Modi and the Farmers
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There are millions of Indians who are fanatic supporters of Narendra Modi who is seen as a macho PM and saviour of Hindu religion. These people are Modi’s real strength. He gets away with a lot of balderdash as well as maliciousness because of the mass support he enjoys. He has paid scant attention to the ongoing farmers’ stir as if farmers are below his dignity to meet and discuss with.
Modi regards himself as the greatest person on the earth if not in the entire cosmos. He has brought down to dust every democratic institution in the country so that his authority will remain beyond questioning. His strategy is to subtly alter the way the institutions function so that they are slowly and steadily crippled and eventually rendered effete.
The Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) has been converted into a “caged parrot” by Modi. Prior to the Modi era, the CBI was “the gold standard of Indian crime-fighting” (Shashi Tharoor’s description). It has now become Modi’s puppet.
The same fate has befallen every institution of some national value. The Supreme Court and the Reserve Bank of India are just two glaring examples. An efficient governor like Raghuram Rajan was not allowed to continue his remarkable services at the RBI. Urjit Patel who succeeded him ended up as the Governor of the bank with the shortest tenure though he had been “the government’s blue-eyed boy” (Tharoor’s phrase again). The Deputy Governor Viral Acharya too stepped down seeing the government’s politicisation of the Governor’s appointment.
It is too early to forget the drama played out by the Supreme Court judges and the Chief Justice himself. Dipak Misra and Ranjan Gogoi were no more than Modi’s puppets. Gogoi declared himself innocent when a sexual harassment charge was brought up against him even as Adityanath of UP wrote off all criminal cases against himself when he became the Chief Minister. Modi and his beloved people are like gods – above all laws.
The Election Commission has also been rendered a highly attenuated version of what it was under eminent people like T N Seshan and J M Lyngdoh. Today the Commission is merely a handmaid of Modi and his party.
All these institutions have been debilitated precisely to enhance the power of one man called Narendra Modi. That man who regards himself as some kind of a divine incarnation hasn’t done much good for the country’s ordinary people. The affluent have benefited much under him. The poor have suffered untold agonies and ignominies. The agitating farmers are just the latest victims.
A protest of similar nature arose in Delhi when the Citizenship bills were passed. But a pandemic erupted and rescued Modi. It is possible that Modi will use some devious method to suppress the farmers’ agitation. Efforts have already been made to bring schisms among the farmers. The usual rhetoric was also employed time and again by the eloquent Prime Minister. What next? Wait and watch. Our PM is good at both entertaining and strategizing.
A lot of people in the country are unhappy. Those affected by the Citizenship Acts. Adivasis and Dalits. Now farmers. How long can a leader ignore the problems of such large numbers of citizens? Don’t forget that a cry in the wilderness can set an avalanche in motion.
PS. Prompted by Indispire Edition 356: The farmers' agitation is going on for long. Do you think the government is failing to address the grievances of the farmers and is being autocratic? Or is the government as magnanimous as the Prime Minister claims? #FarmersAgitation