Vidya Bhushan Rawat finds parallel between today’s politics and Sanjay Gandhi’s style 34 years ago.
As media reaches the conclusion about the outcome of the general elections the Sangh Parivar and its excited ‘chhutbhaiyyas’ are competing each other in speak loud and threatening the opponents. One important thing the modern day politics teach us is that those who ride on the chariot of hype are dumped mercilessly by the same forces who are responsible for their rise. The example of Arvind Kejriwal is a pointer as how he was created by media as an alternative and how he has been dumped by the same media because at the moment media magnets and their ‘loudspeakers’ are anointing Narendra Modi as the future of India.
Modi has been hyped by media and its corporate honchos for their own dubious purposes. An image is created as if Modi is India and India is Modi. The ‘tiger’ of India is actually created exactly on the ‘replica’ of Dev Kant Barua’s Indira is India and India is Indira. It was followed by various statements by the ‘opposition’ leaders hailing her as ‘Durga’, most importantly by Atal Vihari Vajpayee, on her role in the liberation of Bangladesh. One must understand that in the post war Indira Gandhi with ‘anti-poverty’ grants under her hands became larger than life hero of the country. The opposition was nothing as India became the very ‘hope’ of India. Criticizing Indira Gandhi became as if someone is challenging the authority of power in Delhi. A number of leaders became her ‘devotees’ and her son Sanjay began to control the party. He was never a political man but more as a muscle man with ‘management’ skills which are needed to ‘win’ elections these days.
Sanjay Gandhi created a whole lot of ‘young’ shouting brigade to run down the opposition and make his ‘image’ as the ‘future’ prime minister of India. He would shout out the old ‘loyalists’ of the party. Many were humiliated in the party and asked to resign. In fact many of the serious issues were not even discussed in the cabinet and ministers were bypassed. The history of imposition of emergency on the night of June 25th 1975 is well known to be described here when it is said that President Fakruhdin Ali Ahmed just signed the declaration without properly going through it. And after that what the country witnessed was the demolition of its constitutional values and total political anarchy. Sanjay Gandhi unleashed a set of goons on country who would harass individuals who protested against them.
The media was in their control and in 1975 that did not have to do much of the work as Aakashwani and Doordarshan were owned by the government. The newspapers were ‘crawling’ when they were asked to bend, said Lal Krishna Advani when remember those days.
Indira Gandhi depended too much on her ‘chamchas’ and the ‘CBI’ which was jokingly termed as ‘Congress Bureau of Investigation’ and was used to harass people. She got defeated and even lost her own parliamentary constituency. That was a time when the party has not done anything hurting the poor but the whole issue of ‘PM’s integrity was under the threat. She could not handle the criticism and finally lost her way. The response of the Janata government was much worst and with leaders like Charan Singh and George Fernandese, Indira Gandhi was send to Jail and finally the Janata government fell due to its own contradictions paving the way for Indira Gandhi who sailed through a huge majority. Later, Indira Gandhi’s adviser’s like Vasant Sathe started chanting the mantra of ‘Presidential’ form of Government in United States so that they could rule the country without any hindrances. Vasant Sathe was disturbed with the growing strength of the marginalized communities and felt that it is essential to stop the ‘blackmailing’ through presidential form of the government where votes are sought in the name of leader and President and his ministers are ‘experts’ and not responsible to Parliament. Modi has actually taken a leaf out it and now he is a ‘national’ icon through 24 hours beaming of his rhetoric on our TV channels.
Now, the situation is vastly changed in the post 1990s after the Mandalisation process. Congress is unable to fight and defend the rights of the ‘capitalists’ and Hindu upper castes. In fact, under Sonia it has turned more towards the ‘socialist’ ‘secular’ route though half-heartedly so far but that is the root of Indira’s congress in 1971 when she nationalized Banks, focused on anti-poverty programmes and the most marginalized communities.
Today, what we are witnessing is a revisit to Sanjay Gandhi of those days who was more powerful than the Prime minister. So, Bansi Lal is replaced by an Amit Shah who can manage things here and there. The female brigade around Sanjay Gandhi was powerful and many stories were also published in newspapers but that did not stop him from doing what he wished to do. Coincidently, now with Narendra Modi are ready to even beat up the opponents on the TV channels. The rise of Meenakshi Lekhi, Kiron Kher, Smriti Irani, and Saina NC without any political background is clear replication of Sanjay’s goon brigade who will abuse the opponents and shout them in a much better way would be rewarded. There is a virtual competition between different youngsters particularly these female gang who are ready to go to any extent to accuse, abuse and lynch you on the TV studios or through their writings in the print. Anchors are promoting them and do not ask them tough questions. Now many like Madhu Kishwar and Tavleen Singh have left us without any doubt whether they should be called journalists or spokesperson of the party.
During emergency in 1975, we criticized the two government channels for not broadcasting the opposition stories but today more than three hundred TV channels and huge number of print media in English and vernacular languages have been hijacked and controlled by the Modi brigade. Modi’s speeches are broadcasted in such way as if they are ‘amritwani’ while all other speeches are shown with an immediate ‘counter’ and ‘rejoinder’. No journalists ever tried to probe Modi. They are in awe with him with just watching him speak. It looks for Rajat Sharma, Madhu Kishwar, Sanjay Putalia and many more, Modi is a demi God and all those who question him are Sonia’s brigade members. It seems he is already the prime minister and media is just afraid of him or the other side of the story may be because of the corporate pressure and goon threats these journalists some of who were always termed as ‘brightest’, ‘ courageous’ , ‘secular’ and who reported from the ground in 2002 have simply shown their true color today.
The trend to create a wave through media has already started. They know that Modi has become larger than life out of nowhere through media. Well known to them is that the negative publicity is also great though media is ready to ‘protect’ and ‘defend’ them. If emergency period of 1975 was considered to be the worst in Indian media world for the pressure played by the government, I can say with firm conviction that 2014 elections will be remembered for how media resorted to lies, deceits, calumny in promoting the Hindutva brigade. At least during emergency we had a Ramnath Goenka, his Indian Express and Statesman which did not surrender to might of the state. This election is radically different. They show that state might has absolutely nothing and being controlled by the media and corporate. Today, it does not look that we have a Prime Minister. If you watch electronic media and print media both, the most powerful person of India is already been declared as Narendra Modi and media is not just crawling but prostrating to Modi humming Namo-Namo. This blatant exhibition of shamelessness and corporate control is basically an indication of what will be the future of our media, freedom of expression and freedom of choices.
Hence Modi is not really a threat. Much more threatening are the forces who are behind him, who planted him on our combined conscious, who created his large ego much bigger than what we have seen. To get their work done they are not going to leave him anywhere. Like Indira Gandhi’s PMO, Modi’s chums in media too want a strong Prime Minister’s office which can take decision without consulting the Parliament and compel the president to sign on dotted lines. Fortunately, we had seen the next day that both Indian Express and Statesman left their front page as blank. Even in 1989, when Rajiv tried to muzzle media through defamation bill there was Indian Express, The Hindu and Statesman which provided us the information but today the scenario is much more disastrous. Now, the editors are openly showing their loyalty and propriety and business ethics have been given a go bye. With the owners directing and guiding there is a scene of despondency inside the newsrooms. Wait for a few days and you will see how many of them will be rewarded for their ‘dutifully’ doing the commands and how many might be thrown away.
That is the ‘terror’ that we have the shouting brigade of Modi on our TV studios like Sanjay Gandhi’s brigade. Some are invited as ‘official’ spokesperson while others are as ‘commentators’ even when we know their open and unambiguous ideological moorings. The media in emergency did fight but today the media has just tamely surrendered to Modi and his team. They can speak anything. More and more Babas are speaking and none challenge them. No uncomfortable questions to likes of Ramdev and Ravishankar even when their involvement and political campaigning is well known. The bureaucracy it seems is ‘reporting’ to Modi and not to the PM. It does not look we have a PM today. It is actually indicative of how things are going to happen.
When, Giriraj Singh, the BJP leader in Bihar said in the presence of Nitin Gadakari that all those who oppose Modi would be send to Pakistan. The party continues to support those who were responsible for instigating the violence in Muzzaffarnagar. Many of them have been fielded. Amit Shah was made in charge of Uttar-Pradesh. One does not know what is the political qualification of Shah for a politically conscious state of Uttar-Pradesh which gave India, a majority of its prime ministers? Though they might ‘deny’ but what action has the parivar taken against Praveen Togadia for his fulminations. He is openly threatening to the Muslims and seculars and yet our media keep quiet or try to project them in a different way. The Ram Sena gang of Manglore is not sitting silent but waiting for their right moment. They are part and parcel of the entire saffron culture. Who can forget the two twin brothers of Maharastra. There will more such senas and army which will provide the ‘instant’ justice on the streets. And nothing will happen to them as the ‘team’ of Modi is ready to lynch them further on TV studios actively supported by the spineless anchors and reporters. Yes, their spine is gone.
These voices are not isolated. They know it well that they would be awarded. The idiocies of Swamy, Ramdev, Pramod Muttalick, Pramod Togadia are not just a matters of joke but serious matter inside the Sangh Parivar and their philosophy of hatred. At this time, they have active support from the corporate who are determined to make Modi the prime minister of India and then grab all our natural resources. If you have seen the recent statement by Mr Amitabh Kant, DIPP secretary was worried that the new act has made impossible for land acquisition. He said, ‘"Land acquisition for roads, ports and similar other economic activities has not been happening ever since the new Land Acquisition Act came into being," Kant said. "A number of road and port projects are stuck up on account of the Act and there is an urgent need to fast-track road and port projects, which can be possible when necessary amendments are made to it.’
So with Hindutva and corporate going hand in hand, India will have tough times in the coming days as the biggest and most scandalous part being played by the corporate goons is to hide information, create new information suitable to their interest, shut and intimidate those who speak for their rights. Indian threw the emergency out in 1975 and after that none dared to do so but now we have similar situation. We do not need to wait as things are visible in the air and the gangs are ready to lynch you at every forum. With Namo Namo on their lips, you cannot expect anything from the paid media so we have a bit hope with social media and it will be under severe pressure and constraints as through paid media attempt will be made to curtail our freedom and shoot the messengers. Sanjay Gandhi could do nothing in his life time afterwards but Sangh Parivar has revived his politics and ‘thought’ for their own purposes. It is not the time to fear but fight and ally with like-minded people with deep faith in secular pluralistic India. Whatever is the result, we can see the trends. We still have time to defeat such forces who are not bothered about the people of this country for their narrow political sectarian goals. Idea of India is under the threat and we need to respond united now.