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

'These people shouldn't be in jail': UN official seeks release of 16 human rights defenders

By Our Representative A United Nations human rights official has called upon the Government of India (GoI) to “immediately release" 16 human rights defenders who have been imprisoned on charges of terrorism in the Bhima-Koregaon Case, insisting, “These people should not be in jail. They are our modern-day heroes and we should all be looking to them and supporting them and demanding their release.”  

Arrest of Fr Stan Swamy: UN makes public letter seeking explanation from Govt of India

Counterview Desk In a letter to the Government of India (GoI), three senior United Nations (UN) officials – Elina Steinerte, vice-chair of the Working Group on Arbitrary Detention; Mary Lawlor, special rapporteur on the situation of human rights defenders; and Fernand de Varennes, special rapporteur on minority issues – have said that the arrest of veteran activist Father Stan Swamy in October 2020 marks “the escalation of harassment the human rights defender has been subjected to since 2018.”

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.

Farm laws 'precursor' to free trade deal envisaged by US corporates to allow GMO

By Rajiv Shah Did the Government of India come up with the three farm laws, first rushed by promulgating ordinances in June 2020, to not just open the country’s agricultural sector to the corporate sector but also as a precursor to comply with the requirements of the United States for a Free Trade Agreement (FTA), as envisaged by the outgoing US president Donald Trump?

Savarkar 'criminally betrayed' Netaji and his INA by siding with the British rulers

By Shamsul Islam* RSS-BJP rulers of India have been trying to show off as great fans of Netaji. But Indians must know what role ideological parents of today's RSS/BJP played against Netaji and Indian National Army (INA). The Hindu Mahasabha and RSS which always had prominent lawyers on their rolls made no attempt to defend the INA accused at Red Fort trials.

Differing from Ambedkar, Kancha Ilaiah holds a 'different' theory of caste system

By Banavath Aravind* I was introduced to Kancha Ilaiah’s work when I was about 20 years old. He was then in the midst of a controversy for a chapter in his book "Post-Hindu India: A Discourse in Dalit-Bahujan, Socio-Spiritual and Scientific Revolution", which termed the Baniya community as social smugglers. During many of his debates, I had come to notice his undeterred fighting spirit in trying to bring up certain fundamental social issues that were hitherto undiscussed. I eventually came across some of his works and started reading them silently. I’m deliberately stressing upon the word ‘silently’ here, as this was the kind of silence particularly associated with sensitive social issues like caste, religion, etc. But, as I write this essay, I feel silences on sensitive issues should be broken. Ilaiah opened up an entirely new debate that had the vigour and strength to counter the systemic Brahmanism. His methods of research were also novel in terms of going back to the roo

Fr Stan's arrest figures in UK Parliament: Govt says, Indian authorities were 'alerted'

London protest for release of Stan Swamy  By Rajiv Shah Will Father Stan Swamy’s arrest, especially the fact that he is a Christian and a priest, turn out to be major international embarrassment for the Government of India? It may well happen, if a recent debate on a resolution titled “India: Persecution of Minority Groups” in the United Kingdom (UK) Parliament is any indication. While Jesuits have protested Fr Stan's arrest in UK and US, the resolution, adopted in the Parliament, said, “This House has considered the matter of persecution of Muslims, Christians and minority groups in India”.

New trend? Riots 'expanded' to new rural areas post-2002 Gujarat carnage: Report

A VHP poster declaring a Gujarat village part of Hindu Rashtra  By Rajiv Shah  Buniyaad, a Gujarat-based civil society organization, engaged in monitoring of communal violence in the state, in a new report, “Peaceful Gujarat: An Illusion or Truth?” has said that a “new trend” has come about in communal violence in the state, where the parts of Gujarat which didn't see communal riots in 2002 are experiencing “regular bouts” of communal violence.

More than 5,200 Gujarat schools to be closed down, merged, says govt document

RTE Forum, Gujarat, releasing fact-sheet on education By Our Representative A Gujarat government document has revealed that it is planning to close down 5,223 schools in the name of school merger. The document, dated July 20, 201 was released by the Right to Education (RTE) Forum, Gujarat. It shows that the worst-affected districts because of this merger are those which are populated by marginalized communities – especially tribals, Dalits and minorities, said RTE Forum’s Gujarat convener Mujahid Nafees.

Consumption pattern, not economic shock behind 'poor' child health indicators

By Neeraj Kumar, Arup Mitra* The findings of the latest round of National Family Health Survey (NFHS-5) conducted in 2019-20 covering 22 States/UTs under Phase-I  present a somewhat disappointing picture of children’s health in India. Majority of the experts, based on prima facie evidence, just highlighted the deteriorating sign of child health in terms of increase in proportion of stunted and underweight children in most of the phase-I states/UTs over last two rounds of NFHS (2015-16 to 2019-20).