“Modi’s majoritarianism is a poison and cancer that can destroy the soul of India”

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Calling Narendra Modi a “putative dictator” who has “authoritarian instincts” and “dictatorial tendencies”, one of the most highly regarded historians of modern India and Mahatma Gandhi’s biographer, Ramachandra Guha, says that Modi’s majoritarianism can destroy the social fabric of India and calls it “a poison” and “a cancer”. As he put it: “Majoritarianism poisons the mind and the heart. The hate and bigotry that it engenders spread like a cancer through the body politic, robbing individuals and society of civility, decency, compassion and humanity itself.”

Drawing a distinction with Indira Gandhi’s Emergency, when she combined authoritarianism with family rule, Mr. Guha says Narendra Modi today combines authoritarianism with hindu majoritarianism. He said “the intention of Modi and Shah is to suppress all free speech”. He said a third term Modi government will give licence to a full-fledged regime of thought control.

However, in a 30-minute interview to Karan Thapar for The Wire, Ramachandra Guha said even if Modi wins a sweeping victory and returns to power for the third time, “the authoritarianism of the Emergency years” is unlikely to return because large states like Tamil Nadu, Kerala, West Bengal, Karnataka, Telangana and Punjab will be outside his and the BJP’s control and will politically resist his attempt to dominate them. However, what Mr. Guha fears is the impact of Modi’s majoritarianism, during any third term he may have in office, on the social fabric of the country and the thinking and behaviour of its people.

Mr. Guha believes the stigmatization of Muslims will sharpen, the screws on the media will tighten, the independence of the civil services, the judiciary and public regulatory institutions will be further undermined, whilst Central Universities, IITs and IIMs will become centres of Hindutva propaganda and the structure of Indian federalism will grow weaker.

Mr. Guha believes that hate filled anti-Muslim speeches, like the one Narendra Modi delivered in Rajasthan on Sunday (21st), will proliferate and will become a common occurrence if Mr. Modi wins a third term. He believes “non-Hindus will be treated as inferior and sub-human”. Muslims will be, as the RSS has often said, “shown their place”.

This is why Mr. Guha believes the elections that has started “is the most important since 1977”.

I have only given you the big broad points made by Mr. Guha. I have deliberately avoided giving you further details because I think you should hear this interview for yourself. As ever, Mr. Guha is rich and riveting in his analysis and the sweep of his arguement covers a lot of ground. It will be a shame to diminish it through a precis or paraphrase. It should be heard directly in his own words.

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Disclaimer: “Modi’s majoritarianism is a poison and cancer that can destroy the soul of India” - Views expressed by writers in this section are their own and do not necessarily reflect Latheefarook.com point-of-view

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