Time To Accept Reality
Time To Accept Reality. Some editors and columnists find it hard to accept Narendra Bhai Modi as Prime Minister.
Some editors and columnists find it hard to accept Narendra Bhai Modi as Prime Minister. Apart from questioning the legitimacy of the people’s verdict, such reluctance demonstrates a pious hope that Modi would not last long because ruling a country is different from ruling a state. Modi was chief minister of a state for 13 years. Neither Nehru, nor his daughter or her son ever helmed a state. Indira Gandhi was keeping house for her father at 17 York Road. Zail Singh plucked Rajeev Gandhi from the cockpit of an Indian Airlines plane and crowned him the prime minister.
But the tea-seller’s son sold himself to the nation while his adversaries were busy serenading a fickle constituency of minorities. He broke through the walls of hatred media and the UPA had built using Gujarat riots as brick and mortar. The media and self-styled social scientists could never grasp what complex forces were at work in shaping Narendra Modi’s victory. They were complex because the demographic diversity of the country is incomprehensible.
There are some simple reasons for Modi’s triumph that effortlessly suggest themselves to an analyst unless he is eager to show how different he is from others. Articulation is an important factor in campaigning. But the main players in the UPA were Rahul Gandhi and Sonia Gandhi and both were tongue-tied. Ms. Gandhi never nursed a second line of leadership. The UPA had not a single speaker to match the articulation of BJP campaigners.
Another factor to help Modi was the entry of millions of first generation voters untainted by Congress brand of secularism. They did not care whether the new government is acceptable, as “The Hindu” seemed to think, to Pakistan or Bangladesh. To no country acceptability to a neighbour is a prerequisite. The main thing is that the government is acceptable to its people. Media were right when they said Modi’s promise of good governance and development helped him, particularly in the face of UPA’s failure to check inflation and the consequent misery it brought to the poor and the middle classes. The line between the two nearly disappeared. This was the inevitable consequence of liberalizing credit norms to benefit the private sector. Chidambaram allowed banks to fund pay-offs and kickbacks to the tune of $200 billion.The UPA relied on Bank-Fund economics, inimical to all non-western countries.
But the unprecedented magnitude of the scandals running into hundreds of billion dollars, transfer of nonrenewable energy resources like coal and oil to corporate operators without competitive bidding was a major reason for popular discontent. People paid tolls to use roads, unheard of taxes at the airports to leave the country as a result of privatization. In urban areas, people paid private tankers to drink contaminated water. On the other hand, Modi took water and electricity to every village in Gujarat. If he had won laurels from the likes of Ambanis and Tatas he won also people’s trust and love.
Two other major reasons are the middle class reaction to the anti-majority measures of UPA’s minority-propelled diarchy, marked by its haste in trying to rush the Prevention of Communal Violence Bill through the ordinance route and the award of concessions, privileges, subsidies, reservations and other freebies to sections of the people on the basis of their faith. As Jawaharlal Nehru said: “If you seek to give special safeguards to a minority, you isolate it. Maybe, you protect it, but at what cost?”
The media knew that Congress goons had butchered 3,000 Sikhs in Delhi in 1984. Indeed, the Congress had a major hand in partitioning the country on the basis of religion resulting in a bloodshed that the country had ever witnessed. This past is the invisible context for all the riots that followed the partition. Yet the media isolated Modi for crucifixion, describing Gujarat riots as genocide, massacre, pogrom and holocaust. As the Editor of “The Hans India” says in his The Modi Magic edit, “It is time to forget Godhra and Gujarat riots of 2002, the ghost of which is haunting Modi even now.”
For 12 years he survived media inquisition if only to stage a triumphal return as the prime minster of the country. There has been no apology from any of his tormentors for the one-sided prosecution of Modi for the violence that broke out in Gujarat after the immolation of 60 kar sevaks in a train. This barbarity was the immediate cause of the riots, which the media consistently played down. Gujarat coverage was the blackest chapter in the history of Indian journalism in drafting which leading editors participated. For details, readers can click on this link: http://dasukrishnamoorty.com/media-reporting-gujarat.html
As the BJP named its prime ministerial candidate, the Modi-bashing acquired fresh life. “The International New York Times” never ran an article on Modi without mentioning Gujarat riots and their toll, especially of Muslims and his failure to prevent them. It didn’t occur to this paper there would have been no need to prevent riots if someone had not started them. It ran a series of articles how he would polarize the country. The latest article is about the fears of the Muslims about their security and future under Modi.
Two Delhi-based national newspapers and another from the South let loose a flow of disinformation aimed at prejudicing the electorate against Modi, commissioning columnists who twisted the term Hindutva to mean hatred of monotheistic faiths. They received UPA rewards for services rendered.
The media calumny continued even on the eve of Modi’s swearing-in. Admitting that the BJP had put its hardcore Hindutva agenda on the backburner, a columnist in “The Hindu” couldn’t overcome his Hindutva hatred. He wrote that with absolute numbers on its side, the demand from within to bring these up may rise.
The BBC recalled how many Indians still had profound concerns over Modi because of claims he did little to stop communal riots in Gujarat in 2002. ‘The Guardian’ said that the charges that he allowed or even encouraged mob violence in 2002 in Gujarat reinforce his status as a man who is separate from the political establishment. Around 1,000 people, largely Muslim, died after 59 Hindu pilgrims were killed in an arson attack.
After saying a few good words about Modi, ‘The International New York Times’ went back to how many Indian Muslims blame him for failing to stop bloody riots in his home state in 2002. Others fear he will try to quash dissent and centralize authority. Pakistan’s “Dawn” wrote that, “There is much to be worried about when it comes to a politician with an explicitly communal background elected on an agenda for economic empowerment and regeneration. Yet India, stereotyped as the world’s largest democracy, has chosen to do exactly that in electing Narendra Modi as the next prime minister of India.” Let us hope that Modi’s performance will silence this negative media chorus.