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Deconstructing Modi

Some of the recent pronouncements of Modi seek to give an impression that he is a changed man. He has been talking about welfare of the Muslims and fighting poverty. Does this articulation mean that Modi wants to change himself and project himself as something other than he is perceived as? While seeking answers to these questions, one could deconstruct Modi’s speeches through what is unsaid rather than said. We must try to look into the meanings of what has not been said, but is implied and meant. When Jacques Derrida wrote his theory of deconstruction, is it possible that he had a sense of prolepsis and had the likes of BJP’s Prime Ministerial candidate, Narendra Modi in mind? Derrida’s Deconstruction theory, in very simple terms, refers to an understanding of an idea in terms of its binary oppositions i.e. what is NOT stated, and as an attempt to expose and undermine these oppositions. No other personality in current Indian political discourse offers himself to be such a ripe candidate for testing of Derrida’s theory.

As I listened to Modi delivering his speech in Patna, I realised that either this man has no idea of what he is saying, or second, the irony of his own pronouncements is lost on him. Or perhaps, he is deliberately, dangerously and surreptitiously trying to communalise the polity. Why else would he, in his blatant distortion of the history of Bihar bring the foreigner Alexander to its shores, but omit the story of the native Sher Shah Suri? Opportunism, communalism, casteism and dynasty are the biggest impediments to democracy said Modi. Why does he not practise what he preaches? Isn’t Narendra Modi himself today one of the biggest examples of opportunistic politics in this country – a man who has used the likes of Haren Pandya, Keshubhai Patel, DIG Vanzara, Sanjay Joshi and most recently his political ‘guru’ L.K. Advani, to fulfil his agenda and then thrown them by the wayside? Hasn’t he subverted legal processes by refusing to have a Lokayukta in Gujarat during his entire tenure? And even while he spoke out against the evil of casteism from the dais in Patna, within the next few minutes, he launched into an appeasement drive towards the Yadavs and the backward castes, condescendingly proclaiming how he would “take care” of all Yadavs, and playing his own background and roots to the gallery. Why was so much of his speech comparing Muslims in Bihar and Gujarat? An editorial in the New York Times published this week states that “Muslims in Gujarat, are much more likely to be poor than Muslims in India as a whole, even though the state has a lower poverty rate than the country.” The implicit irony of this cannot be ignored. While one of Narendra Modi’s pet peeves seems to be the dominance of ‘dynasty’ in Indian politics, he perhaps forgets that, India has not had a ‘dynastic’ Prime Minister for almost the last quarter of a century! In a democratic set up, every eligible person has the right to contest elections. Being born as the son or daughter of someone cannot be a source of disqualification. India’s vibrant and functioning parliamentary democracy is the cynosure of the whole world. The people of India have elected those that they have found deserving, similarly, even big ‘dynastic’ names have been defeated at the hustings. A close reading of Modi’s speeches therefore shows that this man will stoop to any level to assert his superiority, and posit himself clearly as the “Self” in the dialectic discourse. Last Sunday’s speech in Patna was no different – interspersed with rhetoric, lies and even exposed his ploy to distort history and falsify facts.

Everything about Narendra Modi is craftily constructed. From his walk to his hair to his clothes to his tweets, there is a whole image and personality cult that is sought to be created; to take away from the opposite, rough reality. Uncomfortable issues are buried under the carpet. And instead, “facts” are conjured and presented to the public as the truth and nothing but the truth. As one lie gets nailed; another one comes out of the “magic hat”. The most recent of these came when he stated that Pandit Nehru had not even attended Sardar Patel’s funeral. Earlier, there were lies about the so-called “Gujarat development model”. Then it was the GDP spend on Chinese education system. How can one forget the lies about his ‘Rambo’ act in Uttarakhand! He has constantly been speaking of a “Congress mukt Bharat.” The Congress is not just a political party; it is an ideology that is embedded in our Constitution, a bond that has joined generations of Indians together for the last century and more. A Congress free India is a pipedream that can never be fulfilled.

Would it therefore be wrong to say that the BJP Prime Ministerial candidate is nothing but an opportunistic, double-faced personality, who contrary to his real self is being projected by his organisation, his PR managers and also his own self as someone with almost superhuman powers, a desi ‘Rambo’? However a closer look reveals that he was totally confused as to what he wanted to be in his youth – from joining the army (Haryana rally), to being a sadhu like Baba Ramdev to becoming a teacher to the more recent career goals like being a Chowkidaar (a clear reference to his Prime Ministerial ambitions). Like a chameleon, he changes his colours to suit the situation. Deconstructing Modi’s speeches bring out the facts – the real truth – a deeply communal man who is unapologetic about his past deeds, a man who spews venom and hatred, a man who epitomises opportunism and can lie through his teeth to achieve his aims, a man who shows no remorse for the dead- either those killed in Gujarat, or for the DIG who collapsed on the dais while he was speaking on Independence Day. His speeches are dominated by negativity and rhetoric – he has not yet given one constructive agenda for the future which is not vague. The more he speaks, the more is kept hidden – the logos only further articulates the differances. Reality is far removed from what is perceived to be real. The man is nothing but a split personality.

DR. CHANDAN YADAV

The writer has a Phd in Linguistics from Jawaharlal Nehru University. He is currently Spokesperson, Bihar Pradesh Congress Committee.(chandanjnu@gmail.com)

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