv Gandhi, who famously said “When a big tree falls, earth is bound to shake” and allowed Sajjan and his goons to kill thousands of Sikhs for nearly a week. As far as Modi is concerned, he phoned CM’s of 3 congress-ruled states and requested them to send armed forced stationed there and was refused by all three of them. If Modi desired ethnic cleansing of Muslims, like Rajiv Gandhi he could have refused to take any action and allowed Bajrang Dal goons full freedom to carry out the killing instead of desperately trying to bring army in the state to stop the violence.

        Whats the basis of your charges against Modi? Has a single piece of evidence been found against him despite a decade of witch-hunting against him? Modi, may or may not have been involved in the riots, but until I find direct evidence implicating him for riots, I’ll give benefit of doubt to him, especially considering the way he has marginalized communal organizations like Bajrang Dal and VHP in Gujarat.

      • Shubs,

        “But at least, the worst these people could do by electing him to power would be to put blind faith in his inexperience.”

        Did not expect the above from non committal and critical shubs reminds me of sanjay jha on tv 🙂

  21. Hello Arnab,

    Visited your blog after almost a year and what is the subject of the post I come across – someone as divisive as Mr. Modi. I find this a good take on Modi and the myth surrounding him – a bit surprising though as it comes from your keyboard – though I shall await subsequent installments, especially exploring political options beyond the binary of NaMo and Rahul-Baba (though that may be a bit off tangent), again something most people of your readership constituency can’t conceive.

    Just a word on biased media, something on which you wrote in context of Sagarika Ghose’s “Internet Hindus” comment as well. Labeling the English media of India as pushing the Congress line seems, to me, missing the woods for the trees. The Indian English media is left-liberal at best and I guess, so is the bureaucracy (atleast the IFS and IAS) because of their background – something on which one of the above comments from a Utsav Chakrabarti, apparently a spokesperson of VHPA, is spot on. Liberal-bashing is a fun pastime for the so-called “nationalists” though most such ‘nationalists’ and “India-first” wallahs will stoop to that despicable habit of making personal attacks and are incapable of any rational debate. (This is not a generalisation and there is no denying that such specimens exist on the liberal side as well but I am referring to law of averages here).

    While we will never know what trajectory India would have taken had the right, Conservatives been at the helm immediately after a few crucial decades after independence. But can we atleast agree that Modi is no Rajaji or JB Kriplani or Minoo Masani and neither is today’s BJP qualified to fill the space which Swatantra Party tried to almost 60 years ago? I personally feel that it is precisely the left-liberal nature of the establishment why we haven’t turned into a Hindu Pakistan, to use another favourite catchwords of the liberals.

    Finally, many congratulations for fatherhood and my best wishes for Bijoya to you and your family.

    Regards,
    Rajarshi

  22. Pingback: Deconstructing Modi Part 2 | Random Thoughts of a Demented Mind

  23. Rajarshi,
    Here is point 2 from my comment I wrote before,
    2. They (the secular media) and for that matter most Indians, completely lack any theological and philosophical knowledge of Hindu dharma. On the other hand they have a decent understanding of Judeo-Christian-islamic fundamentals, and are quick to associate them with the generic representative term “religion”. So in their mind, they bracket “Hindu dharma” in the same paradigm definition of the word”religion”, and feel that all the ills of the Judeo-christian-islamic world by extension must be associated with Hindus too.

    Your previous comment, where you mentioned me, reminded me of this point.

    • I am a Hindu by birth, and no, I harbor no secret inferiority complex or self-hate towards myself or my co-religionists, as will no doubt be diagnosed by some…:-). I’m also rational and I don’t believe glorified fairy tales of ANY religion are anything more than interesting fiction, no matter what moral or metaphysical lesson they attempt to teach. And no, I don’t think the average Hindu lives on an exalted moral plane which prevents him from occasionally delving into human-kind’s more baser instincts, in the same way that his “Judeo-christian-islamic” brothers do.
      While one understands the complete twisting of the term secular in India by both the left and the right, I am thankful that the Indian media by and large does not take sides. Of course, this will be disputed by the above commentator…has been for years. But no matter how shrill the accusations about riots not being covered because they aren’t from the “correct community”, or forced conversions not being reported on because they aren’t to the “correct side”, I don’t believe there is any grand conspiracy since independence to undermine any “religion” in the country, nothing other than pure incompetence. And of that we have plenty. Without the grand conspiracy angle, certain political schools of thought have really got nothing more to offer. Hence these accusations are not going to go away. They are part of the political fabric of the country now.

      • Can you explain how the right has completely twisted the term secular? (and no I dont mean the spelling as in sickular etc., I hope you realize what I am asking and reply to the question in a couple of lines.)

  24. A few thoughts, which your two articles have raised for me:

    — At the risk of being modeled, according to your schema, as a congenital Modi-basher, I must say that I abhor the person and much of what he stands for. Before Feb/March 2002 I did not. Fact is, Modi wears the killings as a badge of honour, and has usually simply refused to answer questions on the matter, and when–when quizzed by foreign press–he does ‘open up’, Modi refers to 2002 through bizarre analogies, which call into question, at best, the person’s sincerity. Point is, for myself, and many others, Modi will remain tainted unless acts meaningfully in a way consistent with someone truly sorry for what happened (>2000 deaths is very serious, even by Indian standards). Lest one jumps to certain conclusions, it is for the same reason that Sajjan Kumar will remain tainted by 1984, no matter what the judicial outcomes are: the man’s bravado and absence of regret is undeniable.
    What I would like to know is through what logics have a substantial number of Indians–who are not true blue ‘Garv se kaho hum Hindu hain’ crowd–come to believe in and support Modi despite 2002? Is it simply that 11 years have passed, and our collective memory has faded?

    — You’re very right, in my opinion, in your critique of the Modi-as-PR-hype narrative. Political identities aren’t unilinear, but surely the blitz does have some effect: the Gujarat-story, whatever that is, has been rid of its problematic aspects (poverty, cronyism, ecology etc) and has been centered around shiny highways and 24-hr electricity. The parallel here would be Sheila Dixit’s Delhi, where again you hardly have powercuts now and there are all kinds of flyovers, but even though she’s been the CM longer than Modi, there is no ‘Delhi-model’ to speak of, even accounting for the fact that its a smaller state. In short, I won’t dismiss the PR strategy entirely, just as it cannot be singularly deployed to explain Modi’s rise.

    — Finally, I think a deconstruction of the ‘Indian urban middle class’ (IUMC hereon), which forms a basis of your analysis, is in order. What do we know about it? Is there any kind of general logic that holds it together? By definition it simply refers to a supposed group of people in cities with reasonable, if not secure, income and particular patterns of consumption that have intensified since 1991. Does this imply a political outlook? Can it be spoken of as–pardon my use of evil-Marxist vocabulary, ‘class for itself’?
    What about the geography of the IUMC (Punjabi, Tamil, Bengali, Bihari etc UMC)? Its religious belonging (Muslim, Hindu, Christian, atheist etc UMC)? Age of the members? And very importantly, their caste (does the Dalit UMC have same political outlook as the Brahmin UMC?)? Even a brief interaction with Municipal sweepers (lower caste) and security guards (usually Brahmin) is enough to shake the foundations of this ‘chaotic concept’. What all this may mean is that the Urban Middle Class is as much a specific discourse as Modi’s popularity within it is: it may well be true that to a question ‘who would you like to see as PM’, more socially mobile urban residents answer Modi–but that is to be shown and disaggregated, rather than be taken for granted. It may very well be the foundational myth on which the Modi story is hinged.

    • Dear Rohit

      My problem with modi critics like you is not that you take contrary position but how little appeal to facts you tend to make (>2000 people killed – an old canard. No mention of the causes belli – congressi haji bilal burning train full of women and children – an old trick).

      The other problem with a nihilist like you is, you tend to offer no reasonable way out of the conundrum. When pinned on rahul gandhi, you will most likely scoff nervously to point out that you are not that bat shit crazy. You may then rattle out names like Chidu, Antony (even nilekani) etc. knowing fully well that they will be dysfunctional puppets in the hands of madame thus perpetuating the current farce. That leaves us with the 3rd front which until very recently feted the likes of lalu yadav with no shame. Lalu yadav, a ‘secular’ darling decimated an entire generation of biharies. In fact, his effect on ‘minorities’ was so terrible that flourishing communities of keralites, tamilians and bengalies which had lived in Patna for many decades(even centuries), were by the end of 90s scattered like dusts, atomized to the suburbs of other prosperous regions unable to muster the caste based numbers needed for political security and earn enough money for social security due to cliff diving economy. Some of them were forced to sell their properties on depressed rates by caste based thugs (chatravas goons , kidnapping mafia) and then move to less than palatable conditions in other expensive cities. If their generation and their children viscerally hate such ‘secular’ politicians, will you be surprised?

      I guess, your comparison of gujarat and delhi is either meant for jest or a reflection of your massive intellectual dishonesty. vital organs of delhi administration are hardly controlled by sheila unlike gujarat . delhi gobbles up disproportionately large amount of tax money from the rest of india. it is deliberately kept as a showpiece city since all MPs reside there and receive foreign dignitaries. Sitting smugly on such mammoth money in the midst of the densest hindi speaking population region in the world, (with stellar train connectivity), its ‘development’ is as assured as the rise of sun every morning.

      To end, the most amazing this about people like you is the amazing amount of discredited cliches you like to trot out. Like sajjan vs modi. lol! for a start, please do a google search of the video where modi takes on diggy as to why his repeated emergency request of extra force from MP fell on deaf ears on those fateful days. or the video , where immediately after godhra, he goes on television asking evey gujarati to maintain peace inspite of the most barabric acts of instigation by the congressis led by haji bilal.

      • On my first point, I don’t think there’s much room for debate given that you’re in denial of established facts corroborated by independent observers: eg the number of those killed (‘canard’: what? even BJP leaders don’t deny the bare facts, though their interpretation is different: ie. in reaction etc). If you think Modi isn’t responsible for the killings–if only as the CM of a state in which they took place–then by that same logic you cannot cite Akhilesh or Nitish or anyone else for that matter responsible for anything wrong that may happen in the states they govern.
        Also please do not ascribe nihilism where none exists. I do have ideological differences with BJP, but I don’t abhor their national leadership as I do Modi. They’re politicians that one can have reasonable discussions with and even agree with on many points: its just that I don’t want such a divisive and ruthless (forget outsiders, ask Guj leader?, Sanjay Joshi, LK Advani) person as Modi to lead our country.

        Second point, Delhi–it was merely illustrative, my friend, as my point was that PR is definitely part of the current discourse, and cannot be dismissed as Arnab had done. But, ok, what about Himachal then, which does as well and better than Gujarat in social development, despite being poorer overall? And it started out way way behind Guj, if you compare the early 1990s: Guj has been more prosperous throughout. Sure, Modi+BJP have streamlined governance and spent on infrastructure–no one is denying it–but it comes with costs: religious polarization, tribal marginalization, environmental damage etc. Problem is no debate on these matters has been possible here because its the ‘Modi/Gujarat Model’, and hence, unquestionably the truth and unmediated good.

        As for Congress, I don’t hold any brief for them: they’re massively corrupt, cynical and even communal (when it benefits them), so please don’t waste ink on that party.

  25. Pingback: Modi and the ‘Urban Middle Class’ | Rikshaa Republic

  26. eagerly awaiting the series of posts. you have made your audience wait! sad that you have lost your motivation and desire to continue blogging and engaging. would love to see you critique Madhu Kishwar’s work, Kafila’s work in the process. thanks and good luck.

  27. Pingback: Deconstructing Modi Part 3 | Random Thoughts of a Demented Mind

  28. Pingback: Ten Years Of The Blog | Random Thoughts of a Demented Mind

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