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Continuing to pursue politics of otherness, Modi 'lacks' creative qualities as a leader

By Bhabani Shankar Nayak*
A prime master of propaganda, Narendra Modi has survived all ordeals of Indian politics with the help of media myth making, on one hand, and his effective diversionary tactics, on the other. It gives Modi an immediate edge over his political opponents. The organisational network of RSS and BJP provide the ideological framework on which Modi pursues his politics of otherness.
In the short run, Modi and his ideological mentors in RSS may go ahead with destroying the founding principles of India as a republic: Social and religious harmony and secular political culture. A disastrous thrust, it would, however, fall in the long run due because of the inherent arrogance of his leadership.
Leadership in politics is not only about winning elections by hook or crook. It is about creative application of available ideas and resources for the greater good of the society. Creative politics is the heart of social, economic and cultural transformation which upholds democratic values, individual freedom and liberty and collective well-being at the top priority in everyday governance of the state and government.
Such creative ideals transform a political leader into statesman or stateswoman who engages with issues of the present and fortifies a sustainable future for generations. Modi does not care. His mission and vision are clearly shaped by RSS, which derives its ideological inspiration from European fascism and Nazism. Such ideological framework is seeking to push Indian society into indefinite darkness of hate.
Indeed, from all counts, Modi lacks creative qualities as a leader. Propaganda can hide the failures and entice the population to vote for a while. But propaganda cannot change the ground realities of lives and livelihoods of people. Creativity in political leadership demands to step back and reflect on everyday realities of the masses and their future.
The monumental blunders of demonetisation, failure of Goods and Service Tax (GST), mismanagement of economy, catastrophic handling of the pandemic, and centralisation of decision making and foreign policy failures show that Modi lacks qualities to reflect as a leader.
A leader learns from his or her own mistakes or learns from people but Modi has failed to learn from his own experiences or from others’ experiences. The top-down and dictatorial approach to politics takes a leader to the dustbin of history. There is reason to believe that history will judge Modi as a leader who destroyed the social fabric of India.
A nationalist leader inspires confidence and taps ideas from diverse sources and encourages collaboration between different people to deliver public welfare. India’s recent border conflict with China shows that Hindutva nationalism is a sham. It does not inspire confidence on national security. Modi is neither a team player nor a team builder. He prefers one-man show in front of the camera.
Propaganda can hide failures and entice people to vote for a while, but can't change ground realities of lives and livelihoods
There is no attempt by Modi to develop collaborative culture to overcome the crisis in India. Diversity is an asset in the making of nation states but it is an anathema to Modi as a leader. He promotes the RSS-led unhealthy culture of competitive bigotry in India. The authoritarian outlooks and fascist tendencies that we witness today are the products of RSS ideological training.
Good leaders are transparent about their strengths and weaknesses. By being open and liberal, leaders enhance innovation and diversity of decision making. Modi is neither transparent about his life, wife, degree or decision making. He moves secretly under the cloud theory of stealth and invisible courage. His vindictive actions against political opponents show his cowardice as a leader.
A successful leadership follows the historical legacies of a society and celebrates its past to share the present and future. Modi and his brethren in RSS and BJP are making every effort to destroy India’s glorious past by rewriting it and replacing it with myths. This appears essential for them to promote neoliberal capitalism and its consumer culture in India.
Helping accelerate the wealth of capitalist cronies, even as it may mean misery for millions, Modi appears keen to destroy existing institutions of governance with the help of his policies and politics. It helps him centralise power, which is concomitant with the requirements of capitalist accumulation of profit at the cost of people and environment in India.
An efficient and creative leader flames motivation and allows people to follow their passion in life but Modi follows people in social media, who give rape threats. Modi patronises social media trolls, who are violent and hate mongering invisible profiles. The people behind these invisible profiles are trained by RSS and BJP.
Meanwhile, the Hindutva forces are trying to impose their medieval mindset on students and youths of India by asking them what to wear, whom to love and marry, what to eat and whom to pray. These private and personal individual choices of everyday lives are sought to be restricted in the name of Indian culture and Hindu way of life. It suggests dangers of talibanization of Indian society.
A committed leader stands with people during crisis and shows the path to recover from the crisis. The empathy and sympathy are twin characters of a committed leadership but Modi gives shock therapy to people and put them in indefinite crisis. It is easier to control people in crisis than people in prosperity.
The Modi has little exposer to the history of radical resistance movements in world history. Like all religious and right-wing forces, the Hindutva forces have very little exposer to historical knowledge, science, social and political history.
The safety and survival of India as a modern, liberal and constitutional democracy and the future of Indians depend on defeating the ideological framework of RSS and BJP, which produces leaders like Modi. The propaganda has limited time span. It is a matter of time before people will rise up against such medieval forces. These forces have no place in a modern and democratic society. Good leadership is a product of political struggles.
It is time to pull together all liberal, progressive, nationalist, patriotic, and democratic forces to fight and defeat Hindutva fascism in India.
---
*Coventry University, UK

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