Sunday, May 18, 2014

"Prime minister of people of all faiths"

The old colonial masters (of divide and rule) have a quiet word of advice for the tsu-Namo. 

In brief: switch off the religious  talk (it has served its purpose), now concentrate on the economics. We are cautiously hopeful that this will be the case, though we cant be sure. Some weapons (polarizing people for material gain) are too good to be left unused. Also, there are too many elections to be won down the road, starting with the most important ones in Uttar Pradesh and in Bihar.

That brings us back to how exactly it was possible for the British empire to rule India for two centuries with (mostly) enthusiastic native support. The divide and rule policy worked because Indians were hugely divided to begin with. It only required a few subtle tricks to raise the issue of sub-nationalism(s) which diluted the case for freedom from the British (they were just standing by in order to protect the minorities from the majority).

It would seem that the only divide in India worth talking about is the Hindu-Muslim divide or the Upper caste - OBC - Dalit one. Not so. There is huge on-going acrimony between Hindu Bengalis and Hindu Nepalis over formation of a new state in Darjeeling. In Telengana, the fight is between Telegu speakers (mostly Hindu) from two regions (Andhra, Telengana). The fight over water between Karnataka and Tamil Nadu is probably more bitter (if it was possible) than between India and Pakistan.

There is however an advantage in reducing every problem to a Hindu: Muslim issue- advantage for the Hindus. Given the demographics in India/South Asia and also in the west - Gujaratis are 45% of all Indians in the UK and close to 50% in the USA - and taking geo-politics into account, the Hindus will lose a few battles but win the war.  

Take a trivial example (not so for many millions of fans). The top three cricketing powers- India, UK and Australia have now joined hands to ensure that all power is concentrated in their hands. This sort of OPEC cartel like behavior should be normally unacceptable (especially for people who are supposedly from democratic traditions). But it looks as if all the small countries are sort of OK with this arrangement (money talks). So what is the chance of Pakistan getting a fair shake from this gang? Will any of the highly talented Pakistani players ever get to play for IPL (where you can earn real money)? Will the ban on playing international cricket inside Pakistan be ever lifted? Some people will say that this is what payback looks like - if people are prepared to live by the sword, then they should be prepared to die by it as well. But amidst all this back-stabbing a beautiful game is lost and that is a real tragedy.

Moving on to larger issues on the global stage, it is quite true that Hindus (and Jews) are not considered a threat by the people who are in charge- the West and now China. And while the Islamic civilization is certainly a formidable super-power (by the numbers as well by wealth), it will not be able to shake-off a pincer attack from the two dominant power centers, as is about to happen in Nigeria.
Britain's foreign minister for India Hugo Swire has said India's new Prime Minister Narendra Modi's biggest challenge will be to prove "that he is the prime minister of the whole of India and of people of all faiths".

Calling Modi "a man we can surely do business with", Swire said, "Modi will have to silence critics and shrug off the anti-secular image. By the numbers it is clear that Modi has been voted into office by people of all faiths and religions in the biggest ever electoral exercise in the world. He has now the enormous task of being a leader for every faith."

Swire admitted that Modi's "enormous victory" took Britain by surprise.

"Our initial analysis was that Modi will do extremely well. But in the initial stages of the elections, his support looked strong though lacking in some parts of India. However the sheer size of the mandate has caught us by surprise. It's been a unanimous victory," Swire said.

Talking about the debacle of the Congress party, Swire said "The Congress has been in power for a long time. Political parties get tired. Indians wanted change and they showed that in overwhelming numbers." He added that since BJP has now got the majority "a single party government is always ideal".

Swire said, "It's almost in over three decades that India will have a single party government which is always ideal." He added, "A decisive election is always good. We went into coalition in Britain because we did not get a majority and our country was on dire economic states. We are fighting the elections and intend to win by a large margin as a single party government is ideally better."

In March 2013, Swire had met Modi in Ahmedabad to sign a 20-year deal to supply liquefied natural gas to Gujarat.

He said, "I have met Modi a few times in India. He has now the enormous task to translate the magic of Gujarat to the rest of India and bring it back to the growth rates of 1990s. If he can do so India will be in a very good place. Britain is home to 1.5 million Indian diaspora of which 45% are Gujaratis. They will be following the election results very closely."


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