You see, Nehru-Gandhi clan is special; one dare not touch the royalty

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The media and the intelligentsia is suddenly concerned that there is too much name-calling in the current political discourse especially during rallies and speeches. Some of them are worried that Modi is getting angrier by the day and he is particularly targeting “the family”. Doomsday scenarios are being conjured up about angry people electing an angry politician.

“Everything else is fine,” one of the panellists in one of the TV debates said with great show of perturbation, “but why target the Gandhi family?” It’s as if saying something against the Nehru-Gandhi family is the most revolting act one can carry out.


Discretion should be applied, according to their counsel. Decorum should be maintained. No personal attacks on the Nehru-Gandhi family (although they’re fine with personal attacks on Modi at every possible opportunity, legitimate or illegitimate).

Remember “maut ka saudagar”, “merchant of death”, “Indian Hitler”, “Indian Mussolini”, “Hindu fascist”, “Hindutvavadi gunda” and the latest “Butcher of Gujarat”? Words like “pogrom” and “genocide” have been in circulation for the past 10 years without reprieve or break, even when elections were nowhere in picture. People began to question the very idea of India at the prospect of him becoming the PM. An AAP politician told a Muslim gathering that Muslims will need another country if Narendra Modi becomes the PM. A famous author has written multiple times that pregnant women’s wombs were ripped open and the babies were thrown into fire at Modi’s behest. An alleged human rights activist has been gathering false affidavits threatening eyewitnesses with dire consequences if they reveal her arm-twisting tactics. Another claimed that there will be bloodbath if Modi comes to power. An American journalist recently wrote that Indians should be ashamed of themselves for voting for Narendra Modi. “A dark era is descending upon one of the greatest democracies of the world,” lamented another in a British newspaper. No outrage. No Casandran prophesies of mass annihilation.

These are just a very tiny sample of the nomenclatures and consequential attributes attached to the BJP prime ministerial candidate Narendra Modi. If there is an abuse existing in political parlance, it has been hurled upon him. If there is an accusation in the jurisprudence, it has been levelled against him. If there is an insinuation existing in the intelligentsia, it has been made on him. No channel has been left unexploited, no forum has been left unused.

You can find thousands of stories concocted explaining how he abetted violence against the minority Muslim community during the 2002 Gujarat riots. Despite these stories being rubbished by courts, eye-witness accounts and individuals, they are continuously used as reference in national and international articles in order to demonise a democratically chosen Chief Minister of a prominent state. There is a complete cottage industry trying to find mythical skeletons in Narendra Modi’s closet. In fact some foreign-funded NGOs were actually trying to dig up mass graves in Gujarat and there was a global flash of excitement when they actually found a grave containing bones – unfortunately for them, they belonged to the bovine residents of Gujarat, not human residents.

Quietly minding his own business, Modi didn’t protest much. Nobody got worried. Despite witnessing the most ruthless campaign against a single politician in the post-Independence India, the intellectuals and journalists didn’t worry that a vendetta was being carried out. Even Modi’s own party, the BJP, was cool with all sorts of accusations being made, unchallenged. Nobody lamented the fact that the level of political discourse was being brought down and personal attacks were being made. Heck, even when in recent times the issue of Modi’s wife was raked up and juggled around, none of these intellectuals and writers came forward with their wise words of caution and sermons about respecting someone’s private life, as they have already started doing in the case of Digvijay Singh’s selfies surfacing on the social media. They were either mute spectators or they expressed innuendos. In most of the cases they themselves indulged in slandering and insinuations.

Back in those days Modi talked of nothing but development. He talked about his state. He talked about what has been done and what can be done using best management practices and big data analysis. He was always specific and never resorted to generalities. He wasn’t bothered about what people were saying about him. In every speech, in every interaction, his sole talking point was development and governance. Even if someone managed to confront him with a “Why haven’t you apologized?” his usual answer remained: “Why seek just an apology for such big a crime? You should ask for my head.”

While he talked about development, his opponents talked about his divisiveness. When he talked about Indians, his opponents talked about how he was sowing seeds of poison between Hindus and Muslims. When he talked about development for all, his opponents talked about how he was systematically suppressing the minority community in his state. Whenever he propagated the idea of better governance, his opponents accused him of favouring only particular industrialists. In all his speeches he wasn’t specifically targeting individuals no matter how great the culpability was because that wasn’t an issue. The most glaring issues were monumental corruption and staggering backwardness.

So as long as the name-calling was one-sided – primarily targeted at Narendra Modi, everybody was fine with that.

Now suddenly, when it’s getting tit-for-tat, they sit up, alarmed. “Why is he directly targeting the family?” they are troubled. “Is he going to be vindictive?” they worry. With every speech, according to these concerned citizens, he seems to be crossing lines of decency just because at this moment, instead of just being at the receiving end, he is striking back. For the past 10-11 years he has been attacked left right and center and there hasn’t even been a whimper of protest from these quarters. Suddenly, propriety is the buzzword. Suddenly, the other parties and other individuals are having to defend themselves from his caustic attacks. When he was being attacked, justice was being pursued. When he has gotten into the attack mode, the level of discourse is being brought down.

This pretty much sums up the intellectual attitude in the country for you.

Written by Amrit Hallan >>

Amrit Hallan is a professional content writer with strong political and social views that he likes to express on social media as well as through his writings. You can connect with him on Twitter at @amrithallan
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Indian Exponent: You see, Nehru-Gandhi clan is special; one dare not touch the royalty
You see, Nehru-Gandhi clan is special; one dare not touch the royalty
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