Skip to main content

Motera as Modi stadium: Why is Iron Man now 'largely' cast in metallic statue at Kevadia

By Harshvardhan Purandare, Sandeep Pandey* 

Ahmedabad hosts a Sabarmati Gandhi Ashram, the iconic monument where values and foundation of Indian democracy evolved through decades of Freedom movement. Now the city also hosts five star Narendra Modi stadium at Motera ground, a new monument named after our seven star prime minister. 
One can say, Indian democracy which grew at Gandhi Ashram is now ceremoniously buried at Modi stadium, both separated by just 14 minutes of car drive and 66 minutes walk if you were to march in Gandhiji’s style.
What are our objections to the new Modi monument?
Is it about the leader naming a cricket stadium after him while he is alive? Partly, it is. Because it does not behoove our culture, we like to celebrate our leaders after their demise. And practically, it is difficult to evaluate the achievement of any prime minister while still in office. From Nehru to Manmohan Singh, all prime ministers have made their mark.
 Modi is yet to find a place in history. There is enough evidence to believe what his opponents say, Modi now represents the downfall of the economy and divisive religious politics. There is absolutely no hurry to immortalize Modi by giving his names to stadiums.
Is it about the fact that Prime Minister’s publicly adored role model Sardar Patel’s name to the stadium was dumped? Partly, it is. They need Patel for destroying Nehru’s legacy. The very project of integration of our diverse geography which Sardar Patel oversaw is falling apart as several parts of India are disgruntled with Delhi. The damage to federal structure appears irreversible as center-state relationships have been falling off the cliff under the so-called “strong Prime Minister”.
We need to remember Patel more in this phase of disintegration of minds across the length and breadth of India. Unfortunately, the Iron Man is now largely cast in a metallic statue at Kevadia just as Gandhi has been framed in his spectacles in the Swachch Bharat Abhiyan.
The most worrisome fact about the Modi regime’s progress that Motera symbolizes is that citizens have become mere spectator to politics which has been reduced to a sport with corporate sponsors where most matches are fixed. While globalization has died on us after 3 decades of journey, we have gathered enough wealth to afford and build Motera like symbols of our wealth. But they do not mean anything to our collective power and future. Megalomania and narcissism is a hallmark of these wealth symbols. In a quest for money, we have subscribed to the political economy where we have to bathe in the shining illusion of our power with no real transformative proposal.
The democracy is supposed to distribute the wealth that capitalism brings in. Our democracy might have failed in doing so, the weaknesses of our society might have gotten exposed in this journey of becoming super power and we might have even paid the price with our democracy for all foreign exchange surpluses we have. All these possibilities are staring at us. 
What we have now is ‘election only’ democracy, with people vanishing from the intervening democratic process day by day. The cost of popularity of the leadership is it’s disconnecting with life struggles of the average Indian.
What we have now is ‘election only’ democracy, with people vanishing from the intervening democratic process day by day
While the democracy survived the death narrowly in last US elections as Democrats marginally defeated Trumpism, India might be a case of a next challenge where democracy will have to evolve to reverse itself from divisive incompetent religiously aligned autocracy that our electoral processes have let us slide into.
The best way is to understand the health of our democracy is to observe the political processes around us and cross check them with the rule book: our Constitution. Like US democracy defines itself by “Life, liberty and pursuit of happiness”, the pillars of Indian democracy are “Liberty, Justice, Equality and Fraternity”.
Liberty is now subject to where you stand in power hierarchy, if you are a prime minister you are not answerable for the internal and external misgovernance. The ruling elite, combination of rich and religious, can suffocate you if you are raising your voice, while they can sell the country in the name of reforms and condone religious vigilantism. Your tweet can land you in jail. 
While you can still practice your own religion or faith, the parliament is now clearly discriminating on the basis of religion. Triple Talaq, Kashmir division, CAA-NRC, one after another, there has been an organized effort to demean the Muslims.
The equality is no longer the relevant value; we don’t mind a hierarchical society with feudal mindset. There is growing support to ideologically accept the inequality to be the ‘real truth’ of life in the name of religious nationalism. Competitiveness and individualism is the grand experiment of the globalization era of last three decades. But India is no America to digest these values.
It is still the country of communities as made amply clear in public protests or solidarity exhibited with walking migrant workers both supported by the spirit of service in the form of langars. NRI culture and American dream has captured the minds of our upper middle class and they dominate the political narrative as a New India. Their narrative is proving to be a misfit for our 130 crores people. The rustic farmers’ movement has ruptured Smart India.
Justice has become a distant dream. While billionaire raj and corporate lobbies drive us away from any possibility of economic justice, social justice has gone out of political debate in the name of meritocracy. And we better not comment on arbitrariness of the judiciary and systems of justice. There are no ‘angry young men and woman’ asking for justice and those who do, are either ridiculed or jailed.
Fraternity is the value attacked most. It is replaced by indifference towards the sections of Indian society that we do not belong too. We are not ready to connect with each other anymore and have become disconnected internally as society. The Coronavirus has arrived almost as if to provide justification to this alienation. Farmers agitating around Delhi can be simply ignored. Beyond indifference, there is growing hostility on the basis of religion and class. Nationalist sermons have failed to generate any new spirit of fraternity.
Gandhiji’s premise was: “India is a country of poor, belonging to poor”, Modi regime’s premise is “India and Indians are destined to become rich and powerful”. Our per capita income and the middle class does not reflect the aspirant India as advertised. We are falling back to Hindu rate of growth of the ‘60s.We no longer can assume that one day we are going to become a developed nation. The economy and democracy have been consistently sliding downwards in the last few years or so.
Narendra Modi stadium now stands as a symbol of excluding people from a political process and no democracy in the world has ever survived without people truly shaping it with consistent effort.
Motera test match ended on the second day, the test is supposed to last five days. The joke that made rounds was: The stadium might have been named after Modi, but the way pitches performed they must be secretly named after Amit Shah. And we don’t want test matches to end in two days just as we don’t want our parliamentary debates to be short circuited. Neither do we want our democracy to end after 73 years of experiment.
The remedy for our society is to walk back to Sabarmati values from hype around Modi stadium. It may turn out to be the smallest yet most important march Indians can ever take up.
---
*Associated with Socialist Party (India)

Comments

TRENDING

Political consensus? Celebrations, with over 5,000 plus post-vaccine deaths in India

By Rosamma Thomas*  As India fully vaccinated nearly 20% of its population and celebrated the “milestone” of administering one billion (100 crore) Covid-19 vaccine doses, it was time to remember those who died shortly after vaccination . By October 20, 2021 Twitter handle C400T, tracking deaths reported to have occurred after receiving the Covid-19 shot in India, updated the 5,134th death.

Is sacrilege charge against Punjab Dalits any different from Pak blasphemy cases?

Lakhbir Singh, his wife By Vidya Bhushan Rawat*  There is no doubt that Sikhism actually was a revolt against the Brahmanical system and superstition. Guru Granth Saheb is perhaps the only Holy Book which contains matters from different religions as well as those of various Sufi saints, including Kabir, Ravidas, Baba Farid and others. The aim of Sikhism was to create an egalitarian society, and, definitely, Punjab that way is far better than many other States in India, where violence against Dalits is rampant.

Billion vaccine doses? Devil is in details: 70% haven't got 2nd jab; numbers jacked up

By Prof Ujjwal K Chowdhury*  India has reached the one billion Covid-19 vaccinations milestone. It is indeed a great news and a big salute to the less paid ordinary health-workers in interiors of India for this feat. The government wants all of India's 944 million adults to get vaccinated this year. Around three-quarters of adults in the country of 1.3 billion people have had one shot and around 30 percent are fully vaccinated, the government says.

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.

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".

Uttarakhand, Kerala disaster due to policies favouring India's developmental mafia

By Vidya Bhushan Rawat*  Two of India’s most beautiful regions where thousands of people go to watch and feel the wonders of nature are suffering because of the extremely disastrous rains and floods. The pain that the rains brought to Kerala and Uttarakhand is a warning to all of us. It's nature’s warning to us to mend our ways.

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.

Religious mobs replicate blasphemy laws, 'threatening' liberty in a free country

Nihangs, Lakhbir Singh By Ajit Singh*   A Dalit man, Lakhbir Singh, was mercilessly beaten up and lynched to death near farmers’ protest site in the State of Haryana allegedly by Nihang Sikhs. It was alleged that he committed blasphemy by desecrating the Holy Book Guru Granth Sahib.

Shabana Azmi joins Pak physicist Hoodbhoy to condemn B'desh anti-minority violence

By Our Representative  Several well-known South Asian activists and public figures of India, Pakistan, Bangladesh, Sri Lanka, Afghanistan and Maldives have expressed “deep distress” by the spate of violence and killings in Bangladesh on the occasion of Durga Puja and Vijayadashami. “Attacks on minorities are a sign of injustice and a matter of shame for any society and bring a bad name to the Government”, they said in a joint statement.

March opposes Sabarmati Ashram renovation: 'Mahatmaji had kept open for access to all'

Counterview Desk A Sevagram to Sabarmati march, which began on October 17 from Wardha (Maharashtra) and will end on October 24 in Ahmedabad (Gujarat), has demanded that the Sabarmati Ashram, the government should not impose "the fashion and glitz of a shallow modernity" at the cost of Rs 1,200 crore, in the name of renovating the Ashram founded by Gandhiji.