Congress President Rahul Gandhi succinctly described Lok Sabha 2019 elections as Gandhi versus Sarvakar poll. Indeed, it is an election at the heart of which is a clash of ideas wherein two antagonistic ideas of India are at odds. On the one hand is the Gandhian idea of syncretic and inclusive India and the other is the exclusivist idea of Sarvakar. The Indian constitution essentially celebrates the Gandhian idea of inclusivity and diversity of India. Therefore, all Indians irrespective of their faith, caste and gender are equal. Sarvakar’s Hindutva does not believe in equality of all. It dreams an exclusivist India based on majoritarian supremacy.
Prime Minister Narendra Modi is the first Hindutva mass leader who wants to transform India along Sarvakar’s principles. He consciously projects himself as the Hindu Hriday Samrat. His tactics to build a Hindu vote bank constituency is to generate fear within the majority projecting an enemy from the minority and then project himself as the Hindu saviour (Hindu ang rakshak). He is committed to the BJP’s ideology of Hindutva and he works tirelessly to implement it.
But it is a dangerous project that Modi is working on. Indian civilisation since its inception has been an inclusive civilisation. It has been a melting pot of races, languages, cultures, faiths and everything that adds to growth of India. That’s how Indian civilization prospered while many others wilted. Poet Iqbal celebrates this idea in his famous poem Sarey jahan sey achcha Hindustan hamara. He writes:
Kuchh baat hai ki hasti mitti nahi hamari
Sadion raha hai dushman daure zaman hamara
(It is a matter of pride that our existence is never erased
Though many have been our enemies for centuries.)
Mahatma Gandhii and his political instrument Congress Party are the means of carrying forward that centuries-old civilsational idea of India into modern times. It was Jawaharlal Nehru who under Gandhiji’s guidance transformed that idea of India into a modern, inclusive and technologically-abled India to grow in tune with changes across the globe. It is the primary reason why Modi and his party BJP loves to hate Nehruvian legacy.
Unlike Gandhi and Nehru, Modi’s idea of India bristles with hate and exclusivity. It believes in exclusivity and projects concepts like Congress mukt Bharat or his foot soldiers believe in minorities mukt Bharat. Lynching Muslims in the guise of beef eating is basically the symptom of minorities mukt Bharat syndrome. Hate against the ‘’other’’ remains the underlining sentiment of the Modi project that has been going on since the last five years and will continue if Modi returns to power which, in long term means, destruction of India.
Another term for Modi is, therefore, dangerous for India and Indians both. We need an inclusive modern India with its head held high in comity of nations. Therefore, Narendra Modi must go in this round of elections. And, India must stand united to ward off the threat that looms large at its civilizational core of unity in diversity.