Skip to main content

Failed prophet of propaganda? As Covid-19 death toll grows, so does Modi popularity

By Bhabani Shankar Nayak*
Prime Minister Narendra Modi represents contradictory character of Hindutva politics. The political history of so-called Hindu nationalism has not been consistent, even though it has helped shape national and international capital in India with the help of the state power.
No doubt, people of India have been beguiled by Modi’s propaganda claims that he is taking the nation towards the resolution of the country’s problems. The groundless optimism has not taken much time to reveal its hopeless character. All his promises and claims have been discredited by tragic realities of everyday life.
Aggressive nationalism has set aside people’s agenda in order to grab headlines on cow vigilantism, terrorism, love jihad, cultural and moral policing of the young generation, and so on. Present failures are being blamed on past governments. People have hoped for too long for solutions, even as corporates flourished and people faced hunger, joblessness, and cultural policing seeking to test patriotism.
Currently, India is at the brink of becoming the hotspot of Covid-19. The Modi government is planning to lift the lockdown when the coronavirus is all set to reach its peak. The unavoidable lockdown was imposed when the coronavirus spread was minimal. This reflects lack of reasonable planning and long-term vision in managing crisis.
The unplanned and authoritarian lockdown was imposed by the Modi government, which failed miserably to control the spread of coronavirus. It is contributing to death and destitution of majority of poor and marginalised migrant workers. It stripes away the citizenship and dignity of human lives in India.
It is a Modi-made and Modi-led public health disaster in making. Yet, the showman in Modi continues with his deceptive propaganda. Directionless policy decisions of the Modi government, explosion of misinformation, combined with Hindutva hangover with pseudo-science, has created new challenges for India in its resolve against the pandemic. It undermines India’s credibility and international image.
The secular, multicultural democratic dividend alone can help shape India and the future of Indians during crisis. The future of India depends on its people irrespective of their religious, regional, cultural and social background. Empowering people and enlarging democratic space is central to transform India into a successful welfare state.
Food security, public health, education, and sustainable development are some of the central issues Indians face today. It is within this context that India needs planned interventions by mobilising its own internal resources.
India lacks infrastructure to mobilise its own natural and human resources. So, it is imperative for the policy makers to create sustainable infrastructure with a long-term vision that can generate mass employment and other sources of income for the people even during the pandemics.
The success depends on sustainable leadership that empowers people with clear flow of progressive and scientific information. Yet, the Modi government continues to follow the narrow vision of RSS. It has not missed any opportunity to blame the religious minorities for the spread of coronavirus. The result is, as the death toll grows due to Covid-19 grows, so does Modi’s popularity due to propaganda.
The Modi government has created a massive tax regime for the masses but given huge tax relief to the corporations. The neoliberal economists in Modi government have failed to understand the objectives of taxation as a concept and an economic tool.
Taxes should be used to increase public investment to increase productive infrastructure for economic growth and development. They should be used to augment social welfare of the masses by controlling market mechanisms. They can help in creating economic stability by reducing inequalities and inflationary pressures. However, the Modi government has failed to achieve basic objectives of taxation.
 Alternative political forces can't be repressed for ever. It is time to struggle together to save the idea of India from the current ruinous path
The corporates are the real beneficiaries of taxation policies of the Modi government. It has failed to provide any form of relief to the masses. It has surrendered to the Indian industrial capitalist class by withdrawing the policy of mandatory wage pay during the lockdown period.
While the Central government has surrendered before the Confederation of Indian Industries (CII), the BJP-led state governments in Uttar Pradesh and Madhya Pradesh have abolished important legal protection for workers. This way, the Modi government has sought to enable conditions of bonded labour.
The post-colonial Indian state as a political entity is the product of anti-colonial struggles of the working class. But the state in India today has been taken over by the upper caste and class population in Indian society. It serves the purposes of industrial capitalist class and feudal landed elites. It does not represent the Indian working classes.
It is the farmers, youths, migrants, labourers, women, Dalits and the tribals, who produce everything, yet they suffer from misery in the midst of plenty. They produce food but die in hunger. Migrants build cities, malls, hotels but live without a roof over their head. They build hospitals but die in illness without basic medical facilities.
The lockdown period is a time for self-reflection and realisation for the working class, that they need to work for their own emancipation from the bondages of work within a system that does not give opportunities for a dignified life.
There is a need to understand that the Hindutva regime is losing control over very objectives. It promised strong leadership, economic prosperity and national security. But it has failed to achieve these three important promises it had made in the election manifesto.
Now, the Modi government is using the coronavirus lockdown to control the masses by putting student leaders, human rights activists and opposition leaders in prison. It is destroying Indian democracy by controlling the masses in the pretext of stopping the spread of coronavirus.
In reality, the directionless lockdown has failed to achieve its desired objectives. The Modi regime is turning against the people of India, accusing the non-existent opposition parties for the failure of the government. It is ruining constitutionally approved well established norms and institutions of policy and governance in India, as a result of which people are facing a very uncertain future.
However, alternative political forces cannot be repressed for ever. It is time to struggle together to save the idea of India from the ruinous path led by BJP and RSS. India can only revive its progressive and democratic path by mobilising its own resources with the help of its own people.
It needs change of political leadership, direction and ideological revamp to ensure its multicultural ethos. The establishment of social harmony, devolution of power to people and economic decentralisation can only help India to the path of economic growth and development. It is important to realise that peace and prosperity move together.
---
*Coventry University, UK

Comments

TRENDING

Astonishingly sycophantic: Ex-Gujarat topcop on 2002 Godhra riots probe panel report

By Rajiv Shah  In a scathing critique of the 2002 communal riots inquiry commission report, released by the Gujarat government in December 2019 five years after it was submitted, the State’s former topcop RB Sreekumar has said that it “unequivocally” and “meticulously” takes care “to refrain from probing and taking cognizance of any deviant action of omission and commission by the State administration, particularly those operating in the criminal justice system, who facilitated extensive mass violence and enabled brigands to perpetrate anti-minority crimes.”

Two of 12 top caste-based sexual violence cases from 'model' Gujarat: NGO report

By Rajiv Shah   The National Council of Women Leaders (NCWL), a civil rights group, has compiled what it has called “landmark cases of caste-based sexual violence” between 1985 and 2020 to mark the first anniversary of the notorious Hathras gangrape case, which led to the death of a young Dalit woman in September 2020.

Riddled with Brahmanical mindset, India's health care 'serving' corporate interests

By Vidya Bhushan Rawat*  In this second part of my conversation (click here for first part), Dr Manisha Bangar speaks about the health crisis in India how the government is trying to privatise things, and where our response during the Corona period was lacking. She also gives us an understanding of people opposing nutritious meals for children in the mid-day meal.

Buddhist shrines were 'massively destroyed' by Brahmanical rulers: Historian DN Jha

Nalanda mahavihara By Our Representative Prominent historian DN Jha, an expert in India's ancient and medieval past, in his new book , "Against the Grain: Notes on Identity, Intolerance and History", in a sharp critique of "Hindutva ideologues", who look at the ancient period of Indian history as "a golden age marked by social harmony, devoid of any religious violence", has said, "Demolition and desecration of rival religious establishments, and the appropriation of their idols, was not uncommon in India before the advent of Islam".

Swami Vivekananda's views on caste and sexuality were 'painfully' regressive

By Bhaskar Sur* Swami Vivekananda now belongs more to the modern Hindu mythology than reality. It makes a daunting job to discover the real human being who knew unemployment, humiliation of losing a teaching job for 'incompetence', longed in vain for the bliss of a happy conjugal life only to suffer the consequent frustration.

Inaccurate gender-relevant data 'spoiling' government policy on Covid social impact

By Simi Mehta*  The impact of the Covid-19 pandemic has been different across vulnerable groups. They were hit by the pandemic at various stages, whether it was accessibility to medical treatment or financial support. The second wave witnessed human suffering at a level where one can never forget the traumatized faces of people due to the inaccessibility and unavailability of essential medical services such as hospitals beds and oxygen. The probability of the third wave has also been one of the major upcoming challenges.

Anti-Dalit atrocities increase 9.4% despite pandemic, Uttar Pradesh tops the list: Report

By Rahul Singh* Data on crime against Dalits and Adivasis in the Crime In India Report, 2020 draws a distinct pattern of similarity between rural and urban spaces. Published by the National Crime Records Bureau (NCRB), they capture some anomalies and interesting trends. The report also shows that a large proportion of crimes against Dalits and Adivasis involves crime against women.

Vindictive raids? Centre 'retaliates' after Delhi govt child rights body's clean chit to ex-babu

By Our Representative  Over 700 academics, advocates, activists, civil servants, writers, film makers, journalists, musicians and artists have condemned the raids by the Enforcement Directorate (ED) on the offices and private home of top IAS bureaucrat-turned-human rights and peace activist Harsh Mander, stating, the aim is nothing but to “harass and intimidate” him.

Flamboyant 'demagogues' adjust politics, personality in shadow of democracy

Modi, Erdogan, Bolsonaro By Ajit Singh The terms dictators and demagogues are used interchangeably in various contexts, but there is a difference. The former rule over a totalitarian states where governments are able to exercise complete influence over every aspect of citizens’ life, whereas the latter are a "wannabe dictators" but due to the system of checks and balances they are are not fully capable to create police states.

Power supply lines in Thar 'pushing' Great Indian Bustard to extinction: Researchers

By Rosamma Thomas*  Electricity supply lines pose a huge risk to birds and affect biodiversity, but there is little research about the numbers of birds dying of such collision in the tropical nations. In August 2021, academic journal Biological Conservation carried the results of a survey conducted in 2017-18 on 4,200 sq km of the Thar Desert in Jaisalmer district of Rajasthan. This was the first comprehensive survey of this nature in the region.