New Delhi: A geopolitical alarm must be sounded. India is at its weakest internally. The blame for this goes entirely to Narendra Modi. Socially, politically, economically and strategically, the country has become fractured to an alarming degree since Modi came to power in the middle of 2014. Under him, the country is slowly morphing to one-man rule as the ruling Bharatiya Janata Party manufactures majorities in states where it hasn’t got one through electoral legitimacy. One-man rule makes democracy nominal and no better than authoritarian dictatorship. If this state of affairs continues, there will not be much left to choose between Modi’s India and the China of Xi Jinping.

Socially, destructive faultlines have reappeared across the country. Dalits face persecution not just in small towns and rural pockets but in big cities as well. The BJP leadership widely is regarded as being insensitive to Dalits who confront the widest discrimination and intolerance in Modi’s home state of Gujarat. Modi’s embrace of the Dalit icon, B. R. Ambedkar, is seen as a ploy to capture the Dalit votebank without the involvement of any real affection. Dalits have not been used and abandoned in quite this premeditated manner by any other national party. This has more than domestic political implications. It attacks the foundations of India’s social peace, unity and integrity.

After the Dalits, the situation with Muslims has turned ugly and bitter. This has gone beyond the backlash produced by the Congress party’s pseudo-secularism. Pseudo-nationalists of the Sangh Parivar and associated organizations, including elements belonging to the ruling BJP, have commenced a campaign to taint Indian Muslims as anti-national and Pakistani fifth columnists. Unprecedentedly on Republic Day, a sacred day surely for the republic, there were riots in Uttar Pradesh whose flashpoint was a Sangh procession deliberately and provocatively routed through Muslim localities. What’s the idea? Polarization can fetch a few more votes. But the impairment to the national fabric can never be repaired. On the communal question, India has become weaker geopolitically than it was when Narendra Modi came to power.

If India becomes the mirror image of Pakistan where minorities are helpless against savage majoritarianism, it will lose global standing and indeed diminish as a power. Liberal democracy empowers India geopolitically, which the Narendra Modi government, in its anti-intellectualism and unwisdom, cannot fathom. If a considerable section of the population fears for their life and liberty, India has sailed into treacherous waters. No country has stayed intact much less prospered and grown that pits one section or community of citizens against another.

As troublesome and frightening is the take-no-prisoners’ political approach of Narendra Modi’s BJP. If A. B. Vajpayee were to be in active politics today and witnessed the machinations of the ruling party, he would have sunk into agony and despair. In politics, you do not coin extremist slogans such as “Congress-mukt Bharat”. Forget for a moment Jawaharlal Nehru and Modi’s hatred for him; Modi cannot ever diminish Nehru’s place in history; he remains the country’s greatest prime minister. However, how long will it take for a “BJP-mukt Bharat” campaign to take hold? Going to the election, the Vajpayee government with its “India Shining” rhetoric seemed invincible; the verdict swept it away like Monsoon rains.

Democracy’s principal lesson is that the transience of power ought to compel humility. Power is important but not everything. This lesson is lost on the BJP. The BJP grabbed power in Goa that was not its; Manohar Parrikar looked set to go on for a long, long time. Destiny has proved grimmer. Or watch the BJP’s underhand dealings in the North East and its domination by the lumpen that pulled down Lenin’s statue in Tripura. Will the Left die with such outrageous tactics? Hardly. Politically, all this may be par for the course, but not geopolitically. It’s Lenin and Periyar today; tomorrow, a mob may attack Keshav Kunj. Where will it end? Narendra Modi’s BJP has sown the seeds of liberal politics’ destruction which will rebound on it sooner than later. Far worse, it will leave India politically fragmented and adrift in a perilous world.

To be continued...