May 25, 2014

Goebbels Proved Right, Harshads Endorse Modi

Babulal Likhure

THE happiest person after the 16th Lok Sabha election results in India would be Joseph Goebbels, the propaganda minister in Adolf Hitler’s cabinet. Decades after his death, Goebbels must now be turning in his grave and screaming “I was right”. Goebbels was indeed right, it seems, as it was he who had theorised the concept “tell lies a hundred times and it would be believed as true”. The behaviour of a section of the Indian electorate during the just concluded elections has proved Goebbels correct, in as many words, as multitudes of people seem to have believed the propaganda dished out by prime minister designate Narendra Modi and his crony capitalist friends, their public relation agencies, corporate media houses and some religious leaders. Though there is no denying of the fact that a large chunk of the votes which brought Modi to the pinnacle of power is actually a negative vote against the corruption and misrule of the Congress-led United Progressive Alliance (UPA), it needs to be admitted that their preference for the Hindutva’s poster boy also represents an aspirational factor among sections of youths, women and middle class whose hopes have increased manifold due to false propaganda about the so called ‘development’ model. It is a different matter that the ‘development’ model ‘discovered’ and publicised by Modi with aid and abetment of his crony capitalist friends and their media wings is only a hollow claim.  Repeated a thousand times in the guise of opinion polls, expert surveys, statistical juggleries and celebrity endorsements, the ‘development’ theory was believed to be true by many people across India – exactly the way Joseph Goebbels had theorised nearly 75 years ago. STEADFASTLY CREATED PERCEPTION The perception that Modi and only Modi is the solution for all ills afflicting India was steadfastly created since last few years, first by luring top industrialists like Anil Ambani and Sunil Mittal to propose his elevation as prime minister who would replicate the ‘Gujarat model’ at the national level. At the next level, the concept of ‘Modi as PM’ was popularised by surveys, opinion polls, best CM contests by magazines and numerous other ways through the social media managed by paid computer-savvy youngsters.  None had imagined then that the ‘Gujarat model’ would indeed be replicated in Muzaffarnagar of Uttar Pradesh where engineered communal riots claimed innocent lives and thus polarised the people’s sentiments leading to rich electoral benefits to the saffron party – exactly the way Modi had won a landslide victory in Gujarat in 2002.  But, then, selective communal polarisation was not the only tool used by Modi and the Sangh Parivar’s foot soldiers to deceive the people into believing that milk and honey would flow if only he was voted to power.  Along with the hype created by the corporate media, there was also the dangerous cocktail of the religious leaders and sects financed by ill-gotten black money of wheeler dealers which too had launched a subtle campaign in favour of Modi.  As ‘Roti, Kapda, Makan’ really ceased to be the primary requirement for a large section of people who are upwardly mobile, vocal and articulate, Modi and the right wingers created hopes for this section too in the form of chance to multiply their surplus money in the national gamble called the share market operations.  It was known to every finance sector person that prominent share market operators, most of them Gujaratis, were obliged to contribute generously for the cause of hiking up the Sensex by vigorous trading in the shares of Gujarat-based, Gujarati-controlled and Gujarat-oriented companies.  With the enormous rise during the last two decades in the number of urban middle class people keen on multiplying their disposable money in the share market, it seemed logical for many of them to vote for the one whose advent to power might help them rake in the moolah.  It really made no difference to them that Modi’s ‘development’ model or the sky-rocketing share market index had not brought even an iota of relief to the millions of masses confronting hunger, ill-treatment, employment and lack of housing and sanitation.  The aspiring tribe of Harshad Mehtas, the Gujarati origin share trader who was the darling of business magazines for years but later turned out to be a swindler, who have moved ahead from the agony of want of necessities have actually seen in Modi a saviour of gamblers, now affectionately called share market operators.  Money multipliers at the share market have learnt to regard the rise of Sensex and investment figures as the sole indicators of their perception of ‘development’, even though it excludes the vast number of exploited working classes, famished peasants, jobless youths and homeless urchins. It can safely be concluded that Indians whose needs for ‘Bijli, Sadak, Paani’ were fulfilled long back have now ditched their less fortunate brethren for whom the dream of ‘Roti, Kapda, Makan’ still remain elusive.  For the beneficiaries of Modi brand of development’, the Indian judicial system’s inherent weakness to prosecute the guilty of mass violence is not a matter of grave concern as long as the Sensex keeps booming and Income Tax rates remain at tolerable levels. On the flip side, now there are people who seriously consider rising real estate prices, high quantum of black money seizures and booming share market prices as indicators of ‘development’ Modi intends to replicate at the national level. The voting pattern displayed in the 16th Lok Sabha elections are the ominous signals that crony capitalism as well as fascist communalism can be democratically endorsed even in a culturally diverse and multi-ethnic nation like India. DISASTER FOR THE COUNTRY If quantum of black money generated is the parameter of ‘development’ as defined by Modi, the Gujarat model definitely stands apart. The son of a ‘saint’ who had ‘blessed’ Chief Minister Narendra Modi at Siddhpur in north Gujarat a few years back, had offered as much as Rs 13 crores in bribes to escape the charges of rape he is facing in Surat.  The police officers didn’t have to say ‘show us the money’ to Narayan Sai as nearly Rs Nine crores in cash was recovered from him. All these amassing of illicit wealth and land deals through sex racket by Asaram Bapu and son Narayan Sai went on for years under the so called ‘clean’ administration of Modi, the saffron brigade’s mascot of ‘good governance’. Bribe amount of Rs 13 crores offered by a rape accused whose ‘saint’ father had blessed the chief minister in public is indeed some development parameter. And, then the ‘clean administrator’ has studiously prevented the appointment of the state Lokayukta for nearly a decade and spent a whopping Rs 45 crore from the state exchequer to fight legal cases to block the ombudsman’s way. Modi was obviously scared of a genuine Lokayukta stumbling upon the immense irregularities in handing over of public lands to industrial houses at throw-away prices.  No wonder that the beneficiary industrial houses spent crores to publish denials of any link with Modi and also planted their ‘interviews’ in newspapers through which they gave clean chit to the chief minister who would be prime minister. Another aspect of ‘good governance’ under Modi was the complete subversion of the legal process including all cases pertaining to the 2002 post-Godhra riots. Eye-witnesses of the riots were threatened, lured, instigated or convinced to turn hostile during depositions until the Supreme Court intervened.  Even after the apex court ordered protection to the riot witnesses and survivors, the security men provided to them were sought to be used as spies and informers for the Modi administration which did not even spare its own honest and upright police officers who stood by the principles of the Constitution.  Each and every IPS officer who stood up to Modi and stuck to the rule book in defying illegal orders was humiliated and harassed by the Gujarat government. Even the corporate houses which are beneficiaries of the Modi administration’s largesse shunned them for post-retirement job offers.  But the same corporates are always too eager to hire the police and bureaucrats who helped Modi break the rules – such is the level of nexus in Gujarat that its replication at the national level would spell disaster for the country.