Editorial: Sorry, Arun Jaitley. Even Chaos is Better Than Another 5 Years of Modi
Only a historically inept, deceitful and vengeful government can make chaos seem far more appealing, lucrative and acceptable an option.
What is it with Arun Jaitley? His Facebook page posts now increasingly resemble of a crotchety Modi bhakt uncle who no one really likes, but still has to be invited to at all family gatherings and suffered. And not of a Union finance minister.
In a new blog post, but repeating an old and tired line of his, Jaitley has elaborated that the choice before the voters, ahead of 2019 general elections, is either “Narendra Modi or chaos”. He also says that the ‘mahagathbandhan’ is a self-destructive “coalition of rivals”.
Perhaps now is a befitting time as ever to tell Jaitley and the rest of Modi government, what Mahatma Gandhi called on to Britain to say in the sweltering May of 1942 on the cusp of The Quit India Movement, “leave India to God. If this is too much, then leave her to anarchy.”
The blog comes quick on the heels of the announcement of the dates of the 2019 general elections. Some 900 million people are expected to cast their vote from April 11 onwards, according to the election commission of India. Counting of the votes will take place on May 23. The Narendra Modi-led NDA government is desperately seeking to bag a second term.
What Jaitley is trying to articulate is not new — from WhatsApp forwards to living room discussions, everyone has been putting forth the same question, what his party, the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP), has been peddling for almost a year now, if not Modi who? The finance minister is only amplifying the noise, raising the notch a little by suggesting that without Narendra Modi there is no hope for India. That the nation will slide into a period of political instability without Modi as our supreme leader; that we should be afraid of the chaos that will follow.
If the last five years of this government are anything to go by, then Jaitley should realise that the Modi-Amit Shah reign of tyranny has so severely divided the people of the country, mutilated the idea of this nation enshrined in the Constitution, and tarnished its secular and democratic credentials — that even chaos is a better option than our present prime minister.
India is not that new a democracy that it has not seen its share of politically stable and unstable governments before Modi. Lest it forgets, the NDA, too, is a product of “unholy alliances”, which came together to serve an agenda. But what India has never witnessed before is a government so hellbent on ripping the country’s social fabric apart, pushing it to a majoritarian rule, and leaving it to burn in a blaze of hate and fear.
Only a historically inept, deceitful and vengeful government can make even chaos seem far more appealing, lucrative and acceptable an option.
Without Modi, at least the climate of chaos and anarchy will not lead mobs to flog and lynch Muslims and Dalits openly. The nation wouldn’t be deliberately pushed to war, which would lead to colossal suffering, deprivation and destruction. There will be no late night announcements to bring out autocratic initiatives like “demonetisation”, depriving the nation in one swoop of 86 per cent of its cash flow. Minorities living in the country for generations wouldn’t be made to feel insecure and afraid that they don’t belong in this nation.
History books will not be replaced with propagandist texts and ancient epics like the Mahabharata and the Ramayana being taken as the gospel truth. Students, artists and academics will at least have a chance to push the limits of radical thinking, research and creativity. Rural distress will not be allowed to further deepen and farmers will not be fired upon. Democratic institutions would be allowed to function freely. Voting can be conducted fairly. Criticism of the prime minister and the government and its functioning will not be twisted and seen as an attack on India.
Misinformation will be at least stopped from spreading like wildfire to millions of mobile phones to provoke the poor, compromised and misguided into rioters, rapists and murderers. And people will not be tested constantly to prove their patriotism to the country by mouthing lines like “Bharat Mata ki Jai”.
Anything is better than that, even chaos. Jaitley should know that.