I had posted this piece to Niti Central exactly a month ago. Now it is time to put it here. Still reads ok, I think.
The Modi Juggernaut is on the Move
Previously published on Niti Central on Nov 5th.
The Merriam-Webster dictionary defines the word juggernaut as “something (such as a force, campaign, or movement) that is extremely large and powerful and cannot be stopped.” The word’s origin lies in the Sanskrit word “Jagannath” which means “lord of the world”, another name for Krishna, one of the many avatars of Vishnu. Given its etymology and its English meaning, it is doubly satisfying to use it in the context of Shri Narendra Modi and write, “The Modi juggernaut is on the move.”
It is becoming quite apparent that Modi is becoming an unstoppable force in the Indian political landscape. The crowds at his rallies are jaw-dropping spectacles. The word “rally” used as a verb — “to come together again in order to continue fighting after a defeat or dispersion” — is apt. The Modi juggernaut is rallying Indians and leading them to victory over forces that have been historically inimical to India’s growth and prosperity.
But there’s a danger. Something akin to Newton’s third law of mechanics — every action produces an equal and opposite reaction — applies in the world of political struggles. As Modi grows from strength to strength, those who have declared themselves his sworn enemies are understandably reacting with increasing force and severity. They are fighting for survival and in their desperation will stop at nothing to defeat Modi.
For over a decade they struggled in vain to demonize him. They had hoped that their intense, unrelenting calumny would result in the people rejecting him. As is evident, they failed in that. They tried to demonize him but the people (and the courts) rejected those lies. However, Modi’s enemies have been able to do something worse: they raised an unholy army of disaffected people and motivated them to neutralize (for want of a better word) Modi. If they cannot defeat him at the polls, they want to make sure that he does not get to the polls. If this means that hundreds of innocents will be killed through bombs and the resulting panicked stampedes at rallies, they could not care less.
The bombs at the Patna rally that killed six innocents and injured scores provide a foretaste of what is to come. It’s an old pattern. In today’s parlance, they were a beta test, a dry run. Based on the results of the test, they will improve their technique. It would be foolish to expect that the war against Modi and his supporters will be concluded any time soon. It is almost a certainty that the next time, they will use high-intensity explosives to kill directly and indirectly through the resulting stampede.
Modi’s enemies and their terrorist assistants have learned that low-intensity bombs don’t produce the effect they wanted. A more important lesson they learned is the main stream media would help them in their destructive task by deflecting attention from the crimes and deliberate security lapses, and instead focus on trivial issues. Instead of expressing outrage and calling for accountability and responsibility from those ultimately responsible for public security, the paid media will provide cover for terrorists and their pay masters.
I think it is fair to assume that those whose job it is to provide security to public figures and make arrangements for safety of people in massive public gathering know how to do their jobs. But those people do what they are instructed to do by their superiors, which happen to be the state political leaders in the case of state police forces. The security chain is only as strong as the weakest link in it. I get the sense that the weakest link in Modi’s case is the political will to ensure his security and public safety.
The way out of this is that those who are ultimately responsible for security — the political leaders — should be read the riot act. They must be told by the people in unambiguous terms that they will be held responsible for any terrorist incident at any political rally and that they will pay a terrible price if bad things were to happen. In other words, the leaders will have to be given the incentive to do whatever is humanly possible to ensure nothing bad happens.
If Shri Nitish Kumar, the CM of Bihar, had been given this kind of assurance that he would be held accountable for any security breach at Modi’s public rally in Patna, one can be reasonably sure that he would not have taken the lackadaisical attitude he took. Now there is only one thing that the people can do and that is to send him a message by not voting for him the next time.
One almost feels sorry for the bind that Modi’s self-identified enemies find themselves in. They are caught between a rock and a very hard place. They cannot outrun the juggernaut but they are directly in its path and will be crushed. The harder they try to hurt Modi, the more they reveal their true nature and that drives more people to Modi’s side. They plant bombs and kill innocents to disrupt Modi’s rally but it has the opposite of strengthening him. They are damned if they do, and damned if they don’t.
I have a bit of unsolicited advice for them: accept the inevitable and cut your losses. Stop terrorising the crowds at Modi’s public events. Stop trying to assassinate him. If you persist in this nastiness, you will not only harm innocents but you will also ensure that people will not ever forgive you for the death and destruction that your attempts at stopping Modi would result in. Go in peace and leave India to those who care for her.