Thursday, May 30, 2019

Modi Becomes Invincible

Modi once again registered a resounding victory. The exit poll predictions, to a great extent, came true though some pollsters failed to gauge the intensity of Modi wave and expected the NDA to fall short of a majority. But once the counting trends started trickling in, it became increasingly apparent that BJP may not even require its allies and it will be able to form a government on its own. The speculations that were running rife during and immediately after the elections made some regional leaders such as Chandrababu Naidu and Chandrasekhar Rao fly from one state capital to another trying to garner support for a Third Front in the expectation of forming a ‘khichdi’ government in case their dreams materialize. But all their expectations fell flat, and people delivered a decisive mandate in favor of Modi and his party.
In a democracy, the voice of the people is the voice of God. The decisive mandates delivered by the electorate in the recent history setting uncertainty to rest indicates that the Indian electorate has come of age. This election has established the predominance of Narendra Modi in the Indian politics. It also proved that the Third Front, which comes into existence momentarily before every election, is just a myth and the Congress party, which banks on the dynasty for its survival, is facing an existential crisis. Most importantly, India has become a “Left Mukt Bharat” after their decimation from West Bengal, Kerala and Tripura, which are considered to be their bastions.
Now, what could be the reason behind the continuous onward march of Modi and his BJP? It is normal in Indian politics that any government, after completing its tenure, faces anti-incumbency and finds it difficult to retain power. This time, however, there is a pro-incumbency wave and the Modi succeeded in retaining power with more number of seats.
Modi’s Welfarism:
Though Modi was accused of implementing Modinomics, which is akin to the neo-liberal Reaganomics and promoting the interests of the big businessmen, he did not discard welfarism altogether. He successfully implemented many welfare programs such as distributing gas cylinders, construction of toilets and building houses through the schemes PM Ujjwala Yojana, Swachh Bharat Mission (SBM) and Deen Dayal Upadhyaya Gram Jyoti Yojana, which brought about an improvement in the lives of the people. In addition to these welfare programs he also prioritized infrastructure development. These welfare and developmental programs, which reached many beneficiaries and augmented the economic activity, made a major contribution to his victory.
The entrenchment of Hindutva:
The Hindutva ideology is slowly getting entrenched among many. Many Hindus feel that the expansionist tendencies manifested by some Abrahamic religions are intended to destroy the indigenous culture. They also fear that the violent separatism and terrorism that are raising their heads in the name of Islam may lead to the disintegration of India. The Pulwama terror attack and the Indian connection to the Sri Lankan bomb blasts reinforced their fears. The ‘Caliphate’ clamor, the ‘Jihadi’ outcry and ‘Sharia’ shriek making Hindus consolidate behind the BJP.  The behavior of the liberals is also one of the reasons behind Modi’s victory. Their fear mongering and their support to the Tukde Tukde Gang has further angered the Hindu community. All these things made Hindus increasingly feel that only Modi and his BJP can safeguard their interests.
No alternative to Modi:
The opposition parties especially the Congress are in doldrums and are not in a position to provide the people with any credible alternative. The people of India are fed up with dynasty politics. Sensing this feeling among the people Modi even took a jibe at Rahul Gandhi and his family as “naamdaars” while claiming himself as “kaamdaar”. The defeat of the dynasty scions such as Milind Deora and Jyotiraditya Scindia amply manifest the revulsion the electorate has developed towards dynasty politics. Even Rahul Gandhi himself lost in his family bastion, Amethi. Sensing that the Congress is in its death bed and the so-called Third Front is a myth, the voters turned to Modi.
National security:
The Pulwama terror attack, instigated by our rogue neighbor Pakistan, once again threw a challenge to India’s national security. India faced similar challenges in the form of Mumbai terror attacks and numerous bomb blasts triggered by Islamic terrorists in different parts of the country. But every time an attack took place India responded in a meek manner citing the reason that Pakistan is a nuclear neighbor. India’s reluctance to act against cross-border terrorism further emboldened Pakistan to carry out more attacks. But this time India retaliated calling Pakistan’s nuclear bluff. India’s retaliation caught Pakistan completely off-guard and its narrative failed to impress the international community. This is one of Modi’s major achievements, which he utilized well to his electoral advantage.
Modi’s mass appeal:
Modi, over some years, gained a reputation for being a workaholic. People strongly feel that irrespective of his mistakes in the form of demonetization and goof-ups in the implementation of GST, he had never frozen into inaction and never pushed the nation into a policy paralysis. He kept everybody on tenterhooks and made things happen. Though his frequent travels abroad were criticized, his contribution to the strengthening of India’s ties with many countries and India’s improved stature in the international arena can’t be overlooked.
So, Modi’s victory in a way heralded the advent of a new India. And he achieved this in the face of a persistent vilification campaign carried out by the so-called secularists and liberals. In every difficult situation, the ‘Stita Pragna’ in him enabled him to move on and achieve the unachievable. Now that he became a seasoned administrator from the experience he gained during the last five years and earned a second term let us hope he will perform better and make India stronger and prosperous.

Wednesday, May 1, 2019

It’s High Time We Asked Some Legitimate Questions About Islamic Terror

“Terrorism has no religion” and “Islam is a religion of peace” are the statements we hear after each terror attack that snuffs out scores of innocent lives. We hear these statements from religious leaders and politicians with alarming regularity and most of the people are truly fed up with hearing these utterly banal statements.
The madrasas where most of the indoctrination happens are run by a religion, the Maulvis who indoctrinate people follow a religion, the Salafism that is injected into the minds of the children is a religious movement, the organizations that are formed to carry out terror activities have religious names and the massacres that are perpetrated happen in the name of God with the avowed intention of establishing their religious supremacy. So, when everything is clearly perceptible, what the people who issue such hackneyed statements are trying to hide?
The Islamist terrorist attacks that have been happening incessantly over some decades are not carried out by a few misguided individuals as many want us to believe. They have robust ideological foundations, are very well organized, well-funded and executed with brutal precision with devastating impact.
The latest in the series of Islamist terror attacks is the Easter Sunday bombings that inflicted murder and mayhem upon the innocent churchgoers and tourists in the island nation of Sri Lanka. These suicide bombings were executed by hardened fanatics belonging to an organization called National Tawheed Jamaat (mind you, the word ‘Tawheed’ means oneness of ‘God’). The man who masterminded these attacks, Zahran Hashim, is a cleric in a mosque. The fact that all the suicide bombers are from well-to-do families destroys the notion that people take to extremism and terrorism to escape the pangs of poverty and unemployment.
It is a well-established fact that most of the indoctrination that sows the seeds of terrorism happens in the madrasas, the Islamic seminaries. These seminaries, mostly financed by Saudi Arabia, are proliferating in South Asia like a wildfire. These so-called schools infuse Wahhabism, a radical and ultra-conservative form of Islam, into the minds of their students. There are around 50,000 seminaries in Pakistan, which gave birth to the terrorist organizations such as Taliban and Jaish-e-Mohammed, that are currently wreaking havoc in Afghanistan and India.
There was a proliferation of Saudi funded madrasas even in Sri Lanka in the prelude to the Easter Sunday bombings, which sowed the seeds of terror in the island nation. The Sri Lankan leaders, as part of their vote bank and appeasement politics, turned a blind eye to the functioning of the mosques and madrasas and paid a heavy price.
The blasts in Sri Lanka send an ominous signal to India. India is home to one of the most notorious madrasas called Darul Uloom Deoband, which gave birth to the Deobandi school of Islam. The Deobandi movement inspired scores of madrasas including one of the largest and oldest madrasas in Pakistan Darul Uloom Haqqania, which acquired notoriety as the “University of Jihad”.
India has already experienced the devastating impact of the Islamist terror in the form of Mumbai attacks and other numerous bomb explosions triggered in different parts of India. There are news reports stating that there is one Tawheed Jamaat even in Tamil Nadu, though the organization denied any links to the Sri Lankan Tawheed Jamaat. And moreover, the reports suggesting that the mastermind of the Easter Sunday attacks, Jafran Hashim, spent substantial time in South India make it amply clear that some parts of South India have turned into the hotbeds of Islamic extremism. If the law enforcement agencies don’t take this development seriously, India may end up becoming a training center for terrorists just like Pakistan.
Many countries seek to classify terrorists as good terrorists and bad terrorists. There are countries like Pakistan, which harbor ‘good terrorists’ because they promote their geopolitical interests by creating trouble in its neighboring countries. Even the US started peace talks with the Taliban in its hurry to withdraw from Afghanistan giving legitimacy to the dreaded terrorist organization. In the same way, there is a tendency to trivialize all the terror attacks and the collateral damage they cause by saying that the attackers are just a few misguided youths who are not good Muslims and moderate Muslims never do it. Now the question arises how do you make out whether the person who queued up with a plate at a dinner buffet or the person who is seated next to you in a crowded place of worship is a good, moderate Muslim and therefore harmless?
In the aftermath of the Easter Sunday attacks, there were intense efforts made by the terror apologists to justify the bombings some way or the other. They initially said had the Sri Lankan government reigned in the Buddhists who attacked Muslims, these bombings could have been prevented. The Buddhist monk and the leader of Bodu Bala Sena, Gnanasara Thero, who was accused of instigating violence against Muslims, is already serving a six-year jail sentence. Moreover, if the target of the terrorists was Buddhists then why did they attack churches and hotels? When this question arose, they changed the tune and started saying that these attacks are retaliation to Christchurch attacks in New Zealand. These apologists, in their eagerness to defend Islamist terror, often come to hasty and foolish conclusions and thereby mislead the people. The fact is these terror apologies never allow us to understand the real face of the Islamist terror and try to keep us in dark.
The most important fact the terror apologists don't want us to realize is the terrorists want to establish a Caliphate and slowly want to transform the entire world into a Dar-al Islam imposing their draconian Sharia laws. In essence, they want to establish their Islamic supremacy all over the world by eliminating the ‘infidels’.
When someone questions the actions of the Islamic terrorists and their apologists they are immediately branded as Islamophobes and intense efforts are made by them to isolate and stigmatize them. It is this tendency that led to counter movements all over the world. Whether it is Narendra Modi or Donald Trump or Marine Le Pen they all emerged as a bulwark against this undemocratic tendency to stigmatize the people who question the atrocities of the Islamists.
As long as the terror apologists keep trying to defend these atrocities, the Muslim community will not realize the fact that they as a community have miserably failed in keeping their religion 21st century compliant, and therefore, will not make any effort to reform and modernize it. Therefore, it is high time the world community started asking some legitimate questions about Islam, its violence and its supremacist ambitions. Otherwise, it will be too late, and the world will be pushed back to the stone ages.