Vikas Saraswat
Semantics of Modi Hate
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After years of maintaining it as an absolute impossibility, the hate Modi crowd of sundry “intellectuals” is warming up to the prospects of a Modi led Government at centre which it realises is now a distinct possibility. If one thought there would be a rethink or review of hate Modi positions amongst “eminences”, in light of phenomenal support cutting across sections of society to Narendra Modi, there appears to be none. In fact, the same old clichés such as ‘Modi is a divisive figure’ and ‘his developmental claims are dubious’, are being peddled with a renewed fervour. Many an op-eds have appeared in the newspapers by usual suspects. I choose to focus on one by Vinod Mehta here for two reasons- one, he is as typical a representation of this crowd as they come and second because he is older than the average lot and has seen worse than what he accuses Mr Modi of.

In a specimen typical of “hate Modi” mongering, Vinod Mehta regurgitates his fantastic apprehensions and unfounded fears peppered with a liberal dose of deliberate misinterpretations in this Economic Times column  for possibly a hundredth time. With an obvious disdain for facts and figures our “secular” intellectuals have, Mehta disregards both, SIT clean chit to Modi in Gujarat riots case and various economic data and social indices from agencies including the likes of Planning Commission and Rajiv Gandhi Foundation. Mehta also remains blind to a peaceful decade long Modi reign in a Gujarat which was notorious for riots every six months- some of them running into weeks and months.

Mehta, like his cabal of Modi haters, has nothing to fault with facts and realities and so resorts to psychoanalysis marred by personal prejudice. He speaks of “Modi’s sense of self preservation which might force him to wear the Vajpayee mantle”. That he is “masquerading as a ‘decisive’ leader”. Mehta is not ready to believe that Modi means business even when he sees no apparent attempts by him to stir the communal pot. Then there are straight assertions borne out of his bitter animosity towards Modi. Sample “his much-touted achievements in Gujarat are statistical fiction” and “If his style remains unchanged, the country is in big trouble”

Mehta does not bother to judge Modi by “mundane” facts. Instead he possesses an X ray like gaze capable of reaching the deepest recesses of Modi’s consciousness- something probably his subject himself is unaware of. Unlike the new crop of television anchors, Mehta is old enough to remember the routine rioting in Gujarat even if professional engagements required considerable part of his attention to Porn rather than politics. To my knowledge he has neither displayed any interest in issues economic nor, to be fair to him, has he claimed expertise of the subject ever. But he isn’t exactly blind to see for himself and compare the difference in infrastructure between Gujarat and other states. He would also have travelled to Gujarat prior to and after Modi unless a break of an evening or two without single malts was absolutely insufferable.

So what makes Mehta and his ilk remain steadfast in their preconceptions, hawking brazen lies? Quite simply, it is the paranoia of neo colonialists who fancy themselves as carriers of white man’s burden. They share the colonial belief about the worthlessness of natives and their worldview. They are convinced that everything Bharatiya is regressive by virtue of its nativity. They close their minds to Hindutva for no other reasons but for the term being Desi. They are sure that Hindutvawadis are incapable of propelling economic growth and that they are solely responsible for all the social evils afflicting Indian society. Remember lampooning the poor growth rate under Nehruvian socialist reign as Hindu growth rate and attempts to link rapes and molestations with an “orthodox” Hindu psyche. If only Mehta and Party cared to look, they would know that Hindutva is primarily the dwelling of progressives amongst the Hindus. The regressive lot is still enamored of Nehru Gandhis and the various casteist outfits. That economy has done markedly better under BJP reigns and states. That BJP ruled states have had a better record of social harmony and peace.

But scrutiny runs the risk of shattering deeply held beliefs. Modi’s success as a developmental icon is unfathomable and unacceptable not because he is a free market proponent -Mehtas of Delhi’s eminent circles have after all embraced both Nehru and Manmohan with equal ease –but for the reason that he lies outside Lutyens’ cocktail circuit. Gujarat 2002 is simply a convenient handle to beat Modi. After all they have been more than happy to be counted among courtiers of Rajeev and Indira- former presiding over gruesome Sikh massacre and the latter trampling democracy in true fascist style.

Ideology or persuasions are beside the point. The simple truth is, Mehta and his gang is paranoid that the patronage of a like minded “Bharat” hating dispensation might end, jeopardising their ‘civilize India’ entrepreneurship and positions of eminence with it.