The other day I had a casual chit chat with a carpenter guy on how the fuel price rise is affecting their pocket. He shrugged, smiled and gave the expressions of being resigned to his fate but not in a perturbed sense. Rather in a sense of “free fall” and que sera sera. Then, with a sigh he said,
“Nahi Modiji ne accha kaam kiya hai. Haan Mehengai badi hai, lekin accha kaam kiya hai. Aaane wale dino mein unke acche kaam ka phal milega, sab ko khana milega (Modiji has done good work. Sure, fuel prices have risen but he did good. In days to come results of his good work would be seen. Everybody would get stomach full of food).”
I often have these conversations and realize how there is no cure of blind Modi bhakti and a hidden anti-Muslim hate. The blue collared lower middle class and white collared middle class are the ones with the highest level of religious prejudices against Muslims. They are half educated, have access to social media, smart phones and consume the largest amount of fake news, conspiracy theories and propaganda which are churned out by the robust BJP IT Cell.
I shared the observation on Twitter and a right wing account asked me a question which led to this blog post. I decided to address some of the most cliched fake narratives found all over social media. I would run a series of blogs over the next few days.
No matter how many times you present the facts more and more Twitter accounts, Facebook Groups and pages continue to churn out lies to distort the past and create irrational fear and hate for Congress party, Muslims, liberals who support secular values, human rights etc. Congress party and other secular groups have failed to set the narrative right, they either do not have the resources or the intelligence to do what it take to counter BJP Lies. I do not have them either. This blog is a feeble attempt at rationality and truth.
Q: Just because the carpenter guy or others who support BJP means they have hidden hate for Muslims?
Yes, there is an anti-Muslim hate deeply ingrained in people who support BJP. It is manifested in various ways. Some are unapologetic and forthright about their dislike for Muslims. They truly believe India should be a land for Hindus, that Constitution should be amended and India should be officially declared a Hindu Rashtra with Vedic values at the core of all law and policy making. Others are less direct, but Hindutva ideology is in their heart and Modi is the Hindu Hriday Samrat.
If you talk to any Modi supporter on fuel prices, unemployment, economy and other socio-economic issues they will probably nod away and agree with you. But in the end, they will say, “Modi ji is trying. It takes time. Congress has destroyed the nation in seven decades. He is solving age old problems.” And then they will give you a list of things Modi have done, all of which are related to the Hindu-Muslim divide and Hindutva ideology.
Modi’s Achievements as per his worshipers – All related to Hindu-Muslim polarization
- Modi solved Kashmir problem by abrogating Article 370. Most or dare I say all BJP supporters are incapable of understanding what Article 370 really was but they blindly believe that abrogating it means “Kashmir problem is solved.” They believe not because Modi said so. Post-truth narratives are accepted not just because the speaker is liked or loved but because you love what is being said. It pleases you, that’s why you believe. They think Article 370 was about giving the Muslims a special privilege and are filled with vengeful joy that Muslims lost their privileges.
- Secondly, they will say Modi taught lesson to Pakistan by doing Balakot strike. They do not care to question why it is only in prolonged Modi rule did Kashmir face the deadliest terror attack in 30 years? Is it not probable that somebody at the top, could be PM, Home Minister or National Security Advisor is either inefficient or complicit? They do not ask for any proof of damage done in Balakot strike. No body count have been officially provided by government. The Air Force Chief said “our job was to do the strike which we did, providing estimate of how many terrorists were killed is not our job.” But Modi supporters keep saying 300 terrorists were killed because Amit Shah said it in a speech and it got circulated via social media and WhatsApp.
- Secondly, they will say, Modi helped Muslim women by banning Triple Talaq. It is lost on them that Modi did not ban it, Supreme Court did in a petition filed by progressive Muslim women. Modi govt made a law as per SC suggestions.
- Thirdly, they will say is Modi has solved historic Ayodhya issue and paved way for Ram Temple. There are social media memes shared by popular Hindu right groups and influencers depicting Modi holding the hands of Lord Ram as a child and leading him to the temple. Meaning, Modi is bigger than Lord Ram, he is Lord Ram’s saviour and bringing him home. That’s the heights of their blind worship of Modi, and dangerous level of deification of the head of state in a democracy.
Modi’s greatest achievements in 7 years are all related to Hindu-Muslim polarization, and based upon either blatant lies or half truths or twisted data and so on. Here’s a list:Tweet
If you remind them that all the achievements listed so far are about Hindu-Muslim politics or Hindutva ideology they will stutter a bit and then recall Ujjwala gas cylinders, toilets, bank accounts, demonization. These are things they hold on to like straw to save them from drowning in a logical debate with a liberal but the real reasons they are happy with Modi is because he fulfilled the four Hindutva agendas nurtured by RSS for decades.
In every other aspect of real governance Modi has failed. Economy, GDP, unemployment, fuel prices, border tension with China, agriculture, environment. Modi did not bring back black money instead he created more avenues for money laundering like the Opaque Electoral Bonds and PMCARE Fund. Demonetization was ineffective in every possible sense except that it shut down millions of small and medium enterprises. Prices of all commodities are sky-rocketing and consumption is going down. On around 40 Global indexes including Human Development, Gender Gap, Democracy, Corruption, Press Freedom, Religious Freedom, Peace, India’s position have fallen many places in 7 years. As many as 30,000 High Net-worth Individuals (HNIs) have left the country taking their wealth elsewhere. Meanwhile, handful of capitalist friends of Modi have flourished in last few years. Their wealth has been growing rapidly further increasing the rich-poor gap. (Read my interview with Oxfam India’s Chief Executive Officer in this regard) Modi have been helping their business interests by privatizing more and more government responsibilities. The public sector assets built by Congress are being put on rend or sold to private sector.
But no matter how much the country suffers BJP supporters will continue to vote for Modi because of the single factor – Hindutva.
They believe Modi or BJP-RSS are the only legitimate rulers of India because they believe in Hindutva and therefore must rule for 50 years. Amit Shah have told as much in a speech that once they come to power in 2019, they will rule for 50 years. In a democracy, nobody should even utter such ambitions but hey, we are no longer a democracy. It is a theocracy.
Q. What about the Muslim Women Who Voted for Modi? Election analysis say that Muslim women voted in large number for Modi in 2019 Lok Sabha elections
There are always some token support from historically opposed groups. Some Blacks will support White supremacist leaders like Trump, some Dalits will support a upper caste Chief Minister like Adityanath and so on but there is no such conclusive data to prove that “large number of women voted for Modi.” We have secret ballots so all poll analysis are merely estimates and guess works. But this one of those fake narratives spread widely by social media, right wing websites like Op India, and many media people who are pro-Modi that Muslim women voted for Modi because he banned tripple talaq. The idea is to project Modi as Muslim women’s savior and Muslim men as the villain. RSS-BJP’s key to political success is to find new grounds, identity a villain and victim and draw divisive line. It stars with Hindu-Muslim but doesn’t end there.