Narendra Modi used the puppy analogy to create some more PR for himself…..and to polarize our politics a little more. It led to an immediate response from all and sundry, exactly what Modi wanted. This criticism will help him grow he said. Since nothing about Modi is “sudden”, and since he is particularly good with words, one has to assume that the puppy analogy (the Hindi “kutte ke bachche” is stronger) was well thought through. It also fits in well with Modi’s usual style of politics…..provoking the “pseudo secularists” (read every party except the BJP and its allies) by attacking the minorities, and then collecting the “blessings” from the thin sliver of Hindu bigots.
It’s not his puppy comment by itself that is the subject of this post, but the curious spin he gave to it that is. Modi tried to do a bit of a u-turn, saying that his puppy comment was misinterpreted. He said that what he actually meant was that we Indians love pets and puppies are amongst the cutest of all pets! Or some such gibberish. I am sure Modi’s die-hard supporters – and their numbers are far smaller than they would like to believe – would have gone “take that” at this comment. Here was their leader in full flow, mocking those “infidels” (his critics), so clever with words that no one could question him any more.
But Modi can’t get away with such a cavalier attitude. He has to answer one key question. If he loves puppies, and thinks of them as adorable pets, why hasn’t he ever held one or two in his hands? Why hasn’t he ever cuddled them ever the way you do pets? Why doesn’t he give them a place in his home, if not his heart? Why doesn’t he ever walk along with them? Or plant a peck on their heads? These are the queasy questions that Modi has to answer.
The fact is that Modi is a Hindu first and then anything else. For him, anyone other than a Hindu is a “problem” for India. This is an old RSS ideology. Ramachandra Guha’s article on Golwalkar, the 2nd “sarsanghchalak” of the RSS, in The Hindu (“The Guru of Hate” available at http://www.countercurrents.org/comm-guha281106.htm) showed what he (Golwalkar) thought were the biggest internal threats India faced: 1. Muslims and 2. Christians). Modi’s great communication skills have allowed him to express this RSS ideology much better than anyone else in his party. That’s why he has become the leader. Modi is playing a high-risk-high-return game by sticking his neck so far out that it could get chopped. What happens to the social fabric of this country is the least of his concerns. The “decisive” leader has decided. He wants to be the PM.
Take this other comment: “I am a Hindu. I am a nationalist. Hence I am a Hindu nationalist”. Any person who puts Hindu first before nationalist is a bigot. If this is how it works, then every person would adopt that route. Imagine Muslim nationalists and Christian nationalists, Sikh nationalists and Jain nationalists. That’s bizarre right? The BJP would then ask “which nation?”. The fact is that there are only one type of nationalists. The ones who don’t juxtapose their religion with the word nationalist. That’s it. Either you are an Indian or you are not. Religious and caste identities come later. How can a person who puts his religion before nationalism be called secular at all (Modi has a convenient definition of this also)? How can he be called PM worthy at all?
The puppy comment is particularly offensive because of the ground realities that we know. Modi hasn’t inducted a single puppy into his government in Gujarat. Not one seat given to them during his state elections. He doesn’t want to apologize, for he is proud of his achievement. His achievement won him the affection of the Hindus, who called him “Hindu hriday samrat”. He is willing to re-build the Kedarnath shrine, but not the mosques his partymen demolished in 2002. He wants a Ram temple in Ayodhya, but has never spoken of building an equally magnificent mosque alongside the temple. Modi hasn’t apologized for 2002, and he never will.
Muslims and Christians are all puppies to Narendra Modi. Not the ones you cuddle and love, but the street variety you grab by the neck and throw somewhere out of sight. And when they become too much of a bother, you just kill them. When they get scared and become quiet, you say “I got peace”. For Modi, puppies are not pets; they are pests. And pests must be swatted.
The real truth is that it’s amazing how the only time Modi spoke about 2002, he brought up the puppy analogy. A man so good with words, one who can mesmerize others with his speech, spoke about puppies. Not in any other context, but only this one. Everytime Modi speaks, we get to know him better. Speak more Mr. Modi…..that’s best for everyone!