Friday, October 09, 2015

Analysis of the Modi Landslide by Aatish Taseer

Source: http://www.nytimes.com/2015/10/10/opinion/indias-great-educational-divide.html

Interesting article, but doesn't explain the contours of Modiji's victory. Aatish seems to be drawing a parallel between the Pakistani elite and the Indian one, I don't think it works like that. A fragment of the Indian elite are similar to their Pakistani counterparts, but because of India's sheer size this small fragment cannot influence the functioning of India in the same way that its counterpart in Pakistan does.

There is a divide in the Indian education system - English-medium v/s venacular medium schools. Children in English-medium schools run by national institutions like the Armed Forces, National Labs and Institutes etc... see a very diverse social environment compared to their cousins in the mofussil areas but this is often a consequence of where these labs and institutions are situated. As a result of this difference in social geography,  children who go to an English-medium school are given different tools to handle diversity than children going to vernacular-medium schools.

But desiring secular minded institutions has nothing to do with going to an English-medium school. FWIW - I know plenty of people who have gone to the same English-medium schools as I have and they strongly support Modiji.

Secularism is a concept deeply seated in Indian society, it is not something the British brought to India. Visibly secular institutions were a part of ancient Indian governance stretching back to the Mauryan age. Every Indian understands the need for secular institutions even if they find this Westphalian notion of India somewhat alien.

To me the Indian voter is more pragmatic than naive. There is a great sense of impatience in India - especially among the young people (the DCH- Dilli Chahta Hain/Indian Millenials generation) for economic progress. When Modiji presented his visions of national renewal before them, the DCH fell under his sway. Everyone acknowledged that visible secularism was desirable, but Modiji was able to present his way of doing things as a more optimal balance between the needs of visible secularism and meaningful national economic progress.

This IMO is where the real risks like. 

This is where I feel the Indian voters will discover they have been duped.

Sacrificing visible secularism has two very nasty consequences:

-  firstly it vents a very nasty undercurrent of sectarian hatred that flows perennially under the social surface. As this hatred surfaces it burns everything in its path creating a kind of scorched society which never truly recovers from its pain.

- secondly, it creates a mistaken impression that the needs of visible secularism and national economic progress are divergent and that a strong leader is essential to reconciling this (i.e. the Furherprinzip)

These nasty consequences have played a vital part in the trajectory of various failed states including Nazi Germany, Rwanda-Burundi, Afghanistan, Cambodia etc...

Right now India needs raw capital resources to build infrastructure for its growth. Without that there will be no economic progress. India must now delicately couple capital inflows to a large number of infrastructure projects in a way that the capital is secure from risks. The risk has to be spread over a large number of real estate centric investments.

At this point if India's PM says - "to hell with secularism - just get a hold of enough land to force through the infrastructure development needed by the nation" - then we will see an outbreak of rioting in the entire country as Hindus seize Muslim lands in Hindu majority areas  - and vice versa. This is the kind of thing that went on during the partition. It will happen again. We will see comparable levels of violence. That level of violence will deter investors from putting money into India, as they will not be able to guarantee that their investments will survive over the planned time frame.

So far India has not slid into this abyss because the quantum of investment needed has been so large that the Modi regime has been forced to look abroad for sources. International sources have indicated that they want real meaningful security for their investments, this means the "to hell with secularism" phrase cannot be uttered right now. That is why the Hindu-far-right have been held on a tight leash.

However - this state of affairs cannot continue for long. The international investors will eventually pony up the cash the Modi government wants. And the Hindu-far-right will not be held down for an infinite time - they will eventually lash out at Muslims. The only thing that the Modi government will do at that time is sanctify the behavior of the Hindu-right-wing as essentially economically productive. This is the same situation that Hitler found himself in - either lose control or create an environment where the anti-Jewish sentiments could expressed in a legally sanctioned fashion.

3 Comments:

At 5:22 AM, Blogger quantum chaos said...

So you are saying Mahakaal has said Tathastu to Tandava? Scary

 
At 8:05 AM, Blogger maverick said...

Dear Quantum Chaos,

I do not know that for a fact, but if he has done that, then we are going to live in interesting times.

 
At 6:50 AM, Blogger quantum chaos said...

Mav are you still available at your breadomlette account?

 

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