Election season in any country brings the insanity underlying ideological flashpoints engendered by a politics of fear to the surface. My country is currently performing this quinquennial ritual. The political climate after a little over two decades of liberalization has been completely transformed into the American model:
- Neoliberals – Congress
- Neoconservatives – BJP
- Libertarians – AAP
For the braindead youth this has been further simplified by the ever helpful TV/paper media into a personality clash – Rahul Gandhi vs Narendra Modi vs Arvind Kejriwal. Just for kicks, I will be taking on Neocons.
Rational supporters claim 'voting for NaMo' (we don't choose the Prime Minister directly but this nuance is lost) would be good for the industrialists and business class.
First, there is no actual difference between the three parties since their priority is GDP growth and other econometrics, not socialism or sustainability. Second, the idea that the present age is as good for small scale enterprise as America at the turn of the 20th century or India after independence is laughable. In MNC era, even the upper middle class feels the brunt of manufacturing turndown.
The identification of middle class economic interests with Modi must be considered a PR coup since they proved to be as adept as congress at graft last time they were in power. If only BJP's economic policies were as effective as their PR agency.
Peel the psyche of Neocon men further and you find the same mechanism being played out as elsewhere in the world. As the middle class crumbles & liberalization indirectly replaces patriarchal traditions with market based morality, a whole bunch of men are realizing their abject state as dhobi ka kutta (literally translated as washerman's dog), irrelevant at home or work. Older ones who took their family for granted protest as MRAs. Younger ones from upper middle class have led a sheltered life. Never moving out of family house, no independent streak, just the age old Hindu conceit of parents being the center of the universe; A class of kept men looking for a father figure who validates their narcissistic myopia,
"why don't I get better roads between my factory and my home? what do I pay taxes for?"
A sense of history informing our politics has been one of the casualties of 9/11 which has brought together neocons globally against Islam, the Jews of the 21st century. Islamophobia normalized in India around partition but now that the rest of the world has caught up, everyone has come across the ravings about Islamic rayguns, etc.
A lot of cold war era conspiracy theories have been reheated in the current political climate like claiming those who don't agree with BJP program are Russian sleeper agents, etc. One piece of rhetoric that has come from neoliberals when they were obsessed with population explosion as a catalyst for communism and now morphed into neocon ideology is the idea that Muslims are overbreeding. This overlooks how well they have been marginalized since independence and their relative poverty. Even though Muslims who stayed in India chose India, they are still considered probable defectors by Hindus.
This situation is loosely comparable to black people in US after the civil rights movement. The difference is that criminal or aggressive behavior is blamed on religious training among Muslims while the racists in US have to claim a genetic disposition to violence in blacks.
Islamic fundamentalism is a product of repeated intervention by the Anglo empire in Middle-East for geopolitics, not religious fervor. Self-determination & the Arabic nationalist project were thwarted post-war in a competition against communism to install dictators favoring US/UK. Self-determination has recently been narrowly avoided again in Egypt.
Since the state has no external aggressor (read colonist), it must imagine abstract threats, external (Muslim fundamentalism) or internal (lower castes, tribes, muslims again, etc.) as pretext for international or internal maneuvering. Since society has no place left for them, the neocons must imagine phantom threats to their 'freedom' so they can keep being a 'man'.
Neocons believe that we gained independence to recreate Hindu society, not for the emancipation from caste system for everyone in a secular democracy. Such beliefs are not possible without a thorough ignorance of the short history of our nation.
When neocons parrot the line of 'India needs a dictator', I am left speechless by the job of bringing these asshats from the classic era, when Plato had come to the same conclusion of 'ideal tyrant', through two millennia of political experiments into the present. How ironic that neocon demands are all the supposed privileges they project onto Muslim males, that they want a dictatorship while pointing out the fearful regimes of OPEC despots.
In private, as soon as they get drunk, the loathing is expelled without any filters or pretense of rationality in a primal burst,
"The mozzies are coming! They will take our women and kids! They will chop our dicks!"
This is the nightmare that animates most men in my generation & class. Catholics have a global authority, not Muslims. How do you burst the bubble of these Hindus who fear a global conspiracy of Islam against them? How pathetic are their lives that their hiding spots from family and boss are supposedly threatened by the next jihad?
The most famous NaMo cheerleader is Chetan Bhagat, an 'artist' whose bio on his website reads 'the author of blockbuster novels... All four books have remained bestsellers since their release.' Even Bollywood, notorious for its shoddy threadbare scripts has to modify Bhagat's 'blockbuster' novel when it steals from him. Here's his view on being an artist.
Another douchecanoe fooled by postmodernism into thinking he is more than disposable.
The most prevalent criticism of Modi on the liberal side is his constant comparison to Hitler. This is wrong historically. Hitler rode in on the promise of the 'final solution'; Modi, on the contrary has already done a test run in Gujarat, a demonstration of his sociopathy by presiding over the Godhra pogrom. Modi has already proven capable to many Hindus that he can protect us against them.
My problem though with this comparison lies not in their practice but in their theory or more specifically, the lack of any theory in Modi's Hinduism. His manifesto is shaped by a PR agency and like a lot of other Indian politicians, has never had any clear politics. Hitler believed; Modi is a cynical power player well versed with the regional scene but his entry in Delhi has always been at the sidelines.