We have been hearing it more frequently these days. The increase corresponds to the rise in popularity of Narendra Modi. The man apparently is a grave threat to the “idea of India”. Who says so? We all know that. Why do they say so? Well, after you distill the sophistry it all comes down to the man’s apparent “Hindutva hardliner” image which implies a problem for Indian Muslims. A thesis that starts and ends with 2002 helps prove this.

However references to the “Hindutva hardliner” moniker have almost vanished. That may be because Modi’s record does not fit into the stereotypical Hindutva template devised by those opposed to it. It is necessary for Hindutva hardliners to be close to the RSS, VHP and Modi has kept them at a distance. In fact the Hindutva groups do not seem too pleased with him. So that catchy moniker is not maintainable and had to be dropped.

Over 10 years on since the 2002 riots we have seen the arguments of those opposed to Modi change significantly. From “mass murderer” narrative we have now come to “debunking growth story”. The guardians of the “idea of India” may be on an even weaker ground here because development and growth can be proven by numbers and it has been validated by various reports, agencies, analysts and even the central government itself.

What is the concerned to do in this case? Simple. Just ask “do Muslims benefit from development in Gujarat?” Now we can have a proper secularism and communalism debate under the guise of “minorities don’t get a share” theory. But justice Sachar unwittingly threw a wrench in the works here. However the guardians of “idea of India” are still concerned.

The things that occupy the guardian’s minds are “the idea of justice” as defined by Amartya Sen and the narrowly defined “social justice”. Concern for the former resulted in a patently prejudice driven communal violence bill. The bill betrayed their extremist communal instincts and soon became a problem for them. Communal amity could hardly be achieved by such a bill. If anything the bill would lodge a permanent wedge between communities. The curious silence of this crowd on the Owaisi engineered “third wave” phenomenon should not be missed.

Concerns for “social justice” too are driven by what they believe is true. Gujarat 2002 again is an eminent case in point. Justice delivery was hampered by a set of characters that had the approval of the guardians of “idea of India”.

Here is the most curious bit though. The “idea of India” faces grave threat at the hands of communal forces we are told. The secular forces lost control only for about 6 years or so since 1947. How have things come to such a pass then? Why does justice continue to elude victims from the minority communities? Why does a better life continue to escape the secular minorities? There is hardly a dearth of schemes and laws designed by the secular forces bearing secular names to boot. So whose “idea of India” has failed here?

The “idea of India” was nurtured and cared for by Nehru we are told. We now have the fourth generation of the family take over ownership of this idea. Has the idea borne the desired fruit yet? Why is the fourth generation still riling against the very ills plaguing us since the days of Nehru? Could it be because their ideas are flawed?

Ideas that are seeped in communal and socialist instincts hardly have a chance of succeeding. They act as a catalyst to problems. This is evident from chronic secular, communal inflammation we continue to suffer to this day. Poverty has become destiny for millions now not withstanding the countless schemes aimed at eradicating the scourge.

Much of the problem is due to the presupposition that certain ideas are noble. How does one hold such a thing accountable then? Instead dogged pursuit of the same ideas persists with exactly the same result.

Narendra Modi is not the first “Hindutva mascot”. Why is such special revulsion reserved for him then? Look closely and you will see this is because he has refused to adhere to the same failed ideas the Nehru family insists on continuing. His success and as a result the success of the people of Gujarat prove that the old, tired ideas have failed. People realize that a better life awaits them when they are freed of secularist prescriptions. This in fact threatens the guardians of the “idea of India”. If Modi is allowed to move to the center it may deal a fatal blow to the hollow ideas nurtured since the days of Nehru. And hence the need to write columns warning us of dangers from leaders like Narendra Modi.

Image from here.

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