In Gujarat and outside it, for politically active, upwardly mobile youth of a certain worldview—aspiring, consumerist and yet traditional in a middle-class way—Brand Modi just rocks. “He’s that rare leader with a mind of his own. And his credibility speaks for itself,” says Amar Govindarajan, a young IT professional from Coimbatore. Modi, it must be conceded, has crafted an effective strategy to sell himself, and his hyperactive propaganda machine has succeeded in building him up as a Dabaang-style hero.
Social scientist Ghanshyam Shah says Modi appeals to middle-class youth because what he offers matches their aspirations. They brim with aggressive defiance, self-centredness, chauvinism and a love for fast-paced development. This is what powers their confidence and enterprise. This is what Modi has carefully learnt to charge them up with.
Niranjana Narayanan, an IIM student, says, “He’s quite unshakeable and uses that spark of modernism to get his policies across and create manic patriotism.” It’s not just urban youth; even those in the villages are impressed. In urbanised Gujarat, the city influence permeates the smaller towns and villages. “At Ahmedabad’s malls, you’ll find that almost one-fourth of the visitors are from the towns and villages,” says Achyut Yagnik, a noted social scientist. “Modi knows just how to rope them in.”
For Tejasvi Surya, a law student from Bangalore who runs the Arise India Movement, the Modi model is the only way. Good education, well-paying jobs and security, he says, are the prerequisites for national success. Fed up with Mayawati, Laloo and Mulayam, he sees Modi as a game-changer of sorts.
Many are unable to explain Modi’s appeal outside Gujarat. Rajeev Bhargava, a professor at the Centre for the Study of Developing Societies, Delhi, says it’s only those youngsters who see no merit in democracy, who are simplistic or individualistic and see social diversity as an impediment who see relevance in Modi’s policies. And Shah points to the deception in building Modi up: “They haven’t seen the Gujarat of the 1980s and have been brainwashed into believing that everything in Gujarat has been achieved by him. The poor, the welfare state—these have never been part of Modi’s vision.”
The BJP has been in power in the state since 1995. Those who started voting in recent years haven’t seen Gujarat under any other regime. The Modi model is all they know; they say it works. His young fans outside Gujarat think the 2002 riots are unpardonable, but it’s time to move on and Modi is helping Gujarat do just that. “The last 10 years in Gujarat have been prosperous and riot-free. Which other state has recorded such progress?” asks Manohar Sitaram, a design engineer from Bangalore.
After Modi’s victory, analysts speak of the need to assess him afresh, without demonisation. Modi should be assessed “correctly and dispassionately”, says Angshuman Sarkar, who teaches sociology at Presidency College, Calcutta. But is it possible—and is it right—to forget a horrendous communal riot and focus only on the developmental present? Prof A.S. Mathew, who teaches humanities at IIM Kozhikode, diagnoses why it doesn’t seem to matter to the young: “The young have no idea of history, are becoming overtly religious and have stopped thinking critically.”
Thank you to all those who have taken the trouble to read the article and share their thoughts. Out of the arguments made here, there are two that perhaps need answering. So here they go.
1. The first part of the article compares outcomes (relative percentages of population of the religions concerned) irrespective of the process that led to those outcomes - whether immigration, relatively faster population growth or conversions. This was for two reasons. One, to put the figure of 2.3 per cent in "numerical perspective", as the article itself explained. The second reason was that outcomes are ultimately what the crux of debate is about. The rest of the article in any case dealt with process - or conversions in this case, from both a contemporary and historical perspective.
2. Some commenters have tried to cast doubts on the reliability of Census 2001. Those who do this should bear in mind that Census 2001 was conducted by a BJP government. Considering the extreme importance that BJP gives to this issue, it would be reasonable to expect that IF it had perceived a problem with the methodology that was distorting the numbers, it would have fixed it. As the article mentioned, BJP or BJP-supported governments have been in power for 10 of the last 40 years, or about a quarter of the time, and the only reasonable conclusion one can arrive at is that any misreporting of numbers, real or perceived, would be marginal and hence, not of importance.
To all other arguments made, my answer is the following: Please read the article again, with particular focus on the quotations of Vivekananda and Monier Williams, and the history of the missionary efforts in Bengal and their outcome.
But is it possible—and is it right—to forget a horrendous communal riot and focus only on the developmental present? >>>>
Yes - let us start with 1984 riots. Why are Rajiv Gandhi's Congress party buddies, murderers like Jagdish Tytler still occupying positions of power under "secularist" Sonia Gandhi's? How many Congress leaders who organised 1984 anti-Sikh riots have been punished.
Rajeev Bhargava, a professor at the Centre for the Study of Developing Societies, Delhi, says it’s only those youngsters who see no merit in democracy, who are simplistic or individualistic and see social diversity as an impediment who see relevance in Modi’s policies. And Shah points to the deception in building Modi up: ......................He HEE eeeeeeeeeeeeeee can't stop laughing! who the hell is this fellow to believe democracy is his preserve??
Whatever makes you sleep at night, Outlook!
This is just a bunch of opinions actually.
They are also easy to mock.
//“At Ahmedabad’s malls, you’ll find that almost one-fourth of the visitors are from the towns and villages,” says Achyut Yagnik, a noted social scientist. “Modi knows just how to rope them in.”//
He seems angry that small town and rural folk have increased purchasing power.
//Social scientist Ghanshyam Shah says Modi appeals to middle-class youth because what he offers matches their aspirations. They brim with aggressive defiance, self-centredness, chauvinism and a love for fast-paced development.//
What is aggressive defiance and where is it directed? Against socialism? Then good on them.
Self-centredness, huh? Individualism gets a bum rap for all the wrong reasons.
This is not atomism(men are islands). To pursue self-interest I must help others as well. I don't grow in a vacuum. I feel like I need to stay as physically & mentally fit as possible.
When it comes to physical conditioning routines, pre workouts I always drink a protein shake. The product is owned by americans, manufactured in different parts of the world and I buy it from an Indian retailer. I start my day with Kellog's products, HQ in the US of A. Perhaps some of you could try more fibre in your diet. You come across as in dire need of a laxative. I have to help others to help myself.Even the most grisly caricature of a selfish capitalist/consumerist would have to admit that she/he could only get rich by trading with others. I still frequent kirana stores and big retailers as well. Our nation is miserably poor. No one needs economic growth and greater affordability than our poor.
//Rajeev Bhargava, a professor at the Centre for the Study of Developing Societies, Delhi, says it’s only those youngsters who see no merit in democracy, who are simplistic or individualistic and see social diversity as an impediment who see relevance in Modi’s policies. //
Bollocks!! Democracy, is how they voted him in, in the first place. It is the 'modi is satan' brigade that suddenly has lost their love for democracy. Simplistic is exactly what I would call people who think soaking the rich and a robin hood style government are efficient in helping the poor.
Seriously, you have to be slightly demented to not see the change, not just in Gujarat, but in the entire country from 98 to 07. The annual rate of change of poverty was between 93-94 to 09-10 has been -1.5% & -2.5% in rural and urban india resp.
Increase in inequality is negligible in rural india and moderate in urban India.
You would much rather have the poor stay dependent on your omnipotent god like government than think and act for themselves. Individualism, I have explained earlier.Collectivists are immoral and illogical. It is greedy of you, not me, to expect me to cover up your inadequacy. It is not greedy of me to not trust the government with my hard earned wealth and reserving the right to associate with whoever I wish to. Capitalists are not against charity either. That is another myth. We just don't like a middleman(your much loved state) to do it for us.And certainly not a middleman who does it through the use of force. If there is anything sacred, it is private/personal property. I own myself first & ofcourse the various assets that I have. Every single immoral act is an invasion of and an attack on private/personal property. Murder,Rape,Theft or slavery. Your handou system kept my family poor for decades until the early 90s. I grew up in the mid to late 90s and I have seen the change in the 98-07 period.
//The BJP has been in power in the state since 1995. Those who started voting in recent years haven’t seen Gujarat under any other regime. The Modi model is all they know; they say it works.//
I lived in Kutch in the late 90s(pre modi). I moved around to south gujarat, north gujarat and central gujarat often. It is a great place to tour as a kid.
I won't let this rubbish slide.I have seen the change even in these areas which are supposed to have been 'left behind'.
You lefties amuse me. You are the most insecure, humourless lot in this nation & consequently feel this perennial need to convince yourself that 'Aaal eej Well' with your ideas.
You love a good placebo effect, don't ya? Delusions of adequacy, is what they are!!
Democracy is good - as long as you vote for me. Anyone who votes for my opponent does not (Choose one)
a) Have faith in democracy
b) Is an idiot
c) Has been bought
d) Is selfish
e) Does not understand the benefits of benign neglect and handouts
f) All of the above.
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