Narendra Modi, Charlie Chaplin & ‘The Great Dictator’
As election time, it is time to watch Charlie Chaplin’s 1940 satire once again to understand why it is important to send the Modi government packing
The illusion of possessing ultimate wisdom and complete invincibility is a psychological disorder. This disorder can be dangerous for the patient as well for people close to him. Often, this disorder is seen by the people around the patient but not considered serious enough. Very few think that it deserves any treatment.
Historically many people, great and insignificant, have suffered from this disorder. Among the great are Napoleon Bonaparte and Winston Churchill. Both had to face defeat and isolation. During Napoleon’s time, there were no elections. So, he did not suffer electoral defeat. But Churchill, despite being a hero of the Second World War, and a global icon, lost the 1945 general election by a landslide, in fact within two months after the second world war which defeated Adolf Hitler’s Nazi forces.
It would however be an insult to their greatness, if one were to compare Narendra Modi with them. However, Modi himself is such an extraordinary megalomaniac that he believes he has emerged as a global leader, surpassing even Pandit Jawaharlal Nehru. Though he got that giant statue of Vallabhbhai Patel erected, it would seem that he actually sees himself in that statue!
Narendra Modi has systematically created an image of himself as a great innovative and if not radical, at least a reforming leader in the mould of Lee Kwan Yew, who transformed the city-state of Singapore into a global commercial power. To establish his own hallucination, he frequently travelled to foreign countries, invited or uninvited.
Be that as it may. But it is a fact that he could convince (or fool), in the campaign leading to 2014 election, a very large section of the intelligentsia which forms the core of the new and old middle class. That is his “bhakt” constituency. Then a large upper caste segment, with substantial number of well-off women among them.
This is a class with massive network among the Non-Resident Indian community, mainly in the United States. One can say, that people who supported him or were mesmerised by him, were the beneficiaries of the last over 60 years of development, particularly in the Rajiv Gandhi years of technological leap and Dr Manmohan Singh’s policies of liberalisation.
Without the IITs and IIMs set up during the Nehru era and without the computerisation launched by Rajiv Gandhi, the so called Silicon Valley elite in the US would not have acquired the status and wealth they did. But interestingly, it is this class that is most vociferous in running down the legacy of Nehru and Rajiv Gandhi.
The youth in the country, hyped as the so called “democratic dividend”, were overwhelmed with the propaganda that Pandit Nehru kept India backward, helped in the Partition of India, and started a dynasty. The venom spread across the educated middle class here and abroad.
The falsification and distortion of contemporary history, done at a breakneck speed in the last five years created clouds of perversion. Indeed, it was a multi-pronged attack on the legacy of freedom movement and iconic leadership of independent India. But the educated-urban-upper-class-upper-caste communities bought this version of history and legacy.
Therefore, the task to defeat Modi and his henchmen must begin by transcending this class and reaching out to general people. It is important to note that despite such massive, campaign mounted by global advertising agencies and support of the network of the RSS cadre, the Modi-led BJP could not manage to get more than 31% vote in 2014.
It is necessary therefore to reach out to the “other” 69% voters to bring down this autocratic, semi-fascist, communal and Right Wing government. Can it be done?
Yes, it can be done. This requires a multi-pronged stately and dedicated volunteer base who are committed ideologically to fight fascism.
It will not be enough to expose him on the already known issues like the fake promise of 15 lakh Rupees in each account to getting back all the black money, from abroad and within.
The wasteful projects like the Bullet train and various other schemes require land and it is being acquired by force, terror and institutional bribery
We have to attack to the core programme of Modi, which is to create an authoritarian regime in country with the help of a section of armed forces and with intellectual support of the educated middle class. He has so brazenly brought the TV media and section of the print media under his fold that today, that whole Information wall acts like an intellectual concentration camp.
It is necessary, as is being done brilliantly by Ravish Kumar, to persuade people to turn away from TV and even sections of the Press. Even the Nazis did not deploy the media as a kind of an information army to misinform and disinform. This kind of massive brainwashing is unprecedented. It can be countered only by direct contact with people.
Modi has not addressed a single press conference in his entire political career. He is a coward and knows that there are only skeletons in his cupboard in Gujarat and Delhi. They will start tumbling down, once he loses power. The hardcore criminals in the regime and their activities of cheating, defrauding and conning people need to be exposed.
Congress president Rahul Gandhi has put Modi on the mat by raising the Rafale issue upfront. But unfortunately the cadre and local leaders of the party do not take the campaign to the people with the same aggressiveness. Then, there is the issue of farmers’ distress. Modi has launched dozens of schemes, but they are only on paper or in TV ads.
As many as 1800 schemes have been announced with allotment of trillions of rupees. Sometimes only foundation stones are laid and at other times only the announcements made in speeches or ‘Mann Ki Baat’. There is no money sanctioned or budgets for all these presented. He will try to blackmail successive governments for not implementing his glorious schemes, which in any case were non-starters.
The wasteful projects like the Bullet train and various other schemes require land and it is being acquired by force, terror and institutional bribery.
The farmers are looted on all these spheres. His land is taken forcibly, paid little compensation or nothing, his farming activity hampered by loans and non-remunerative prices and desertification of land. The result is three times more farmer suicides. But unfortunately, the Opposition has not gone to villages and explained to the people the huge loot and daylight robbery that is taking place.
Indeed, the whole country is being made bankrupt by the policies of the Modi government. But the discontent remains mute. If it explodes in the election booths, this government and its fraudulent, fake and fascist leader will be virtually driven out of power. It is our duty to do that.
(The writer is a senior editor, commentator and a Member of the Rajya Sabha)
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Published: 17 Mar 2019, 11:30 AM