The Gujarat Elections


A few months back, a German friend of mine was here to visit me. His name was Martin D’costa. He was a 27 year old documentary film maker. He was here to document the life of young Indians. By the time he came down to Trivandrum, he had travelled across the country meeting and interviewing young people. One common refrain, he said, he heard from the youngsters he talked to, cutting across cultural, class, caste and linguistic barriers was that India need a ‘STRONG LEADER’, some one who can lead the country with iron hand. He was surprised and shocked too as he was from Germany, descendent of a people who dreamed likewise of having a ‘STRONG LEADER’. He knew all too well the hidden meaning of that desire. India is ready to welcome fascism in a big way. India is waiting for its ‘Fuhrer’. Yesterday, as i was watching on TV the jubilant and arrogant face of Narendra Modi celebrating his victory in the gujarat assembly election I knew India had found what it was looking for. Hindutwa had found its Messiah. India had found its ‘Fuhrer’. And he is coming on a wave of hatred.

There was another man in history who rode high on a wave of hatred and who swept away the lives of millions as he came crashing down. History is never learnt in class rooms ! If jews, gypsies, communists, trade unionists etc were the objects of Hitler’s hatred, here in India it is the Muslims and the Christians at present and to find out whose fate is next we will have to wait and see.

In Gujarat the hate wave was unleashed by the Godhra train burning. Though many pointers directed otherwise, without making sufficient enquiry into the disaster Narendra Modi took the blame on Muslims and in a chilling reminder to the November 9-10, 1938 Nazi pogrom against Jews,known as Kristallnacht (night of broken glass), masterminded a genocide in which more than thousand lives were lost and crores of rupees worth muslim property were looted or burnt.

That caught the imagination of the population which was well conditioned by the propaganda machinery of Hindutwa and was looking on the horizon for the arrival of the man with the iron hand, someone who payed back an eye for an eye, a tooth for a tooth. For the people of Gujarat disillusioned by years of congress rule and then followed by the inefficient BJP rule, economically destroyed by one of the worst earthquakes in the history of India and starved by frequent droughts, Modi was their salvation. He told them a simple reason for their misery, a reason that all could understand. He told them MUSLIMS are the reason why they do not have enough to eat, enough to drink and do not have a roof over their head.

That did the trick. Godhra was just a spark. People rioted. Just like the Nazi Kristallnacht Muslim establishments were pinpointed, destroyed and then boycotted. The aim was to destroy them economically and politically. Independent fact finding reports reveal that like the Nazi experiment the Gujarat pogrom also was planned well in advance.

With the successful completion of the pogrom, for the hard core hindutwa section Modi became their champion and for the sympathising bystanders he became a hero. During the election campaign he was appealing to the masses to vote for the “Gujarati Pride”. Only he knew what was the problem with the Gujarati pride. He told them this election was fought against Parvez Musharraf, the president of Pakistan, and almost all Muslims were in “Mian” Musharraff’s corner. He seethed with communal venom. ” Godhra” would be avenged only in one way: vote him and his party back to power. People were ready to believe anything their champion had to say.

In his election rallies national leaders like Prime Minister Vajpayee and Deputy Prime Minister Advani were reduced to mere shadows of Modi. In some election meetings people were seen walking out on these leaders. People were clearly disillusioned by the NDA kind of Hindutwa. They wanted something stronger and Modi was there to provide them. As Harish Khare of The Hindu wrote ” At least in Gujarat, Modi has become larger than the BJP. And the likes of Advani are reduced to rationalising this profile.”

VHP leadership were saying that Gujarat is going to be an experiment for Hindutwa and it has proved that the experiment was a resounding success. And with it a new brand of Hindutwa is born. If the Advani brand of Hindutwa was cunning, treacherous and covert the Modi brand of Hindutwa is open, aggressive, and murderously violent. With the resounding victory in Gujarat Modi has stolen a march on the Advani brand of Hindutwa. Death bells are already ringing for NDA. Modi has taken BJP by the scruff of the neck and he is going to lead it wherever he want to. It wont be long that Modi is going to eye for the Prime Minister’s chair, or even, like every dictator would like to, the President’s chair.

The Sangh Parivar is jubilant. It has shed its modesty and is coming out with venomous public utterances. It is only with a chill running down our spine that we can listen to Praveen Thogadia of VHP as he says, “Hindu Rashtra could be expected in next two years…. We will change Indian history and Pakistan’s geography by then. Today, it is Gujarat, tomorrow it will be Delhi and also all other states. We will not leave any corner of the country untouched.”

Are they really going to make India a Hindu Rashtra? Are they really going to alter the borders? Only with tears in our eyes can we ask these questions. What concentrations camps are they preparing for us and for our children? Will they lead the Indian subcontinent to a nuclear war? Will we survive if it happens? I really dont know.

But I know one thing, if the concerned citizens of India do not come out and fight this dragon of hatred we will be forced to say like Pastor Martin Niemoeller as he said about his Nazi experience

“First they came for the Communists, And I didn’t speak up because I wasn’t a Communist. Then they came for the Jews, And I didn’t speak up because I wasn’t a Jew. Then they came for the trade unionists, And I didn’t speak up because I wasn’t a trade unionist. Then they came for the Catholics, And I didn’t speak up because I was a Protestant. Then they came for me, And by that time no one was left to speak up.”

Binu Mathew is the Editor of the web journal www.countercurrents.org. He can be contacted editor@countercurrents.org

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