Sunday, January 22, 2017

Emergence of 'The American Modi' :Is the World ready for Donald Trump?

Crisis is sometime a bitter pill – a necessity, often essential for reforms. So in such cases anyone who contributes to crisis also contributes for the success of reforms.

Well, creating a prelude to the following article is not without good reason.  The unthinkable has happened and Donald Trump is the new President of the United States of America. Trump's election was greeted with concern by many countries around the world, in part because of the potential for an isolationist foreign policy. This is predictable part of the story. Let us examine the other view too.


There is a Tolstoyan perspective of history that prescribes that individuals may be  irrelevant and in effect only circumstances create events. Taking a leap from these theories we ought to examine the issues flagged off by former Canadian Prime Minister Stephen Harper.
'Desi Trump and American Modi'
Harper was in New Delhi for the hyped Second Raisina Dialogue. His talk was informative and well analysed. There is a growing need of realisation that too much of negativism against a leader or a particular political system can often boomerang and result in immense support base for such a system, former Canadian Prime Minister has said referring to the triumph of Donald Trump in the US elections or the exit of Britain from the European Union could be attributed to this.

      "...May be they (Trump's election victory and exit of Britain from EU) happened because they were condemned by all. Does that sound strange?," Mr Harper asked.


This is precisely here I have an answer to offer. Rather my answer is illustrative. It is the case of the rise of the Moditva phenomenon in Indian politics – where the know all and intellectuals unhesitatingly had dumped Narendra Modi lock, stock, and barrel.  
Here actually comes the diagnosis of Stephen Harper: Negativism and underestimating by rivals actally led to Trump victory as also another unthinkable episode of circa 2016 – the exit of Britain from the European Union.

In this context, I tend to endorse the argument placed forward by Harper, one of the longest serving Prime Ministers of Canada.
Harper said unlike in the past, when 'newspapers' or news bulletins on radio and TV were sole source of information, the game has changed with the emergence of social networking as powerful tools. "Moreover, information is getting tailored to your choice now," he said. He further explained information flow is not one sided -- people can participate in a news event instantly. 

"With modern technology, people who disagree with consensus now get their own information, develop own views, and define their own interests - who feel the same ultimately support leadership from outside the system," he remarked.  

As a result, he said, "Virtually everyone is being politicised now and they are getting politicised in their own terms". It is here lies the relevance on the need to understand the 'politics of Hindus' vis-a-vis social networking in India. This is an emerging trend and it is trending strongly.
Harper: Razor Sharp Analysis

My take is simple: Don’t we agree with him vis-à-vis emergence of Narendra Modi? Was Modi not dismissed as a ‘communal’ Hindu Gujarati – who will never be acceptable to the “people (self-styled read broad minded secularists of India”? 

Have not we heard: India is no Gujarat?

Hence, may be Modi is 'Modi of today' - the Prime Minister of world's largest democracy --- because he was condemned by all? Indian intellectuals, NGO activists - may be thought - everyone else is stupid?

Harper was of the view that though significant enough, such major drastic happenings had happened in the past also. On this he referred to the breaking up of the Soviet Union and claimed that many years back a Polish communist leader, who disapproved the Soviet variety of communism, had predicted that things would go chaotic in the erstwhile communist empire (Soviet Union). Harper cautioned that all these - globally significant incidents - happened because the world was perhaps not willing to prepare itself for such outcome. "I believe this problem is going to get worse because we are not prepared well to respond," said Harper. Harper also diagnosed that Trump's victory was a testimony to the fact that he took up issues like 'immigration' as it concerned the people of America. 



I have referred this earlier also and again bringing in here. I was interviewed by a popular website Matters India on the day Modi was elected Prime Minister by Indian voters – May 16, 2014. To a question on secularism and minority appeasement from senior scribe Jose Kavi, I had said, “The Indian ‘secularism’ propagated by the Congress and Left and even parties of Mulayam Singh and Mamata Banerjee is also a Fundamentalism. They divide people. Muslims get 5 per cent job quota, bigger amount of scholarship. Then, will it be wrong if his Hindu classmate hates the Muslim boy? 

"Our good friend, Mobarak Haider, a liberal Pakistani writer, says the Congress and the Left pampered the pathological Muslim narcissism, making Muslims more of a minority”. (Extract from interview with Matters India: (www.matterindia.com)
 
My contention has been there is little to dispute that if we cherish democracy, the public perception is important. Thus, as the Prime Minister – Modi needs to convince and carry along his people. In Indian context, the onus is on him as expectations too are from him as the Mandate 2014 suggested. The mandate of 2014 somehow had nothing or less to do with the 'Hindutva agenda' of the RSS even as a large number of Sadhus were deployed during electioneering in 2014.

Let us leap back to the US President Trump and his assertions.

Few examples: "Americans want great schools for their children, safe neighbourhoods for their families, and good jobs for themselves. These are the just and reasonable demands of a righteous public”

"We will reinforce old alliances and form new ones - and unite the civilised world against radical Islamic terrorism, which we will eradicate completely from the face of the Earth."

Trump senior adviser Kellyanne Conway told Fox News: "He's going to inject a shock to the system here almost immediately”.
Trump’s political rivals - Democrats, in search of firm political footing after the unexpected defeat of Hillary Clinton, are planning to fight him at every turn. 

This is also replicate of Indian situation. The Indian National Congress vowed to fight Modi government at every turn – and it's fight Modi with every other opposition parties. Sometimes they are even fighting taking shelter of wrong issues and wrong friends like JNU’s teenager Kanhaiya!

Back to Stephen Harper’s analogy: Referring to post-Brexit continued rise of populist movements across Europe, and the ouster of the presidents of Brazil and South Korea, Mr Harper said the world situation is only turning complex.

“There’s no better person to quote” on all these, Mr Harper said, (other) “than Mr. Donald Trump: ‘What the hell is going on?’

We know there is skepticism around Trump administration, but  Mr Harper, says the U.S. foreign policy may actually now turn more stable.


It will be “potentially much more predictable". 


Hopefully, the clamour to fight Islamic terror and contain China will push Donald Trump to look for friends in Asia and yes, here is Narendra Modi – keen and ambitious – waiting with him Moditva. Mark some of the phrases of both the leaders – well, Namo can be a desi Trump in return. 


Ends

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