It’s perilous to infuse a stiff dose of morality into the pursuit and practice of
‘Naitikta’ and ‘sadachar’ are Hindi synonyms for morality and feature like a mantra, especially in the speeches of
There was a phase when hard as it tried, the BJP couldn’t ambush the Congress on corruption, even when the dirt flew all over in the UPA’s second tenure. By then, the Congress had dug up dope on the BJP’s wheeling and dealing, BS Yeddyurappa’s allegedly shady land transactions, the Bellary brothers and so on. Therefore, when Anna Hazare arrived from the boondocks of Maharashtra to Delhi and declared a holy war against the UPA’s corruption, the RSS quickly co-opted the former military man as a mascot. It ensured that the BJP was in the shadows lest its presence discredit the Hazare project. He fitted into the RSS’s idea of a ‘model’ citizen because he whipped tipplers in his village square. To the Sangh, drinking alcohol was a blind imitation of the derivative practices that came to India with colonialism along with English and the suit-boot and knee length dresses for the Macaulay ‘putra’ and ‘putri’. Never heard of ‘bhang’ and ‘handia’, bhang being de rigueur with northern BJP leaders during Holi?
Narendra Modi is not Vajpayee. He has the numbers in Parliament, an Opposition that awakens from slumber now and then, the state’s iron boot and the RSS’s endorsement. Whatever else Modi cherishes, he is steeped in the RSS’s ideas and way of life. He subscribes to the Sangh’s definition of dharma, which is not religion as you and I understand but a larger moral and cultural order that must permeate and ‘cleanse’ society of western thoughts and values. Therefore, when corruption was fought against, the drive got evangelic and enmeshed with the RSS’s certitude of upholding ‘public morality’. Tax compliance was enforced through a regime that put the fear of god in the corporate sector and the small and medium enterprises, which were sold on Modi’s ‘minimum government, maximum governance’ maxim before 2014. India Inc was one of Modi’s strongest supporters in 2014 and 2019. Wonder what the big wheels have to say about the enforcement agencies’ pursuit of a celebrated banker and her family? She was the toast of the Vibrant Gujarat summits hosted in Gandhinagar.
Like Bollywood. Remember that epic selfie that the bright young actors and directors clicked with the prime minister shortly after he won asecond term? They looked obsequious. Think of the one who stuck out prominently for attention. His spouse was quizzed for allegedly smoking weed and her phone was impounded. This is jihad against Bollywood’s drug mafia. So what if the stars stood up for Modi?
ABJP cheerleader excitedly framed the crackdown on the film industry as the only way to exhume the trail that cannabis and cocaine consumption left, smash it and ‘detoxify’ the moral environment. The sadachar underpinning of the “crusade” against corruption and the drug league is unmistakeable. If the exercise was merely political and administrative, it wouldn’t click with the RSS-BJP faithful and an ever-expanding constituency that has begun to view Modi more as a savant, a maharishi, and less as a politician.
Does gender parity bother the RSS because the drug sleuths have demonstrated a preference to go after women? No, because
Ravi Kishan, the Gorakhpur MP, was the first BJP leader to publicly laud the anti-drug movement in Bollywood. Kishan drew his salience from being a part of the same industry about which he is self-righteous. His moral demagoguery was rejected by his BJP colleagues, Hema Malini and Babul Supriyo, both celebrities and successful politicians. Is there a cautionary tale for the virtuous custodians of the Sangh Parivar?