The Bihar elections: Why all's fair in a war where Modi is the obvious target

From the manufactured protests over Dadri and the beef controversies, it is clear that there is a large anti-Modi constituency in the intellectual class.

Rajeev Srinivasan October 28, 2015 07:33:09 IST
The Bihar elections: Why all's fair in a war where Modi is the obvious target

The proverbial Martian who happened to show up in India would be startled by the pretzel logic of the mainstream media’s obsessions with various events. Memes appear, thrive, die; and some, surprisingly, persist for longer than they normally would. There doesn’t seem to be any logic behind it. Or, on second thoughts, is there?

Every meme, every MSM editorial today, I suggest, is oriented towards just one theme: Bihar elections. The “paid media has in essence drawn a line in the sand, a lakshmanarekha. That is, they will not, they must not, let the BJP carry the populous state. The reasons are not hard to fathom: if they lose Bihar, it becomes difficult for the Congress to thwart all NDA reform (eg”, GST) by obstructing it in the Rajya Sabha, as they have done so successfully so far.

The Bihar elections Why alls fair in a war where Modi is the obvious target

Narendra Modi. PTI

There is deeper strategy behind the Congress’ cussedness: it is not only that they wish to deny PM Narendra Modi the means to deliver his development mantra, they wish to use this failure as the lever to rout him in 2019. No, they have not given up on the possibility of their roaring back to power in the next general election, and the western #deepstate allies of the Congress haven’t, either. For them, it is total war, as one its mouthpieces admitted. The Economist magazine says that “politicians reach for every available weapon” (‘The battle for Bihar’,  17 October).

They mean it literally. They will use anything, absolutely anything. So far the weapons have included Nayantara Sahgal and a cabal of obscure Sahitya Akademi prize-winners; the incident where a Muslim Indian was killed, apparently over suspicion that he had slaughtered a calf; the spate of “beef-eating-melas”; the suspicious blackening of Sudheendra Kulkarni’s face, when he brought a Pakistani official to Mumbai; the sudden and unexplained rise in the price of lentils; and the desecration of the Sikh Guru Granth Sahib by two apparent converts.

In addition to the fear about Bihar, there’s another issue that is exercising the Congress: the pending National Herald case. They have attempted to muddy the waters, have successfully had the case tossed around from judge to judge with attendant delays, and in general tried to thwart the proceedings. The implacable Subramanian Swamy is facing a battery of five of the most highly paid (and therefore most well-connected) lawyers in the country. This is the only corruption case in which Sonia and Rahul are directly implicated; in all others they have plausible deniability.

If a ‘guilty’ verdict is handed down in National Herald, it could not only put the duo in sight of jail, but also demoralise their cadres in Bihar. Thus, they have attempted to delay the case as much as is humanly possible, certainly till after the polls are closed.

But going back to using any and all weapons at their disposal, it is most interesting to look at the Nayantara Sahgal award-return circus. When she did so, she clearly said it was based on the silence of the Sahitya Akademi about the murders of three so-called ‘rationalists’, Kalburgi, Dabholkar and Pansare. A few of her early acolytes did the same: they blamed the Akademi for not paying due attention to these murders and condemning them strongly enough. The implication was that, somehow, the Modi administration was complicit.

A good question is why these worthies did not blame the state governments of the respective states, which are responsible for law and order: Maharashtra and Karnataka where the murders took place were ruled by the Congress at the time. Why isn’t it the fault of the state governments? Of course, that was a rhetorical question: the aim is, as I said to begin with, merely to blame Modi. In fact, there is considerable confusion as to who might have killed these people – Dabholkar spoke against the church, Pansare against businessmen – as Anand Ranganathan points out in ‘The Death of Rationalism – Who killed Dabholkar, Pansare and Kalburgi?’ on Newslaundry. But there is a more interesting ‘pivot’, too: soon thereafter, in Dadri, Uttar Pradesh, there was the murder of one Muslim Indian named Aqlakh, allegedly because he killed and ate cattle. This has blown up into a huge cause-celebre, on the reasonable grounds that a man was killed, and on the unreasonable grounds that eating beef is a fundamental right. Several communist groups have made a huge fuss, including holding “beef-fests” in various places, especially in Kerala (which is kind of pointless, given that large numbers of people in Kerala do indeed eat beef).

In passing, I thought it quite telling that the activists of PETA did not support the anti-beef agitation, even given the fact that, according to the UN, eating beef is very harmful to the environment and accounts for more global warming than even vehicular emissions, as detailed in Tech Times. 

PETA has been in the forefront of an agitation to prevent Hindu temples from using elephants for ceremonial processions, in the name of animal welfare. We domesticated the Indian elephant at least 2,200 years ago, and there is even a branch of Ayurveda dealing with the care of elephants in captivity: so it is not as though we treat elephants with wanton cruelty, but with respect and, yes, even affection. Yet when it comes to massacring cattle, even if it is ‘humane’, as per this link via The Economist PETA is not so active. Let’s chalk that one up to unthinking western prejudice. That Hindus would rather not slaughter cows or ill-treat elephants must seem like a quaint superstition to them. They are measuring others by their own standards.

The ‘beef-warriors’ of India, communists and other #adarshliberals flaunted their beef-eating - and lo and behold, the award-return tamasha was transformed into a protest against the Dadri incident. Here’s The Economist: “The lynching - and the reaction to it - generated national alarm…In protest at the Modi government’s apparent insouciance, dozens of Indian writers have returned their national awards.”

Really? How convenient, this pivot from Kalburgi to Dadri! So Kalburgi is conveniently forgotten. That’s what the #deepstate Anglophone media is now putting about, although this award-return business was in full force even before Akhlaq’s death. Yes, “every available weapon”, indeed.

You might say these are isolated instances, and that there is nothing connecting them. However, S Gurumurthy has an interesting piece in the New Indian Express (‘Narendra Modi and the National Discourse – I) that shows a remarkable precedent and connects the dots. In Vajpayee’s days as well, there was an entire edifice of lies built up by the media, especially in collaboration with the global church, which painted the Indian state as evil, supporters of nun rapes, and oppressors of Christians:

  • The murder of Graham Staines, an Australian missionary (some claim - read the Wikipedia entry – he was killed by tribals who objected to his destruction of communities through conversion)
  • The rape of Christians nuns in Jhabua (which turned out to have been mostly by Christians)
  • The killing of two Christian tribals (which turned out to have been done by their Christian uncle)

Of course, there was also the burning alive of 59 Hindu pilgrims in Godhra, which led to the Gujarat riots of 2002, which had the (from the Pakistani point of view, pleasant) side-effect that India was forced to withdraw the army from the border, where it had been massed for Operation Parakram and a possible invasion after the Parliament attack by terrorists.

The parallels are ominous. A series of false-flag operations and pure fabrications served to create the impression that India was a pit of communal hatred, and that the events in Godhra and Gujarat inevitable. And would you, Mr Global Investor, want to invest in such a country? And now, a repetition of the same, with a possible Godhra 2.0. This time there are additional memes: women’s rights (“India’s Daughter”), open defecation, global warming. There go dreams of development, and there goes 2019.

Let’s be clear in hindsight – Godhra/Gujarat destroyed Vajpayee’s government and led to the 2004 debacle. That is the plan for Modi too. Modi is in their gun-sights, and I use that term advisedly.

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