By: M.R. Lalu
The Supreme Court’s verdict on the abrogation of Article 370 would give a momentous moral boost to the ruling Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) led by Narendra Modi. Modi’s efficient leadership and pragmatic nationalistic approach seem to gain enormous support from across the country. The judiciary had unequivocally stood in tune with what the government executed in 2019. Jammu and Kashmir since then was ripped off its prerogatives and outcries for reinstating its special status were heard from selective corners. But the government’s excellent initiatives in the direction of giving the area a fillip in development were deeply convincing and self explanatory. There have been concerted efforts to translate the already chaotic and deteriorating atmosphere in the most beautiful landscape in India into a meaningful possibility of tranquility and peace and the result of it began to show up with the world community noticing it. The pomp and discipline with which the national celebrations are celebrated in Jammu and Kashmir these days gives us the gist of transformation that the present union territories have come across. Jammu and Kashmir’s journey as a terrain of terror to a destination that people would prefer to land as a tourist was an affirmative ascent in its recent history. This was possible with the effective involvement of the Indian army that went out on a hunting expedition tracking the terror hideouts and brilliantly eliminating them. People’s support for a positive change could catapult the momentum of its makeover further. But the Supreme Court’s upholding the abrogation would exacerbate the dilemma of people and parties that stood for divisiveness and their disenchantment seems to help the government to expose their double standard and hypocrisy and corruption. Whatever, the court came up with its pronouncement at a time when the ruling party and its leadership are in high spirits after winning elections in three crucial states and the national elections almost at a hand-stretch distance.
Critical decisions and drastic transformative changes have been becoming talking points since 2014. The general election that year witnessed the rise of a true nationalist and statesman. The Modi factor came as a sweeping generational change and the impact of its gaining hold on the national arena was unprecedented. Having decimated decades of Congress rule, his rise to the top job was not only an aspirational moment for a huge number of voters who voted for his party but with that began a fresh and defining chapter of nationalism in India with a majoritarian thrust capturing the imagination of a new version of vote bank politics. This had been subdued and pushed hard to insignificance ever since the country jumped into freedom and its Nehruvian Socialism holding its reigns for decades. And the Modi rise had given India a meaningful mandate, the largest one that any political party managed to win from outside the Congress bandwagon. For the Congress, the landslide victory of Rajiv Gandhi in 1984 was the last humongous people’s verdict. The national election after the assassination of Indira Gandhi was principally an exercise of sympathy that the nation remorsefully executed. People voted on the loss that the untimely death of their leader caused but the vacuum was not effectively filled by her son though he enjoyed a landslide victory. The party was later reduced almost to a nominal player that won meager seats and its dominance came clattering down with the saffron storm in 2014.
India’s enormous exercise of casting the franchise is an example of democracy celebrating its principles with greater assertion of values. Modi’s victory in 2014 was criticized as a calamity for India and a blot on its democratic values. This was mainly due to his being cornered with indescribable malignity by a section of the media in India and abroad. A deliberate accusation further castigated him to be the monster ruler who had intentionally given permission for the butchery of Muslims in his home state Gujarat during the post Godhra riots. It was almost predicted and conceded that Modi by no means would ascend to the top of world’s largest democracy. I still remember my conversation with an eccentric traveler from California to India’s northeast in 2014. A T-shirt designer, as he introduced him to me during my travels to this area, was on a cycling expedition to one of the most strategically important locations in the state of Arunachal Pradesh along the India-China border. He was firmly convinced of the reasons that he thought would defeat Modi. For him there was not even a microscopic chance for Modi to win the popular mandate. The hate-mongering was deafeningly resolute and potty mouthed sociopaths continued to dehumanize him until the judiciary gave him a clean chit. But Modi’s party won 282 of the 543 seats in parliament, reducing its principal opposition the Congress to a mere 44 seats, practically trimming its right to lead the opposition.
Probably, Modi’s experiment to bank on the majority sentiments towards the remodeling of a state took an unusual turn. India’s clueless colonial masters had decided to divide the country between its Muslim population and the gargantuan Hindu population which the former was terribly intolerant to. But an anglicized Jawaharlal Nehru remained culturally lenient to the colonialist impudence for India’s civilizational ethos and had chiseled a secular nation out of an amputated landscape which accommodated Hindus and other Indic religions and a section of the undecided Muslims that refused to migrate to an Islamic Pakistan. The Modi rise in India’s electoral spectrum was principally accentuating a fundamental sentiment, a discontent that continued to consume the essential readiness of its electorate to democratically take a revenge on the animalization of a polytheistic religious framework called Hinduism. Aggressively subduing the essential cultural vigor of generations of a subverted Hindu majority, the successive ruling class that followed the Nehruvian secularism had ruthlessly distorted the values that it preserved for centuries. There has always been a tribe of insinuators successively working to distort, dismantle and disgustingly strangulate its existence in the name of secularism, liberalism and free press.
That was the moment when Modi came to the national stage, essentially gaining accolades for the Hindu unity that the post Godhra riots had blessed him with. His performance as a futuristic Chief Minister with development as his mission had further made him electorally unassailable in the Sangh Parivar cohort. Modi’s success has multifaceted implications. He facilitated the country with greater quality of development but he did not forget to cement its civilizational existence with universal values that the landscape once projected and propagated. This combination of nationalistic spiritual values with the latest count of scientific temperament was a perfect combination. The values enshrined in India’s spiritual texts have found global acceptance with the government officially launching them for international platforms. In his yet another surprising move, Modi had launched the party’s most prominent saffron clad Yogi as the Chief Minister of Uttar Pradesh. Probably, that was one of the trump cards that Modi’s political brilliance exerted with futuristic calculations. Yogi, being voted to power for the second term, has transformed the state into an investment destination and its social ambiance of febrile callousness and corruption seem to have almost been rooted out. Modi has not only managed to culturally unite the scattered sentiments of a huge section of the country’s population, but he could also help it survive irrespective of dividing factors such as castes and outcries for a head-counting in the name of castes sprung from across the opposition camp. The recent election results could further enhance his image as an ultimate unifier of nationalistic sentiments rising above the pulpit of caste arithmetic.
(The author is a Freelance Journalist)
The Quintessential Unifier
By: M.R. Lalu