Skip to main content

Authoritarian leaders have 'used' animals to project their power, strength, courage

By Bhabani Shankar Nayak*

Even as India appears to be sinking amidst the Covid-19 pandemic, camera addicted and selfie-savvy Prime Minister Narendra Modi is busy with sharing his multitasking photos, his photography skills and his love for animals, birds and wildlife. Economic and social crisis does not seem to disturb his focus on camera. The positive vibe photos of Modi feeding peacocks at his residence are flooding social media timelines.
The idea is to make people believe in the compassionate character of Modi and represent his simplicity and love for animals. The petting of animals and birds for company and entertainment is not same as unconditional love for animals. There is huge evidence to suggest that some animal lovers have also been people haters. The feudal and authoritarian leaders have always used animals to project their leadership in terms of power, strength and courage.
Jan Mohnhaupt (2020) in his book ‘Animals in National Socialism’ depicts the way animals were used in Hitler’s footage showing his love for animals and demanding obedience to his leadership. Adolf Hitler to Karl-Otto Koch of the Schutzstaffel (SS) of Nazi Germany were known for their love for animals and used pets for entertainment and diversionary strategy. The Nazi propaganda used animals to undermine political opponents. There was no contradiction between love for animals and Nazi death cult.
Similarly, the love for animals cannot hide the evil Hindutva politics and polices of Modi led BJP government in India. When Modi was chief minister, Muslims were killed during the Gujarat pogrom of 2002, and he watched silently. The rise of hate crime, lynching of Muslims, attack on rationalists and activists continue to grow in India under Modi’s watch as the PM of India.
The recent Delhi riots have taken place directly under his watch. The ministers in Modi’s cabinet are known for their Islamophobic views and anti-Muslim statements in public. There is no doubt that Modi loves camera more than animals. In fact, his remark calling Muslims puppies invited a huge controversy. 
The hugging corporate heads and humilating Muslims are twin pillars of Hindutva politics. The vilification campaigns against Muslims, secularists and political opponents are everyday affairs. The brazen abuses of civil liberties and celebration of riots are daily reminder of worsening of law and order situation after the formation central government by BJP under the leadership of Modi. 
It is important to identify how the love for animals and Hindutva politics of hate moves together in India. The subjugation of minorities and undermining the secular and democratic character of India is defining feature of Hindutva ideology in praxis. 
Modi is trying to seduce Indian masses by showing his love for animals and hide all his failures as the PM of India. The ambiance of Modi’s photoshoot makes one feel as if Modi stays far away from the ugly realities of majority of Indians. No amount of propaganda can provide relief to the pain of hunger. No amount of media management can hide the agrarian and unemployment crisis in India.
Making of democratic deficit is an opportunity for Hindutva forces in India. Modi’s jubilant photoshoot is a project to hide the darkness
Even as social and foreign policy crisis continue, the Hindutva anarchy looks more like a systematic design to manufacture crisis, which can be used as a shock therapy to control masses with authoritarian culture of law, police and court. 
The making of democratic deficit is an opportunity for Hindutva forces in India. The Modi’s jubilant photoshoot is a project to hide the darkness and dangers of Hindutva ideology. The policies of Modi government display that it neither cares for animals nor for human beings.
The animal love narrative appears Modi is myopic without loving fellow human beings irrespective of their religious background, food habits and dress patterns. The citizenship rights are no less than animal rights but authoritarian politicians like Modi use animal love to hide their sinister design to diminish citizenship, democratic rights and liberties.
Hindutva politics of hate will not stop with Muslims, it will percolate to every level of Indian society. It is time to stand up with religious minorities to save citizenship rights and constitutional democracy in India. Make no mistake, the stripping of Indian Muslim’s citizenship right is a threat to the citizenship of Hindus, too.
The diversity is India’s strength and Indian’s pride. The Modi led BJP is opposed to the idea of diverse India.The idea of Hindu nation by BJP is a cover for corporate rule in India.Modi’s love for animals will not save Indian economy from plummeting to new low every day.
The failure to stop the forward march of Hindutva would push Indian society to perpetual conflict within the country. There will be no peace and prosperity in India as long as there will be Hindutva ideology.
One wonders if it is time to greet Modi’s false euphoria with mass demonstrations and civil disobedient movements across the country to save the idea of secular, liberal and democratic India. The future of Indians depends on the defeat of Hindutva politics and its bigoted ideology. Political silence is no longer an option for Indians.
---
* Senior Lecturer in Business Strategy, Coventry University, UK

Comments

TRENDING

Nobel laureates join international figures, seek release of Bhima Koregaon accused activists

Nobel laureates Olga Tokarczuk,  Wole Soyinka Counterview Desk  As many as 57 top international personalities, including Nobel laureates, academics, human rights defenders, lawyers cultural personalities, and members of Parliament of European countries, have urged the Prime Minister and the Chief Justice of India to ensure immediate release of human rights defenders in India “into safe conditions”.

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.

Buddhist shrines massively destroyed by Brahmanical rulers in "pre-Islamic" era: Historian DN Jha's survey

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".

Russia, China to call the shots in Middle East, as Muslim nations turn into house of cards

By Haider Abbas* Only a naive would buy that the ‘situation of ceasefire’ between the State of Israel and Hamas would continue, as if the foiled attempt to demolish Al Aqsa this time, is not be repeated, if not in any near future then in sometime to come. Israel already has spurned the ‘ceasefire’ by storming Al Aqsa after the Friday prayers on May 21.

Hunger, lack of food security behind India's 'slip' in UN's sustainable development rank

By Dr Gian Singh*  According to a report released by the United Nations on June 6, 2021, India's ranking of achieving Sustainable Development based on the 17 Social Development Goals (SDGs) set by the 193 countries in the 2003 agenda, which was 115th last year, has slipped to 117th position this year. India ranks not only the lowest among the BRICS countries -- Brazil, the Russian Federation, India, China, and South Africa but also below the four South Asian countries -- Bhutan, Sri Lanka, Nepal, and Bangladesh.

Collapse of healthcare system? Why 90% of Covid patients treated at home survived

By Bobby Ramakant, Sandeep Pandey* Well known Hindustani classical singer Padma Vibhu shan Channulal Mishra, chosen as one of the proposers of Narendra Modi in Lok Sabha elections, lost his wife and elder daughter to Covid in private hospitals in Varanasi. Younger daughter has accused Medwin Hospital of charging Rs 1.5 lakh for treatement of her sister and not being able to explain the cause of death. Pandit Channulal Mishra has asked for a probe into his daughter’s death from the Chief Minister. The family has also asked for the CCTV footage of the ward where deceased daughter was admitted for a week.

Rooted in mistrust? Covid-19’s march into rural India is a very different ball game

By Sudhir Katiyar* As the Covid-19 virus penetrates rural India, the rural communities are responding very differently from their urban counterparts who rushed to the hospitals. The rural communities are avoiding the public health facilities and any mention of the disease. The note argues that this supposedly irrational response is based on a deep-seated mistrust of the state by the rural communities. It can not be resolved with routine Information, Education and Communication (IEC) measures suggested in the Government of India SOP for tackling Covid-19 in rural areas.

Courageous, in-depth attempt to confirm common spiritual values of Christ, Buddha

By RB Sreekumar, IPS*  All religions, both theistic and atheistic designed conceptual and practical architecture, for holistic and comprehensive elevation and enlightenment of humanity. PK Vijayan, in his novel “Nirvana of Jesus Christ” (Notion Press, 2020) through creative imagination portrayed personality evolution of the two progenitors of God-centric and sagaciously logical major religions – Jesus Christ of Christianity and Gautama Buddha of Buddhism.

Why hasn't Govt of India responded to US critique of freedom of religion under Modi?

By Fr Cedric Prakash SJ* About two weeks ago, on May 12, 2021, the US Secretary of State Antony J Blinken released in Washington the ‘2020 International Religious Freedom Report.’ This official annual report of the US Government details the status of religious freedom in nearly 200 foreign countries and territories and describes US actions to support religious freedom worldwide. Mandated by the International Religious Freedom Act of 1998, this report highlights the fact that ‘religious freedom is both a core American value and a universal human right’.

Covid fear? Cremation rituals gone upside down, Dalits asked to do Brahminical rituals

By Abhay Jain, Sandeep Pandey*  As Covid consumes human life in a very conspicuous way we are confronted with additional problem of disposing of human corpses. Cremation grounds are lit with continuous pyres, graveyards are running out of land and now Ganga has become a mass grave potentially polluting its water.