Surprisingly,though Modi’s bhakts and detractors can’t stand each other, there are striking similarities between the two contrasting groups.
Nobody likes or dislikes Prime Minister Narendra Modi; they love or hate him. Needless to say, his bhakts and detractors can’t stand each other. Yet, surprisingly, there are points of agreement and striking similarities between the two disparate groups.
Both the bhakts and Left-liberals put reason to sleep when they discuss their deity/monster; passions take charge, sentiments run amok, and vituperation replaces civilized discourse.
For one, both tend to agree with each other that he is up to ‘something big’ before the general elections in 2019; nobody knows what that big thing is, but they are convinced and try to convince others, that Modi is planning something spectacular—a huge game-changer. Left-liberals give some ideas though; he will plot and execute anti-Muslim riots or pogroms; he’ll intensify the communal polarization to the extent that the hearts and minds of the Hindus would be filled up with anti-Muslim feelings. He’ll repeat Gujarat 2002.
It matters little to them that nothing has been proved against Modi in the court of law despite a hostile regime at the Centre. When the judiciary slams the Modi government, his detractors go to town brandishing the verdict. But when court judgments favor him, they ignore them. Modi is guilty as accused, whatever may be the court verdict. Period. Heads I win, tails you lose.
Interestingly, Modi bhakts don’t get offended by the speculation that he would organize riots or even wage a war against Pakistan.
The bhakts and the Left-liberal detractors also agree on the immense powers and capabilities of Modi’s, the former regarding these as good for the nation and the latter as evil. He can mesmerize the masses, change their voting preferences, and transform the political narrative; the detractors add, if he fails performing such miracles, he can rig elections by doctoring electronic voting machines. Never mind what happened in Gorakhpur, Phulpur, and Kairana.
The problem with people like us who rely on reason rather than get swayed by pro- or anti-Modi zeal, it is like living in the worst of all possible worlds. For we get badgered by both sides.
Further, both the bhakts and Left-liberals put reason to sleep when they discuss their deity/monster; passions take charge, sentiments run amok, and vituperation replaces civilized discourse. The bhakts retort to every failing of the government with whataboutery: you talk about lynching cases but about the massacre of Sikhs in 1984; you mention terror upsurge in Kashmir but what about 26/11; you accuse us of Vyapam but what about 2G? Left-liberals, on their part, keep portraying India as the country where law and order have collapsed, Muslims are mass-slaughtered, and state terror is rampant.
There is also a major similarity between the two groups. You are either with us or against us—this is their message to the outsiders. For the bhakt, if you criticize Modi, his government, or his party on any point, you are a fiberal, a presstitute (if you are a journalist like me), a traitor, etc., who should be sent to Pakistan. It doesn’t matter if you are generally a supporter of the Bharatiya Janata Party but disagree with it on certain points.
From the perspective of Modi haters, you are not a liberal unless you loathe Modi from the core of your heart, slam each and everything he says or does, and slavishly accept every dogma of Indian liberals.
The problem with people like us who rely on reason rather than get swayed by pro- or anti-Modi zeal, it is like living in the worst of all possible worlds. For we get badgered by both sides. Many bhakts have called me a typical Lutyens journalist (though I wish it were true, given the privileged position they enjoy). Modi haters, on the other hand, view me with suspicion—as a Rightist (that I am) dangerously close to the Sangh Parivar.
The sleep of reason produces monsters—this is the name of a famous painting by the Spanish artist Francisco Goya. Well, it also produces myths and mendacity.
1. The views expressed here are those of the author and do not necessarily represent or reflect the views of PGurus.