Hope not. But, if indications are to be believed, there is a fair chance of ‘Modi/Namo Sena’ standing in attention appearing alongside Narendra Modi in case he stages a second term as the Prime Minister of the nation. His ‘bhakts’ have given enough signals to that effect. The U. P. Chief Minister Yogi Adityanath opened the hornet’s nest by alluding to the recent Balkot performance of the Indian army as Modi Sena’s victory. Was it just election rhetoric? Or did he also mean that Modi is capable of harnessing the army’s strength to his advantage to push his agenda in the exercise of governing the nation?
If ‘chai pe charcha’ has any merit, the common man is worried. ‘If Modi Sahib gets another chance, he might be a one man show,’ said an ‘elaichi chai’ sipping customer. Another quipped: ‘We are having Namo TV, Namo food packet for election duty personnel and what not. We shall soon have Namo vada pav, Namo salt which will beat Tata salt, etc.’ The tea vendor did not want to appear left out. ‘I am going to brand my tea as Namo Chai.’ Our Prime Minister knows very well the merit of teashop chatter. He had enjoyed it to his heart’s content in his younger days!
The Prime Minister himself is swearing by the army and takes credit for air strikes and army operations across the border. As if it was his brainchild operation. On one hand he announced in public that the army is given a free hand. And, on the other, he openly states that, had it not been for him and his brainwave, the Balkot surgical strike would not have happened. But, the undeniable fact that Balkot came only after forty of our army veterans were reduced to body bags of charred remains by a suicide bomber is swept under the carpet. No question should be asked about security slip, we are told. The slip is showing, Mr. Modi!
Anyone who questions army performance or calls for a record of its strikes and skirmishes is branded anti-national by the Modi faction. But, at the same time, Modi uses army’s name or army’s performance as a credit card for vote grabbing. The nation wants to know what prompted P M Modi to ask the first time voters, during his election campaign, to dedicate their votes to the Balkot air strike and to the Pulwama martyrs. Even a scatterbrained chap can find the logic behind Modi’s prompting. Undoubtedly, his action provoked uproar in the nation asking how the Prime Minister of the nation could flout the model code of conduct by using the name of the army and asking to dedicate their votes to the surgical strikes and to the Pulwama martyrs. India Today reports that the election Commission took ‘cognisance’ of Modi’s reported remark. Mind you, it is only ‘cognisance’.
Such displays go beyond mere table fellowship with the army. It is an indication that the armed forces get transformed into ‘Modi sena’ as per the pronouncement of Modi’s admirer and confidante Yogi Adityanath. It is the same Modi who accused the opposition for ‘demoralising’ our armed forces for their air strikes by demanding proof and thereby ‘giving advantage to the enemies’ (Election Speech in Patna, Hindustan Times).
Even the controversial Bihari babu, the never repressible and ever vocal Shatrugan Sinha hit the bull’s eye with his shotgun by spelling it out. ‘BJP turned into one-man show, two men army.’ And such a description comes from an erstwhile Modi bhakt who had adored Modi, christened him ‘Namo’ and had good chummy table fellowship with him. So, he appears to know Modi inside out. At least he claims to be so. They say people come out with the truth either when they are drunk or when they are hurt. There was no indication that Sinha was inebriated while giving the related interview. ‘And thereby hangs a tale.’ (As You Like it, Shakespeare).
We have the controversial Swami Sachidanand Sakshi Maharaj, BJP MP from Unnao, prophesying that, if Modi gets enthroned a second time, there won’t be another election. That could sensibly be interpreted as saying that, in such an eventuality, the nation will have a dictator style government which needs no democratic elections. As regards the end of the democratic set up, one has been witnessing a consistent and conspiratorial method of performing the last rites of our democratic values and principles, a well construed agenda of pillaging and destroying the nation’s cultural identities. Religious forces suffused with political inebriation in the garb of Sadhus and Sadvins have congregated to organise themselves as a religion-based political propaganda machinery to support RSS-Sangh Parivar ideology. They and the politicians have become a united front to cry foul against minorities, particularly Muslims and Christians. Shouldn’t we need a sanitized atmosphere in this secular India in which all officially religious personnel like temple mahouts, pujaris, sadhus, sadvins, priests, nuns and moulvis are banned from entering politics as elected representatives?
One should take note that lawmaker Sakshi Maharaj accused the Muslims of becoming a threat to the nation by producing children. ‘Muslims have 40 children from 4 wives.’ So, the frightful question to ask is, will Modi’s staging a coming back be sponsoring an anti-minority tsunami or will it respect the constitutional guarantee of religious freedom and secularity?
The recent election rhetoric of BJP senior minister Maneka Gandhi cannot be brushed aside as a puerile tantrum of a Child Welfare minister. Addressing an election gathering in Uttar Pradesh’s Sultanpur, she felt no qualms in telling a group of Muslims that, if they do not vote for her, they will have to face the music. The warning meant that an angry woman’s bite can be more venomous than that of a beaten cobra. If such was the warning of Maneka, Sakshi Maharaj came out forcefully with another similar warning. That his curse would fall on the electorate if he does not get elected! Should not one take these statements as communally combustible? Or the BJP candidate and Leader of opposition in the Karnataka Legislative Council K S Eshwarappa’s statement that Muslims and Christians were denied tickets from BJP ‘because they are not loyal to the nation?’
So, the line is drawn. Loyalty to the nation means loyalty to BJP-RSS-Sang Parivar. Here secular values, your constitutional freedom to vote for the candidate you like, your freedom of expression and opinion are pulverised on the altar of a convoluted nationalism.
These are not isolated incidents. If you are not a Namo bhakt, you come under the curse. There is a concerted pre-planned agenda to eliminate those who hold a different opinion or ideology, or belong to different religion in this secular India. The growing controversy about the National Citizenship Register (NRC) has spilled out into the streets by BJP’s twitter handle. A group of concerned citizens through a public interest complaint has appealed to the Election Commission that, in the marathon race for vote catching, things are turning terrifyingly uglier and uglier. It points out the recent official statement on BJP’s twitter account that it will ensure implementation of NRC and remove every single infiltrator ‘except Buddha (Buddhist), Hindu, and Sikh’ to create a ‘New India.’ It is also highlighted that Amit Shah, during election campaign in Assam and Bengal has promised to remove every single infiltrator from this country and to identify and give Indian nationality to Hindus and Buddhists. Pointing out such factors, the ‘Urgent Petition to the Election Commission’ attempts to bring to its notice that they are ‘objectionable, communal, anti-constitutional, intimidatory and hate-inciting statements’. It is also claimed that ‘they mean a blatant attack on our constitution, democracy, values of pluralism, inclusiveness and secularism’.
Such urgent calls by some concerned citizens appear to highlight the emerging national situation stuffed with nationalistic ideology. On Narendra Modi’s enthronement as the Prime Minister of the nation, the VHP reportedly declared that Modi was the ‘mascot’ of Hindu nationalism. No wonder, such nationalistic ideology was spelt out by VHP/RSS members. A few samples: ‘Every child born in India is a Hindu.’ (Sadvi Prachi, Feb.2015). She also called for a boycott of ‘the Khans of Bollywood.’ RSS top leader Bhagavat’s statement is indicative of a sinister future: ‘India is a Hindu nation.’ It goes to mean that religious freedom in India is negotiable. Dainik Jagaron newspaper quotes the explosive statement of Rakesh Sinha, Member of Parliament, RSS ideologue and ‘believer in cultural nationalism’ that Hindutva cannot be separated from the idea of the nation and there is need to launch ‘Isai Missionary Bharat Chodo’ andolan.
How will Modi negotiate such serpentine curves? Given his track record, his allegiance to his parent organisation and his ideological roots will dictate his performance. Shashi Tharoor in his recently published book, The Paradoxical Prime Minister, quotes Modi’s words to Reuters in 2013: ‘I’m a nationalist. I’m patriotic. Nothing is wrong. I’m a born Hindu. So yes, you can say I’m a Hindu nationalist.’ (p.43). Tharoor explains what he understands by these words. ‘This is clearly part of his core beliefs. Moditva borrows from Hindutva the idea of a pristine Hindu Rashtra, a nation emerging from the mist of time immemorial, the Rashtravada of the Rig Veda; it asserts a majoritarian nationalism in the name of the Hindu people, marginalising or vilifying minorities – particularly Muslims and Christians – as interlopers. . . On the top of this foundation of Hindutva, it builds the idea of a strong leader, a man with 56-inch chest, powerful and decisive, who embodies the nation and will lead it to triumph. This is the element that makes the ruling credo ‘Moditva.’
Now, the million dollar question is, will Modi fast forward the nation into a dictatorial rule by quelling all dissent, by destroying democratic pluralism and secular institutions and by ushering in ‘Namo Raj, the ‘New India’ of his dreams, his latest buzzword? Will it have the characteristics of the Hindu Sena, founded by Vushnu Gupta in 2011, espousing pro-Hindu ideology and Hindu nationalism, supported by lynch brigades, cow protection vigilantes, highway terrorist outfits, kitchen snoopy gangs, anti-love brigades and the like? How will Namo’s raj dharma under Namo Sena’s rule benefit the Indian nation?(Published on 29th April 2019, Volume XXXI, Issue 17 & 18)