Tuesday, March 24, 2015

Narendra Modi, 15th Prime Minister of India

My Articles  about Modi, more at http://MikeGhouseforIndia.blogspot.com
Please do read the caveat down below the artice. 


Skepticism is good and without which nothing good can come, and I understand the concerns people have. Over the years, I have learned and spent hundreds of hours researching and writing, listening to his speeches and understanding him. I do connect with him now, and I will stick my neck out and say, things will get better under Modi Sarkar, good days are coming for every Indian regardless of his or her affiliation. 

The real conflicts are not between Hindus, Muslims, Dalits, Christians, Sikhs, Jains and others, but between two mindsets.  India has two kinds of people;  the ones who cherish unity, and the others who relish divisiveness;   the ones who believe in freedom, and the others who want to restrict the rights of others; one who believes that all others should surrender to their whims of the majority, and the other believe that every individual is equal; ones who believe minding their own business and the others who meddle in how others live.

Every Indian should have the freedom to breathe, eat, drink, wear and believe whatever the hell he or she wants,  then the pragati (prosperity) will be sustainable. If people fight over these issues, our constitution should put them in their place for the common good of Indians.

I must give credit to NDTV - their debates are based on respect for every human, and have defended he undefended and voiceless.  They are good for India and I applaud them.
Thank you
Jai Hind


Mike Ghouse
(214) 325-1916 text/talk

www.FoundationforPluralism.com www.WorldMuslimCongress.com 
www.TheGhouseDiary.com www.MikeGhouse.net

Shashi Tharoor and Mike Ghouse on Narendra Modi
Is there an Indian who does not want to hear the following statements from his national leader?

These are just a few of many such positive, upbeat statements from Mr. Narendra Modi.
Indeed, Modi is the first Indian leader to have articulated a plan on hygiene and sanitation. Nearly half a billion people in India relieve themselves in open fields, and recent rapes have been partially attributed to a lack of toilets, private and public.
When Shashi Tharoor and I heard the above statements in a variety of expressions, we understood their depth and praised them. Even if Modi did not mean them, let the man define himself and live up to it. He has a reputation for discipline, and in less than 10 days he straightened the parliamentary offices; if they know Modi is making the rounds, they clean up the offices and get their acts together. After all, Modi has said, invoking Mahatma Gandhi, that "governments are just the guardians of the people's interests; they are only trustees of the nation's resources, and nothing more."

Here are couplets from a poem I wrote in the Urdu-Hindi language, followed by an English translation, to show the power of engagement:
"Engagement bhi Ek nirali chhez hai dosto
Hum logon ko sanbhalte huway dekheinge
("Engagement is a wonderful thing, my friends.
We will witness people making mends.")
"Khuda bhi jab insaan ko hidayat deta hai
Hum Modi ko Gandhi hotay huway dekheinge
("Whenever God gives guidance to a man,
we will witness Modi becoming Gandhi-like.")
The accusations leveled against me and Tharoor is that we have changed. We have not! It is actually Modi who has changed, taking a 180-degree turn, and every Indian should welcome it as we do.

Continued at Huffington Posthttp://www.huffingtonpost.com/mike-ghouse/shashi-tharoor-and-i-on-narendra-modi_b_5461582.html#es_share_ended # # #

Mr. Narendra Modi's hypothetical Speech : Inclusive Development

May 23, 2014 , Dallas, Texas - This is the biggest historic moment in the world of governance. Never in the history of mankind, there has ever been an individual freely elected to govern by such a huge mandate, the largest number of people on the earth have voted Mr. Narendra Modi to lead the democratic Republic of India.  On Monday, May 26, 2014, Mr. Modi will take the oath of office of the Prime Minister of India. The theme of his speech would be simple: inclusive development. 
Mr. Narendra Modi will deliver one of his most memorable speeches on Monday, May 26, 2014 upon taking the oath of office of the Prime Minister of India, and I am going hypothesize the contents of his speech based on my embryonic understanding of him firmed up over the last few weeks. 

Submitted for publication on Friday, May 23, 2014 - Published at

Mike Ghouse is an Indian American Public Speaker, thinker and a writer committed to offer pluralistic solutions on issues of the day.
# # #

Derailing the Modi train

While Modi is committed to fixing the ills of India, the men at Hindu Heritage Forum are determined to derail the Modi train, unless we dialogue with them, the journey becomes difficult for every one.  I am willing to take the lead and hope my Hindu, Muslim, Dalit, Christian, Sikh, Buddhist and Jain friends will join me in the dialogue. I believe 90% of the Signatories of the GHHF letter are good people, signing the letter blindly.

# # #Indians will be safer under Modi Sarkar

Skepticism is good and without which nothing good can come, and I understand the concerns people have, and I will stick my neck out and say, things will get better under Modi Sarkar, good days are coming for every Indian regardless of his or her affiliation.

The safety of our women folk (all women visiting from other nations and Indians including Burqa clad Muslims) will improve. It's time we take pride in our heritage of respecting the women. We have shamelessly become the rape capital of the world, and it has to change and I believe Modi has the ability to do it. 


Congratulations Mr. Narendra Modi!


A few Muslims and Christians may find it difficult to read the phrase, “Congratulations Mr. Modi”- they feel a sense of betrayal in congratulating the “Butcher of Gujarat” or Hindutva forces that “raped the Nuns”.  The Muslim-Christian apprehensions are indeed legitimate and need to be addressed,  and I hope Mr. Modi will take this up and bring a closure to this.  

On his part, Mr. Modi has made statements to include every Indian, "sab ka sath, sab ka vikas" - i.e., together, everyone's prosperity.  I hope and pray that he will stand by his words. 
Meanwhile, we have to move forward.  

The time to argue and challenge was lost on May 12, 2014. Whatever needed to be done should have been done at the ballot, and the Modi won the ballot.  An overwhelming majority of Indians chose to trust his words about inclusive development, and on his part,  he has stayed away from communalizing the elections process, which invariably appealed to the voters. We have to honor the verdict of the people of India, and it does not mean we cannot differ and continue to seek redressing the injustices to fellow Indians, but rather work as a team to solve the problems of the nation and uplift the common man, as opposed to spending our time in tearing each other apart with nothing to gain. 

The Dalits, Muslims and Christians have voted for Modi in similar percentages as the mainstream Hindu and other communities have, those are the hard numbers
. Dalits have clearly abandoned their Rakhwala's (claimants and protectors) and voted for Modi. Likewise the good polls predicted Muslims could influence the outcomes for 222 MP's, and they did, not the congress or Samajawadi party, but Modi.  Congress and SP's should have won over 150 seats clearly if they had the Muslim and Dalit support, which they did not.  In fact, Modi has earned an inclusive mandate from all communities.  This needs to be dug deeper. We have to look at his statements in the last phase of the elections. In numerous interviews Mr. Modi has done what was needed to be done – articulate his vision for one India and inclusive growth. 
The past has to come to an end, and for most Indians, it ended on May 16, and from the 17th  a new era of action has begun. We have to go forward and focus on nation building .  
On my part,  I pledge to give my support in building a cohesive India, where no Indian is denied equal access, opportunity and justice to become a participant and a contributor to the overall growth of the nation, and more importantly no Indian has to live in fear of the other. I will be happy to part take in such efforts as needed, as my sacred duty to my motherland.   

A full op-ed is in the writing, and I hope to articulate the need to support Mr. Modi, while seeking redressing of justice for the victims of Gujarat Massacre. He also wants justice and will remain innocent until proven guilty of direct involvement.  

Congratulations Mr. Modi, the Indians have placed their trust in you, and now it is up to you to provide the leadership in building prosperity and bring cohesion to the children of India.

Mike Ghouse, is a Public Speaker, thinker and a writer committed to offer pluralistic solutions on issues of the day.
Thank you
Jai Hind


Mike Ghouse
(214) 325-1916 text/talk

India's Modi on His Best Behavior: Can We Trust Him? (5/9/14)

We criticize individuals with the idea of wanting them to reset their course and get back on the righteous path of justice, humility, truth and respect for every life. Here is an effort to invoke Mr. Modi to follow "rajdharma," or good governance. Democracy and pluralism (i.e., respecting the otherness of others) runs in our veins, so let's have faith in our system. If Mr. Modi fails us, we can dump him through ballot or a no-confidence vote, as we did with Indira Gandhi and Vajpayee. To attain greatness and a place in the annals of history, Mr. Modi has a lot more to prove than we can demand. Continued at Huffington Post -http://www.huffingtonpost.com/mike-ghouse/indias-modi-on-his-best-behavior-can-we-trust-him_b_5280892.html#es_share_ended 
India's experiment with clean politics (3/13/2014)
Years ago, India ranked # 1 on the list of corrupt nations in the world, and today it is not. Despite the economic, social, cultural frictions we have, we are inherently a pluralistic democracy.http://theghousediary.blogspot.com/2014/03/indias-experiment-with-clean-politics.html
Modi's Nakshatras are not in his favor (12/23/13)

Narendra Modi's Nakshatras (stars) are not in his favor, and the Grahan (eclipse) is hovering over him like a dark shadow casting its Rahu Kala (inauspicious times). His run for the Prime Ministership is ashubh (unlucky) for the 2014 elections. We recommend him to withdraw from the race, finish the current term as the Chief Minister of the state and lay a solid foundation for the next run.
http://www.opednews.com/articles/Narendra-Modi-s-Nakshatras-by-Mike-Ghouse-Anti-christian_Bharatiya-Janata-Party_Business_Congress-131227-999.html -  It was also published as an interview at Saudi Gazette.http://www.saudigazette.com.sa/index.cfm?method=home.regcon&contentid=20140227196984
India's future, Narendra Modi and moving forward (11/04/13)

Unfortunately, the majoritarian attitudes of a few harm India's harmony and adversely affect her prosperity. They harass, threaten and use violence to teach the minorities, women and the weak how to behave, and put them in their place. It is like letting the air out of one of the tires, hurting all of us in the end.
The 1984 Sikh Genocide, the demolition of Babri Masjid in 1992, burning of Hindu Passengers in Godhra and Massacre of Muslims in Gujarat in 2002, the rapes of Nuns, Dalits and destruction of Churches are among the ugly cruelties we have witnessed since independence in 1947. It is a shameful blot on the civility of our Mother; India.http://www.huffingtonpost.com/mike-ghouse/indias-future-narendra-mo_b_4177079.html
Another 25 Pieces are written prior to it - they are all in Google search, http://MikeGhouseforIndia.blogspot.com and Sulekha.com

How it all began:
I have been a severe critic of Mr. Modi, and have written and published articles ever since the Gujarat genocide. It started out with organizing a public demonstration against the riots in the first week of March 2002 in front of the old court house in Downtown Dallas.  This was followed by hosting events to show the horrors of the Massacre with Shabnam Hashmi and others to a program to commemorate the  Gujarat Genocide in a public forum on January 26, 2014 as a part of the 7th annual Holocaust and Genocides event.  

Some of my fellow Hindu Indians (friends at one time)  in Dallas and on forums across the world started hating me and my presence without understanding that someone or the other has to speak up, and some of the hardcore Hindutva fanatics still do, they have clearly not understood the essence of democracy is to give voice to differing opinions and to stand up for the discriminated ones.   

Then some of the Muslims started hating me intensely for my endorsement of Vajpayee’s call to Muslims to join the BJP. 
We have to be engaged in the society – the answer is as simple as that. None of us can live in pens and expect the world to know us, and us to know others. Quran clearly calls the best one among us are those who "know" each other, knowledge leads to understanding and understanding to acceptance and appreciation of a different point of view - then comes the peace.
You and I have the freedom today because people have opposed and stood up against a singular way of thinking and shunning diversity.  Diversity of thought and expression is a necessity to build cohesive societies. 

A lot of articles have been written since then, some preserved at 
Sulekha.com and athttp://MikeGhouseforIndia.blogspot.com

C A V E A T   E M P T O R
I have been critical of Mr. Modi ever since Gujarat Massacre took place in 2002, and have been an activist and written extensively about the policies to govern. I have consistently sought justice for the victims of Gujarat and restoration of their livelihood and recommended on building desegregated societies for the ultimate good of India, but rarely have I sought the pound of flesh. In the last two weeks, however, I have written optimistic notes about Mr. Modi, based on his interviews and his speeches.  In the coming 100 days, IF I see his actions match his good words, and he does some praischit as a part of the raj dharma, I will admire that human quality in him, and would believe that he has the potential to be become one of the visionaries of India like Pundit Jawaharlal Nehru who was instrumental in building a stable democracy, that his daughter could not undo. Because of my write ups, I continue to lose a few my friends and that is ok, I don't need friends like that. We have to learn to live with our differences, and my commitment remains  building cohesive pluralistic societies and I like the new found inclusive language of Modi.

Mike Ghouse is a speaker, thinker and a writer on pluralism, politics, peace, IslamIsraelIndiainterfaith, and cohesion at work place. He is committed to building a Cohesive America and offers pluralistic solutions on issues of the day at www.TheGhousediary.com. He believes in Standing up for others and a book with the same title is coming up. Mike has a strong presence on national and local TV, Radio and Print Media. He is a frequent guest on Sean Hannity show on Fox TV, and a commentator on national radio networks, he contributes weekly to the Texas Faith Column at Dallas Morning News; fortnightly at Huffington post; and several other periodicals across the world. His personal site www.MikeGhouse.net indexes all his work through many links.

Other's Articles with my comments

PM Narendra Modi insists on Vegetarian food?
Firstly, congratulations to Prime Minister Modi for choosing the vegetarian menu, one should eat and drink what one is comfortable with and making that known is good. India should never follow lower standards of civility like the Taliban Nation or ISIS, instead it should look up to the US Standards where one can eat, drink, wear or believe whatever the hell one wants to believe.
Continued at: http://theghousediary.blogspot.com/2014/08/prime-minister-narendra-modi-insists-on.html 

PM Modi's speech on 68th Independence day
The following piece has two parts, first part is PM's speech on independence day with notes laden with key phrases he used, it was an excellent speech given the exclusive background he is raised with, indeed, he has come a long ways.  The 2nd part shows his lack of inclusivism in his speech - he was raised in an irresponsible exclusivist education system that does not promote cohesiveness.
Continued: http://mikeghouseforindia.blogspot.com/2014/08/prime-minister-modis-speech-on-68th.html 


Will Narendra Modi defend free speech?

Freedom of speech is the God given right of every human, and no one should have the power to tell what others can think, speak or believe.   Freedom should be absolute and free, when it becomes discretionary, it leads to mismanagement and abuse.  I feel certain, that he will say the following in a few days
Continued -

Democracy is alive in Indian Parliament

I have criticized Mr. Asaduddin Owaisi in the past and will continue to do so for his approach. However, given that there is no spineful opposition in our parliament, we need to admire him for being critical of the government and question them. I am sure Modi will speak up about it, and I hope and pray that he values dissent - the foundation of democracy.  

Narendra Modi, wants to take out the trash

Another feather in Modi's cap.

Modi is doing well in articulating a range of developments. As cleaning up the Cities goes forward, most of us Indians living in the west, would be the happiest people on the earth to visit the motherland.  We have gotten used to a cleaner hygienic way of life here, and this is a welcome call by Modi.

Don't you think other guys could not have done this? Don't you think any Chief Minister in India can do this? They can, they don't have the vision or the leadership that Modi is showing. Modi is getting to be an all rounder. 
Continued - 

Inclusion is the key theme of Narendra Modi's first Lok Sabha Speech

And this is what Modi has said in the following piece
“In a democracy, criticisms are for betterment, and they should happen. Allegations are bad but criticism is never bad. We are ready for all criticism as criticism is the essence of democracy,” Modi said. 

This sounds so much like my writing, I wrote an identical note at 
DallasIndians@yahoogroups.com today.

Narendra Modi's disastrous failure

Mr. Narendra Modi has severely disappointed the nation in his first two weeks in the office. Is his talk about about safety and security of women folks bullshit? Look at his record, he tweets every little thing to be known as a great communicator, what the hell has happened to him? 

Continued -  http://mikeghouseforindia.blogspot.com/2014/06/narendra-modis-shameful-failures-in.html 

Narendra Modi may have evolved into Modi 2.0
I have always liked Shashi Tharoor, another Pluralistic Indian.  A few of his interviews I have watched on NDTV could have been my take as well.   Here is an article he wrote in Huffington Post on June 3, 2014.  “How Narendra Modi May Have Evolved into 'Modi 2.0'” the article  is appended below.  His analysis is identical to mine. 


Derailing the Modi train

While Modi is committed to fixing the ills of India, the men at Hindu Heritage Forum are determined to derail the Modi train, unless we dialogue with them, the journey becomes difficult for every one. This piece is on the left column of this page.

Aap Ki Adalat May- it's an eye opener (5/25/14)
It is worth watching, it is indeed  transformational, its almost like an agenda to move forward and gives me a lot of hope for India.  Each paragraph I have constructed in my op-ed is reflected in the show above.

Aap Ki adalat may -Video in Hindi/Urdu (1 Hour)

Indian Muslims Welcome Modi's (5/24/14)
Indian Muslims have been forthright and have made the right statements. There is no need to fear, our democracy is far stronger than anyone. I am glad to read these statements. I have welcomed and congratulated Mr. Modi and hope he will steer the country in the right direction -
Continued -http://mikeghouseforindia.blogspot.com/2014/05/indian-muslims-welcome-narendra-modis.html 

Modi's Foreign Policy (5/23/14)

Modi has the passion to leave his legacy, he wants to put his stamp on India.  He will turn things around in foreign policy - he will find a place for India in the UN Security Council, the first step is to have the ability to have good relations with the neighbors to pave the way for that role, and he is going to do that. He will breakthrough and establish newer relationships with our neighbors and Japan.

Continued - http://theghousediary.blogspot.com/2014/05/pakistan-china-and-japan-to-receive.html    

A Letter to PM Modi by Ali Khan (5/22/14)

What Ali Khan did was fulfill the duty of a responsible citizen to point out the flaws, so India can be flawless, that is Patriotism and we need to reward this guy for writing such a letter. Indeed, a true patriotic Indian is the one who takes the responsibility to tear down the government policies, if they are wrong, no matter who they are, God, Gandhi, Pundit Nehru or Narendra Modi.  Here is my response to an Indian right winger:

Modi will respond to Harassment of Kannada writer UR Ananthamurthy (5/20/14)

A few hoodlums have harassed Dr. Ananthamurthy for disagreeing with the Mr. Modi's policies. He eventually had to seek Police protection. I expect Mr. Modi to address this in his opening speech, that no one can harass a fellow Indian in the name of BJP Party, in that case we will punish them as BJP workers and also as a under criminal code for harassing fellow Indians. 

News at: 

Narendra Modi's speech on Good governance (5/19/14)

This is one of the best speeches Modi has delivered on good governance and a developmental economic model. Some may say that someone else may have written it, that is fine, but he has owned it by delivering it so eloquently and I hope he means every word of it. 
Continued - http://foundationforpluralism.blogspot.com/2014/05/narendra-modis-speech-on-good.html  
US Policy on Modi needs to Change (5/16/14)

I do hope, President Obama puts his differences aside, and values the verdict of the people of India, it is not a simple majority, it is a huge majority. Let's give Modi a chance and trust our democracy and support him in his plans - as he has articulated it in his interview time and again. http://mikeghouseforindia.blogspot.com/2014/05/us-policy-on-india-and-modi-needs-to.html

The bigger news of Modi is India wins (5/16/14)
The bigger news is that “India has won” as Modi has put it. An ordinary person has made it to the top, that is the sign of a true democracy, and it’s a positive motivation to the common Indian man – A chai wallah can make it so I one can make it too, if I have the dedication and commitment to do it.http://theghousediary.blogspot.com/2014/05/the-bigger-news-of-modi-win.html

Time Magazine changed the Times man of the year (4/23/14)
TIME heeded to Mike's activism on the issue and has now removed the 6 million votes generated from Modi's autobots that were cast yesterday. In the final result now on display at the TIME 100 Poll page, Arvind Kajriwal has been declared the winner and Modi now has voted as the most disliked person in the list with the largest number of NO votes.http://time.com/73538/indian-politician-arvind-kejriwal-wins-time-100-readers-poll/
Modi, Kejriwal become Time's 'most influential' people thanks to dodgy poll and online fan club (4/23/14)

Dallas-based multi-faith peace activist Mike Ghouse says he did exactly that to confirm his suspicion, clicking several times from the same computer to record multiple votes. "This is a serious issue of integrity of the Time Magazine," he said in an email. "Can Time audit its computers to determine how many clicks have come from the same computer?" Obviously, the online battle has no bearing on reality. But the winner will take home the momentary bragging rights of being "elected" Time magazine's most influential person in the world, even though the more important verdict will come on May 16. 

Saturday, December 29, 2007

Electoral and Secular Values

(HT Op ed 24th Dec2007)
Electoral Parties and Secular Values
Ram Puniyani

The adjective 'Merchants of Death', was a bold and characterization of Modi/BJP politics in Gujarat. It incited various reactions, the major one stating that Congress is no clean body as its hands are also full of blood of Sikhs in the 1984 and most of the riots took place during Congress regime.
Are BJP and Congress comparable? A situation, where these parties are being put in the same category has been created due to the weak policies of Congress and projection of the image of BJP as the democratic alternative. Are these parties in the same league or is there a shade of difference which is worth recognizing?

Congress began as a secular party with the inclusion of people of all religions, and their continued association with this party during freedom movement. At the same time many a communalists formed the part of its leadership, Lala Lajpat Rai, Madan Mohan Malaviya and Dr. Moonje. Even the founder of RSS, K.B. Hedgewar was associated with it till 1934. At medium and grass root level many a Hindu communalists in particular were and are part of this party. It is this which made Nehru to warn that Congress should be cautious of those members who sound secular but are really communal. At the level of policies Congress took quite a principled secular path till the demise of Pundit Nehru, after which the slip showed regularly. The problem became apparent with Indira Gandhi's election speeches during Jammu bi-election, Rajiv Gandhi's 'when a big tree falls'; Shah Bano, shilaynyas, and Narsimha Raos' afternoon siesta when the Babri was being razed to the ground. Many a riots took place during its regime when the ruling Government either acted as the silent witness or colluded with the rioters.

While apportioning the blame of communal violence it has to be kept in mind that the riots take place due to three major factors, one the instigator and conductor, which according the inquiry commissions, (Jagmohan Reddy, Justice Madon, Vithayathil, Shrikrishna and Venugopal)mostly has been some organization which is a offshoot/associate of RSS. The second factor is the political leadership. Most of the times Congress, when in power, has been lacking the political will to control it effectively. The third factor is the police and bureaucracy, which has been regularly communalized and has been providing the umbrella to the rioters or been the active participant in the execution of the pogroms. It is not enough just to say that so and so part is responsible just because it has been in power. As far as political agenda is concerned, communalism is not the program of Congress. Its basic program remains Secularism, but its execution of those values has been lacking in will power.

BJP is the political child of RSS, which has the agenda of Hindu nation. Irrespective of its temporary mask of Gandhian Socialism, it does lapse in to the 'Hate minorities' mind set at the drop of the hat. It has the patriarch RSS and associates; VHP, Bajrang Dal, Vanvasi Kalyan Ashram, Bajrang Dal etc, who have been communizing the mind set, which is the base of communal violence. This RSS combine has been actively initiating situations which bring in violence. It has led many a carnages and has been polarizing the communities along religious lines. The scholars of communal violence have made the pertinent observation that in the aftermath of most of the communal violence RSS combine becomes stronger in the areas where the violence has taken place. For RSS combine communalism, in overt and covert language, is its political vehicle.

One can classify the political formations/ individuals in to four broad categories on the scale of secularism. The first, and rare, category belongs to the party/individuals who proactively strive for comprehensive social justice. A synthesis of values of Bhagat Singh, Gandhi and Ambedkar can best describe this group, which today is being overshadowed by the other political forces.

Second, the formations like Left are genuinely secular but they have ignored the proactive measures to pursue this and so the prevalence of communal social thinking in states ruled by left. Third are secular but compromising, the major one in this category being Congress. These are mired by too many power seekers to be able to stand firmly to oppose the communal elements and land up being the accomplice, in part or in full, of the violation of secular values. The anti Sikh violence was a sort of one go phenomenon, which had more to do with the ethno-regional factors. The last category is that of BJP, aggressive, intimidating opponent of democracy and secularism, whatever its expression. Communal to the core, looking for pretexts to carry on with sectarian politics. Its biggest 'achievement' not that it is the core vehicle of communalism but that some of the political workers compare it with other democratic electoral formations. It is using the electoral space to do away with democratic values, the way Hitler did. It is the Indian face of fascism.

The subtleties of these differences point out that while we do not have the real good choice in the for electoral arena, we will have to keep putting the civic pressure for bringing in better political policies through the grass root campaigns. All the same, to compare BJP with other electoral formations will be undermining the threat of the agenda of RSS, which seeks to abolish democratic space and build a society in the image of 'glorious Hindu past', a neo brahminical construct for upholding the hegemony of elite males.

One can very well say that while communalism, the threat to democracy is becoming stronger by the day, there is a vast difference between Congress and BJP. The Congress communalism is pragmatic while BJP communalism is programmatic. While no party can be excused for its crimes, no democratic formation should be compared to BJP, as it the vehicle of RSS political agenda, the agenda of abolishing the values of Indian constitution and imposing a fascist state. BJP is in a different class by itself due to its goal, which has nothing to do with democracy i.e. concepts of liberty, equality and fraternity. Unfortunately, today in electoral arena we do not have a choice between Good better and the best. We are riddled with bad, worse, worst and BJP!

(Writer is recipient of Indira Gandhi National Integration Award, 2006)

Wednesday, December 12, 2007

Erosion of Democracy - Modi

Erosion of Democratic Norms: A case of Modi
Ram Puniyani

Current Gujarat elections, irrespective of their
results, will remain etched in the memory of the
nation for wrong reasons. Gujarat witnessed the
burning of Sabarmati express at Godhra in Feb 2002.
The carnage which followed this train accident claimed
the lives of thousands of innocents and simultaneously
polarized Gujarat along religious lines. The process
of ghettotisation of Muslims and the fear of
minorities constructed in the minds of majority
community are staring in our face. At the same time
the threads of democratic nationalism, national
integration are breaking rapidly. While various
citizens' inquiry reports did point out the pre
planned nature of the pogrom and the role of RSS
combine led by Modi in the carnage, we could all see
the same for ourselves thanks to the Tehelka. The
consequent polarization led to the victory of the
leader of the carnage back to power in the elections
which took place a bit later. In the elections of
2002, the main opposition party, Congress did not
gather strength to take on Modi with full vigor. One
of the reasons was that Modi deflected the criticism
directed again him and against RSS combine as the
insult to 5 crore Gujartis, and his assertion was well
received in a section of society.

The Tehelka sting showed some of the perpetrators
boasting about their crimes in front of the camera,
and this made most of the people realize once again
the gravity of the crime. Now most of the society got
a direct feel of what had happened, who did it.
Society also registered that the reports of citizens
groups were on the dot in pinpointing the malaise of
Gujarat society. It was in this background that Sonia
Gandhi in her election campaign called the Modi led
BJP as the merchants of death. Modi realized that the
truth is being said after all, and tried to raise the
communal and criminal sentiments by justifying the
extra judicial killing of Sorabuddin, who was killed
in a fake encounter by the police.

The ploy was that since a section of society has been
communized enough, the illegal act of killing someone
will get him sympathy votes. He took 'credit' for this
'bravery' of killing of Soharabuddin and his wife.
Human rights workers raised the issue of Modi
communalizing and criminalizing the people's mindset.
And as is his wont, he presented the criticism against
him as the insult of people of Gujarat, of Gujarat

Usual damage control exercises unrolled, he has been
quoted out of context, he does not justify the extra
judicial killings etc. But the damage was done and
election commission took a serous note of it. The
frail nature of legal mechanism, as to how a
democratically elected chief minister, takes oath in
the name of constitution, than openly incites the
public and tries to bask in the 'glory' of this
illegal act done by state machinery, is there for all
to see.

The larger issue of democratic norms, morality and
polity are put at the backburner, with the leaders
doing their electoral arithmetic of what will help
them more in getting the power. Now the issue can be
discussed at the level of legalities and also at the
level of electoral arithmetic. All these do have their
importance but one also needs to be concerned about
the deeper and broader issues related to our
constitution, as to what is happening to the values of
democracy enshrined in our constitution?

In Gujarat the legal norms have been put aside in
matters of rehabilitation and in the post violence
justice. In 'regular' life patterns, now a section of
Muslims are willing to bend on their knees to survive,
willing to 'forgive' unilaterally, while no body is
caring to ask for their forgiveness. The 'charisma' of
Modi is on the rise. He was keeping the communal card,
under wraps till the word Merchants of death was
hurled upon him. And then he unraveled his communal
face with full force just before the polling. All this
sounds so unusual but we are becoming used to the
prevalence of these things. Does it ring familiar to
something which happened in history? While there are
lot of differences from what happened in Germany some
similarities are too glaring.

The targeting of minorities, the total abolition of
democratic space, the social common sense directed
against the minorities and secularists, and consensus
built around the fascist state are very similar. 'Kill
them, kill them' is what Modi could easily extract
from the section of crowd for Soharabuddin. What
distinguishes Gujarat from the Germany's state of
affairs in 30s and 40s of last century is that here
the process is taking place at a slower pace and the
same process is on with different intensities in
different states of the country. So can we use the
term Chronic Fascism in Gujarat in contrast to acute
fascism of Germany. Whole of Germany was totally
gripped by this politics, while in India Gujarat is
worst but all the same in other states also this
fascism is strangulating democratic space, though with
different degrees of intensity. The biggest similarity
is the 'successes' of a fascist party, which in
Germany took the pretext of race and here it is
wearing the garb of religion. Interestingly earlier
and even now the fascist parties are using the
democratic space to come to power, to precisely
abolish the same in due course.

During last two and a half decades the rise of right
wing politics has taken place on the pretext of
Hinduism, while it has nothing to do with the humane
streams of Hinduism. It claims to be for Hindus, while
majority of Hindus have become victim of this
intimidating politics. It reflects the state of
erosion of our democratic norms and gradual
strengthening of the forces which do talk about
democracy but are deeply wedded to the RSS, the
organization which is opposed to democracy and wants
to bring Hindu nation. That the concept of Hindu
nation is for Hindus, is just a pretext. It
essentially aims to abolish the values of liberty
equality and fraternity and strengthens the hold of
section of Hindus, the elite, males, on the whole
society. The trick is the agenda of a small dominant
section of society has been propagated as being for
all Hindus.

Coming to Gujarat , one can clearly make out that there
is a slow but dangerous march towards a fascist state.
The classical fascism which one witnessed in Germany
and Italy in the early decades of last century was
marked by the targeting of minorities, of social
rights groups/parties and at the same time doing away
with all democratic norms. It created a terrorizing
atmosphere, where the handful ruled the roost with the
charisma of leader like Hitler, who swayed the people,
worked and he got the anti democratic things accepted
by people in the initial part of the rule, till
Germany itself collapsed under the weight of the
fascist boots. Such politics does discover and project
a single charismatic leader, in Germany it was Hitler,
in Gujarat it is Modi. Incidentally RSS nationalism
also took lot of inspiration from Hitler's
Nationalism, "German national pride has now become the
topic of the day. To keep up the purity of nation and
its culture, Germany shocked the world by her purging
the country of Semitic races-The Jews. National pride
at its highest has been manifested here. Germany has
also shown how neigh impossible it is for races and
cultures, having differences going to the root, to be
assimilated into one united whole, a good lesson for
us in Hindustan to learn and profit by." (We or Our
nationhood Defined,1938)

The politics of RSS combine has cleverly adopted
itself to the Indian situation and has gone on to
create a fear of the miniscule minority. It is quite
similar to Hitler creating a phobia against Jews,
holding them responsible for the plight of Germany,
and using that as the center of his policies
terrorizing the whole nation into submission to the
agenda of fascism, abolition of the concept of rights,
something which is the life and breath of democracy,
something which is a shield for the average people to
survive. While a large section of Gujarat, Minorities,
dalits, adivasis and women are suffering the middle
and affluent classes are able to get their way through
the agenda of vibrant Gujarat !

The analogy does not end here. The terrorizing
atmosphere created in Gujarat does remind us of the
status of minorities. Now the large sections of
minorities feel that they have been relegated to the
second class citizenship status. Their insecurity is
the index of our democratic ethos. It is correctly
pointed out that if you want to see the state of
health of democracy, have a look at the status of its


Issues in Secular Politics

December 2007 II

For Publication/Circulation