Invoking India’s Fuhrer

RAM PUNIYANI comments on some industrialists’ call for Narendra Modi to be the next Prime Minister and finds that big capitalists are fond of Modi as he is acting as their agent to siphon off public money into their coffers – all in the name of development!

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RAM PUNIYANI comments on some industrialists’ call for Narendra Modi to be the next Prime Minister and finds that big capitalists are fond of Modi as he is acting as their agent to siphon off public money into their coffers – all in the name of development!

During the Vibrant Gujarat Global Investment summit (December 2008), the top industrialists cheered their fellow captains of industries calling for Narendra bhai to be the next Prime Minister. It is claimed by the organisers of this glittering function that it could solicit an investment of 12 lakh crores in Gujarat. It is another matter that the analysts point out that this data is a make believe fiction.

A Right to Information, RTI, filed to find the actual investment in Gujarat shows that out of the committed investment of previous summit only 23% materialised, and the current data has been fudged to include the existing ongoing projects and some projects which fall in the kitty of central Government. While some investment has taken place and some has been committed, a deliberate hype has been created in the figures to create an image of Gujarat as being number one state of India under the leadership of Modi.

Why the industrialists are going gung ho about Modi needs to be understood as it has dangerous portents for the country. Gujarat is a state which has been ruled by BJP from last over a decade. It was already among the more developed states of India, even before BJP came to power and even before Modi took over as Chief Minister. What has happened during this last decade?

Two major processes have been observed. One relates to the issues of human rights and the other to the indices of socio-economic progress. Gujarat’s human-rights record is abysmal and shameful to say the least. It is a state where complicity of the state in the communal violence, under the leadership of the chief minister, has been most blatant. The post-Godhra Gujarat violence has been a new low in the arena of atrocities in this century. Even before the truth of Godhra incident came to surface Modi gave signals for anti-Muslim pogroms and the RSS affiliates co-opted the poorer sections to butcher the Muslim minorities. The same was followed up by attacks on Christians. The tiny Christian minority of the state faced unprecedented riots on the eve of many a Christmas celebration, especially in the Dangs district.

The victims of Gujarat violence are wandering even now and the studies show that over five lakh Muslims, who have been affected by the violence, have been helplessly readjusting to lack of facilities and proper rehabilitation. At another level the state has been slipping in its record of condition of weaker sections of society. It now stands behind Orissa and Bihar in children’s education (Annual Status of Education Report, 2008, Indian Express, Jan. 15). On the hunger index it is again among the ‘critical’ areas of the world. The haemoglobin levels of women of child bearing age have fallen badly (Third round of National Family Health survey report 2006). Overall the large section of Gujarati society has been faring badly.

There are regular reports in the newspapers about farmers’ suicides and increasing atrocities on Dalits in Gujarat. As far as women are concerned, it is during the last 15 years or so that sex ratio is declining and Gujarat has joined the infamous low sex ratio states – Haryana, Punjab, etc. The atrocities against women are reflected by the cases of gang rape and mass rapes as came to light in Patan. And this is being projected as number one state in the country!

Industrially also, after the total shutdown of textile industry now the diamond industry is declining, thousands of small industrial units have shut their shops, and employment levels are falling. One can safely conclude that in Gujarat, a small section of ‘Shining India’ is progressing at the cost of large sea of Gujarati people who are suffering.

The case of Nano factory in Gujarat will make the matters clear: the taxpayer’s money has been siphoned off to this factory; huge loan at the rate of 0.01% granted; continuous free water supply has been provided and the vast chunk of 1100 acres of land has been given to this factory; no stamp duty, no registration fee! In economic terms analysts have calculated that each car rolling out from Tata factory will have the subsidy of 60000 rupees. This pattern of memorandums of understanding (MoU) makes it clear that big capitalists are fond of Modi as he is acting as their agent to siphon off public money into their coffers – all in the name of development! Robin Hood used to rob the rich to distribute it to the poor; here is a leader robbing average taxpayers to feed the rich.

Do the industrialists not see the worsening plight of the state under Modi’s leadership? They know as much about the state of affairs of Gujarat as is known, but they are not bothered about worsening plight of school education, violence against women, Dalits and issues of this type. For the capital, the likes of Tata, Ambani and Mittal, the world is there so that they can make their profits, can live the life of luxury and affluence, and this luxury can also be there for a small circuit. As BJP slogan went during the last general elections, they ape to create a small shining island around which sea of misery and deprivation should survive to serve the interests of the industrialists and their cohorts. The current state of affairs for big industrialists is similar to what existed in Germany. The worsening economic crisis, gradually needed that they repress the human rights, the weaker sections of society with ruthlessness so that their so-called ‘development’ can persist. And Hitler’s call to eliminate Jews gave them that message that here is the right horse to back. If you are repressive for ‘outsiders’, you will repress the ‘insiders’ too, the labours, the Dalits, and the marginalised with equal ferocity.

Modi’s terror against minorities has given the signal to industrialists that here is a man who can bloat his chest with pride while maiming and butchering the weak. Here is the man who has ‘clear politics’, politics in the service of affluent, who can cleverly flaunt the label of ‘development’ while internal rot sets in and the human rights are trampled mercilessly. It serves them right. So they are all ga ga about Modi. Ashish Nandy, a reputed social scientist, after meeting Narendra Modi said that Modi has a classic fascist persona. That did come to light for everybody to see during the Gujarat carnage. And his facilitating the path for industrialists has reinforced the message that this man is capable of trampling democracy and protecting and promoting the interests of the Big Capital.

It may sound a bit far fetched to compare this RSS pracharak turned chief minister with the greatest tyrant in the contemporary history. But similarities are staring in our face. Hitler adorned the ideology of German Nationalism to oppress the Jews, Trade Unionists, communists on one hand and workers on the other. In the process he did abolish democracy and adopted a militarism which was a prelude to the destruction of the German state. Modi already has been indoctrinated in the hate ideology of RSS, in the concept of Hindu Rashtra and militaristic, aggressive attitudes towards neighbours. History can be a big teacher if we want to learn.

In the long term Hitler, Modi, German Nationalism and RSS ideology may sound solutions to Big Capitalists and sections of affluent middle class, but surely the nation is not just these big guns and not just aggressive attitude towards neighbouring states. This is sure recipe for disaster in the long run. Modi’s problems with BJP, Advani, Shekhawat apart, he has shown the worst of fascist mindset, that’s why the ilk of Ambani and Mittal is trying to promote him as the next Prime Minster.

What is needed is that we revive with all vigour the values of freedom movement, the equality of all religious communities, the liberal space for struggle for democratic and human rights. The industrialists’ tubular vision does not permit them to have a look at society as a whole and that’s why a section of them promoted Hitler in Germany and a section of them is invoking the Indian version of Hitler, Narendra Modi.