Modi regime’s war rhetoric rooted in Indian middle class’s military worship
India-Pakistan conflict is showing no signs of de-escalation despite Pakistani Prime Minister Imran Khan’s unprecedented move to release an Indian fighter pilot captured by his army in the last week of February. Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi, an ardent Hindutva fascist, along with his coterie, is still using war rhetoric and talking about violence to escalate tension between the two nuclear power neighbours. What’s it if not an election drama? What’s this jingoistic hysteria if not a frantic attempt to turn the table of electoral politics and win a comfortable majority?
Modi, the BJP, and its paternal organisation — the RSS — know well that since its independence from direct colonial rule, the Indian rulers have never allowed real democratic ideals and values to thrive in the Indian society or politics, rather a polished form of feudal domination was christened as democracy and peddled so far to dupe the masses. They know that the Indian middle class and elites have been uncritical worshippers of the military establishment and trust it more than the political establishment due to its projection as a patriotic and selfless force by the perception-building mechanism of the ruling classes.
India is one of the countries where democratic values and beliefs are often demeaned to hype feudal masculinity and violence. In films, literature and popular myth, violence, military action, extra-judicial killings, etc, are shown as solutions to complex problems, rather than dialogue, discussion, debate or other forms of democratic discourse. Though the Indian state considers itself a disciple of MK Gandhi’s doctrine of nonviolence, it didn’t ever shy to use and glorify military violence to entice middle class and the elites from upper-caste Hindu society. It may be its incessant call for a war with Pakistan through films, tv shows, literature and political rhetoric, or the justification of state terror against the Kashmiri people, tribals of Chhattisgarh, Jharkhand, Odisha, or people of Manipur or Nagaland, the Indian ruling classes always justify violence as the means to achieve ends, unless the people whom they try to suppress and subjugate use counter-violence against their aggression.
For years, the Indian ruling classes have enticed the Indian middle class with purported military supremacy vis-a-vis Pakistan. The ruling classes have brainwashed the politically-crucial urban middle class with its militarist dogma and made them believe that India can defeat Pakistan in a matter of seconds, if not flashes, to incite war hysteria among them. As the majority of the middle class belong to upper-caste Hindu society, therefore, such theories of supremacy have been well accepted by this socio-economic bloc. These sections of the society have since believed that defeating Pakistan, despite its nuclear arsenal and dubious track record of flirting with Salafist terrorists, is quite easy for the Indian military establishment due to its past victories in three wars and a semi-war with the neighbouring country.
Questioning the military establishment is considered blasphemous in India, an unusual thing in a democracy. The military-worship culture followed by the elites and the urban middle class of India is unmatchable in liberal democracies and can be equated only with military-ruled countries of Asia-Africa-Latin America or Zionist terrorist state — Israel. The press has also worked as a PR agency of the military for years and never dared to question its atrocities committed against the people of Kashmir, Manipur, Mizoram and Nagaland. If it has rarely done so, then the tonality has been apologetic and the theme quite meek out of the fear of
The military wields so much power in India, especially in Modi-fied India, that questioning the enactment of the draconian anti-people AFSPA, used by the Indian rulers to impose martial rule in those places where the common people have revolted against Indian Brahminical fascist domination, can have those who raise such questions stamped as “anti-national” by the Indian ruling classes and their political representatives like the RSS-led Sangh Parivar. The colonial-era sedition law is slapped on them who question the AFSPA or the gloating of the Indian state over the macabre nature of atrocities committed in Kashmir, Manipur, Chhattisgarh, etc.
No logic is provided by the so-called democracy on why questioning a military establishment, funded by the public exchequer should be considered blasphemous? Why the military can’t be held accountable by the common people who are technically their employer and salary-provider? Rather than making the military establishment accountable to the people’s supremacy, the Indian state has provided it immunity from criticism and scrutiny. The people are forced to show obeisance towards a force that’s maintained with the money they pay as direct and indirect tax to the state’s coffers. Sitting on a huge budget and no accountability towards the people who pay them salary, the Indian military establishment has turned into an omnipotent force that exerts strong influence on the country’s mainstream parliamentary politics, diplomacy and foreign affairs, and its economy as a whole.
This unconditional faith in the military establishment and obeisance demanded by the ruling classes from the common people, obliged by the politically crucial middle class, are contrary to democratic ethos and values. So far this unquestionable authority of the military establishment has been used by different ruling parties, especially the BJP, to weed out the opposition or to counter anti-incumbency waves.
The Kargil War was used by Atal Bihari Vajpayee to win the 1999 mid-term election after the unpopular NDA government’s one-year tenure. Modi and Amit Shah shamelessly used the purported “Surgical Strike 1.0” of 2016 to win the Uttar Pradesh assembly election in 2017. For years, the Kashmir card or the terrorism card are used by the Indian rulers to stop criticism and suppress dissent. Whenever anyone dared to question the Modi regime over the failure of its Kashmir policy, over the real implications of its purported surgical strikes, or asked for evidence from it to validate the claims of hitting out terrorists deep inside Pakistan, then they have been stamped as “pro-Pakistani” because they dared to question the army. No clarification was provided on which section of the Constitution or democratic norms and ethos stop the people, the owner of the country, from questioning the government or its forces?
Thus, deceiving the people using the military as a subterfuge is a risk worth taking as the Lok Sabha election is around the corner. Modi and Shah know that it will be impossible for the parliamentary opposition to take any anti-military standpoint, which will give the BJP leverage in the EVM. As the majority of the poor aren’t able to exercise their franchise freely in Indian election due to socio-economic factors, the middle class and elites hold the power to change the government. This socio-economic bloc is positioned in an antagonistic camp vis-a-vis the majority of the common people and thus, they will vote en masse for Modi and his bigot regime.
Therefore, after deceiving the upper-caste Hindu elites and middle class with proposed tax sops in the interim budget, 10% reservation through Constitution amendment, low interest in housing and slashed GST, inciting them with a jingoistic fervour related to a purported military victory against Indian state’s projected arch-enemy Pakistan will definitely add to the advantage of the BJP and Modi in the forthcoming general election.
As much the BJP and the Modi regime will use warcry, jingoism and hyper-nationalist rhetoric to rally the people around its notorious agenda, the more the working class, the peasantry and the toiled masses must be awakened, united and organised to resist this fascist juggernaut. The rich, the super-rich and the exploitative, privileged upper-caste Hindu middle class have formed an evil nexus against the broad masses of workers, peasants and toiled masses, who belong to Dalits, tribal, backward castes or minority communities. Therefore, if the poor and exploited classes aren’t united to wage an uncompromising struggle to defeat militarist Hindutva fascism, then nothing can prevent Modi and his sycophants from establishing an official version of Brahminical fascist and feudal dictatorship in India.
Worshipping the military can be a trait of the warmonger reactionary elites and urban middle class of India, it’s not a trait that the millions of hardworking common people should inculcate as it poses a serious threat to democratic values and ethics, as well as, it also prevents the people from resisting the ruling classes in their heinous effort to demean the labour and contribution of the heroic working class and peasantry, who build a society by sacrificing their blood and sweat by glorifying the role and functioning of a parasitic military establishment. It will be a catastrophe for the entire South Asia if the Hindutva fascist Modi regime, whose core members believe that Indian sages flew in mats or cow urine cures cancer, remains as the custodian of a huge nuclear arsenal.
The warmongering of the Modi regime can push the entire subcontinent to the brink of destruction. It’s for this very reason, to stop the poor farmers and workers from suffering the hardships, violence and destructions of a predatory war, a massive people’s movement is required. The urgent task at the hands of the progressive, anti-fascist, democratic and peace-loving forces is to intensify a massive people’s struggle for political power, for the ouster of Hindutva fascism and uprooting of the semi-colonial and semi-feudal economic system. The conspiracy of sparking the fuse of a large-scale destructive war in the region can only be thwarted when the alliance of the working class and the peasantry will be able to defeat and politically overthrow this very semi-colonial and semi-feudal system that breeds Hindutva fascism and promotes war and destruction. For the sake of peace, prosperity and security of the people, it’s necessary to unite the people for this greater and much-needed struggle of the day.
An avid reader and a merciless political analyst. When not writing then either reading something, debating something or sipping espresso with a dash of cream. Street photographer. Tweets as @la_muckraker