Perhaps I’m not quick enough, but I would like to be the first to not welcome the landslide election victory of India’s new “Hinduist” prime minister-elect, Narendra Modi. Democracy has done it again, and I gather they are dancing in the streets at Delhi, as “the people” are wont to do, whenever they have decisively achieved some profoundly stupid result, that is going to cost them big. (I had the same feeling, albeit slightly milder, when Americans were congratulating themselves for electing as their president a certain Barack Hussein Obama Soebarkah, back in November 2008.)
The immense victory of the Bharatiya Janata Party is, as the saying goes, “Bad news for Jews.” Actually, this is not said, for there are so few Jews in India, and the clever hack pundits of the world instead opine that it “may” be very bad news for Muslims. We will see how bad, soon, as the new government handles the police. For the police are never popular when defending minorities from majority mobs; and governments never popular when they are telling their cops to do the right thing.
There is, or at least was, however, a flourishing Jewish community in Bombay (“Mumbai,” according to the Hindu nationalists); even more flourishing and numerous Zoroastrians; and the Armenians there, but even more in Calcutta (“Kolkata”), are also close to my heart. I pray they are small enough to become invisible, when they keep their heads down, the way Christians try to do in Pakistan (and Bangladesh). The Christians in India, as too the Sikhs, Buddhists, Jains, are sufficiently numerous to make hiding difficult. Whatever they do, the Christians in particular will be accused of illegal proselytizing among the Hindus, whenupon there is invariably hell to pay.
Defenceless minorities are always “arrogant,” in the view of insuperable majorities. As several of the less elegant BJP politicians have suggested, they “need to be put in their place.”
Still, to my mind, just as I have argued that “Islamism” is bad news for non-Muslims but even worse news for Muslims, the Hindu nationalism that has now fully reared its multiple heads is worse news for Hindus. Those faithful will find that their religion has been hijacked by political fanatics and moral frauds; that it is now being dictated to them by men who are not God, and not very nice, either. (One might say, of India this morning, that the Vox Populi has once again elected the Vox Dei.)
One could, if one were so tedious as I used to be as a newspaper columnist, go into the history and reasons for Modi’s rise to unchallengeable power. He certainly got a lot of assistance from Mr Obama’s administration, which contrived, through sheer breathtaking incompetence, the diplomatic incident in New York that had all India’s media tongues wagging with chauvinist fervour. (They arrested a beautiful young Indian diplomat at the United Nations for something to do with the pay rate and visa status of her Indian maid; and then, ignoring her claim to diplomatic immunity, tossed this elegantly-clad lady into the lowest class of New York gaol cell, like any common vandal from the slums, yet with the express permission of the State Department in Washington. It was what the world has come to know as a “Kerry Special” — and then, while all India seethed with anti-American outrage and nationalist jingoism, the Kerry Specialists rubbed it in, adding that distinctly provocative New England tone of nasal self-righteousness, before finally realizing how big a mess they had made for themselves.)
This would be pointless, however. The rise of Hinduist nationalism has many causes, and the fatuity in New York was just a passing inspiration. In my judgement this chauvinism is, in the main, an historical response to Islamism, which touches India where she lives in a way that Islamism has yet to touch Europe and America.
As ever in these matters, Christ’s mysterious instruction, “Resist ye not evil,” comes back to haunt. The more one studies the enemy, the more one comes to emulate the enemy: to appreciate his tactics, and adopt his techniques. For really, one envies the enemy’s success. “Hindustanism” (may I coin this word?) will be much like Islamism, but with the wrath of Kali added in.
There are commentators in India this morning who think Modi won’t be like that. God bless and keep them, on Modi’s good side. For in my view, a politician who has gained power so largely through personal “charisma,” will indeed be like that. Power corrupts. Absolute power corrupts absolutely, as Lord Acton famously decreed. It was a formula that he himself qualified in interesting ways, but I should like to add this morning that the very prospect of political power deeply corrupts, and the votaries of Power come to power already fully corrupted.