The Self-Hating Prophecy of Indian Elites

 

What is the difference between introspection and self-hatred? Introspection brings reflection, intention, and evolution. Self-hatred brings rumination, doubt, and rot. One is essential, the other is extinction.

Engagement of either shift one’s fate. From the roots of mentality grow branches of thought, blooming into flowers of action and eventually the fruits of result. Nowhere is this more clear than the night and day of the Indian elite.

The ancient elites of India wrote eternal tomes of meditation that built the bedrock of a civilization that has seen the best and worst of humanity, outlasting every peer and power. Their art and literature emanated confidence, beauty, and advancement. While sure of themselves, they had no qualms integrating new ideas from abroad or from home. Diversity was strength, and challenge was opportunity.

Their descendants today are devolution incarnate – Kali Yuga realized. An unending anguish for the approval of outsiders, self-flagellating of even the most innocent of traditions, and an obsessive compulsion for mediocrity are the trickle-down that these elites have given Indians since independence.

While trivial bashing of them is enjoyable, I want to get to the meat of their minds as well as what these minds have yielded.

What causes the exceptional self-loathing of these elites? The mania of knee-bending and the need to constantly look outwards for validation? The ability to be stupendously arrogant towards their birthright to rule yet despise their roots?

The Sahib and Sepoy

There is no conspiracy; it’s basic human nature.

We have to go back to the colonial era where the initial incubation occurred. A few million men from an island several continents and seas away subdued a subcontinent of hundreds of millions. The exploitation of internal strife, technological superiority, and efficient use of coin and corps sealed the deal as Indian kingdoms fell piece by piece like dominos. The British had won the game just as a much-awaited saffron remontada had begun but was tragically cut short.

A Rendezvous of Royalty and Regiment in British India

Now it’s only fair to give context to collaboration. For a number of centuries in the past millennia, significant parts of India were ruled by people who had an intense disdain for the indigenous way of life. On their left hand were the foreign ideologues who justified the rape of a civilization, on their right hand were Indians themselves. Collaborators and allies who can search for every ounce of excuse for their cooperation, but does this outweigh the oppression of ages that many Indians faced? We have to zoom out a bit to give a fair shake.

India as a civilization is ancient; as a nation-state, less so. Additionally, many of the people of Bhārat held a strong attachment to their caste or regional identity over an overarching Indian identity. When push came to shove, it was the people of their local identity that pushed back for them. Furthermore, many leaders simply lacked leverage after defeat. “Never surrender” is picture-perfect in movies, but rarely makes the film reel of reality.

However, there is a flip side to this. Because many times, the local group which turncoats claimed to represent did eventually suffer under the fist of foreign rule. Another factor is that collaborators benefited by wealth, status, or getting rid of a pesky rival after colluding with a foreign power. And something a bit more bothersome – there seemed to be very little backlash once the rule of “outsiders” was abolished. No upending of elites but instead a transition of these same elites into the new regime. It makes sense as these elites offered a confectionery of knowledge and resources, but it leaves a sour taste seeing Indians’ (or whatever primary identity observed) nonchalant attitude towards this “betrayal.” On the other hand, maybe this is more a feature of humanity rather than just Indians.

That all considered, the current crop of Indian elites derives itself from the initial collaboration with the British Raj and eventual rebellion against it. This is the crucible where their ideology was concocted. Strands of thought they hold as sacrosanct. Their code. Their way. And in a sense, their Dharma.

Colonial Adharma

A concept of eons and earth, Dharma penetrates the Indian psyche. An idea rooted in upholding one’s tradition and way. An endurance of culture.

And this is what we must explore – what is Dharma of the Indian elites?

Is it the welfare of the Indian people? To build a strong Indian state? To honor India’s civilization? Or is it to impress their bedfellows in the cities of the West? To siphon wealth and power from the commoner? To uphold their “Dharma” handed down generations ago by their colonial epitomes?

Their Dharma is a self-hating prophecy. A mantra of ideas they repeat to themselves and proselytize to other Indians. These ideas form that pivotal mentality as well as the environment we discussed earlier deciding the destiny of Indians for decades. Three pillars uphold this prophecy:

  1. Preserving feudal and colonial power structures via government laws and economics to exploit the masses.
  2. The constant need for the mimicry of and approval from the West with an equally constant need to exercise self-loathing by putting down local traditions as primitive and barbaric.
  3. Utilize legal structures and cultural exertion to spread these ideas causing the downward spiral of India and Indians.
British Man Enjoying A Taste Of Elite Life In India

Status and power – again, basic human nature. The self-hating aspect is essential though in that it strengthens both. Vilification of India and Indians gets them in the good books with mainstream Western intellectuals and makes great cocktail hour conversation. Less so deliberately, it also gives the common populace discomfort when looking in a mirror. They see inherent failure and inferiority, and now want to emulate the successful elites who emulate the successful West. Indian elites seek to incinerate their past leaving themselves bereft of any cultural or even aesthetic sense, something easily seen in the dismal and uninspiring art and architecture they leave in their trail. The Indian elite’s material misrule can be excused as a failure of policy, but this mentality that the elites have passed down provides another deep handicap to Indians. For the common Indian, the Dharma of the colonized elites was an Adharma, the unrighteous twin of Dharma.

But this brings us to another point – why does the West buy this out of touch elite discourse so wholeheartedly?

The Indian elite brings the credentials of brown skin but also communicates with familiarity, which naturally brings fondness. They confirm every prior. They speak in an Indian but not so Indian accent – akin to a Starbucks chai tea latte versus chai from a small town alley, perhaps even given by that chaiwallah himself who is the personification of everything they despise. His speech, his unabashedly proud Hindu faith, his usurping of the poor as his electoral vanguard; the subaltern who rebelled. First they ignored him, then they laughed at him, then they fought him, and then he won – twice. The most visceral defeat of their lifetimes. Their breaking point. A god damn chaiwallah.

But I digress.

The Cloak

The transaction truly occurs because the Indian elite cloaks their policy in recognizable rhetoric. Vapid hot air discourse that sings to the out of touch tune blowing out of Brooklyn boroughs, it sounds like Beethoven rather than Bhimsen Joshi; pleasing in a familiar way rather than exotic. The elites drape their actions and ideology in a cloak of Western buzzwords like “liberalism,” “secularism,” “social justice,” etc… to cover for any policy or political rhetoric, no matter how illiberal, unsecular, or unjust they actually are.

No matter that the Indian actuality doesn’t match the Western figment. No matter that many Indians are done with minority appeasement and profoundly unsecular laws, which the BJP wants to replace with a comprehensively simple, secular universal civil code. No matter the scars of the millennia-old history of the subcontinent that is thrown at Indian faces every day as common institutions and monuments bring name and memory of the oppression of its past with roads named after the fanatic genocidaire Aurangzeb and universities after the Inquisitor-in-Chief, Francis Xavier, who turned crucifixion and forced conversions into a Goan pastime. The commoner is covered and smothered by the cloak just as Indian politics itself is.

Painting Of One Of The Burnings Of Pagans (Hindus) In The Goan Inquisition

The cloak can look like colonial attire when the savagery of British colonial law is thrown about by the Indian government terrorizing its populace. With many of the worst abuses occurring under the forever “liberal’ Indian National Congress Party over the decades, though the BJP and other parties haven’t hesitated to indulge in these laws as well. The cloak can look like a brave student protest against the forever fashionable phrase of “fascist forces” but actually is protesting against giving refuge to some of the most oppressed people in the world simply because it shines the light of truth on India’s neighboring theocracies, as we saw with the anti-CAA protests. They lament at the apocalypse facing “secularism” in India while enflaming caste divisions for political calculus and ignore the litany of laws that favor citizens simply because of their religion – as long as they are the right religion (not Hinduism). The chameleon-like cloak dons stars and stripes as the Indian elite cheers on Confederate monuments being smashed and names erased, but fights with fury as the crimes of the Mughals and other imperialists are corrected.

And the integral fabric of this cloak is the common thread of self-hatred. At every turn, Indian tradition and culture must be put down. The brown savage must be saved and civilized. Now that the colonial masters have left, their choicest disciples have taken the mantle of baptizing the 1 billion heathens of the subcontinent. A tall task, which is why the Indian elite won’t hesitate to seek foreign intervention and commentary on Indian affairs, even going so far as to request kinetic interference from other nation-states, spitting in the face of Indian sovereignty.

Animal Farm

This brings us to the most apt metaphor for the Indian Elite, which we will find in George Orwell’s Animal Farm.

A story of a group of farm animals rebelling against the tyranny of oppressive humans, we watch as a set of these animals (the pigs) promise equality and prosperity but twist the narrative over time into a callous hierarchy and persecution. Along the way in this story, we watch as the animals suffer and begin to see themselves as inherently inferior not only to the humans but also the pigs who dominate by hook and crook, secretly collaborating more with humans as time passes. They encode their advantages into laws that suppress and condition the other animals into destitution. Sounding familiar?

Hypocrisy is abundant in the pigs’ rise as the other animals fall into squalor, while the pigs resemble their former human masters more and more as time goes on. Dissent from other animals is destroyed as eventually the memory of old ideals and revolutions is erased and replaced with sanitized fantasies and falsehoods. Eventually striking a deal and dinner with their human masters as the pigs dress like them, walk like them, eat and drink like them, and most significantly, exploit and abuse their fellow animals like them.

The Indian Elite are simply the pigs from Animal Farm.

At The End of George Orwell’s Animal Farm, the Pigs Betray Their Fellow Animals And Take On The Characteristics Of Their Former Human Oppressors. The Ending Finds The Other Animals Staring Through A Window At The Human And Pigs’ Dinner, Unable To Differentiate Between The Two.

As their fellow Indians peer at them through the digital window, they see that the differences between colonizer and colonized are only skin deep at a certain point. Even that hue fades as it becomes harder and harder to distinguish between the two. Their melanin cannot hide the malice that they have embraced. Their Dharma cannot fulfill their desperation. The cycle of self-hatred wheels around a civilization, but increasingly, this prophecy is now being seen as blasphemy. And while the Indian elite seethes feeling their old followers slip away forever, they will have no choice but to come to terms with India’s reincarnation.

This is a repost from The EmissaryPlease visit the blog for more content!

36 Replies to “The Self-Hating Prophecy of Indian Elites”

  1. where’s the line between a) wanting to build on your own heritage by critical introspection and assimilating successful features and attitudes from other cultures and b) just being one of these self-loathing compradors invoked above? To those who hope to rally the great masses to civilizational pride, does it ever occur to them that many have never had an inferiority complex? I come across the rhetoric among quite a few supporters of the current government that “indians can finally feel proud” or some variation thereof. A movement that needs to make believe prehistoric scientific achievements seems profoundly insecure and unreliable as custodians of civilizational rebirth.

    1. One can parse and learn from achievements from others without putting down oneself. India indeed needs to introspect on its failings and I think is open to outside knowledge. Not either or in real life.

      I don’t think it’s fair to pin India’s current “movement” and its success on WhatsApp uncles which believe in 250 million year old vimaans. If one actually believes this, then I encourage them to keep doing that. The movement will keep winning because of this miscalculation.

      OTOH, I think we should introspect ourselves seeing diaspora believing Instagram forwards that 250 million people are protesting in India 😁. WhatsApp uncles at least have the W when it comes to elections and supporting a government that wins and does what it says (at least in the cultural domain, economic domains seems to be starting).

      1. Emissary, its possible to believe both things, that hindnats are far too credulous of anything that assuages their complexes, and that the foreign media has a bizarre and ill-conceived idea that the farmer protests are some kind of underdog rebellion and fall for any propaganda that characterizes the government as persecutors of innocent minorities. You mention introspection “without putting ourselves down”, still don’t understand who are these people you refer to. I consider myself well exposed to the indian elite, and the idea that they are all sneering hinduphobes is absurd. If anything, the rise of BJP was a fait accompli because it maps to the economic elite’s self-conception better than others. Its a class thing al la Bourdieu, people with excess cultural capital lean left and excess economic lean right. Bengalis vs Gujaratis are case in point, where the latter tend not to be associated with classical forms. Much of what the heartland bristles at and calls “anti-hindu” is just class and inter-cultural snobbery. North indian/gujurati culture appears folksy, quaint, but crude apart from the persianate elaborations to many southerners/easterners.

  2. One point of correction. A ‘few million men’ from Britain during colonial era is wrong. At the height of the British Raj there were roughly 100,000 white British physically present in India. And most of them were administrators, magistrates, very senior military, etc.

    Remember that India was conquered by the British East India Company using entirely Sepoy armies. Sepoy is an anglicization of the Hindi/Urdu word Sipahi. And once conquered, upper caste educated folks (think brahmins, parsis, etc) helped run the place under orders from the white British at the company and then later on the Raj after the company was nationalized.

    As an example, historians often focus on Dyer when looking at the jallianwalla bagh massacre. But don’t forget all the guns were loaded and fired by sepoys.

    1. You are correct. Tried to thread the line between boots on the ground and British as a people/ethnicity back then. But your rightful estimate makes it even more damning. I have no idea why Indians gloss over this so easily. It was Indians pulling the triggers most of the time.

    2. In 1947 the Anglo Indian population was about 2 million. This includes both people of 100% English ancestry and mixed English ancestry.

      In some places–especially Calcutta and to a lesser degree Bombay–Anglo Indians were a large part of local culture and business.

      1. @AnAn – yes but the overwhelming majority of that 2 million is Anglo Indian and not British white. Plus actual British genetic admix is extremely low in the Anglo Indian community. In fact in many sub communities there is no European admix at all. It turns out that families and communities who worked for the British as help simply adopted an Anglo identity.

  3. This is what happens when you import Post-WW2 Deconstructionist Liberalism to a newly formed post-colonial Country. Europe rightfully went back and scrutinized the racist&imperialist ideologies spawned by the enlightenment era thinkers. However, India needed the opposite after a century of being told that they’re inferior by the Brits, India needed a version of liberalism that readily embraced India’s Dharmic Culture.

    What ended up happening was the opposite, Indian elites declared Post WW2 Liberal West as the peak of Human Civilization. Everything from the Classic Ramayana&Mahabharata was deemed crass&rustic, despite it being one of India’s seminal literary works which is comparable to likes of Oddessy&Epic of Gilgamesh.

    BJP’s historic victory in 2014 was inevitable, Indians pooled their votes towards a party that wore the culture of Indians as a badge of honour, this isn’t something Congress can compete against by using some vague appeals to Secularism, its over for Liberals. They can’t win, they’ve backed themselves into a corner by propagating this deracinated brand of Liberalism.

    1. I don’t know man, but you sound like the kid who has mugged up the capitals of some obscure countries and repeats it at every family get-together when prompted by his under-achieving parents. What TF has GDP growth rate to do with the charges of deracination and forced cultural relativism of Indian elites that is discussed in this article? Please do enlighten us.

      Look around – the Chinese, Japanese, Taiwanese or Sri Lankan elites do not exhibit any of the depths of deracination that Indian elites do. And they have put their countries on a far better footing than our elites have done.

      1. “Look around – the Chinese, Japanese, Taiwanese or Sri Lankan elites do not exhibit any of the depths of deracination that Indian elites do.”

        Somebody has written an entire book explaining why you are wrong: tinyurlDOTcom/y4j2ktmo

        The guy who runs this blog has read it, maybe you should do some reading as well.

        And yes, the Sino-Japanese war (22 million dead) Chinese Civil war (10 million dead), Great Leap Forward (40 million dead), Cultural Revolution (possibly upto 20 million), Japan being razed to the ground in WW2 (3 million dead), Sri Lankan Civil War all point to the excellence of the elites in those societies.

        1. Asking again, showing some random GDP graph to insinuate…..what exactly? You keep parking in the vague zone.

          You want me, as an Indian, to read an American’s view on how an Indian is thinking about modernity and the West. So that I can understand how I understand! So that I can ponder on how I think! And according to you, without reading that book, I do not know how to process the reactionary urges of myself and other Indians to modernity and the West.

          Vikram, congratulations!! In your own charming way, you have personified the soul of my argument.

          1. “You want me, as an Indian, to read an American’s view on how an Indian is thinking about modernity and the West.”

            One of the most referenced books on America was written in the 19th century by a French man. An Englishman restored Ashoka in the Indian conscious. Human beings are much better at analyzing others than themselves, read Kahneman’s book or maybe you think Israeli psychologists cannot understand non-Israeli brains ?

          2. @Vikram

            Go on to Goodreads or Amazon and spot the reviews for that book. Indians? Yes. But the Japanese/Chinese reviewers – not even one! Guess they are all “inward looking” like me.

            Your assumption about “an Englishman and Ashoka” is middling cringe and sophism. But I can see that you seek to provide warmth with motherhood statements like these. This is probably how deracination operates at the limbic level to attract followers and keep the flock in.

    2. India’s elites being deracinated and India’s economic performance slowing over the past 7 years vs 2 random countries can both be true.

      The political blueprint vis a vis economics for the Modi gov is pretty simple – boost and streamline welfare in term 1 (DBT was a godsend in this category) to secure an electoral mandate and integrate people into the market; privatization and liberalization in term 2 to unleash that market (and now we’re seeing how difficult that is even with this mandate). Fiscal expansion should probably be more aggressive and it’s very fair to critique demonetization and GST rollout (though what reform has ever rolled out smooth – Obamacare anyone?). It would only be fair to include the NPA mess and inflation inherited from the UPA regime then. But we can go ahead and compare a piece on culture vs GDP rates from 2 random countries if we want.

      1. Two random countries ? These are some of our peers in terms of gdp per capita, we are competing with them to bring manufacturing into our country.

        The NDA received an unprecedented mandate, with enormous political capital. 7 years have gone and our criminal justice system remains woeful in protecting in even average folk, forget the weakest in our society. Police men are burning victim’s body’s in the middle of the night.

        Instead of promoting competitive federalism and letting states lead by example, we are seeing unprecedented centralization and Centre-raj. State governments are being brought down Indira-style. You can no longer support a political party financially without the government knowing the details.

        It is the BJP’s supremely good fortune that the Congress is an inept dinosaur, anywhere there is a actually a semblance of a fair fight (Delhi, Odisha) it loses by large margins.

        1. I agree with your economic critiques of India lagging, but it has a profound context to it. (check this inflation graph to illustrates a huge part of the problem – https://www.statista.com/statistics/271322/inflation-rate-in-india/)

          This piece is exclusively focused on culture, but I’ll respond to your points and leave it at that:

          1. If NDA went full free-market libertarian with gung ho reforms, etc…, would they have won a second term? Not a chance in hell. You and I both know that. And now see the scenes happening with farm reforms.
          2. I agree that India BADLY needs judicial reforms. Milords are monsters. But if the gov went ahead and did that in term 1 (esp with RJB in courts), how would have the opposition reacted? Everyone and their moms will scream fascism. The obtuse courts & milords would probably come up with some injunction against the government blocking the reform. This is a long haul reform and needs HUGE political capital. Even today it’s dicey to do.
          3. The horror of Hathras is indeed despicable. There are many other horrible examples of BJP’s shit governance. But at this point, it seems you’re listing off random failures of the BJP (I encourage you to do this, good to hold them accountable). Law & Order needs reform too but it will go along the same lines as Judicial reforms – “muh fascism” and other screeching with the international arena joining in just like they are in farm reforms (wtf???). Both L/O & Judicial systems are horribly broken and will need multiple reforms to fix. Hope the BJP gets to it.
          4. So we will ignore BJP’s gains in Bengal, TG, and other non-Congress occupied states? This is cherry-picking. The BJP won 2019 for multiple reasons (welfare, infrastructure, national defense, acting against terror attacks, Modi’s persona, etc…). The BJP fails in state elections again for multiple, contextual reasons.

          1. I agree that any critique needs nuance. But then, in reference to your OP, why dont the Congress and other ‘elites’ deserve to get this nuanced treatment ? Was there no context to their decisions and behaviour ?

            With regards to the economy, I agree with you that this slowdown is not a simple story, and has many reasons. But the fact remains that our merchandise exports have remained stagnant since the BJP came to power, we havent been able to get our power sector rationalized and our banking sector fixed among other reasons. The buck here does lie with the government, although credit to them, they do acknowledge the problem, and are trying to compensate via PLI/infrastructure/waterways etc.

            I am not sure how much more political capital the BJP needs to fix our criminal justice system. The situation at the bottom is downright Darwinian, literally ‘Ram-bharose chal raha hain’.

            The BJP are miles better than Rahul and Sonia, but thats not saying much.

        2. “It is the BJP’s supremely good fortune that the Congress is an inept dinosaur, anywhere there is a actually a semblance of a fair fight (Delhi, Odisha) it loses by large margins.”

          Well it can also be argued that the semblance of fair fight in these states is also down to the opposition BJP’s ineptitude, rather than those states being better at governance.

    1. AnAn, India ranks third in startup funding, in PPP terms it would be the first. Our base software talent (working in firms like Roposo, Chingari) can deliver solutions somewhat close to salutatorian level Chinese talent (TikTok).

      The valedictory talent from the whole world still goes to Silicon Valley, so the US will lead for the foreseeable future, especially at the intersection of tech and biology/medicine.

  4. I stopped reading as soon as I read this line: “which the BJP wants to replace with a comprehensively simple, secular universal civil code”. BJP and secularism in the same sentence looks a little off to my untrained eye. BJP itself is a party of the elite, maybe not the Lutyen’s elite but elite nonetheless. The closest similarity it has is with the AK party in Turkey (another country with an entrenched elite). It is an openly communitarian, sectarian party that wants majority rule at all costs. I don’t know what would be a good alternate choice for India (with congress being run into ground by Gandhi family) but positing that BJP is trying to implement secularism looks like a laughable claim to me.

    1. Isn’t a single civil code similar to America more secular than having multiple religiously based civil codes i.e. one for Muslims one for Hindus one for Christians etc.

      Having multiple civil code sort of erodes religious freedom, because it leads to complex and problematic situations for eg. what happens when one of the partners in a marriage converts to another religion and then they divorce ?

      The BJP itself is not secular, but a Uniform Civil Code is secular in that it is separation of religion and state.

    2. How is wanting a uniform civil code for all citizens, irrespective of their religion, NOT secular?

      1. BJP has no interest in treating non-hindus as citizens. A uniform civil code legislated by the BJP would codify legal discrimination against minorities.

        1. BJP has no interest in treating non-hindus as citizens

          Are you following the laws/verdicts and welfare schemes out there?
          I guess then BJP also added 5k Muslim members to the party last month for fun.

          A uniform civil code legislated by the BJP would codify legal discrimination against minorities.

          Must be nice having a crystal ball unlike the rest of us.

        2. Agree with Roy, though over the years i have not come with what would be a good example of legal discrimination against minorities within a UCC. Perhaps haven’t given much thought.

          If the (RSS) idea is to implement Hindu Civil law in toto, i feel it would still be an upgrade, considering its (law-wise) more progressive than Muslim personal law. Not sure how the Christian laws grade against Hindu Civil laws in India.

          1. Goa has a uniform civil code. How big of a deal is it there?

            I imagine that if UCC was implemented then states might make up their own civil codes. Would be interesting to see how ‘progressive’ states like Bengal and Kerala deal with regressive Muslim personal laws.

            In any case, I don’t think this is going to happen any time soon. BJP has given 2/3 of its promises (Ayodhya+370).

            UCC if it has to, will happen in the next term. The remainder of this term it seems will be spent fire-fighting.

            I also doubt if BJP will be back next time at least not with the kind of majority they have this time.

            Also

            TIL:
            – Bigamy is allowed for Hindus in Goa if the wife fails to deliver a child by the age of 25
            – Goa is the only Indian state that allows pre-nups. I know where I am getting married now.

          2. Dont know if Goa example can be followed, its a small state with its bizarre politics. Also i think the reason it has UCC is that both Hindu and Christian civil laws are similar to an extent.

            On BJP , yeah i agree most of the political energy is sapped. Whatever left of it will be used to retain the North Indian states. It would be a slow walk to 2022, when the GST mandate is over, and then there will a mega redistribution scheme for 2024.

            Though i think its not in BJP interest to go for a UCC even in next term, if it wants to. It has limited political appeal plus there are other agendas already being added to their core items like NRC and CAA . Out of the original 3 ,always felt UCC was the least important to BJP, anyways. It lacked the oomph factor.

          3. “Though i think its not in BJP interest to go for a UCC even in next term, if it wants to. It has limited political appeal plus there are other agendas already being added to their core items like NRC and CAA . Out of the original 3 ,always felt UCC was the least important to BJP, anyways. It lacked the oomph factor.”

            UCC will come some day. I don’t know when or what form it will take, though.

            Also think the nature of BJP’s relationship with Muslims is going to change over the next decade.

            BJP and Muslims have kept themselves at an arm’s distance till now. The polarization helps both groups. BJP gets Hindtuva votes and Muslim elites get elevated status in opposition or state governments.

            I think this will change in times to come.

            Might be because of Owaisi or might be because of the growing ‘Pasmanda’ chatter in the background or the good old Shia-Sunni divide. Who’s to know?

            But I don’t think BJP is going to let a chance slip to increase its vote bank, especially as the appeal of Hindutva is reaching a saturation point in this generation.

            Doesn’t mean that BJP will suddenly become a Muslim darling or anything. They’ll just find a decently sized and vocal minority to do their bidding.
            Say 20% of the Pasmanda vote.

          4. Nope. All this Pasmanda stuff is akin to the recent Mazhabi-sikhs-voting-for-BJP bullshit. No 5D chess happening here. Blood (or in Indian case, religion) is thicker than water.

            Also doubt BJP relationship will change wrt muslims. It will ebb and flow, but wont reset. 2 Reasons. One Hindutva hasn’t reach saturation point in South and East. BJP would still want to experiment there, and so cant go loose on Hindutva overall. Second, increase in vote bank, if it comes at cost of losing strongholds in North will trouble the BJP. It knows which side the bread is buttered.

            What i see is the opposition in India finally taking the bait, and being pushed to include Muslims in their coalition. Even if it means to be portrayed as anti Hindu, pro minority etc.

    3. “BJP itself is a party of the elite, maybe not the Lutyen’s elite but elite nonetheless.”

      In India, it takes so many years (30-40) for a leader to emerge from the grassroots in any major party that by the time they’re at a cabinet-level position they’re already a part of the elite. This is more about the systemic nature of the Indian polity in general rather than just the BJP.

      “It is an openly communitarian, sectarian party that wants majority rule at all costs.”

      There are various schools of thought in the Sangh Parivar of which the above is just one. The BJP by itself doesn’t have one overarching goal but like many other large parties have factions that jostle with each other.

      For that matter, even organizations within the Sangh Parivar are often at odds with each other. The Bharatiya Kisan Sangh (Indian Farmers’ Association) is a large proponent of repeated farm loan waivers that gut the national budget, the Bharatiya Mazdoor Sangh (Indian Labourers’ Association) was one of the organizations that threw a spanner in the BJP’s attempted labour reforms last year, which finally got passed recently. The Swadeshi Jagran Manch regularly complains about allowing FDI in Indian sectors for foreign companies and is all about (sometimes misguided) self-sufficiency and repeatedly stonewalls the more market-friendly BJP.

      Then there’s the VHP that provides welfare and relief, as well as vocational and medical training. The Bajrang Dal is more about street power and was often at odds with the Vajpayee government who called them ’embarrassing’.

      These groups also have an internal policy not to direct blame at each other since it’s seared into their memory how Hindus backstabbing one another led to India being ruled by foreigners so often. So whenever a semi-informed journalist attributes something done by the Bajrang Dal to the BJP or presenting arguments between the SJM and the BJP as “internal disagreements within the BJP on economic reform” there’s no incentive for any organization within the Sangh Parivar to correct them, as they aren’t willing to throw each other under the bus due to the history they’re constantly reminded of.

      1. Author Vinay Sitapati (who wrote PVNR and Atal-Advani book) says that BJP is not a party of prima donnas.

        It is like a big joint Hindu family. Whatever happens, how much ever disagreements – has to be resolved within the family. No washing the laundry in public.

        Pravin Togadai has become obscure because Modi didn’t like him. However, we don’t see him (Togadia) holding press conferences like Congress party members. Same is the case with Suresh Bhaiyyaji Joshi. He too wasn’t a fan of Modi, but since Modi was elected, we didn’t hear much from him.

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