Tuesday 23 April 2024

Sir Abdur Rahim & J.A Rahim

Z.A. Bhutto had the dynamite idea of getting the Pakistani Army to go to war twice- in 1965 and 1971- so that, by getting defeated, it would be forced to let go of East Bengal and let the the Civilians take over in the West Wing. However, since 1965 was a draw, Ayub got rid of Bhutto while remaining in power.

It is said that Jalaludin Abdur Rahim- a senior Pakistani diplomat who was secretly a Communist- persuaded Bhutto to return to Pakistani politics from exile in London. J.A Rahim was compared to P.N. Haksar, an Indian diplomat who had helped Indira Gandhi move to the Left and thus outflank her rivals. 

Dawn newspaper reports- Bhutto was more a populist pragmatist than a socialist. From 1974 onwards, he moved slightly to the right and sidelined the party’s left ideologues. Some of them were even ousted. Rahim was asked to become Pakistan’s Ambassador to France.

'But in 1975, Rahim was back and sitting in the drawing room of 70 Clifton with some other ministers. Bhutto often invited his ministers and party leaders for dinner but would not meet them till very late in the night.

Philip Jones explains how Rahim, now in his 70s, got agitated and complained, ‘I am not waiting for the Maharaja of Larkana anymore!’ He then stood up and left. The very next day an armed party of Bhutto’s special security force raided Rahim’s house, dragged him out, punched and kicked him, and then threw him in jail.

Bhutto accused Rahim of insulting his (Bhutto’s) ethnicity. However, Bhutto soon released him, apologised and asked him to return to France. Rahim passed away in 1977, the year Bhutto’s regime fell in a reactionary coup orchestrated by General Ziaul Haq. Rahim’s son welcomed the fall.

Interestingly, the father of J.A Rahim was Sir Abdur Rahim, a Bengali Judge and senior politician who said in 1926 at the Muslim League Conference-

The Hindus and Muslims are not two religious sects like the Protestants and Catholics of England, but form two distinct communities of peoples,

Muslims like Bhutto get their own Ambassador to France beaten and thrown in jail. Hindus like Indira didn't do any such thing to Hindus like Haksar. 

The Pakistani Army, which is Muslim, committed genocide in Bangladesh. The Indian army, which is Hindu, does not kill Hindus. There is a good reason Hindus, or Christians in lands ruled by Turks or Arabs, sought to preserve their own culture and religion and way of life. Dynasties, where the usual method of inheritance is by the killing of a parent or a sibling, may be powerful and wealthy. But they are not a good role model for the rest of society. 

Sir Abdur Rahim was right about the difference between Hindus and Muslims. But it is also the difference between Muslims and Christians or Muslims and Buddhists. 

and so they regard themselves... the fact that they have lived in the same country for nearly 1,000 years has contributed hardly anything to their fusion into a nation...

Abdur Rahman ended up contributing nothing to his native Bengal. Neither did his son. The latter was happily cuddling with Zulfi while his own people were being slaughtered. Then Zulfi had him beaten and chucked in jail. Who would avenge him? Sheikh Mujib?  

Any of us Indian Muslims travelling in Afghanistan, Persia, Central Asia, among Chinese Muslims, Arabs, and Turks would at once be made at home

Saudi Arabia was trying to get Britain to take back the Indian beggars who kept getting to the Holy Cities. The Afghans had told the 'Hijrat' caravans to kindly fuck off back to India.  

and would not find anything to which we are not accustomed. On the contrary in India we find ourselves in all social matters aliens when we cross the street and enter that part of the town where our fellow townsmen live.[5][17]

Unless you are known to be a decent person in which case people will invite you into their home. Equally, if a person is of bad character, it is unwise to seek hospitality in their house. Still, I'm sure Sir Abdur would have been very happy to hear of the treatment his son received in the Karachi home of a fellow Muslim lawyer.  

Holy Fox vs Holy Cow- Irwin vs Gandhi

If Reading, a gifted prosecutor,  played cat and mouse with Gandhi, what did Irwin do? It is difficult to say. The Indian view was that he was the tool of Birkenhead (F.E.Smith, a staunch Imperialist and ally of Churchill).  In other words, he hoped to marginalize leaders like Nehru and Jinnah. It may be that the Tory moderates- e.g. Zetland- really had some such crazy scheme in their heads. Like their appeasement policy towards Hitler, it seems the aristocratic Tory was a brainless as well as chinless wonder. Yet, this is deceptive. Afterall, only the British aristocracy remained unscathed by the massive political changes in Europe. India was retained as a member of the Commonwealth. 

In the case of Gandhi- who was holy in a bovine manner but was fraudulently claiming he wanted the Brits to fuck off- they prevailed without violence. With Hitler, they gave him enough rope. Their aim was to ensure it was the Tories, not Labor, which led the Commonwealth into the War. After it,Labor was welcome to do Reconstruction at home and Imperial retrenchment abroad.  The aristocratic Tory moderate lived to see an England 'which never had it so good' though even they would have been surprised when the 14th Earl of Home gave up his title to become PM. He was only brought down by a bizarre sex scandal featuring KGB agents.  In other words, these Viscounts and Marquesses and Earls gave themselves a soft landing. 

Turning to India, Andrew Roberts wrote in 'Holy Fox' that Lord Irwin took advantage of Labor's victory in the May 1929 British General Election- in particular the appointment of Benn as Secretary for India- to completely overturn the previous 'die hard' policy of Churchill and F.E Smith. A more charitable view is that the Viceroy did his constitutional duty. He was loyal to the policies of the new Secretary of State. True, this put Baldwin (his Party Chief) in a pickle but that was Baldwin's look-out. 

Three Viceroys- Curzon, Reading, Irwin- were proper politicians. Others, like Willingdon or Linlithgow had social but not political prestige back home. Interestingly, the 'political' Viceroys were politically disastrous. Curzon partitioned Bengal before having to resign because he picked a fight with Kitchener. Rufus Isaacs was the most hated Viceroy (by the Brits in India) though he ran circles around Gandhi. Irwin, too, was felt to be soft on Gandhi. Moreover, he backed the Simon Commission, anger at which once more united Muslim and Hindu.  However, the 'Holy Fox' and his family were personally popular. Once Labor fell- or Ramsay changed sides- Willingdon crushed Congress with insulting ease. Linlithgow too crushed resistance while mobilizing India's resources for the war. The Army, however, had never wanted to run India and Wavell, as Viceroy, said so. A naval man, Mountbatten, finally cut the cord though he became a great friend of Nehru. 

Roberts thinks that Irwin (known as Halifax in UK history) was influenced by his experience in India, facing Gandhi, and this led him to become an 'appeaser'. This is a profoundly silly war. Reading had only negotiated with Gandhi so as to break up his alliances and finally destroy his credibility once and for all. Irwin's stupidity (it was he on insisted on Simon Commission) revived Gandhi's career who then found the Salt tax issue. True, while Benn was Secretary of State, the Indians were bound to create problems. But it was by no means inevitable that Congress would be foolish enough to let Gandhi fuck everything up once again. Anyway, Willingdon- who knew India best- pursued the same policy Indira Gandhi did in the mid-Seventies- viz. beat and lock up the blathershites. Unlike Indira, Willingdon didn't need to worry about being assassinated by some crony of her son. 

The father of the 'holy Fox' had wanted to bring Catholicism and Anglicanism together. The son hoped to promote peace on the continent. Perhaps the Germans and the Poles and the Hungarians- after dividing up Czechoslavakia between them, could come to an agreement regarding eating up the Soviet Union. Sadly, Stalin was quicker off the mark in getting a deal with Hitler to gobble up Poland. What took Halifax & Co by surprise was France's sudden and complete collapse. Britain stood alone.

Why did this not create an opportunity for Gandhi and Congress? The answer is obvious. Gandhi was a fucking cretin. After War was declared he wrote an article saying that the Brits must hand over the Army to Congress before fucking off. This was because Congress is a Hindu party. Hindus are addicted to Ahimsa. Thus, without British protection, Hindu Congress would suffer under the heel of the Muslims and the Punjabis. The problem with saying 'we are shit at fighting' is that though this may be reassuring to an occupying power, it also means that your support in a miliary conflict is not worth having. Beating and imprisonment will keep you quiet. Your people can be recruited to do menial labor for an Army in which more 'martial' races do the fighting. You are welcome to go on hunger strike or to refuse to take a shit or to kiss your Mummy or whatever. Nobody gives a fuck.

Anyway, as in the First World War, so too in the Second- the British Indian Army didn't do particularly well while the Provinces (which were now autonomous) were corrupt and badly run. Famine had returned while Ethnic Cleansing was now State sponsored. Halifax supported Atlee's 'cut and run' policy. India was a shithole. There was neither profit nor honor to be got from there. 

Monday 22 April 2024

Mahesh Rao on Vikram Seth

There was a time when Indians thought that boys who went to a British public school and then Oxbridge were bound to be very special. They would do great things when they returned. Aurobindo was one such. There were other revolutionaries who turned mystic but Aurobindo was in a class of his own. Then people discovered he was boring and stupid. The same thing happened to Nehru. Perhaps, lads who went to America would be different? Sadly no. JP had collected some degrees in the US. He was utterly useless.

With Vikram Seth, however, things might have been different. After all, after British Public (that is private) School and Oxbridge, he did a PhD at Stanford and learned Chinese. Surely, sunny California might have rendered him utile? Sadly, his return to India to write 'Suitable Boy' foreclosed that possibility. But even India was growing and developing. Seth returned to England- an insular island from which Canute turned back Time's wasting tide. 

Mahesh Rao has an article on 'Suitable boy' in Prospect magazine. 

A suitable re-read: What I learned from Vikram Seth’s great novel, second time round
Twenty-two years after A Suitable Boy came out, this masterly novel feels as relevant as ever to modern India

It was shit and painted a distorted picture of India in the Fifties. Why? Seth's Mum was a stenographer with a good job with the railways. She wasn't just a set of ovaries to be married off. During the war, Indians has seen fine English ladies doing clerical work or undertaking nursing duties. In Delhi, the 16 year old daughter of the American Ambassador was bicycling too and from a Hospital where she volunteered.  Girls like Vikram's Mum were admired. Her marriage was 'semi-arranged'. A smart and sensible woman of such fine character was indeed a 'suitable girl' for any self-respecting man who wanted to rise through hard work, enterprise and strong family values. 

Back when Vikram shat out 'suitable', few thought that the Bench- which his mother had adorned for over a decade- would end up with more power than the Legislature. It would be Mummy and her brother Judges, not Rahul Baba, who decriminalized the type of naughtiness Vikram was getting up to.  

It was a moment of shock that firmed up my wavering desire to re-read a novel of almost 1,400 pages. The BBC television adaptation of Vikram Seth’s A Suitable Boy meant that the book was back in the culture pages.

I confess, I wasn't able to watch it through. Why couldn't they put in better looking actors?  

I had a few hazy memories of reading it two years after its publication in 1993. The story of Mrs Rupa Mehra’s quest for a husband for her daughter Lata in the fictional north Indian town of Brahmpur forms the main thread of a great web of interwoven narratives.

None of any great intrinsic interest. I suppose, back then, we might have seen Seth as being like Gurcharan Das- i.e. a champion of private enterprise and American style 'know-how'. But Seth backed away from anything so full throated.  So did Das. He turned out to be a cretin. 

Set in the 1950s, the age of India’s post-independence promise,

when there were good harvests and the Brits still owed India a lot of money 

and published in the 1990s, the era of India’s post-liberalisation fervour, what would it be like to re-read this mammoth work in 2020?

Disillusioning. India has changed for the better. Seth, and the sort of England he represents, has changed for the worse.  

I found an old hardback copy at my parents’ home, the date of purchase pencilled on the first page. As I skimmed over a few passages, I did some mental arithmetic. When I first read this book I was exactly the age of Lata. Now I am the age of Mrs Mehra.

Perhaps Mahesh is non-binary 

Once the jolt of dismay had subsided, this neat reflection of the passing of eras seemed like a strong sign. A re-read was inevitable.

While wearing saree- no?  

I could only express my memories of the novel as feelings, a hazy sense of wellbeing in its capaciousness, an impression of gratifying drift.

It was an easy read. That is true enough. There's a pretty girl. Who will she marry? Since Mrs. Mehra is sensible enough, the answer is- some suitable boy. Mummy and Daddy had just such a marriage. I like kissing Mummy and hugging Daddy.  

While key plot points and characters escaped me, a few images floated into view: musicians tuning their instruments in a courtesan’s home;

as opposed to the patrons tuning their instruments on the courtesans. We appreciated Seth's reticence. Mummy and Daddy may have had sex. That is a topic we'd rather not think about.  

a meeting of a small-town literary society;

standards had fallen since those halcyon days. I once heard of a Bengali Professor of Literature at Columbia or Cornell. There was a rumor that the lady could speak grammatical English. I am happy to say it was wholly unfounded. Back in the Fifties, however, Indians could write good English even if they had trouble speaking it intelligibly.  

a crumbling palace reflected in a river.

as opposed to an open sewer. India continues to progress by leaps and bounds.  

When I asked friends what they remembered of it, they mostly spoke of how they had read it.

Or hadn't. That's the problem with big doorstoppers you take with you on holiday. Having actually read it means you didn't get laid or, at the very least, try hard enough to get laid. 

One friend said she could remember reading it in Shimla in the Himalayan foothills over a long summer vacation, chapters punctuated by currant buns, samosas and tea.

and not getting laid- which is okay if you are a girl.  

Another said he would treat himself to a few pages every night while he wrote his PhD thesis.

he definitely wasn't getting laid.  

Another friend said she read it in the afternoon hush of her home, seated at the dining table as though she was in a library, the book too heavy for her to hold up in bed.

where she wasn't getting laid.  

Enthusiastic re-readers often quote Nabokov: “one cannot read a book, one can only re-read it.”

They don't say that to me. They just say 'I can't read your book. A monkey with a typewriter would have made a better fist of things.' 

A first reading, he argued, is a way of finding our bearings, line by line, locating that world in space and time.

Mahesh read Seth line by line. Gradually, it dawned upon him that he was reading about India. Also, the librarian requested him to kindly not insert tome up rectum.  

True artistic appreciation can only come

if the thing is actually artistic. We don't have to re-read middlebrow shite to appreciate its modest attractions. 

through a later reading, when we are free to take in the work as we would a painting, eyes swooping over the entirety of its surface, picking out details at will. The sense of a book as a broad canvas is apposite for A Suitable Boy. In the foreground would stand a callow university student

a Hindu girl. Her mum will marry her off by the end of the book.  

and her fretful mother,


flanked by three suitors in different poses.

No. Three 'interested parties'. But the Muslim isn't very interested- a Hindu bride might be a liability in the Diplomatic service- and the Bengali lacks virility and belongs to a different caste. So, there's only one real offer on the table. 

And the expansive background would be populated by a great array of scenes, many appearing to have little connection with each other but all concerned with the growing pains of a republic,

Fuck off! Vikram is writing about boring middle class Khattris in an inconsequential backwater.  There is some anti-Muslim bigotry- Mians fuck their own sisters, right?- and anti-Brahmin bigotry- Brahmin girls fuck anything on two legs- and anti Jan Sangh bigotry (though 'Justice Chatterjee' is likely to have supported Sir Ashutosh's sprog who founded the BJP) .

from the passage of land reform legislation to a disputed religious site. Having rooted ourselves comfortably in the story, our eyes would be able to linger over the institutional politics of an English department in a small town's college, the dwindling audiences for a courtesan’s music performances or the tanneries and shoe-making industry of Kanpur.

What it lingers on is the utter callousness of 'Mrs Rupa Mehra' and her extended family for those Khattris- i.e. people of their own caste- who had been killed or who had had to flee from Pakistan. Not a single one of them has lifted a finger to provide shelter or seek compensation for their co-religionists.  

However, as I made my way through the novel this time, a different metaphor came to mind. Reading the book today felt like constantly switching between a pair of telescopes. The first is the one that Seth looked through, its lens pointed at India’s Nehruvian journey. And the second is my own, providing a vantage on the era when the book first appeared. About a third of the way through, Mr Justice Chatterji, head of one of its exuberant families, expresses “a great sadness for what had happened to the country he had known since childhood...”

Chatterji wasn't sad that his own people had been and were being slaughtered by the Muslims. How is it not a single refugee has been granted under his capacious roof?  

The distinguished judge’s thoughts are fixed on the ruptures of independence and Partition.

But not on people named Chatetterji or Mukherji who were being killed or who, having fled East Pakistan, were now homeless.  

But the same sentiment was often expressed in the months before the novel’s publication, following the 1992 destruction of the Babri mosque by an extremist Hindu mob in Ayodhya, a pivotal moment in modern Indian history.

This cunt, like Seth, has no objection to Hindus being slaughtered- e.g. in Kashmir Valley. He only cares about mosques. Why won't he convert to Islam? Is it because he is a gay?  

And when I returned to those words in August 2020, in the next room images from the site of the demolished mosque flashed across a television screen. Sanctioned by the Indian Supreme Court, a temple will now be built on the site and Prime Minister Narendra Modi was participating in the ground-breaking ceremony, stating that the “day was as significant as the day India gained independence.” Under the festive images, India’s world-beating daily coronavirus infection numbers scrolled across the screen.

This cunt shat himself because only mosques are good. Temples are very evil. Have you watched 'Indiana Jones- Temple of Doom'?  

The same dual vantage provides a new dimension to the novel’s Zamindari Abolition Act,

Seth shows a Muslim female from a Zamindari family valiantly defending the right of Ashraf Muslims to suck the blood of the Hindu tenants. The bisexual nutter Seth approves of, has a Congress-wallah Dad who is seeking to rise by clinging to the coat-tails of Rafi Ahmed Kidwai. 

which allows compulsory acquisition of landlord estates for redistribution to tenant farmers. Seth departs from the legislation’s arid clauses and noble objectives to take in the linguistic pyrotechnics that it engenders in court, the chicanery that ensues across towns and villages to avoid its consequences, and the friendships and family ties that are ruptured by its intent.

Or vice versa. Seth's account is ignorant. Nehru's autobiography had shown that at least since the early Twenties, the land reform movement was led by Hindu preachers. The masses understood that the Muslim dominated administration had to be dismantled. Nehru explains that he will oppose this. That's what gave him salience in the Doab- among corrupt cunts and blathershites.  

It is a masterful example of fiction vividly bringing to life a reformist policy to reverse hundreds of years of entrenched social and economic inequality.

No. Power to do land reform had been handed to the elected Premiers in the Provinces in 1937. What was important was that Nehru chose Hindus and kept out of alliances with clever Muslim barristers like Yunus in Bihar or Fazl ul Haq in Bengal.  

Less than three years prior to publication of the novel, a real-life landmark policy had been announced by the Indian government. The implementation of the recommendations of the Mandal Commission relating to quotas for government jobs and higher education would transform the conversation about caste-based positive discrimination.

Dalits wept as their traditional oppressors rose.  

Today these conversations of how, or indeed whether, to address historic inequalities continue to dominate the political agenda and Seth’s work continues to feel relevant to the state-sponsored or abetted land grabs of successive governments.

Rubbish! Seth gave us a Jane Austen novel in a post-Independence India seen through rose-tinted glasses. His book was like one of those interminable BBC TV series about the Raj which were broadcast during the Eighties. Then Seth's book was turned into a shitty TV serial featuring ugly actors.  My memory is that Art Malik got his first break playing a wog in some Raj TV series. Nobody's career has been advanced by participation in 'Suitable'. 

How has the book’s language fared over the intervening years? What struck me most was the way in which Seth’s prose revels in India’s multiple Englishes.

There is Babu English and there is Bureaucratic English but they are one and the same because Babus are Bureaucrats.  

In the nineties, Indian literature in English was still beset by questions of representation and authenticity, stemming from the mere fact of writing in English; mercifully, today there is less of an impulse to revisit those debates over whether or not English is really an Indian language.

It isn't. Rahul's Hindi is better than his English.  

Seth has enormous fun with Indian English usage,

he truly is the Indian Doestoevsky- if Doestoevesky was actually Noel Coward.  

whether in film notices (“A Rainfall of Melody, Acclaimed, Applauded, Admired by All”), tourist brochures (“the palace was not less than a heaven where beauty and charms were scattered freely”) or papers presented to literary societies (“Eliot: Whither?”) Family letters, religious disquisitions, court judgments, blithe rhyming couplets: it seems like no form of syntax or cadence is left unexplored.

No. Only limp wristed shite is explored. Voice it out for yourself. You will sound like a mincing catamite.  

“What use is English?” asks Maan,

who fucks the bloke he will try to kill 

the indulged son of a powerful politician while chatting to a farmer on a train. “If you talk in English, you are a king,” comes the response.

Sethji is writing very deep book. It must have been lodged at least 8 inches up his large intestine.  

Today English can probably stake a much greater claim to being the language of professional opportunity,

Which is why England has fallen so far behind Singapore 

accessible to more Indians than ever before, and has been annexed and moulded into potent amalgams with different Indian languages, the ubiquitous modern lingo of TV shows, advertising and tweets.

English doesn't matter. Hindi does. Modi's Hindi is okay. He will get a third term. But then Nehru's Hindi, not his having been to Harrow, is what got him the top job. There's a reason Mahatma Gandhi took the trouble to learn Hindi. On the other hand, if Rahul wants to stay in Indian politics, he had better learn Malayalam. 

But Seth concerns himself with languages other than English too.

He learnt Chinese to do his PhD on Chinese demographics. Nothing came of it. Still, the boy had a high IQ. Pity he was a typical Khattri bigot- albeit a bisexual one.  

The theme of the loss of the linguistic and artistic traditions of Urdu in a post-Partition landscape recurs through the novel.

The truth was even Muslims outside urban areas didn't speak Urdu in Bihar or UP. Listen to a speech by Akhilesh. How many Urdu words does he use? Modi uses many because he is a Gujarati speaking Hindustani. But Akhilesh speaks in exactly the same way that rural Muslims and Yadavs speak. The guy knows which side his bread is buttered on. An immigrant from Pakisant, like Sahir, might drone on about how we killed Gandhi and Ghalib, but the Nehrus were one of a handful of Hindu families which spoke Urdu. Even there, the wives- like Kamala- were Hindi speakers. Also, if daughter is marrying Muslim- which is what Vijaylaxmi did- some Mahatma will break up the marriage and find suitable Brahmin boy. This made Khattris very jelly.  

Unusually for an Indian novel written in English,

book is not about Mummy and Daddy and Nannee and Phupi and Soosoo and Tutu. I'm kidding. No such novel can exist. At least, Seth does not depict himself fucking his brother the way Arundhati does (being Gay he didn't need to lust after sister the way Salman did in 'Midnight') . But that is also why he couldn't get Booker. Sad.  

Seth is a careful signposter of language, not only consistently indicating whether a character is speaking in Hindi, Urdu or English, but also pointing out a change in Hindi dialect or accent.

What happens when nice Hindu boy learns a few Urdu words? He stabs his bum-chum. The lesson is clear. Stay the fuck away from Muslims. Also, all Brahmin girls are sluts.  

In doing so, the impression we get is of the rippling, roiling transformations of “Hindi” as we move around the fictional state of Purva Pradesh and further afield. This is in stark opposition to what Professor Alok Rai calls “artificially sanskritised Hindi,” a monolith that “lays claim to the real (but also mythical) excellences of ancient Indian culture” and which is so bound up with a particular type of “culturally exclusive, socially divisive and ultimately upper caste and anti-democratic politics.”

Rai is the grandson of Premchand- i.e. a Kayastha. Being 'sickular' he is cool with Tamils speaking pure Tamil or Pakistanis having to speak Persianized Urdu. His problem is with Hindi speaking Brahmin Pundits, from certain lineages, speaking Hindi the way their ancestors did.  Anyway, since Rai and Seth- however much they hate Brahmins- are considered 'forward caste', whereas Modi is 'backward', they can go fuck themselves.

Language aside, critics today might take issue with the relevance of a book with a marriage plot,

The Mum was important. A stenographer  with the Railways in Calcutta who becomes a Chief Justice and member of the Law Commission is worth commemorating even if she did pick up a degree from Loretto. Interestingly, the husband too had vocational training. Neither was a blathershite or virtue signaling cunt. 

grousing that even the mention of Indian arranged marriages

Indian arranged marriages feature astrologers and professional match makers. This was a case of a guy with a diploma in boot making getting hitched to a steno-typist. The stars didn't matter. The couple would rise by hard work. 

is to tumble into a pit of clichés.

i.e. the place where Mahesh most likes to wallow 

While there may have been a time when marriage could be crafted into a satisfactory metaphor for order and stability, surely that time has passed?

Mahesh's Granny used to beat the fuck out of his Grandfather.  His Mum blew up his Daddy on their honeymoon night. That is why Mahesh thinks marriage can't symbolize order and stability.  

This, however, would be a misunderstanding of the continued importance of marriage as the fulcrum of Indian society.

In Amrika, marriage is not fulcrum of Society. Sodomy is.  

Today the questions may cover wider ground,

Mahesh may marry goat. Their honeymoon may cover a lot of ground depending on how frisky the goat happens to be.  

encapsulating who we ought to marry,

goat should not be of Hindutva type. Also it should have dick. Mahesh has somewhat higher standards than Mrs. Rupa Mehra 

who is legally permitted to marry, whether we should marry at all—but for the most part, marriage remains the elemental constituent of society.

I suppose the cunt means most peeps are 'born in wedlock'. Sadly what constituents a society relates to what defends it or pays for its defense.

Yes, people arrange to marry for companionship or to start families, but a vigilantly constructed endogamy remains the way power is consolidated, wealth is shared and social mobility is sought.

Nonsense! Nobody gives a shit about the caste of your husband or wife. Feroze wasn't a Brahmin. Neither was Sonia. That doesn't change the fact that Rahul is a Brahmin, while Muhammad Ali Jinnah's descendants are Parsi.  

The recent Netflix show Indian Matchmaking lit up social media with its carefully edited idiosyncrasies of professional matchmaking, generating a deluge of memes and snark.

The matchmaker kept saying 'lower your expectations. You really aren't as cute or young as you think.' What was wrong with that?  

But stories on social media also revealed the continued pressure on young people to marry in conventional ways

Mummy tried to make Mahesh marry a non-goat.  

and the resulting conflict, ruined family relationships, and physical and mental health problems.

Which is why it is important to 'beat your mother while she is still young'. You look a fool blaming some toothless hag for the way your goat husband ruined your life by eating all your precious manuscripts. I'm not saying that's what happened to me. It's the sort of thing which could happen to anybody.  

It may have been a foregone conclusion in 1950s India that Lata’s family would flatly reject her Muslim suitor.

But there was little point flatly rejecting her Muslim rapist if they lived in a Muslim majority area.

But in 2020, an Indian jewellery brand has felt the need to withdraw an advertisement featuring a Hindu wife and her Muslim mother-in-law after a storm of online outrage and protests from Hindutva activists outside some of its stores.

But in 1950 plenty of Hindus were still having to runaway from Pakistan probably because of all the nice necklaces their rapists' mummies wanted to give them. 

In a grimly predictable twist, the Seth adaptation, aired in India on Netflix, has itself been caught up in a controversy: a scene showing Lata and her Muslim boyfriend kissing on the premises of a temple formed the basis of a police complaint, registered by a member of the youth wing of the governing BJP, against executives of Netflix India for “hurting religious sentiments.”

Kissing should be confined to mosques. Sodomy should only be depicted as occurring with the Vatican.  

This coincided with the Uttar Pradesh government’s recent promulgation of an ordinance prohibiting religious conversion on a “fraudulent” basis, which has since been used to target inter-faith marriages.

In Nehru's time things were simpler. As Mahatma Gandhi noticed, Congress workers simply slaughtered Muslims regardless of whom they loved or whether they were kissing in temple or fucking in mosque.  

And of course, along with religion, caste continues to be paramount.

Mahesh is of the wrong caste. Goat is refusing to marry him.  

While Mrs Rupa Mehra deals with the issue of caste as though it is routine and immutable, coolly enumerating the castes she finds acceptable, the fact remains that even in 2011 the proportion of inter-caste marriages remained lower than 6 per cent.

Because 'jatis' evolved to solve 'the stable marriage problem'. Mahesh thinks it is only because of social attitudes that more Merchant Bankers arent' marrying coolies.  

One of the most arresting—and truthful—sentences in the novel appears when Lata visits a tannery:

tanneries are smelly.  

“somewhere within her had risen an atavistic revulsion against the whole polluting business of hides and carrion and everything associated with leather.” Seth denies his heroine, the representative of a so-called new age, any kind of fig leaf to mask her caste prejudice and presents the ugly line with little warning. He knew it to be true of millions of upper-caste homes then, just as it is now.

She'd have been looked up to if she married a guy who owned a shoe factory, not one who worked in it.  

As I made my way to the final chapters, weeks after I had begun, it struck me that the novel’s most prevalent character is perhaps the Indian constitution itself.

Which has had the fuck amended to it, when it wasn't suspended. 

This was a document forged broadly by elite consensus but which aimed to codify fundamental legal rights in a profoundly hierarchical, diverse and unequal society—and to go even further and also address questions of social and economic justice, the state’s equidistance from all faiths, and access to good education and public health.

But Ambedkar dismissed his contribution to it as 'hack work'.  

In spite of its flaws, the spirit of the constitution gusts through the novel as a profound aspiration, the only dependable blueprint for a nation that survived such a traumatic birth. It is present in the shoe manufacturers’ strike in their fight against the traders, in the public life carved out by the female relatives of the Nawab of Baitar, and in the jockeying of candidates preparing for the first elections of independent India.

“It was the early winter of 1950 and India had been free for over three years.” Appearing on the fourth page of the book, the word “over” in this sentence is an accomplished sleight of hand.

No. It was historically accurate. India had been free since the autumn of 1947.  

It leads us to expect a significant passage of time and then we are caught short by the breathtaking newness of the nation.

No we are not. On the other hand, maybe Mahesh got caught with his goat. No doubt that was very breathtaking indeed. 

Seth writes about this newness with his poet’s rhythms, expansive knowledge and mischievous wit, but also endowed with four decades of hindsight.

Seth could have written about things which were new. But what was new was an Indian administration at the Center. The Delhi portions of his book are shit. Daddy attended St. Stephens but, back then, it was a shit college. Then Daddy went to England and learned how to make boots.  New Delhi wasn't interested in him or his stenographer of a wife.  ایاز قَدر خود بَشَنْاس. Ayaz should know his place. 

Revisiting the book, I was equipped with almost three more decades of hindsight. A few days after I had finished my re-read, I walked down a street in Bangalore, a high wall running down its length. Tiles were set into the wall at regular intervals, aimed at dissuading men from stopping there to urinate. Normally these kinds of tiles feature the images of Hindu deities but here some of the tiles were different: they depicted Jesus, the Virgin Mary, a mosque-like structure with a crescent moon hanging above it. The tiles showing Hindu gods were all intact. The others had all been defaced, their surfaces chipped, cracked or in some cases almost entirely gouged out.

Did Mahesh bash in those tiles with his dick? That was naughty of him. Still, hopefully, nice goat will love-jihad him or, if he demurs, stab him to death

In A Suitable Boy, the temple-goers prevail in the matter of a disputed holy site.

They killed hundreds of thousands of Muslims and chased more away. India was a disputed political site. The Muslims got Pakistan. The rest was for non-Muslims.  

To mark this triumph the Raja of Marh orders a massive Shiva-linga to be carried from the banks of the Ganga to the temple site, eschewing winches and pulleys, and insisting on 200 men pulling it up the ghats for dramatic effect. As the men strain and struggle with the weight of the linga, the ropes snap and it rolls back over the steps, injuring men as it crashes back into the river.

Vikram was interested in lingas.  

“The Shiva-linga rested on the bed of the Ganga once more, the turbid waters passing over it, its bloodstains slowly washed away.” In the grand tableau that the book presents to a re-reader, this is the image I am most likely to recall.

When Mahesh first read the book he identified with Lata. Now he identifies with Mrs. Mehra. Quite naturally, it is this crude bit of propaganda which sticks in his mind. Still, one day, he may make a goat very happy. Not perhaps a very choosy goat. But, it will be a goat better able to digest Seth's oeuvre than myself.  

Sunday 21 April 2024

Kaushik Basu on why the Chinese should elect America's next President

The always imbecilic Kaushik basu writes in Project Syndicate of  

Globalization vs. Democracy

Unchecked economic globalization has empowered the leaders of major powers, particularly the United States, to wield disproportionate influence over the well-being of billions of people who have no say in selecting these leaders.

The reverse is the case. Without globalization, US 'exorbitant privilege' on the one hand and cheap Soviet quotas of oil and other essentials, meant that leaders of other countries, whether elected or not, were either at the mercy of their Superpower patron or else had turned into corrupt Dynastic shitholes. 

This erosion of global democracy is having far-reaching geopolitical consequences.

There has been no erosion. Basu served a Dynasty in India. He didn't get that Dynasticism is the antithesis of Democracy.  

 Democracy is in retreat across much of the world,

Where? Not Turkey. Erdogan survived a coup. Not Hungary. Orban survived concerted opposition from the Brussels bureaucracy. Where else? China? It was never a democracy. Russia? When has Russia been a democracy? Under the drunkard Yeltsin? That was a shit-show.  

with authoritarian leaders

Oh. The silly man means Trump. Or does he have something against Lula? Macron can't get a third term. 

and extremist movements

like the Republican Party- right? 

gaining momentum amid widespread discontent with established political parties and institutions.

If there is widespread discontent with a party- like the one Basu served- then it loses seats to other parties. If there is discontent with them, they too shrink. Basu doesn't get this.  

As democratic governance comes under strain,

where? Basu hadn't noticed that the Government he served wasn't democratic. It was corrupt and dynastic.  

our most cherished ideals, such as equal freedom and rights for all, are increasingly at risk.

Nice Italian lady must have equal freedom. The Prime Minister she appoints must not.  

Democratic backsliding has many causes, including


the depredations of Big Tech

which has had no effect whatsoever 

and the rapid spread of misinformation and disinformation.

see above.  

But the one that plays a critical role is emerging from a strange concoction of unchecked economic globalization and severe political balkanization.

In the opinion of a fucking cretin.  

This has enabled major powers like the United States to wield disproportionate influence over the well-being of billions of people worldwide, who have no political voice.

This nutter doesn't understand that his people were ruled over by the Brits for 190 years. The US defeated Japan which wanted to take over from them.  Kennedy helped protect India from Mao's Red Army. Fortunately, the China-Soviet split came in the nick of time but India only avoided famine because of American PL480 food shipments. 

The bedrock principle of democracy is that people affected by the decisions of political leaders should have a say in selecting those leaders.

Nonsense! The bedrock principles is that voters in a particular country vote for their leaders. They don't get to vote for the leader of some other country even if that country feeds and defends them. That is why Basu's parents couldn't vote for Kennedy or LBJ even if America was protecting or feeding India. 

This idea is so fundamental that even authoritarian countries like Russia and North Korea hold elections, ostensibly allowing citizens to “choose” their leaders.

No. Russia and North Korea's leaders like picturing themselves as greatly loved by 99 percent of the population.  

Of course, these elections pose no real threat to the existing regime. In North Korea’s 2023 election, for example, Kim Jong-un’s Workers’ Party received 99.91% of the votes.

When his daddy died, millions wept in the streets. It is dangerous not to love the Supreme Leader with all your heart and soul.  

To comprehend the problem, imagine that US presidents were elected solely by voters in the District of Columbia.

He is elected solely by the Electoral College.  

Every resident of Washington would have the right to vote,

including diplomats and children? I think not.  

and the candidate with the most votes would become president. Even if this process were free from fraud, it would be difficult to consider the US a democracy under such conditions.

Why? If that is the arrangement the rest of the country wants, the country is democratic. We may not like the Electoral College system, but there is nothing we can do about it.  

Elected leaders would naturally prioritize the interests of Washington residents over those of Americans everywhere else, whose well-being would have little to no impact on their chances of being re-elected.

No. They'd be careful to keep the rest of America happy. Otherwise they will turn up, kill the current residents and vote themselves into power. 

While this scenario may seem far-fetched,

it is stupid 

people all around the world find themselves in the same position as a disenfranchised Texan or Michigander.

There are plenty of 'disenfranchised' Texans. Surely Basu knows this? They are pissed off because they pay taxes but don't get a say in how those taxes are spent. 

The accelerated economic globalization of the past four decades, driven by increasingly interconnected supply chains and the rapid advance of digital technologies, has facilitated the free flow of capital and goods across national borders. But this also means that major powers are now able to affect individuals and communities all over the world with just a few clicks.

Previously, the President of the US or the Chairman of the Soviet Union could bark orders into a phone and fuck up distant countries most grievously. That power appears to have decreased. The US lost the war on terror. Russia didn't get the walkover it expected in Ukraine.  

As matters stand, the well-being of billions of people hinges on the decisions made by the sitting US president.

So everybody should get to vote in US elections even if they don't pay US taxes. Democracy is about 'no representation no fucking taxation'. 

While American leaders have the power to disrupt numerous economies by severing supply chains or manipulating financial flows, the citizens of these countries have no influence over US elections.

Nor do they have to pay taxes to America.  

Similarly, Ukrainian or Georgian citizens have little say over who rules Russia, even though who rules Russia can have a large influence on their well-being. (of course, even Russians have no say over who rules Russia)

So what? Russia has little say over who rules Ukraine or Georgia.  

This erosion of global democracy

caused by the fact that few Nigerians or Norwegians get to vote in Russian elections 

could have far-reaching geopolitical consequences.

e.g. the Pakistanis may get real pissed off that they have no say in choosing the leader of Paraguay.  

While the US government puts considerable effort into managing its domestic economy effectively, it has adopted a cavalier approach to foreign policy.

under Biden? Well, perhaps Basu prefers Trump.  

The ongoing crisis in the Middle East is a case in point.

Iranians were upset that they didn't get to vote in Israeli elections. 

US President Joe Biden’s unconditional support for Israel’s war against Hamas over the past six months has benefited Israel’s embattled prime minister, Binyamin Netanyahu. But as US Senators Bernie Sanders and Elizabeth Warren have pointed out, the goals of ordinary Israelis – who want to end the war and bring home the hostages – differ significantly from those of Netanyahu and his far-right political allies, who seek to prolong the conflict to maintain their hold on power.

The goals of a guy who wants to keep his job diverge from the goals of those who want to take that job from him. This only happens due to global democracy got eroded and nice Pakistanis weren't getting to vote in Paraguayan elections.  

This underscores the anti-democratic nature of hegemonic powers. If Israeli citizens could vote in US presidential elections, 

they can if they are dual citizens 

America’s Middle East policy might have been markedly different.

No. The Israeli vote is not sufficiently cohesive. 

Such a policy would likely have aligned more closely with the interests of both Israelis and Palestinians, rather than with Netanyahu’s political agenda.

Netanyahu wants to stay in power. That's why he wants to do what the majority of Israeli voters want.  

I hasten to add that matters would likely be worse if Trump won the US election. But I suspect that the Democratic Party would win, but with a rather different Middle East policy, if ordinary Israelis, and not just Netanyahu and his cronies, had a voice in the US election.

Biden is changing his policy in line with what American voters want. It appears that the Arab-American voter has become very well worth courting.  

There is no easy solution to this conundrum. Israelis will not be voting in US elections anytime soon,

There are 200,000 dual citizens in Israel and perhaps the same number of Israelis settled in America.  

and Ukrainians will not influence the selection of Russia’s next leader. The advance of digital technology and globalization, and the consequent erosion of global democracy, highlights the trade-offs and vulnerabilities inherent in the current international order.

But foreigners have never had voting rights in countries to which they pay no tax.  

As I argued in my book The Republic of Beliefs, it is possible to establish binding laws and regulations even without direct state intervention.

It is also possible to defeat invaders and put down insurrections. It is simply very very fucking unlikely.  

The key, as Eric Posner and Cass Sunstein have also pointed out, is to foster appropriate norms that are self-enforcing.

No such norms exist when it comes to stuff which endangers health and wealth to any considerable degree.  

At the same time, we must strive to create more effective multilateral organizations and international charters aimed at strengthening democratic governance worldwide.

Basu can't create shit. He served a Dynasty happily enough. But he was useless and thus was discarded quickly enough. Now he is babbling about how every Chinese person should have a vote in the US elections. What a cretin! 

N.Ram's coprophagy

 Though N.Ram belongs to the Communist party which rules Kerala, he is a wealthy newspaper publisher from the neighboring state of Tamil Nadu which is ruled by Stalin. Ram's Brahminical dynasty is linked by marriage to the ruling family of Tamil Nadu which is very anti-Brahmin. Since Modi is an enemy of Stalin, it is fortunate that Ram too loathes the fellow. 

Ram writes in 'Prospect magazine' of

The making of Modi

What made Modi Prime Minister was his great success as Chief Minister of Gujarat for a dozen years. He is a good communicator and organizer. But the reason he wins such big majorities is because Rahul is useless. The Opposition needs to find an electable alternative to Modi.  

To understand what’s in store for India,

whereas to understand what's in store for Tamil Nadu we have to look at Sri Lanka. A nepotistic dynasty wrecked its economy. That's what Stalin and his son will do to N.Ram's state.  

we have to look at the ideology and politics that shaped its prime minister: Hindutva authoritarianism

Stalin's ideology is simply hatred of Brahmins- unless they happen to be called Rahul Gandhi. The DMK is a gangster outfit. Stalin's son openly says that Brahmins must be exterminated and 'Sanatan Dharma'- i.e. orthodox Hinduism must be driven out. This has created an opening for Modi. His party may get double digits of the popular vote. That's what scares N.Ram. He is showing his loyalty to his pals who are in power in Kerala and Karnataka and his own State.  

Looking ahead to a year-and-a-bit from now, I can see in my mind’s eye a spectacle worthy of this age of strongmen: Donald Trump and Narendra Modi, each newly re-elected, are locked in a bear hug.

Modi will hug whoever is the US President. No doubt, Ram thinks Biden is very weak.  

They are taking part in a festival of mutual admiration at the world’s largest cricket ground, which was named after the Indian premier in his home state of Gujarat.

If Trump is elected, India won't be one of his first ports of call. Biden, who does believe in 'Quad' and an Indo-Pacific strategy may turn up. India would prefer Biden over Trump because the latter is likely to think Quad is a waste of money.  

The crowd of 125,000 people, bussed-in for the occasion, send up an almighty roar to the accompaniment of fireworks imported from China.

N. Ram is a great booster of China.  

In reports about the event, the media from both countries will recall “Namaste Trump”, Modi’s extravagant welcome for Trump at that same stadium in February 2020,

which is why no future American President will be hosted there. India is a big country.  

a month after the World Health Organization declared the Covid-19 outbreak as a “public health emergency of international concern” and barely a month before the pandemic, which would directly and indirectly claim an estimated five million lives in India, was officially declared.

It wasn't till after Trump left that there were signs of any large outbreak. N.Ram's suggestio falsi is that Modi acted irresponsibly. If so, his pals in Kerala, where the first case was reported at the end of January, were even more irresponsible.  

Theoretically, of course, the scene I imagine may not come to pass.

 It won't. If Trump is re-elected Modi will want to take him somewhere he hasn't seen before. 

Something might happen between now and the end of India’s marathon parliamentary election—which starts on 19th April and during which hundreds of millions of people in different parts of the country will vote—to upset these gloomy prognostications.

They are only gloomy to Ram because his pals haven't managed to find a Prime Ministerial candidate. Modi has been given, once again, a walk over.  

Or indeed, something may come to pass before the US presidential election on 5th November. But going by current indicators, the odds on either upset happening are long—extremely long for Modi, perhaps somewhat shorter for Trump. That’s not good news for the world’s “largest” and “oldest” democracies.

It isn't good news for a guy whose newspaper is filled with stupid lies.  

For while Modi and Trump have strikingly different backgrounds and styles, they have in common an uncanny ability to work crowds up into a frenzy;

Stalin does so just as his father did. Ram may not know this. He is very wealthy. He can see Stalin in his own drawing-room. He doesn't have to attend public rallies.  

a taste for the grandiose and the talent and wherewithal to enact folies de grandeur on a scale rarely seen before.

I suppose Ram means that Modi's rallies are well planned and entertaining. But so are Stalin's.  

Most importantly, they share an authoritarian disdain for their constitutions and the values,

guys named Stalin tend to be very sweet and nice- thinks nobody at all.  

spirit and even the letter of these foundational charters.

Nonsense! Modi obeys the law. 28 out of the 33 ministers in Stalin's Tamil Nadu have criminal cases against them. That is the highest proportion in India. Stalin himself has 20 criminal cases against him.

According to India scholars Christophe Jaffrelot and Pratinav Anil,

who have been consistently anti-Modi for decades now 

India’s first dictatorship—the Emergency imposed in June 1975 by then prime minister Indira Gandhi and brought to an end 21 months later through a decisive electoral defeat for her party—was a complex phenomenon that was “neither a parenthesis, nor so much as a turning point, but a concentrate of a style of rule, an élan alive today,” which involves, among other things, “a dialectical relationship between populism and authoritarianism.”

Gobbledygook. Indira was determine to make her son her heir. She succeeded because the Opposition fell apart on the dual-membership issue. Since then it is the RSS backed BJP which has become the one  national party. N. Ram may not like it. Stalin may not like it. But so long as Rahul is Modi's only rival, Modi will win. 

There are echoes of that phenomenon in Modi, whose Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) regime has taken the path of incremental authoritarianism, softening up and, wherever possible, suborning constitutional and democratic institutions and undermining India’s already stressed secular foundations.

Secularism means Brahmins should not be persecuted because of their religion. N.Ram might tell Stalin that.  

Though these actions have been extensively reported, they are worth repeating:

Telling lies is not reportage. Where is the evidence?  

The government has brought executive power to bear on the independence of two constitutionally empowered institutions, the election commission and the Supreme Court, which in the assessment of some critical lawyers has been turned largely into an “executive court”

Where is the proof? Anyone can allege anything. I may say that N.Ram is illegally trying to sodomize Stalin by putting pressure on his buttocks. But I can't substantiate this allegation.  

It has conducted targeted assaults on freedom of expression, media freedom, media independence and other fundamental rights.

Only in the sense that N.Ram has sodomized Stalin.  

It has used anti-terror, sedition and other draconian laws to incarcerate journalists,

a terrorist who says he is a journalist can still be tried as a terrorist.  


students who kill people are murderers. They can be arrested.  

human rights defenders, civil society activists and troublesome critics of the government—

who break the law may still get sent to jail. 

often without bail or trial for prolonged periods. Since 2014, India has sunk to the rank of 161 among 180 countries and territories in Reporters Without Borders’ World Press Freedom Index;

But that index had sunk to the level of giving Stalin a reach-around while N.Ram pounded his ass.  

It has almost certainly conducted illegal surveillance against a large number of journalists, politicians, civil society activists and other selected targets by deploying NSO Group’s military-grade spyware, Pegasus.

In which case why not bring a court case? Oh. You have no evidence just as I have no evidence that you are illegally sodomizing Chief Minister Stalin.  

The Supreme Court had the matter investigated by an expert committee but has not yet made the findings public or come to a clear conclusion.

Sadly, the Bench requires evidence. Ram's word isn't good enough.  

It has made a concerted effort to police and censor the internet, social media, streaming platforms such as Netflix and digital news providers through legislation including the Digital Personal Data Protection Act 2023.

This followed the Bench's ruling in Puttaswamy. Perhaps Ram thinks Justice Srikrishna played an invidious role. If so, why not say so.  

This act, in the words of Subhashis Banerjee, a professor of computer science at the Indian Institute of Technology Delhi, “facilitates data collection and processing by the government and private entities rather than… data protection”

This is because certain sorts of data collection are lawful. Banerjee has been saying for a long time that the problem is enforcement. The law is drafted on the basis of legal concepts- e.g. right to privacy- rather than an understanding of the architectural requirements of authorisation, audit and access control in real-time. The problem here is that architectures can change very quickly. Moreover, the fact that our Government's hands are tied doesn't meant that other Governments or foreign enterprises can't gather that fruit. 

It has amended the citizenship law to make Muslim (as distinct from non-Muslim) migrants from Bangladesh, Afghanistan and Pakistan ineligible for citizenship,

Nope. It has amended the law to reaffirm Nehru's commitment in 1948 to give refuge to those fleeing Islamic persecution, be they Hindu, Buddhist, Sikh or Christian. Muslim migrants are not ineligible. They can apply for citizenship on the basis of other criteria- e.g. economic, cultural, family ties etc. It is obvious that Muslims, as Muslims, face no persecution from Islamic regimes. It may be argued that Ahmadiyas should be eligible but Indian Muslims will protest. If they wouldn't let Taslima Nasrin settle in India peacefully, what will they not do to those they term apostates?  

thus introducing religion as a criterion for citizenship for the first time in the history of independent India.

Nonsense! Muslims who had fled across the border weren't allowed back. Many were harassed and driven out by the Custodian of Evacuee property. Non-Muslims- like Advani, Manmohan etc became Indian citizens even if their ancestral homes were in Pakistan. Later, when the Taliban came to power, India received Sikhs and Hindus from there. It also did take in Afghan Muslims some of whom have taken Indian citizenship so as to be able to continue to do international business. But most prefer to be stateless and remain in the queue for resettlement somewhere nice and ruled by White peeps.  

Viewed along with the National Population Register and National Register of Citizens—two bureaucratic exercises of unprecedented scale and potential menace, which significant sections of India’s more than 200m Muslims see as being directed against them, and which are likely to cause hardship and harassment to the poor and dispossessed—the Citizenship (Amendment) Act, 2019 poses a direct challenge to India’s democratic and secular polity and to political stability as well;

Ram is cool with non-Muslim refugees being denied citizenship. Why can't they just fuck off back where they came from? Why deprive good people the chance to gain merit by slitting the throats of kaffirs?  

The government has deployed brutal force to suppress democratic protests, notably demonstrations in December 2019 against those changes in the citizenship law that discriminate against Muslims,

only Muslims who entered the country illegally. The Bench opened detention centers for them in Assam. But few wanted to move to them.  

and through 2020 and 2021 demanded the repeal of three laws seen as favouring corporate India at the expense of farmers;

they were seen as harmful to the arhatiya middle-men in Punjab and neighboring states.  

It has systematically misused agencies of the state responsible for countering crime, corruption, income tax violations and money laundering in order to go after and arrest political opponents, including ministers, chief ministers and legislators;

Ram didn't protest when this happened under Manmohan nor when Stalin or Mamta or Vijayan misuse their state agencies. The problem here is that 'Agencies' don't need to be 'misused'. They are eager to be of service because the perception that they are close to the powers that be increases their own power and ability to extract bribes.  

By abrogating, without discussion in parliament, Article 370 of the constitution, which granted a special autonomous status to Jammu and Kashmir,

it was the Bench, in 2016, which said J&K had no shred of sovereignty 

and by downgrading the state to the status of a union territory, the Modi government has dealt a serious blow to the concept of Indian federalism.

There is no such concept. America has dual sovereignty. India does not. It is unitary.  

Finally, it has made use of governors who are openly partisan, in an attempt to undermine elected state governments run by opposition parties, thus embittering relations between the states and the national government in several cases.

Again, this is nothing new. The Governors would say that they are trying to combat the gangsterism and corruption of State governments.  

The list is not exhaustive, but is sufficient to make my point.

It is a bunch of lies or unsupported allegations.  

Comparisons between strongmen (or to be more precise, authoritarian leaders) who rise to dominance in different countries with different histories, socio-economic conditions and political cultures are usually superficial.

Not if made by smart people. Hitler and Mussolini were in fact comparable as were Stalin and Mao.  

“Men make their own history,” Karl Marx wrote famously in The Eighteenth Brumaire of Louis Bonaparte, “but they do not make it as they please; they do not make it under self-selected circumstances, but under circumstances existing already, given and transmitted from the past.”

Marx was wrong. Napoleon made his own history. So did his nephew. Both lost battles and ceased to be Emperors. Then the same thing happened to the other European Emperors.  

And thus it is in the case of India’s prime minister.

Nope. The BJP gave Modi the job of CM of Gujarat. He did a great job there and kept getting re-elected. Then the BJP put him up for the job of PM of India. He did a great job and will be re-elected. Modi made his history by being good at his job. N.Ram inherited his position. 

The personality cult of Modi—the prominent posters and cutouts, the naming of several national projects and centrally funded welfare schemes after him, the relentless projection of him by the BJP and a substantial part of mainstream media as the Redeemer—might suggest otherwise, but India’s prime minister is not his own man.

He is a member of the BJP. Similarly, Biden isn't his own man. He is a member of the Democratic party. If Trump wins it will be because of some split within Biden's party.  

Simply put, Modi is a votary, a lifelong adherent, of the Hindu-supremacist Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh (RSS).

Whereas Ram is a card carrying Communist- though he inherited billions.  

If we are to have the measure of the man, the political leader—and the India he seeks to shape—it is imperative that we understand that bond.

Just as it is imperative to understand that Stalin is a votary, a lifelong adherent, of the viciously anti-Brahmin DMK. Ram, being very wealthy and disliking his ancestral religion, is happy with Stalin.  

Born in a humble family that lived in straitened circumstances in an obscure small town in Gujarat, indifferently educated, and married, apparently against his wishes, at the age of 18, Modi forsook his wife and family and, after wandering about for three years in search of his inner self and his destiny, decided to make the RSS his permanent home.

Modi obeyed the Mahatma's injunction to remain celibate so as to better serve the nation.  Now it appears Rahul too may remain a 'brahmachari'. 

In 1972, the 22-year-old became a pracharak, a fulltime missionary who spreads the RSS gospel.

He has been very successful. Ram hasn't. But Ram has great inherited wealth.  

The semi-secret organisation’s

it isn't secret at all. True, during the Emergency, many of its members had to go underground. But Stalin was tortured by Indira's goons. Maybe that is why he calls Rahul 'Sir'.  

daily activities are centred on the shakha (a Sanskrit word denoting a branch or, in this case, a cell), where swayamsevaks, lay volunteers sometimes dressed in khaki shorts, meet with clock-like precision through the year for rigorous training and indoctrination in the mores of “Hindu dharma”, “community service”, “character building” and the Hindu-supremacist project of national reconstruction, as interpreted and ordained by the RSS.

Commies were against the RSS. Indeed, in Kerala, they keep killing its members. Sadly, Communist economics didn't work. Maybe Chairman Xi can figure out a way to do without freedom and free markets. But Xi can have millions of his own people killed. Modi can't.  

After working doggedly within the RSS for 15 years, Modi got his break in politics when he was appointed general secretary of the BJP in Gujarat.

He didn't do well and so was kicked up stairs to Delhi.  

He was unexpectedly promoted to the post of chief minister in October 2001, and four months later the horrors of the Gujarat pogrom unfolded on his watch: following an attack by a Muslim mob on the Sabarmathi Express train that resulted in the death of 59 Hindu pilgrims, frenzied Hindu mobs were left unchecked to murder, rape, torture, loot, pillage and “teach Muslims a lesson”.

Muslims fought back but the majority won.  

The official death toll reported in parliament was 1,044 (790 Muslims, 254 Hindus), with 223 reported missing and another 2,500 injured. Unofficial estimates put the death toll closer to 2,000. More than 100,000 people were driven out of their homes and joined the ranks of the internally displaced. A large number of mosques and dargahs, some temples and a few churches were destroyed. The violence resulted in huge property losses, overwhelmingly among Muslims.

That's the problem with being a minority. If you start anything, you get stomped. Still, unlike the anti-Sikh riots in 1984, the State had no hand in the killing.  

The horrors of the Gujarat pogrom did not escape attention across India and internationally.

Though it was NATO which ended up killing 1.4 million mainly Muslim people and displacing tens of millions more. Still, it is true, saying 'Modi kills Muslims', made Modi very popular. Sadly, since he didn't actually kill Muslims- probably because the guy is a Hindu and believes that he will suffer in the next life for anything he does in this- he had to concentrate on Development and good governance

In the aftermath, Modi reportedly twice came close to being dismissed by the BJP’s leadership but was retained and went on to win three elections over the next decade, becoming the longest-serving chief minister of his state. In March 2005, the United States denied him a diplomatic visa

because that was what Manmohan wanted. It backfired. The US was slaughtering Muslims all over the place. Manmohan was their pal. Modi wasn't.  

and his existing tourist/business visa was revoked under a little-known section of the Immigration and Nationality Act that rendered any foreign government official who “was responsible for or directly carried out, at any time, particularly severe violations of religious freedom” ineligible for a visa to the US.

This was a godsend. The Left used to say the BJP was CIA financed. Yet it was their pal, Manmohan, who did the 123 nuclear deal with Uncle Sam.  

For more than a decade, until western governments sensed that Modi was headed for India’s top political job, he was informally boycotted by ambassadors of the countries of the European Union.

India was rising in importance. Why not keep Manmohan happy? Also it was hilarious that countries which were spending billions to slaughter Muslims pretending that some Hindu guy had done the same thing.  

The US waited until exit polls projected a BJP triumph in the 2014 general election to explain that the relationship with India was “vitally important for economic, strategic reasons”, and the Obama administration looked forward to “working with the leaders chosen by the Indian people” in an election that was “an inspiring example of the power of the democratic process in action”. India’s new prime minister would now be welcomed warmly everywhere within the community of nations.

To be fair, he had also been cleared of all charges by the Supreme Court. It turned out the evidence against him was a pack of lies.  

On the legal front, Modi’s role and alleged complicity in the violence were investigated under the direction of the Supreme Court, but a special investigation team appointed by the court cleared him of any criminal wrongdoing in 2012. The rest, as they say, is history.

So, Ram & Co told lies about Modi. But those lies helped Modi. Thus Ram & Co were consigned to the dustbin of history. The wealthy Communist was laid low by a simple God-fearing Hindu. How very sad!

Modi rose to become first chief minister of Gujarat and then prime minister of India in 2014 by testing and perfecting a playbook that combined populism, economic credentials, the Hindu right’s anti-democratic and anti-secular agenda and the strongman’s style of centralised and personalised rule.

N.Ram rose to become the publisher of the Hindu by being born to his Mummy and Daddy. They too held a high status in society because of whom they were born to. Modi was a good CM and then became a good PM. What is surprising is that even ten years later, the Opposition can't field an alternative candidate. But his is because Rahul was born to his Mummy and Daddy. His Daddy was born to a Mummy whose daddy was PM. So, Rahul is the only alternative to a guy who can actually do the job of PM. 

Since winning office, his BJP government has made no secret of its intent to consolidate political power along the lines worked out by the ideologues of “Hindutva” and “Hindu Rashtra”.

Did Ram keep his membership of the Communist party a secret? Perhaps. What wasn't a secret was who his Mummy and Daddy were.  

Hindutva can be translated as “Hindu-ness”, not so much in a religious as in a “civilisational sense”, according to these ideologues, while Hindu Rashtra connotes a theocratic or semi-theocratic Hindu polity or state, much like its Islamic counterparts.

What Ram approves of is Dynasticism. He inherited his position. Why do people who believe in God think that merit, rather than birth, should matter in politics? Look at North Korea. It has successfully combined dynasticism with communism. That is why so many South Koreans are trying desperately to emigrate there.  

Hindutva as we encounter it today is simultaneously a fascistic ideology, whose original and systematised formulation goes back a century, a militant call to action (“Hindu jihad”)

Ram is only for jihad if it is Islamic 

in the name of the “Hindu Samaj” (“samaj”, whose literal translation is “society”, is a loaded word here, much like the Muslim “umma”)

Is Ram against the 'umma'?  

and a toxic political project conceived and spearheaded by the RSS, which has given the concept organisational clout, salience in India’s political theatre and longevity.

We get it. RSS is not Communist. Nor does it have a dynastic leader. Thus, it is very evil and toxic.  

In this constellation of forces, it is the RSS that calls the shots

Modi calls the shots. But he does it in a sensible enough manner.  

The formation known as the “Sangh Parivar” is an extensive and multi-layered “family” of scores of organisations and forces that are brought together on the ideological-political platform of Hindutva and are committed, in multiple ways and over the long term, to the anti-constitutional project of Hindu Rashtra.

Ram thinks that eliminating the 'Sanatan Dharma' of the Hindus is the only project compatible with the Constitution.  

In this constellation of forces, it is the RSS that calls the shots. As the political front of the RSS, the BJP has sought over time to shape its politics and programmes, keeping in mind the necessity of becoming a mainstream party with broad electoral support. It may therefore have some functional autonomy. Communalism, targeted against minorities (especially Muslims but also Christians) and the punctual use of violence against them are its stock-in-trade. Engineering polarisation on religious and, more recently, on caste lines is a key part of its electoral strategy and tactics.

The politburo did call the shots in Communist parties in India. The RSS did not have the same type of hold over the BJP.  

Ten years after he was first elected as the prime minister of a country with a secular and democratic constitution, which came into force on 26th November 1950, Modi demonstrated his disdain for its principles.

No. Modi did exactly the same thing as India's first President, Rajendra Prasad, did at Somnath temple.  

At Ayodhya, the mythical birthplace of Lord Rama, whom Hindus believe to be an avatar of the supreme god Vishnu, a massive temple is now being built on the ruins of the Babri Masjid—a 16th century, Mughal-era mosque that was vandalised and razed to the ground on 6th December 1992 by Hindu activists brought together by organisations and leaders associated with the RSS.

Somnath had been sacked by Muslims invaders almost a thousand years previously.  

The lines separating religion, the state and politics… were erased in an unbounded show of majoritarian power

Unlike Nehru, Modi hasn't presided over the mass slaughter of Muslims. Unlike Indira, he hasn't jailed his opponents. Unlike Rajiv, no Sikhs have been killed. He hasn't even got the US or the EU to impose visa bans on his opponents. No wonder Ram hates him.  

On 22nd January 2024, at that site, Modi played the nation’s grand priest by leading the “Pran Pratishtha” rituals, infusing life into the idol for the child Lord Ram.

Like Rajendra Prasad at Somnath.  

In preparation, he had undertaken an 11-day purification ritual that involved fasting and other austerities, visiting temples across the country, inaugurating a big development project or two, and, most importantly, mobilising majoritarian sentiment with an eye to the upcoming general election.

Modi is a Hindu. So are most Indians. That is why Ram hates the country. Sadly, his Mummy and Daddy weren't wealthy Chinese Communists.  

With the prime minister’s revelation on social media that “God has asked me to represent the people of India during the ceremony”,

even though Stalin had banned God 

both the ruling party and its governments pulled out all the stops to politicise the Ayodhya consecration ceremony.

Apparently, Stalin tried to ban the telecast or any temple celebrations. The Supreme Court prevented this. Sad.  

The lines separating religion, the state and politics, laid down within India’s constitutional framework and reinforced by the Supreme Court in a 1994 judgement, were erased in an unbounded show of majoritarian power.

Nonsense! The Bommai judgement says the State can't discriminate against Hinduism even if Stalin doesn't like that religion.  

To understand what is happening in India today, we need to be clear that Modi’s party has been radically transformed under the tutelage of the RSS over a period of three decades.

The RSS helped set up the Jan Sangh which became the BJP. Vajpayee, Advani, Modi, Shah etc. belonged first to the RSS.  

Founded in 1980 on an amorphous right-of-centre platform, it reinvented itself by strategically adopting a platform of militant Hindutva in the early 1990s.

Nope. It has always been what it is.  

Its aggressive pursuit of both old issues of the Hindu right and volatile new ones picked by the party helped it advance in the mass political arena.

No. It was more cohesive than the other Janata factions while Congress was somewhat rudderless after Rajiv's assassination more particularly because Sonia disliked Narasimha while Kesari was utterly useless as Congress President. The return of Rahul, meant Congress could revive.  Sadly the boy was either gun-shy or a moron or both. 

That Hindutva agenda included pushing for the construction of the Ram temple in place of the Babri Masjid;

which was what the Supreme Court ordered 

“Islamic subversion” of Hindu society from within;

France welcomes such subversion- right?  

abrogation of Article 370 of the constitution; the promise of an Indian brand of capitalism marked by liberalisation and privatisation under the aegis of Hindu majoritarian interests;

as opposed to what Jewish minoritarian interests?  

the refrain of “pseudo-secularism” and “appeasement” of minorities; and the theme of Muslim “infiltration”, as distinct from Hindu “migration” from Bangladesh.

Hindu expulsion from Bangladesh.  

The arrival of Modi on centre stage, with a beguiling and seemingly inclusive election manifesto promising “development with and for all”, took the political stock of the BJP to another level.

Anyone can promise anything. Modi had a track record. Manmohan was decrepit and powerless. Rahul wouldn't step up to the plate.  

The party’s success in the 2014 general election put an end to a quarter century of centrist coalition governments.

corrupt coalition governments. Jyoti Basu, a Communist, could have headed one. But his politburo put its foot down.  

Reinvigorated, it won an absolute majority in the Lok Sabha, the lower house of parliament, and the personality and style of work of the new prime minister gave the Hindutva movement a boost. The old leaders of the BJP were sidelined or dropped.

As Modi will be when he gets too long in the tooth.  

The era of the strongman who would brook no opposition, no dissent, no competitor and no institutional obstacle did not take long to announce itself.

Modi jailed his opponents. He tortured Stalin. Ram himself was beaten and raped by Hindu harridans.  

There was a major new factor at work: the massive acclaim and support, moral and material, his regime received from big business. This nexus between the BJP and big business has been on show everywhere: across television, newspapers, magazines, social media and election funding. It was there too at Ayodhya on 22nd January, when corporate India turned up in force for the consecration of the grand temple.

The Hindu group has been mismanaged by the feuding extended family which owns it. They are rich but probably no longer count as a 'big business'. Sadly, it seems some of the nouveau riche tycoons are still devoutly Hindu. This makes Ram very angry.  

The BJP is undoubtedly India’s dominant political party, winning 31 per cent of the vote in the 2014 general election and 37 per cent in 2019. But majoritarian politics is rarely translated to a majority of the popular vote in multi-party parliamentary elections, especially in a vast country where diversities of every kind abound and realities on the ground can change quickly. Even the Congress party, in its heyday and facing no credible opposition at the national level, did not win a majority vote share.

India is a big country with a lot of political parties. So what?  

It is worth noting that the BJP’s share of the all-India popular vote has never touched 40 per cent in a general election, and its average vote share over the 10 general elections it has contested between 1984 and 2019 is a modest 22 per cent.

That's what makes this election interesting.  

The Congress, by contrast, took more than 40 per cent of the popular vote in the seven general elections it won between 1951 and 1984, almost reaching the 50 per cent mark that year, with a historical average vote share of 36 per cent over 17 general elections.

Ram is saying that is what will happen to the BJP. He may be right.  

Elections are about arithmetic as much as anything else, and these numbers suggest that the BJP is far from invincible if the opposition parties work together.

They won't. The Communists are putting up quite a strong candidate against Rahul in Kerala.  

The BJP has suffered several setbacks when pitted against strong regional parties and coalitions in state-level legislative assemblies as well as Lok Sabha elections at the state level. It was the appealing arithmetic factor that brought 27 political parties together into the big-tent bloc known as INDIA—an acronym for the Indian National Development Inclusive Alliance—with the primary goal of defeating the BJP in the 2024 general election. With some of the constituent parties at odds with each other at the state level and the sudden defection of Bihar’s chief minister Nitish Kumar and his Janata Dal (United) party to the BJP camp, the coherence of the INDIA bloc and its effectiveness in minimising the fragmentation of the anti-BJP vote is an open question.

There is a chance that Congress will gain a little at the expense of its allies compared to 2019 

On the economy, the Modi regime could still come unstuck.

Too late. 

As chief minister of Gujarat, Modi built a reputation among the middle classes and big business for ruthless efficiency in executing both development and Hindu-supremacist projects.

Stalin has a reputation for ruthless inefficiency. 

That reputation has, of course, been taken to another level as prime minister. However, significant infrastructural development and a quantum jump in incentivised corporate investment—the “Gujarat model” showcased by Modi and his admirers—may have come at the cost of generous government subsidies and improved economic growth for the state.

Ram thinks 'improved economic growth' is a cost not a benefit. 

Data shows that when it comes to social indicators such as poverty, infant mortality, nutrition, education, employment, health and the environment, Gujarat did not make any significant progress and continues to lag a long way behind the progressive southern Indian states, especially Kerala and Tamil Nadu.

Data shows that data is shit.  

The government’s narrative emphasises, as evidence of the prime minister’s current masterly management of the economy and his inclusive approach, a decent rate of GDP growth, currently the highest among the G20 economies; the construction of highways, tunnels and rural roads; welfare programmes such as the free distribution of food grains; housing and sanitation projects; the massive rollout of Covid-19 vaccines; direct benefit transfers enabled by the digital stack and the mass opening of bank accounts; the surge in digital payments, the switch to a Goods and Services Tax across the country, and so on.

Ram's narrative emphasizes his seeking to suck off Stalin any chance he gets.  

Critics, reminding us of the deep damage done to the economy by the November 2016 demonetisation misadventure (in which 86 per cent of cash in circulation was stripped of its status as legal tender) and the disastrous handling of the Covid-19 pandemic, say the economy is yet to recover fully from those shocks.

Critics are yet to recover from their cretinism.  

Well-known economists, including former government chief economic adviser Arvind Subramanian and former governor of the reserve Bank of India Raghuram Rajan, have

fucked off to Amrika.  If they are so smart how come they aint billionaires? Come to that, if Ram is so smart how come his family has gone in the scales of the mega-wealthy? 

raised doubts about the growth numbers put out by the government, pointing out that the lack of good data and the 2013 change in the method of estimating the GDP suggest that the Indian economy may not have been growing at the official rate. Critics also call attention to the alarming level of youth unemployment (40 per cent), the abysmal fraction of working-age women in employment (one in five, the lowest in the G20 countries, according to economists Raghuram G Rajan and Rohit Lamba), high levels of poverty and mass deprivation, the millions of malnourished children, rising inequality and environmental degradation. “India wastes too much of its human capital,” observe Rajan and Lamba, “and is in danger of frittering away its demographic dividend—the supposed dividend from having a growing share of working-age population—because it is not creating enough jobs.”

 You can get paid a little money in Amrika for gassing on about India's poverty. But, if you are smart, you can make a lot of money in Amrika or India or anywhere else. 

The perceived nexus of the government and big corporates has also involved a political and economic cost for Modi. Following a report by Hindenberg Research, a US investment research firm specialising in forensic financial investigation and focused on activist short-selling, Modi’s closeness to the billionaire Gautam Adani and the Adani Group of companies has drawn allegations of cronyism and cover-up. Hindenberg’s two-year investigation made the explosive allegation that the Adani Group, then valued at $218bn, had “engaged in a brazen stock manipulation and accounting fraud scheme over the course of decades” and that the government and the regulators had failed to do their job. There has been a furious fightback by the group and the BJP government—the two are seen by the political opposition to be joined at the hip—and the group reject the allegations. But, as a business daily points out, a year after the report “set off a firestorm and a political slugfest for the Adani Group, most of the port-to-cement conglomerate’s stocks are yet to fully recover from this setback.”

If there was no fall out from Anil Ambani's bankruptcy, what damage could a bear raid on Adani do? Allegations aren't evidence. The fact that questions have been raised about Ram shoving his head up Stalin's arse doesn't mean he doesn't eat his own shit. 

Surfacing close to the 2024 general election, the electoral bonds scandal has dealt an unexpected blow to the image of the BJP regime. Electoral bonds are in the nature of bearer bonds, which are designed for opacity. The electoral bonds scheme was introduced by the BJP government in early 2017 and operationalised in 2018 after the government amended several laws regulating, or relevant to, electoral finance.

In an Orwellian twist, a scheme tailor-made for donor anonymity, tax evasion and money laundering was sought to be passed off as a way of promoting transparency and electoral reform. A company or an individual could buy electoral bonds of different values from the sole bank designated for this purpose, the State Bank of India, and donate them to a political party.

Secure in the knowledge that the 'bag man' hadn't kept it for himself. Nirmala says she will bring the scheme back.  

While India’s top public sector bank held in its possession all the data on electoral bonds, including information on the identities of the donors, the values of bonds they purchased, and which party had encashed these bonds, the public was denied this information. The central government and its coercive agencies had access to this information, as their subsequent actions suggested. The election commission and the central bank, the Reserve Bank of India, had cautioned the government against the scheme before it was introduced, and newspaper articles and transparency activists had criticised and opposed it.

It makes no difference whatsoever. If Kejriwal hasn't been damaged by the liquor scam, then such 'criticisms' have no importance whatsoever.  

But it was only after a five-judge bench of the Supreme Court unanimously struck down the scheme as unconstitutional—because it violated the voters’ right to information about political funding under the constitution—and ordered the State Bank of India and the election commission to disclose to the public all the data they held under the scheme that the true character and contours of the scandal came to light.

But the effect on the voters was nil.  

Thanks to the Supreme Court’s verdict and its firmness in following up and enforcing the judgment to the letter, India’s newspapers, digital news providers, and independent researchers have been able to publish a wealth of stories based on data analysis and about the electoral bonds scandal. A Pandora’s box has been opened, and revelations on political corruption, extortion (through the use of coercive agencies of the state) to pressure unwilling and reluctant donors into coughing up funds for the ruling party, on a quid pro quo arrangement that punished non-donors and rewarded donors,

this is a mere fantasy. On the other hand, it can't be denied that Ram eagerly eats his own shit as a quid pro quo arrangement that pushed stuff up his ass. 

and on several illegalities committed under the scheme have come tumbling out. To no one’s surprise, the data shows that, between 12th April 2019 and 24th January 2024, the BJP cornered 47.46 per cent of the funds received by 26 political parties under the electoral bonds scheme, and the encashed electoral bonds fetched the equivalent of around $727m for the ruling party. Its main national rival, the Congress party, received only 11.14 per cent of the funds received under the scheme.

Congress is shit. What is surprising about it getting less money?  

Finally, some fault lines have emerged in the BJP voter base

caste based fault lines. That was inevitable. The question is whether the Party can mend fences quickly enough.  

which are being papered over by the Modi effect: his robust and seemingly undiminished popularity. A survey just ahead of the 2019 general election by one of India’s most trusted polling organisations suggested that Modi’s popularity accounted for nearly a third of the BJP’s vote. This excessive dependence on a leader,

Congress depends wholly upon its dynastic leader 

with no competitor or successor in sight, combined with the age factor—Modi will be nearly 79 at the end of a third term—and ongoing tensions and conflicts within the Sangh family suggest a potential vulnerability for the BJP.

No. Currently, it looks to be getting stronger. That could change.

But the last word must go to India’s finance minister, Nirmala Sitharaman. Presenting her sixth budget, she thrashed the management of the economy pre-Modi; promised a white paper that would outline how the economy might resurge and flourish following the “mess” left behind by the prime minister’s predecessors; argued, against the evidence, that Modi had surmounted the “enormous challenges” he inherited through “structural reforms, pro-people programmes, and the creation of opportunities for employment and entrepreneurship”; and proclaimed that the BJP government would return to parliament this July with a full budget that would unveil a road map for the attainment of “Viksit Bharat” (Developed or advanced India) by 2047, the centenary of India’s independence. It was a hubristic performance from start to finish—but this time she and the party look set to get away with it.

That's all that matters. If you say you will do great things and then you win big, there is no hubris. Ram joined the Communist party and supported the anti-Brahmin DMK. He loathed Modi and the BJP. It seems he bet on the wrong horse. This election may see BJP hitting double digits in Tamil Nadu. Ram can quietly go back to eating his own shit.