KANCHA ILAIAH SHEPHERD | 30 DECEMBER, 2016
After the demonetization surgical strike of Prime Minister Narendra Modi, the nation is reeling under starvation, job loss, labour loss and more than anything loss of confidence in the institutions of the nation itself.
The banking system, the Income tax officialdom, the minting system and also the technological framework of the country have come under severe suspicion. Even Parliament has failed to do the duty that is meant for—re-instilling confidence among the people.
PM Modi has suffered a huge image setback with demonetization strike. He failed even to confidently face Parliament. The demonetization effect on the nation is more harsh on the poor, labour, small businesses, beggars, physically handicapped people, farmers than the Emergency that Indira Gandhi imposed on the nation in 1975. Emergency’s harsh effect was on the political opposition, media, civil rights of intellectuals. The economic system had not faced a major crisis during the Emergency, unlike today where the informal sector and the poor are badly impacted.
We know that the sycophancy of the Congress leaders during the Emergency had crossed all limits. It was in this atmosphere that Dev Kant Barooah, the then Congress president, uttered the famous words, ‘’Indira is India and India is Indira’’. Let us not forget that Indira Gandhi was the Prime Minister of India for about 8 years by then. She was backed by the Bangladesh liberation victory of 1971. She was the direct inheritor of her father Jawaharlal Nehru’s raj, added to by her association with Gandhi. Her marriage with Feroz Gandhi was performed in the presence of Gandhi himself. She herself had a young volunteers role in the freedom struggle. This all was sufficient to generate sycophancy amongst the weak minded Congress men/women that went on to cause major damage to the nation.
Ever since Narendra Modi became the PM of India Venkaiah Naidu, a senior minister, in his Cabinet was regularly saying that “Modi is a God Sent Gift’ to the Indian people. After Naidu became the Information and Broadcasting minister he praises the PM in every press conference with epithets that are normally not used for human beings.
After this major disastrous demonetization move Naidu has been repeatedly saying that ‘’Modi is Messiah’’, ‘’Modi is God Like’’and words to that effect. His sycophantic imaging of PM Modi is away from actually saying Modi is God himself. But when Naidu said Modi is Messiah it actually means the same. Naturally he cannot be God to Muslims, Christians, Sikhs and Buddhists of India where the terminology of Messiah is fitting. For the Hindus, Naidu continues to project PM Modi as a god. The larger Indian populace and those within the Sangh Parivar must realize what implications this has on their own religion.
We have seen some childish Congress men of Telangana during the Telangana agitation characterizing Congress president Sonia Gandhi as a goddess in small circles. One mad fellow even tried even to build a temple of Sonia Gandhi in Karimnagar. But these were local leaders at best.
Venkaiah Naidu is a central minister and a nationally known leader. He is not at all ashamed of projecting a politician as god. The question is not how strong PMModi is. It is also not of how bad or good he is. The question is can political leaders go down to this level in an exercise of sheer scyophancy, and destroy all ethics built around spiritual systems that have a longer historical value than individuals, parties, governments and even states?
At times BJP President Amit Shah also tends to compare PM Modi with divine figures. Reports published in the media indicate that the way Shah was trying to extol the Prime Minister and convince his own party leaders who were against demonetization---despite the fact that it has destroyed many lives and at least 100 persons have died in queues as a result---shows that Shah is in the same frame as Dev Kant Barooah. As is Venkaiah Naidu.Barooah’s sycophantic remarks was more political in one sense, Naidu’s language has a spiritual sycophantic dimension.
Naidu knows when he said that ‘Modi is Messiah’ that the concept of Messiah in Judaic and Christian ethics is God who is considered to be far greater than Jesus Christ. When Christ was called Messiah by some of his followers he objected saying repeatedly that he was only the son of Messiah (God) and not the Messiah himself.
The name Mesaiah is that of a Supreme God in Judaic history. It is not at all Hindu in its evolution. How is the Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh allowing him to use this term for PM Modi, whom they consider as a pracharak or karyakartha?
If vote mobilization for capturing power at Delhi can elevate political leaders to the status of god then the BJP leaders are entitled to call Modi their Rama of Kaliyuga. That gives a lot of clarity to the masses and also to their own activists. Then the Muslims of India need not worry about the birth place of Kritayuga Rama.
During PM Modi’s rule only they can build a bigger temple at Vadodra—the birth place of the Prime Minister. Let us not forget the fact that these very same people who attacked BSP leader Mayawati for building a statue for herself when she was in power are projecting Modi as god. All this in just a two and a half year rule. Is this good for the country, culture and civilization.
( Prof. Kancha Ilaiah Shepherd is the Director, Centre for the Study of Social Exclusion and Inclusive Policy,Maulana Azad National Urdu University at Hyderabad. The views above are his own)