By: M.R. Lalu
It was Narendra Modi’s week. And it began with the smooth landing of the Chandrayaan 3 on the unexplored surface of the Moon. Eulogies poured in from across the globe for the Indian Prime Minister, who, for all reasons, was the principal motivation behind the Indian Space Odyssey. Scientists from the ISRO have undoubtedly thanked Modi for his unprecedented support to the scientific community in its pursuit of space exploration. The success was magnificent and the quantum of toil was irresistible and the intention was universal. Before the pomp and gaiety of the moon landing was over there came the G20 summit that his leadership had, with all powerful positioning, forced the world to endorse India’s significance as a liberator, guide and catalyst. Its success was a declaration moment for the mother of all democracies, its commitment to bring peace, prosperity and tranquility to the world. Undoubtedly, Narendra Modi would also be known for his masterstrokes in Indian history. The latest in the array of such moves was the G20 dinner invitation, an indication from his government which later sparked a row. Instead of the usual “The President of India’’, the invitation carried the title “The President of Bharat’’. This would be largely seen as a majoritarian gimmick of the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP). For its political opposition, the saffron camp was rattled by its latest assemblage and its rebirth with its thought provoking acronym I.N.D.I. A. Controversies never end. With his careful dexterity and purposeful resolution, the Prime Minister, leading the proceedings of the G20 summit had the name BHARAT vividly displayed on his table.
The government, by doing this, decided to send conclusive waves of understanding across world leaders on the name change that the Sangh Parivar, the Prime Minister’s ideological alma mater has been demanding for decades. This was also for the opposition leaders to understand that their pressure and outcries on the government can’t throw water on its enthusiasm. The government with Modi at the helm passed its message with unflinching conviction that whatever the country needs to do in line of burying the colonial debris of servitude; the government would do with its cultural commitment. Things seem to be holding an ideological alignment without giving time for suspicion and speculation. While addressing a gathering, the Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh (RSS) chief has recently come out with his usual patriotic lexicon; he said it was high time to officially name the country BHARAT. Mohan Bhagawat seemed to have extended an ideological reminder to the government about its cultural liability to satisfy the gigantic Sangh Parivar’s demand to officially bury the remnants of colonialism.
And we need to understand the crucial juncture in which he spelt out the demand. The I.N.D.I.A grouping of the opposition has almost shed its dividing factors and the members seem to hold better reasoning and conviction this time with almost everybody lobbying for the anti-Modi front is stung by the investigating agencies. Pundits may predict a similar situation to that of the ‘India Shining’ campaign by the Vajpayee government and its substantiating narratives glorifying its winnability and its subsequent failure in 2004 be replicated this time as well. Politics is a game of chances and unpredictable moves while players speculate victory to join their side. As for the government at the center, its confidence and spirits are high this time as it enjoys credible reasons for its possible comeback. And its impertinence called a special parliament session for September 18-22 with its agenda, as complained by its opposition, known to nobody; rumors have dominantly attributed to the name changing as the principal reason behind such a move. The RSS, though it has apprehensions on the Modi effulgence growing bigger than the Sangh Parivar’s influence, has now probably emerged with a bargaining mode; a genuine reminder to its ideological offshoot the BJP, that the Parivar’s relentless hard work helped the Modi regime repeat its victories.
Being an indigenous name BHARAT goes back to the period of the great epics and beyond. If it is deeply rooted to the civilizational essence of the country, in principle the opposition has no reason to oppose the government’s move. That is the delicate nerve position of the opposition that the BJP and the Prime Minister press harder. The Congress and its allies have to habitually display their disagreement on everything that the government comes up for implementation and this time again they displayed their habitual compulsions and threw their hats in the ring only to register a formal disagreement. Mohan Bhagawat has a clear ideological understanding which often does not match with the saffronised mental wellbeing of the leaders in the Sangh Parivar. His definition of Hindu is an interesting narrative that often does not get standing ovation from the cadre that he leads. He often calls all Indians Hindus because according to him, those who are born in India are Hindus. That is where the common Hindu finds his narrative confusing as the Sangh’s stand on conversion is undoubtedly vigorous and vitriolic. But Bhagawat, to those who follow Hinduism in its usual behavior and tradition, calls Sanatani. According to him, the Dharma that teaches people to follow the path of Karma, relentless Karma which aspires for the wellbeing of all is the mother of all traditions. Therefore, those who diligently follow the traditions of Sanatana Dharma are different from the Hindus of his definition.
Though the naysayers’ gamble would continue in India’s political backyards, the Prime Minister is blessed with issues that would put his political opposition in trouble. The latest and the best among such unconventional behavior came from one of the most prominent dynasts from the south. Stalin Jr. of the DMK landed the whole I.N.D.I.A caucus in a deeply craggy and disenchanted weather. His acerbic diatribe on Sanatana Dharma was unnecessary and juvenile. For Modi and his party, the belligerence of a young dynast and his unpardonable outcry for the eradication of Sanatana Dharma, would give enough fuel to burn the collective aspirations of the I.N.D.I.A grouping. Modi’s powerful oratory would commendably check the inflammability of the subject that his Dravidian opponent provocatively fumed. And I can’t forget but to tell you that the Prime Minister is blissfully uninterrupted by Rahul Gandhi’s offshore manipulations against him and his administration. His massive rise through the G20 presidency would further exacerbate the opposition’s worry. It is too early to say that the I.N.D.I.A chances are too thinner than the air atop Mount Everest. Credibly, it does have a chance. But the momentous accumulation of supporting facts mounting in favor of Modi and his party seems to be crippling the chances of his opponents. Mohan Bhagawat’s call for the name change and the government’s aggressive jump for its articulation seem to be ideologically drawing an alignment- a settlement, which both must be feeling obligatory to regain faith and fiefdom.
(The author is Freelance Journalist, Meppurathu House, Puthusserimala P.O, Ranni-689672, Pathanamthitta District, Kerala)
Narendra Modi – Uninterrupted By Coloniality
By: M.R. Lalu