If anything to be named as the most powerful instrument to shape the destiny of future generations, it could be named as “Time”. “ Time” in itself supposed to be static around which things happen but these happenings sometimes would have bearings to stamp its signature on the time to mark the history, but more often character of power gives an illusion to the people sitting on the centre of power as they are the shapers of the destiny and in this illusion they try to swim against the stream of time to change the tide in their favor and define the time according to their will but they ultimately fail in their efforts to be remembered as a character whose tectonic shift turn into catastrophe .
On 8th November 2106 when prime Minister of India Narendra Modi who used his executive powers as the most powerful premier of Country in last three decades to announce his unilateral decision to scrap the high value currency from being use with immediate effect post midnight, it was not only a policy shocker but was result of his desperate attempt to do something unimaginable to put a stamp on history to be marked as the unparallel politician and Prime Minister who overshadows his predecesors .
Since India achieved her independence in 1947, several occasions occurred when leaders occupying the premier post of the country had luxury to create an history and legacy behind them. The First Prime Minister of Country Jawahar Lal Nehru was the first among those leaders who had been able to leave a strong legacy behind him and he had been able to do so not only because he was a visionary leader who shaped the modern India but also because he was good literary person who wrote several books to provide an insight and vision to the people of India. His daughter Mrs Indira Gnadhi too left legacy of strong leadership with her stamp on history.
But more interestingly Prime Minister Narendra Modi who has ambitions to emerge him as larger figure than Nehru Gandhi legacy in Indian politics seems to be destined to be remembered and compared with another Prime Minister of Congress party who does not belong to Nehru Gandhi legacy and this Prime Minister is P V NarsimhaRao .
On 8th November 2016 when Prime Minister Narendra Modi announced his decision to demonetize the high value currency notes from immediate effect he added himself in the club of Narsimha Rao who too took tectonic shift which turned into catastrophe.
Narsimha Rao had a vast political experience with him and being a good observer and reader of Indian politics he drew some conclusion for him and tried to act accordingly in his capacity as a shrewd politician.
Since 1980’s Indian politics tasted the communal mixture as part of politics and the Indian National Congress which was fountainhead in preserving the secular credentials and composite culture of country during the turbulent era of partition of India and the situation arise aftermath later successfully laid the foundation of Indian constitution on the strong principles of plurality and secularism but the politics of the decade of 1980 witnessed a huge deviation of Congress party from its principled stand and communalism was somehow tolerated for political benefit and this story started from Punjab and later ended in Punjab when the Prime Minister of India Mrs Indira Gandhi sacrificed her life in the process of undoing her political mistake.
In 1984 when Indira Gandhi was assassinated and her assassination turned into communal violence and politically motivated communal violence polarized the Indian politics to provide a massive sympathy for her son Rajiv Gandhi to become the Prime Minister of India with massive mandate but destiny did not prove to be kind enough to Rajiv Gandhi and his tenure as Prime Minister was not immune to controversy and the charges of corruption in defense deal proved costly to him and his party and he was defeated in the general elections in 1989 but the instability and political turbulence in the form of twin movements of social justice and Ram Temple movement did not allow the next government to last long and in less than two years the next general elections took place and Rajiv Gandhi was well poised to return to the power the general elections in 1991, but in between the campaign trail Rajiv Gandhi was assassinated in Tamilnadu and when Congress party returned to power the senior most politician who had almost retired himself from politics was selected to lead the New government and P V NarsimhaRao who was supposed to be stop gap arrangements from other leaders from Congress party stunned everyone with his political shrewdness and tried to take tectonic shift and congress party which was hesitant and finding them on cross road to decide their future role in Indian politics and swinging between left to centre and right to centre suddenly chose to move right in the leadership of P V NarsimhaRao and tried to occupy the space of new emerging right wing politics in Indian politics which was taking shape with a blend of new constituency of Middle Class ( Benefited with liberalization of economy and most of them are those youth who had lost their economic and job opportunities due to the new reservation policy for OBC people )and Communally polarized Hindus whose exposure to the global politics has drew them to the emerging threat of Islamism and they looked to Congress party as more liberal and tolerable to Islamism and its dimensions .
P V NarsimhaRao calculated the situation and decided to swing to the right and allowed the Ram Temple movement to be built around him in more aggressive way as he thought he would be able to control the consequences and successfully infiltrate into the new emerging Hindu constituency along with his image of messiah of New Economy. The overconfident NarsimhaRao overestimated his political management and shrewdness and his overconfidence brought down the Babri Structure on 6th December 1992 and this incident changed the course of Indian politics when centrist Congress started to lose its pan national appeal to regional political parties and the beginning of surge of Hindu right in Indian politics take shape.
It is interesting to Compare Modi with Rao as both tries to swim against the tide as Rao compromised the basic tenet of Congress party and allowed the basic principle of Congress to be demolished in a hope to take drastic ideological shift to redefine and reshape the Indian politics and role of Congress party in new political realities, but it paved the way for more fragmentation and communal polarization.
On 8th November 2016 When Narendra Modi announced his decision to scrap the high value currency from immediate effect he too went for tectonic shift and took drastic ideological shift in an attempt to change the political narrative of country and in this effort he chose to become the new Marx of 21st century and ironically the Congress under the leadership of NarsimhaRao aspired to occupy the right wing space and BJP under the leadership of Narendra Modi aspired to occupy the space of hard left and with his decision of demonetization he tried to appeal the vast majority of poor people in country that he is here to provide economic parity.
Modi and his social justice shift. The tectonic shift did not take place on economic front only but on social front too Narendra Modi pushed the idea of social justice and promoted him as a leader who comes from the other Backward class and sincerely believes in promoting the ideas of Dr Bhimrao Ambedkar , it was another radical shift from his political legacy as BJP was the party who vehemently opposed the idea of implementation of recommendation of Mandal Commission which provides 27% reservation to OBC in education and government services, and BJP was on the forefront to lead the political movement to oppose the quota for OBC people and this opposition of reservation gives the image of upper cast political party for BJP and it was strong thought among upper cast Hindus that if BJP gets more power at the centre it would reconsider the reservation policy to transform it from cast as the criteria for backwardness and reservation to Economy as the criteria for backwardness and reservation . Ironically Narendra Modi did everything to erase this perception and on one hand he worked on economic front to give the perception to the poor and underprivileged as he is following the policies to provide economic parity as the Karl Marx of 21st century and on social justice front he become too vocal to talk like Dalit and other OBC leader.
Since BJP stormed to power in 2014 with a huge majority in lower house its leader and Prime Minister of India Narendra Modi left no stone unturned to appropriate the legacy of Dr Bhimrao Ambedkar who was part of the drafting team of Indian constitution and he successfully included several provisions in constitution to uplift the Dalits (who were being considered as marginalized and untocuable section in Indian society for a long time due to strict social and religious order). The appropriation of Dr Bhimrao Ambedkar from Narendra Modi has deeper significance as well as implications in Indian politics. It was significant because Narendra Modi comes from a political party and ideological background which was considered and criticized for holding the legacy of Brahminical order of society with a vision to bring back the glory of past with Brahminical supremacy, the implication of his appropriation of Dr Bhimrao Ambedkar was the more assertion and resurgence of Dalit movement with demand of more political participation from Dalits.
Prime Minister Narendra Modi walked a long path with Dr Ambedkar to cut the legacy of Pt Jawahar Lal Nehru to size and promote Dr Ambedkar as an alternative political vision.
But in last four years Dalit movement realized that their icons been highlighted but their issues and grievances are not addressed in that proportion. The real theme and goal of Dalit movement is not to provide the stature of deity to Dr Bhimrao Ambedkar but to overturn the whole structure of Hindu society from vertical to horizontal where possibility of return of Brahminical orders is being made impossible. Because Dr Bheemrao Ambedkar was of the opinion and conviction that Hindu social order and religious order is captive of Brahminical thought process and does not allow the individuality and personality to grow beyond its strict and structured social order and according to his thoughts , democracy and concept of political participation for Dalits or untouchables in democracy would not succeed as long as Hindu social order is not altered or transformed and the whole Dalit movement or social justice connotation revolves around this thought and any assertive Hindu resurgence in political territory is taken with misconception and sense of insecurity among these groups and Narendra Modi entangled and dragged himself in age old unsettled issues with long history of strife and struggle on these issues with far from the territory of politics and it needs more deliberations and skirmishes within society and religion before it settled out.
The appropriation of Dr Bhimrao Ambedkar from Narendra Modi and his ideological fraternity exposed their vulnerability before Dalit movement which smell an opportunity to open the age old issues of revolutionary changes in society from the political platform as they got an opportunity to expose the difference between appropriating Dr Bhimrao Ambedkar as a leader and appropriating the legacy of his ideology.
Since 1757 when Clive won the placy war and East India Company established its empire in India the Hindu world view of India was seriously challenged with new western world view heavily loaded with its umbilical relations to Christianity and in more than two centuries the real struggle in India had been between powers to bring India more closer with western world view on one side and to find a way to make a balance between Indian world view which is made of composite culture of India with bigger share of Hindu world view.
Dalit movement find them more near to the western world view and Christian missionaries who had a long history to support their efforts to overturn the Brahminical order from vertical to horizontal . Although Dalit leaders like Babu JagjiwanRam and Kanshi Ram had transformed Dalit movement to provide it more Indianised view for Dalits to incline more to indigenous way of finding the way out for social justice as Dr Bhimrao Ambedkar categorically stated that Hindu religion and its cast structure is in itself is a problem and discriminatory due to its religious and scriptural sanction and Dalits can’t expect any dignity or justice for them within Hindu religion as caste structure would not allow them any space or dignity , so better they should think of liberating them from oppression and tyranny of Hindu religion and he opted for Buddhism in later part of his life but Babu Jagjiwan Ram and KanshiRam did not opt to shed the Hinduism rather they decided to fight for their cause and used caste as their political capital to bring social reform from political revolution as they thought that once Dalits would gain more political power and become part of establishment , the upper cast Hindus would provide more space and dignity to Dalits to compromise with them to enjoy the political power.
In coming days the more resurgent and assertive Dalit Movement will try to dictate the terms and several issues with social implications will be raised from political platform and vulnerable Prime Minister Narendra Modi with his political constraints would find him in difficult situation to handle this issue as general elections are due to next year and due to Dalit resurgence the political narrative in election year would definitely take a shift.
The issue of triple Talaq– Even before the run up to the general elections in 2014 more than often it was discussed that Narendra Modi would not be able to rebrand him as acceptable political leader across the country as he carries the baggage of Gujarat riots behind him and this baggage provides him some political capital but the same time make him handicap to raise his stature beyond the appeal of Hindus and particularly reaching out to Muslims.
Narendra Modi had a task before him to transform his image without being looked as appeasing to Muslims in an attempt to reach them out. Narendra Modi decided to follow the strange route to enter into the territory of Muslims. His route was to be seen as revolutionary reformist for Muslim women as Jawharlal Nehru did for Hindu women when he went to transform the Hindu personal law with new modern code bill according to the modern day needs and Dr Bheemrao Ambedkar drafted the Hindu code bill as law Minister in Nehru cabinet , although he was disappointed to be not able to sail through the bill in its original format and this disappointment lead his resignation from Nehru cabinet , but anyway the Hindu code Bill gave new dimensions to the process of reform and modernity in Hindu society and Jawaharla Nehru was given the credit for this reform .
Narendra Modi too adopted the route of statutory reform process in Muslim personal law with his attempt to abolish the tradition of triple Talaq among Muslims and Modi himself and his colleagues in his political party campaigned vigorously that Muslims women are captive to this tradition and they needs to be liberated from this tradition which does not respect for their basic human rights. The issue went to the Supreme Court and court advised the government at centre to draft legislation on this issue as parliament is the best insititution to take a call on this issue.
Narendra Modi tried to hit several birds with one stone. On one hand he could become a reformist politician for Muslim women who cares for them and keeps a broad heart for Muslims too , on the other he could undo the political narrative of so called Muslims appeasement where state changes the rule of game when it comes the issue of Muslims in country reminding the people of country how the previous governments changed the constitution to appease the orthodox Muslims to deny the basic right for a Muslim women to get the maintainence after her divorce according to the procedure of CRPC ( The famous case of Shah Bano when Rajiv Gandhi was the Prime Minister of country and he amended the constitution to succumb to the pressure of orthodox Muslims). Narendra Modi government talked too much about this issue but till date any legislation on triple Talaq has not been able to sail through in parliament and the whole political narrative around this debate is too missing.
This route of Muslim reach out did not seem to get success as it has again galvanized Muslims around this issue as they have become suspicious to the motives of Narendra Modi to enter into their personal law and divide their families.
More often the tectonic shift turn into catastrophe because the background of ideology along with its social and economic frame of mind of its supporters create a confusion and chaos in drastic changes if this is taken without comprehensive home work. When Communist leader in West Bengal, Buddhadeo Bhattacharya tried to change the narrative of Communist party in west Bengal to become the neo Middle class party and handed over the Singur land to Tata to establish a factory, it not only created an Chaos in Communist cadre but it demolished the whole political legacy of Communists in Bengal for years to come. In the similar way Narendra Modi went for tectonic shift but it would end into political catastrophe for him with several economic and social challenges.
In politics one should know its limitations of maneuvering as in 1990’s Congress could not become the Jansangh and in west Bengal Communists could not become pro market and industry friendly and when they tried to do the unthinkable they not only devastated themselves but devastated the whole political and ideological narrative for their politics, in the same way Narendra Modi has limitation of his political legacy and neither he turn him into neo Communists who talks of have’s and have-nots and nor become the beacon of social reform in society to echo the message of Dr Bhimrao Ambedkar on the contrary in both of these attempts he would do serious damage to himself and his political party.
Modi’s Pakistan policy
The issue of relations between India and Pakistan had been the priority with any new government in India and new government at the centre headed by Narendra Modi too had to face this challenge once it acquired the power and beyond the rhetoric and public posturing Modi government was on the test in its Pakistan policy. The first glimpse of this policy was visible when the Prime Minister of Pakistan Nawaj Sharif was invited in the oath taking ceremony of Indian Prime minister Narendra Modi along with other leaders of SAARC , but the dramatic turn of events in India Pakistan relations started to happen when Prime Minister of India Narendra Modi landed in Lahore on 25th December 2015 to attend a wedding ceremony in Nawaj Sharif family and the same date happned to be the birth date of Pakistan premier Nawaj Sharif and Indian Minister Surpised most of the people to visit the Pakistan Premier to greet him personally for his birth day. Indian Prime Minister Who is known to be master in event management and turning any political decision into mega event did first mistake on that date when he relied more on personal chemistry of relations and tried to take the complexity of strategic and foreign policy issues into the confort zone to personal relations of two state heads. Most of the people were taken by surpise with surprise dimplomacy of Narednra Modi because this visit loaded with multiple political , strategic and diplomatic message as the date of the 25th December also happned to be the birth date of senior BJP leader and former Prime Minister of India Atal Bihari Vajapee who rode to Lahore in 1999 with bus from Delhi as a goodwill gesture to take a shift in Indo Pak relations and open new chapter into the relations between two estranged Nations and Narendra Modi chose the date of surprise visit to Lahore to revive the memory of Atal Bihari Vajapee and to erase the misconception for him as the hawkish leader who does not believe in normal relations with Pakistan but tries to believe the people that as statesman he is too ready to take risk to give chance to peace peocess.
Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi who was earlier engaging with his Pakistani Counterpart prior to his visit to Lahore put most of his political stake on risk and when he returned back to India it was thought that may be his wishful thinking of hoping unimaginable could prove true but Pakistan did not allow it to happen and Nawaj Sharif government gives the return gift to Indian Prime Minster. The terrorist attack on Indian air base in Pathnakot in early days of 2016 , was the reminiscent of the wishful thinking of former Indian Prime Minsiter Atal Bihari Vajpaee who visited the Lahore riding on the bus with a message of peace but he was retuned back with Kargil adeveturism form Pakistan army in next few months and Indian army folied the nefarious designs of Pakistan army to capture Indian lands and Indian army fought with unprecedented courage to ran away every single intruders and snatched every inch of land of country from them . Pakistan army took months to respond to the gesture of peace of Atal Bihari Vajpaee but Nawaj Sharif returned back with his gesture for Narendra Modi in less than a week.
Immediately after the attack writer of thes lines tried to read into the minds of Pakistan strategy and tactics and concluded that in its new strategy Pakistan would try to confuse and frustrate Indian establishement with their consistent target to Indian Army personell and their base as their target on innocent civilians will attract more criticism and eyebrows from international opinion but their attack on Indian army would be seen as result of conflict between two countries and Pakistan would get more chance to internationalise the Kashmir issue. The words of this writer proves right again when Indian Prime Minister Modi did not deter from terror attack and its political implications and allowed Pakistan to investigate the Pathankot attack with Joint investigation team and in this process Pakistan delegation visited the air base to collect some evidence and it would be confronted with evidence which Indian investigation team has collected. The Joint investigation team travelled to Pathankot and welcomed with protest but government seemed unmoved with these developments and surprise diplomacy of Prime Minister Modi superseded every other observation. The apprehension and skeptical views for Pakistan JIT probe outcome was always there but during the stay of JIT team in India several news items surfaced in Indian media which highlighted that Pakistan JIT team had been confronted with some evidence which suggest the role of Pakistan based terrorist group Jaish E Mohammad behind the Pathankot attack but immediately after the JIT team reached to Pakistan it retracted from its earlier stand and Pakistan media flooded with stories that India did not provide any evidence of involvement of Pakistan group into this attack . This development not only hampered the credibility of Prime Minister Narendra Modi in dealing with foreign policy issue on Pakistan but also raised serious questions on his Pakistan policy.
Once the efforts to reaching out to Pakistan aborted and Pakistan did not respond in the same gesture and repeated attempts of infiltration and attacks on Indian army personell and its base camps continues , Prime Minister Modi changed the gear for Pakistan policy and in the end of 2016 when India army base in Uri was attacked and several soldiers died Indian government decided to go for surgical strikes into the Pak occupied Kashmir and Indian army destroyed several terror camps and killed many terrorists in this operation . The decision of surgical attack was publicy owned by the government first time and meaasge was given to the Pakistan that if Indian gesture of peace would not be accepted from Pakistan , Indian is capable of shifting its gear, but since the surgical strikes happened it does not seem sufficient to eliminate the terror infrastructure and terror activities from Pakistan side and since surgical strikes happened the attack on Indian army personell and its base camps has not stopped and it is difficult to count any week when the people of country does not hear the news that India soldiers and army officials have laid their life in terrorist attack . Now it is high time to analyze the Pakistan policy of Modi government and its success or failures. There are few reasons which can be drawn as reasons for his failure in delivering much awaited results, on the contrary making this issue more complicated than ever.
Prime Minister Narendra Modi is relaying heavily on his National security adviser Ajit Doval for his Pakistan policy who has been branded as the master spy the Indian subcontinent had ever produced, it has been said time and again that he had worked inside Pakistan for several years as spy in disguise and he read the minds of Pakistan very well more than any other security establishment in India , and he happens to be the best counterbalance for Pakistan. But in the whole tenure of Modi government Ajit Doval had not been able to deliver anything miraculous in Pakistan policy which can be considered different from his other predecessors who had worked earlier as NSA in Indian government. He does not seem to be successful in delivering so far because even having all the intentions and strategic thinking he needs to understand the difference between the working style of a spy and diplomat. The spy needs to be master in hiding his idenitiy and intentions and working with non disclosed and non transparent manner but diplomat needs to be transparent and keeping the skill to convert confrontation into consensus. On various occasions Prime Minister Narendra Modi and NSA took some decisions on Pakistan without taking anyone into confidence as talking to NSA of Pakistan on various palces or visiting to Lahore. Even the James Bond or agents of Mission Impossible would not prove to be a good diplomat and strategist even though they are the best spies no doubt.
Prime Minister Modi and NSA needs to understand the basic principle of foreign policy of USA which is not based on any moralistic principle or European principle of mission based approach but it draws inspiration from old Roman empire of realpolitik approach for its geopolitical interests and it work to achieve its goal with principle of balance of power in different regions. From west Asia to South Asia they have to balance the Iran and Iraq with Israel and Pakistan to India and vice versa.
Since the days of 9\11 happened every Indian government has outsourced its fight against terror to west in general and USA in particular and more often we raise the question of principle and morality before west and USA which in our opinion involves in the fight of terror and we complain to various international fora that world is not doing enough in defining the terror and eliminating it. This is the easiest comfort Zone we have adopted because in principle the demands can be raised to define the term “Terrorism” but we know it has already been defined and every government, states or even non state actors have their own definition for “Terrorism”, so it would be more suitable to adopt our own method and definition for terrorism and evolve a political consensus around this definition to counter this terrorism.
The most Indian leadership lands them in trouble on Pakistan policy for one simple reason , most of the leaders , academicians or strategic analysts either have born to prior the independence of India or stuck with pre independence syndrome where they are not able to look to Pakistan in oblective way ,they look to Pakistan with mixed of emotions of either estranged brother who need our help or an Islamic state with domestic memories of partition and look to it as rouge nation whose very foundation is existed on the enmity of Hindus . Both the perceptions needs to be reviwed in new century because we have experienced that those leaders or organizations who claims to be carrying the legacy of Hindu view for definition of Nationalism in India, they too tempted to fall to the emotional way of dealing with Paksitan as an estranged brother when they gets the power to deal with this subject.
The pre independent India syndrome of our leaders fails them repeatedly on Pakistan front as they have to consider the fact that Paksitan born out of geo starategic realities of Colonial regime and these strategic realties will always remain there and we need to consider Pakistan as nation state in international relations. Once our blurred views for Pakistan in either way becomes clear and we start delinking it from our psyce the same day our approach for Pakistan will change and Pakistan will lose its leverage in India and its boastful claim or wishful thinking of protecting the interest of Indian Muslims become uselss and its daydreaming for Indian Muslims that they are looking to Pakistan as their savior will fall aprt.
But to make it happen Indian policy makers and strategists needs to define the national priorities and national idenitiy in consonance to the realties of new century where our civilizational continuity and heritage should not get hampered but diversity and differences become the strength nor the weakness because with old rhetoric and narratives when we try to build the consensus in world community against Pakistan sponsored terrorism we would never achieve the success if in slightest of our imagination we will take this whole issue of terrorism as Islam vs Rest.
We need to understand the difference between theological debate on Islam and its academic aspect and the problem of terrorism which is more political rather religious and Islam is fighting to retrieve and reclaim its religion from those Islamist who use it with wrong definition and interpretation.
The various organizations and movements inside our country don’t understand that civilization is a continous process of evolution of cultures and ideologies and deeper narratives and rhetoric for civilizations canot be used for immediate statecraft and diplomacy.The moment we understand this difference we would be able to isolate Pakistan in world community.
- Appropriating Congress legacy
Since Narendra Modi has rode BJP to power in centre on its own with absolute majority for BJP to become first Prime Minister in last three decades to acquire the post of premiership with absolute majirty on its own, the real challenge he and his party is facing to build a solid base of legacy on which foundation his future politics can stand.
In this effort the most easiest way he has chosen to find out those leaders from Congress history whom he can describe as near to his ideological and political vision as the BJP tries to define the Congress history between Nehru legacy and others who did not get the appropriate reference and legitimacy in Congress history due to the domination of Nehru dyanasty. This political staretegy of BJP can’t be dismissed in one go because during the freedom struggle and even after the independence of Country the difference of opinon within congress exist very much and particularly those leaders who had close association with Hindu religious organizations or envisoned the future of India after independence of country in more exclusive or cultural way with its identity more identical to Hinduness and role of state and government was considered by them with Hindu leanings and this stream of Congress always syampathises with those organsiations , movements or leaders beyond the Congress party who carries this school of thought.
The RSS as an umbrella organistaion for Hindu nationalists and ideological family for this opinion patronized Hindu Mahasabha and Bhartiya Jansangh. RSS and Bhartiya Jansangh always believed from their side that certain lerders from Congress Party like Dr Rajendra Prasad, K M Munshi, Sardar BallabhBhai Patel, C Rajgopalachari and Ayengar were some leaders who had more strong vision of India with its cultural route and civilizational appeal and their vision differentiate them from Nehru school of thought and bring them closer to RSS vision. Congress always contested this political outlook and advocated that vision of these leaders from Congress party does not have any similarity with RSS vision as these leaders never believe in the definition of nationalism which exclude any group or religion from the history or civilizational continuity of India.
Now it seems that Narendra Modi focus more on this fault line of Congress in search of legacy for his future of politics and in this process he not only tries to present him as an alternate to congress before people of country but the same time he blurred the criticism for his ideological family to be not part of freedom struggle and with appropratiation of Congress leaders it provides legitimacy to RSS and BJP to sustain their political legacy in long run . Even though this strategy seems to be smart at political level in first look but it is loaded with full of contradictions because the over emphasis on the political legacy of Congress party with dividing them on their cultural vision is somehow a difficult task as imposing the vision of particular ideology and searching the similarity between them is long academic work which can’t happen at political level and difficult to sustain for political reasons for a long time because the boorowed leaders can’t provide the answers to those queries and curiosity which arise around the basic ideology , political and economic philosophy of BJP and BJP claims to stand for those philosophies.
Although it can be believed that different leaders in Congress party would have their ideas and vision for future of India and difference in their opinion would have in there but it does not prove the point of RSS and BJP that these leaders were not in consonance to the idea of India of Jawharlal Nehru and they were supportive to the ideology of Hindu Nationalism of RSS. It was very much evident with the latest example when the senior leader of Congress party and former President of India Pranab Mukherjee visited the RSS headqurter in Nagpur and he praised the founder of RSS Dr K B Hedgewar as “ The great son of Mother India” but when he spoke before the cadre of RSS from their dais he did not enodrse the idea of Hindu Nationalism and elaborated vision of India which had been conceived and followed by the Jawahrlal Nehru and which is the basic principle for Congress ideology . The latest example of Pranab Mukherjee attending the RSS function and not endorsing their vision tells the whole story that although several leaders from Congress party would have some differences with Nehru and they may have their own vision for Country, but their definition for Nationalism and Civilizational ethos is quite similar to the ideas of Nehru and the efforts of Narendra Modi to appropriate the leaders of Congress seems more an attempt to fight with Congress party to acquire the centrist space in Indian politics and achieve the wider acceptability and legitimacy among the people of country from a right wing political force to centrist political force
Narendra Modi is known for his strategy of marketing and branding but his challenge is to replicate it in ideological sphere. The simple strategy of branding and marketing has been applied by Narendra Modi successfully since 2012 elections in Gujarat when he was the chief minister of that state and during the campaign in the state elections in 2012 he invoked Netaji Subash Chandra Bose and called for the people of Gujarat wraring the Netaji style cap on his head “tum mujhe vote do main tumhe vikas doonga (You vote me, I will provide development). Since then he has been consistently using the icons of different regions with strong following in the consciousness of the local people and he tries to encash that emotional bond with people .
The buzz of BJP leaders and their supporters to demand the declassification of the files related with the mysterious death of Netaji Subash Chandra Bose was another example of appropriating the legacy of Congress party as BJP and their leaders tries to expose the faultline within congress and paint it as the political party which carries the legacy of Nehru dynasty and not bothered with sacrifice of other leaders in freedom struggle, but the dilemma of BJP exposes in their efforts. The BJP leadership talked too much about so called declassification of Netaji files before West Bengal state elections but once those elections were over BJP did not follow this issue. The efforts to appropriate the Netaji legacy or discussion on ideological similarities between him and RSS or BJP lost in thin air. This is yet another example to prove that RSS and BJP are more deseperate to get the wider acceptability and legitimacy among elites and establishemet and their confidence for their vision or ideology does not make them enough courageous to talk on those ideas and their icons to get the acceptibilty and legitimacy among elite and establishment. BJP leaders raise the issue of Netaji Subash Chandra Bose to exploit the sentiment of people of country who look to the other side of the history and think that history has not done justice to Netaji but ideological similarity between Netaji and the basic principle of Congress party are undeniable because as party president of Congress party Netaji Subash Chandra Bose came up with idea of planning commission and he was too convinced with certain socialist ideas and when Country got independence the first Prime Minister of India established the planning commission and it is ironical that BJP which appropriates the legacy of Netaji scrapped the planning Commission when it came to power in 2014 . This irony initself tells the story of the hollowness of appropriation of legacy as political strategy not with any ideological similarity or conviction.
The glorification of Dr Bheemrao Ambedkar from RSS and BJP is another example of their efforts to appropriate the legacy of others as the ideas and goals of RSS and Dr Bheemrao Ambedkar are contradictory as former wrok to establish the ideology of promoinance of Hindus in nationhood and statehood and latter was the bitter cirtic of the religious structure and social order of Hindus who according to his opinion does not allow the individual freedom for an individual and strongly believes that political freedom in India would not succeed because Hindu religion and social order would not allow equality , fraternity and individual freedom to flourish . The skepticism of Dr Bheemrao Ambedkar and his prophecy for the failure of Indian political freedom went horribly worng and not only political freedom in India go strength by strength but the process of social reform and reformation in Hindu society and religion too happened with fast pace. But Dr Bheemrao Ambedkar did not wait for the process of reform In Hindu society and religion and he left the Hindu religion in later part of his life to deny the authority of Hindu religion in his life which is more a fusion of Mahayan Buddhism and advaitik philosophy which is based on the interpretation of Adi Shankaracharya and the latest version of Hindusim more different from the original Vedic ritualisitic to more accommodative amalgamation of evolving ideas and philosophies in Indian civilization from time to time. But Dr Bheemrao Ambedkar rejected the character of self purifying and self examination of Hindu religion and advocated that untouchables would never get justice and respectable individual freedom in Hindu relgion and social order and they need to give up the religion to get the respect and justice and he decided to convert himself to Neo Buddhims which is more different from the traditional Buddhism which is more popular in East Asia and supports the idea of Incarnation and idol worship but Neo Buddhims is more radical in opposing the Hindusim from its cast system to its fundamental principles . The aprropariation of Dr Bheemrao Ambedkar from RSS and BJP is another example of their focus on political starategy rather than conviction and their utter consfusion in their ideological shape.
The dilemma to appropriate leaders, ideologues from other political parites or ideological stream indicates the helplessness of RSS and BJP in their efforts to build any ideological legacy or political legacy on their own with potential to put a solid base for long political innings in politics.
Modi and his Kashmir policy
In last few months the patience to observe the situation in Kashmir with patience has gradually become impatient not only because the grim and volatile situation of the valley state but also because the situation in the valley is the result of the mishandling of the situation and policies leading to the state in utter confusion and chaos.
On previous occasions when Kashmir witnessed the unrest Prime Minister Narendra Modi expressed his displeasure to the Media that it would have been more responsible in their reporting for Kashmir as it build a perception about the whole Kashmir issue.
Indian media has taken this observation of Prime Minister quite seriously and since 2016 the coverage of Kashmir issue in Indian media provides comfort zone to government at centre. But the complexity of Kashmir issue does not end with the media coverage alone. The flip flop policies of Government for Kashmir and its conflicting meaasge for Kashmir have added in complicating the whole situation rather than solving it.
In December 2015 Prime Minister Narendra Modi landed in Lahore in his surprise visit and few days later when army air base in Pathankot was ambushed and it was claimed by Indian agencies that Pakistan based terrorist organization Jaish E Mohammad has orchestrated this attack , the peace process with Pakistan went to backburner and issue of Pak sponsored terrorism across the border become relevant and Prime Minister and his government adopted the tough policies to curb the cross border terrorism in Kashmir and normal relations between India and Pakistan put on hold but in August 2016 when Home Minister of India Rajnath Singh visited Islamabad to attend the SAARC summit , the conflicting mesaage were sent out again on the whole issue of Kashmir . In year 2016 when the commander of Hiz bul Mujahideen Buran Wani was killed in an encounter and the unprecedented support of Kashmiri youths in his funeral was visible and the events which happened even after that not only complicated the problems in Valley but it exposed the dicothomy of diverse interests and readings of the situation in Kashmir with different priorities for different stake holders. The popularity of Burahan Wani among Kashmiri youths raised lot of questions on the handling of situation on Kashmir where young generation still side with a person and idolized him who is considered as the terrorist in the eyes of security agencies. It tells the story how leadership in Kashmir has failed the youths in valley.
In four years tenure of Narendra Modi Government , the situation in Kashmir has not been in consistent on any single track , it was difficult to believe what line of policy government willing to take on this issue as some times government seems to be tough on terrorism and looks the whole issue of Kashmir as fight against terrorism to isolate the stake of Pakistan in Kashmir and some times it suddenly takes u turn in this fight and announce unilateral ceasefire or some other measures which provides time to terror organizations to regroup them and come out with more terror attacks and their retaliation from Indian army gives opportunity to Pakistan to rake up the issue of Human rights violations in Kashmir.
The already complex and complicated problem of Jammu &Kashmir become more inconsistent and unpredictable when Prime Minister Narendra Modi decided to take a major shift in his ideological position in Kashmir and did an alliance with a political party in J&K which was very much opposite to the ideological position of BJP on Kashmir issue. The alliance of BJP and PDP in J&K joined hands together in the name of providing an alternative narrative and solutions to the state.
PDP was founded by the late Mufti Mohammad Sayeed and now her daughter is heading the party. The PDP leader Mehabooba Mufti had a history of her softness and working relations with those elements in valley who were considered by the Indian Army and government as terrorists or seperatists but she always considered them as genuine voice of people of Kashmir and whenever these terrorist leaders were targeted by Army Mehabooba Mufti chose to visit these slain leaders to syampathise with them and their supporters
The formation of PDP as a political party in the politics of J&K is surrounded with lot of questions behind its motives in the changing realities and priorites of the Pakistan supported separatist movement in Kashmir post 9\11 as the terrorist attack on USA changed the whole narrative of global politics and terrorism become the biggest talking point across the world and concern for the world and USA along with other western powers was too forced to look to the danger of Terrorism and the Islamist motivation behind the terrorism made Pakistan vulnerable to the suspicion for its overt and covert support or logistical support to terrorism and this situation changed the whole narrative of separatist movement in Kashmir also as terrorism was considered as the bad option to take up the movement forward and the so called Pakistan supported sepretatists decided to influence the politics of J&K with their agenda and PDP if not become the proxy or part of Pakistan supported sepretatist movement it decided to win over that political constituency with its healing touch political narrative to become political voice of separatism and give healing touch to those who have become the target of anti terrorism operation.
For more than decades PDP adopted the policy of engaging and glorifying the seperatists and militants or terrorists to some extent as part of its political ideology to give them healing touch to feel them part of the system.
Since PDP came in alliance with BJP in government in J&K it found her caught in rock and hard situation and initially it was able to convince her constituency that is would not concede her healing touch policy due to her political compulsion but political compulsion to survive the government made it really difficult for PDP to court the seperatists any more and very soon PDP as political party and father daughter duo found them caught in the situation where Mrs Indira Gandhi was in 1980’s when she promoted and protected Jarnail Singh Bhindrawal for her political reasons but once he nurtured his own ambitions to become bigger than state it become a liability and later a threat with his vulnerability to be used by the anti Indian forces and Mrs Indira Gandhi had to think to dismantle her own creation.
PDP who initially adopted the policy to visit to slain terrorists and militants gunned down by the security forces in the name of “ Healing touch” to glorify them and provoke the people of state with calling these militans or terrorists as martyrs who sacrificed their life for a cause and blamed union government or state government for this tragedy, took a radical shift in their approach once become part of the government, because as part of the government and carrying the accountability of government is become untenable for them to glorify the militancy or terrorism and same sacrificial goats become mass murderes for Muftis in months after they aquire the power ,but this policy shift did not go well with separatist forces and the shift of Muftis in their approach and policy changed the whole equation of valley and Mehbooba Mufti deciced to flush out the terrorist network particulary in South Kashmir which once she nurtured with her political and ideological leanings.
The present situation in Kashmir demand more maturity and statesmanship not political scoring or succumbing to the pressure of each others political constituency. BJP would have thought in advance about the outcome and political price for its radical shift in its ideological and political position on Kashmir issue and going in an alliance with a political party which had a very vocal and brazen record of standing with sepreatist and militant voice in valley and now BJP should not act in haste with their political grandstanding to sympathise with their nationalistic zingoistic constituency in other parts of the country. In the same way PDP would have realized that in one stroke they can not wash their past sins simply with allying with BJP and it would be difficult for them to undo their political agenda which earlier made separatism and supporting the militants in the name of “Healing Touch” as the prime political agenda for the state.
The union government and state government both need to realize the fact that their political experiment has failed miserably because neither PDP has been able to bring separatist or militant voice in mainstream and cut down the stake of Pakistan in Kashmir issue nor BJP has been able to change the narrative of state with the new story of development and making development as an alternate to the problem of seperstism and militancy as BJP calimed as their
Motive of alliance with PDP.
The whole nation stood behind the union government and Prime Minister to abort the nefarious design of Pakistan to incite trouble in Kashmir but they utterly failed to realize their mistakes and evolving any new narrative for Kashmir issue and instead of giving any blue print to the people of country on Kashmir issue they ends up showing them more inconsistent and immature in their Kashmir policy. Ultimately the alliance of boat between BJP and PDP in Jammu & Kashmir which was sailing in rough weather without any direction sunk on 19 June 2018 when BJP decided to pull out from government with an excuse that PDP did not support them in creating conducive atmosphere in establishing normalcy in state and fighting out to militancy and terrorism. The story of Kashmir is another disappointing chapter of the tenure of Narendra Modi where people stood behind him but his directionless, confused, and sometimes overambitious efforts to take tectonic shift turned into catastrophe.
Excerpts from Author’s recently Published Book “Arguments with Difference”