Mr. Modi & Hindu Nationalism

There was some hope that Mr. Modi , after a landslide victory, will be a changed man and will lead India into a great Asian Nation, but early indications are that his rule may not be any different than his rule in Gujrat as a Chief Minister. Some excerpts from article by Pankaj Mishra in NYT;

Narendra Modi, India’s new prime minister and main ideologue of the Hindu-nationalist Bharatiya Janata Party, is stoking old Hindu rage-and-shame over what he calls more than a thousand years of slavery under Muslim and British rule. Earlier this month, while India and Pakistan were engaging in their heaviest fighting in over a decade, Mr. Modi claimed that the “enemy” was now “screaming.”

“This is just the kind of retrograde 1920s-style nationalist dogma that is making a big comeback in India, especially since last year, when Mr. Modi, a close ally of Mr. Abe, overcame the taint of various suspected crimes to launch his bid for supreme power. Interestingly, it is not the R.S.S.’s khaki-shorts-wearing volunteers but rather quasi-Westernized Indians in the corporate-owned media and mysteriously well-funded think tanks, magazines and websites who have provided the ambient chorus for Mr. Modi’s ascent to respectability.”

“India’s recent economic travails and diminished international standing have frustrated these rising Indians’ sense of entitlement, provoking them to lash out at such handy scapegoats as “racist” and “Orientalist” Westerners and Indian libtards and sepoys. Typical of their ersatz nativism is a book entitled “The New Clash of Civilizations,” which gleefully heralds India’s hegemony worldwide. It was written by Minhaz Merchant, the Anglicized former editor of a defunct lifestyle magazine called Gentleman and now a self-appointed publicist for the prime minister. Many such “Modi Toadies,” as Salman Rushdie calls them, had Western tails once, like the Harvard-economist-turned-book-burner.”

“Such crude xenophobia, now officially sanctioned in Mr. Modi’s India, seems only slightly less menacing than the previous R.S.S. chief’s wishful thinking about one more Mahabharata against demonic anti-Hindus. Japan’s expansionist gambles in China and the Pacific in the last century and, more recently, Russia’s irredentism in Ukraine show that a mainstreamed rhetoric of national aggrandizement can quickly slide into reckless warmongering. Certainly, the ruling classes of wannabe superpowers have spawned a complex force: the ideology of anti-imperialist imperialism, which, forming an axis with the modern state and media and nuclear technology, can make Islamic fundamentalists seem toothless. One can only hope that India’s democratic institutions are strong enough to constrain yet another wounded elite from breaking out for geopolitical and military manhood.”

http://www.nytimes.com/2014/10/25/opinion/pankaj-mishra-nirandra-modis-idea-of-india.html?ref=opinion

Posted by F. Sheikh