By Dr. Zeeshan Khan
Modi is lucky to be blessed with an opposition so weak that it has no agenda other than to defeat him. Even so, doubts assail him, for he must know he has not delivered on the promises made in 2014. India’s election is the largest in the world. With roughly 900 million eligible voters, polling is a challenge.
How could the Indian Air Force (IAF) get operational instructions on precision airstrikes from an uneducated bigot like Modi because of whom the IAF has had to face tough criticism from international press like ‘Strategist’ from Australia who said that Indian claims of killing terrorists by airstrike are false.
But the mythical history created by an airstrike in Balakot, Pakistan, changed the scene. Everyone should be seriously worried about India’s national security.
Moreover, experts say that Modi will happily lie about India’s national security and will neglect regional peace if it benefits him personally. Modi gives importance to his opinions over those of the experts. Modi has completely politicized Indian Army – This has been the formula for the success of the new dictators of the world.
People have been complaining about the lack of jobs, demonetisation, the GST, farmers’ distress, and other alleged failures. They complain of other ‘non-material’ matters such as intolerance or arrogance or overconcentration of power in Modi’s hands. Ashok Gehlot even warned the voters that if Modi won, this would be the last election ever. Six of Seven Bengal BJP candidates have criminal cases and a recent study revealed that 37% BJP Candidates face criminal charges.
More than half of India’s 1.3 billion people still depend in some way on farming, although agriculture accounts for only 17 percent of the economy. The country has struggled to create new jobs in manufacturing and services to make rural families less dependent on the land. “In the name of the poor, you have robbed the farmer,” said Ashok Gulati, a prominent Indian agricultural economist who has occasionally advised the current government.
Meanwhile, many farmers’ families are struggling with debt. In desperate times, some farmers have turned to suicide. In Nashik district, 108 farmers killed themselves last year, up sharply from 2014, officials said. The deaths have continued this year.
“You have to create more jobs outside agriculture,” said Pramod Joshi, director for South Asia at the International Food Policy Research Institute in New Delhi. In 2014, Mr. Modi promised to add 10 million jobs. The economy has most likely fallen short of that target, and government has blocked the release of official employment data, claiming that it is unreliable to actually hide facts.
Under Modi, a Hindu Nationalist surge has further divided India. That secular agenda was always entwined with Mr. Modi’s roots within a conservative Hindu political movement that strives to make India a Hindu state. The emboldening effect became apparent within months of the 2014 election. Hindu lynch mobs began to pop up across the landscape, killing Muslims and lower-caste people suspected of slaughtering cows, a sacred animal under Hinduism. Most often, the mobs have gotten away with it.
Hate speech began to proliferate. Government bodies began rewriting history books, lopping out sections on Muslim rulers, changing official place names to Hindu from Muslim, and more aggressively contesting holy sites. They also began pushing extremist Hindu priorities.
The consensus among Indian activists and liberal political analysts is that their society, under Mr. Modi, has become more toxically divided between Hindus and Muslims, between upper and lower castes, between men and women. Poverty is the real thing to be eradicated, BJP must understand.
“In plain language, they are what we now call communal fascists,” said Aditya Mukherjee, a retired historian, referring to Mr. Modi and his political allies.
“This is something that Jawaharlal Nehru had predicted,” Mr. Mukherjee said, referring to India’s first prime minister. For some context, Nehru said that, “If fascism ever came to India it would come in the form of majoritarian Hindu communalism.” That is exactly what is happening.
Moreover, Time magazine has called Modi ‘India’s divider-in-chief’ in its international edition published during this month. It also said the opposition Congress party has little to offer other than the dynastic principle. The articles inside the magazine have the titles “Can the World’s Largest Democracy Endure another Five Years of a Modi Government?”
“Not only has Modi’s economic miracle failed to materialize, he has also helped create an atmosphere of poisonous religious nationalism in India,” Taseer writes. Far from his promise of development for all, he has achieved a state in which Indians are increasingly obsessed with their differences, according to the article.
Prof. Ashok Swain, Professor and Director of International Studies, Uppsala University, Sweden said that no one can and should justify the killing of 3000 Sikhs in 1984. Congress Party can’t and shouldn’t avoid its culpability. However, can anyone explain why RSS leader Nana Deshmukh, whom Modi gave Bharat Ratna in 2019, had also justified the Sikh massacre?
Furthermore, experts say that Modi has ruined India’s economy – The second half of his five-year term has been a disaster according to a Bloomberg article. India’s industrial production is growing now only at 0.1%.
Experts now have the opinion that they never used to read about Indian politics from foreign newspapers and news magazines. Modi is being interviewed by bollywood actors and hand-picked anchors than independent journalists. Alas, if electoral democracy is manipulated by dubious right-wing politicians with sinister intent, the idea of a secular and plural India will be seriously threatened. The damage will be irreversible.
The opinions in this article are of the writer only and do not represent the views of The Weekly Pakistan.
Dr.Zeeshan Khan is a writer, analyst, doctor, educationist, human activist, blogger, certified trainer, and poet. He is a motivational speaker, Cultural-cum-Political Analyst and regular contributor to the Op-Ed pages of different newspapers. He is a doctor at CMH and also an alumnus of LUMS.