I’m worried that if the Modi “government” in India gets re-elected in 2019, we’ll spiral down this path very quickly too. Many of the post-British democracies didn’t last. The flailing democracy in India has lasted so far, but right now things aren’t looking too healthy to me.
I called the democracy “flailing” because most of our population doesn’t actually vote, both out of indifference (a lot of urban people) and not actually being given the infrastructure or understanding to vote (a MUCH bigger number of poorer, rural people).
All our politicians are like autocrats—there’s no background check, there’s no transparency, very few are held accountable for things they’ve done in the past. People even fudge academic qualifications and get away with it. All this is SO normal that every party has these people.
It’s not (or it shouldn’t be) *necessary* to be educated at premier institutions or abroad to be a worthwhile politician, but this speaks to a greater cultural problem we have in India. Everyone is measured by “pedigree.” We’re not a culture that respects anyone without pedigree.
So either you come from a recognizable dynasty (cue class and caste privileges) or you have degrees from premier institutions to make up for it. That kind of thinking is SO normalized that everyone in public office, from ALL parties, feels the need to conform to it.
So many people ask: If not Modi who will you vote for—RaGa? I’m no fan of RaGa, less so of the person than the *fact* that he has to be the candidate, because half the time that dude looks like he doesn’t even *want* to do politics. He looks so pained. Like the reluctant king.
Because that’s what he is. RaGa is only in politics because dynasty. We all know that.

We also know that despite being a multi-party system on paper, India is *essentially* a two-party system: it’s always either the Congress or the BJP that forms the government.
So you basically get to choose between a right-wing party and a centrist party with dynastic privileges. 😂

And like the thread I quoted—read all of it if you can—different context but there’s that essential truth: A country built on repressing people’s choices isn’t stable.
That’s... not a democracy. It’s the VERY THIN veneer of democracy spread over what’s basically a feudalistic society. Or several feudalistic societies, when it contains a land so big with so many people. That’s what India really is.
India is *actually* the largest democracy in the world, if you think about it. The US, Canada, Australia are bigger in land size and resources, but the size of a democracy is measured by the number of people and votes, right? By that measure we’re WAY bigger than those countries.
China has both more land and more people, but China isn’t a democracy.
And the problem with being at the top of any list is that you can’t really take lessons from a precedent. The US population isn’t the size of ours, *besides* every other difference.

One vote to one person? HOW MANY votes is that? How many of those votes get cast in India?
Which leads to the question: Who are our elected representatives representing? Irrespective of party. Who voted for those people? Who chose those people to lead them?

Can you see why I said we’re basically several feudalistic societies under a thin veneer of democracy?
The way this “democracy” has operated in India so far is by not tilting the balance in any direction too much, throwing scraps at every group of people a little, and repressing everyone a little but you can’t have only good things, etc.
That’s why things like social, political or even economic change don’t take place in India very fast or without foreign intervention, because the existing balance is already precarious and not actually measured or accounted for in any way that can be contained.
This is true of Hinduism as a religion as well. Hinduism is a non-religion, so there are no central authorities. Rabid right-wing Hindutva people aren’t accountable to even regular practising Savarna Hindus, because technically they’re not *their* leaders. Whose leaders are they?
That basically makes them unaccounted-for criminals, right? The difference between a criminal syndicate and a political group is only that, after all: A political group is sanctioned by a larger authority and has to follow certain rules, right? These people don’t.
Think about how Christianity is structured, for instance. Every practising Christian belongs to a church. So the way of determining church leadership, even if it’s not fully democratic, it takes into account the opinions of its members. A church doesn’t exist without members.
But for Hinduism—temples belong to certain authorities, but everyone who goes to worship at a temple isn’t a *member* of that organization. They have no say. Temples are fully owned by those people who run them. Hence occurrences like the recent Sabarimala controversy.
Anyway, so I was talking about that skin-deep democracy—a precarious balance that stands on the shoulders of utterly unmeasured and unmonitored chaos, violence and unofficial-but-everyone-knows feudalism.

We’ve always lived in India like that. That was the way of life.
But the Modi government—along with its unofficial Hindutva ideologues—has tilted that balance too far. No government in India before this came in with so much propaganda that goes far beyond just the votes. It’s a way of life.

Even the least political of us have noticed that.
And if the Modi government gets elected for another term, I’ve no idea what will happen. This balance that held us together—with all its creaking parts—may finally tumble completely. 🤷🏽‍♀️

We all know India will not go gently into transitioning to a full-on Hindutva nation.
Even if it *does* eventually transition to a Hindutva nation—I really hope not, but for the sake of the argument—the path to that will be soaked in blood. LOTS of it. Like no other precedent in (ancient or recent) history, because we’re *not* like any other country.
So that’s what I’m saying: A non-Modi government, especially a RaGa government, will not “save” us. It’ll just keep that unsatisfactory balance of the past going. We have to cleanse it slowly from the inside.

But another Modi government may END the democracy altogether.
Even other BJP governments of the past weren’t so threatening to the basic democracy of India. Some of them were *almost* centrist in their actions, because really centrist is the only way you can keep the chaos of India in balance. Not in *happy* balance, but not erupting.
India is erupting all over the place right now, and this really worries me, even at the personal level. I’m a minority, and when something like a civil war happens, the minorities and the poorest people die first.
That shallow veneer of democracy is what gave life to a person like me. I’m a product of it. So many other people are like that. So many of us wouldn’t even exist in a Hindutva nation. So many of us would fail to “pass” even if we tried.
I’ll give you this: Modi is definitely a more efficient, canny, hell *willing* politician than RaGa. He’s a strong leader. His propaganda is very disarming to those who want to buy it.

But you see, that is the *problem.* An efficient dictator kills you in more efficient ways.
The frikkin Holocaust was efficient. They had ideology, they even had “science.” All those people they were killing very definitely ended up dead. So many of those who were trying to hide or “pass” or run away got very efficiently tracked down and killed. That system *worked*.
This is ironic and sad, but the only reason the “democracy” in India hadn’t collapsed so far *was* that there were no politicians with much ideology. They just ruled over a diverse group of people in a feudal kind of way without really engaging with their beliefs or differences.
But give ONE leader with a strong, hateful, divisive ideology that champions one social group...

I didn’t use the Holocaust analogy lightly. Many people forget this, but pre-Holocaust Germany used to be a democracy. Hitler was an *elected* leader. He didn’t inherit his position.
The Holocaust wasn’t a genocide of invasion, like every other genocide in history previous to it, including colonization.

It was a genocide carried out by the elected government of a democratic country against its own citizens, sanctioned and supported by its *other* citizens.
And popular narrative flattens out history and makes heroes and villains of single individuals, but the Nazis weren’t just Hitler.

Hitler wasn’t a single psychopathic anomaly—a bloodthirsty king whom nobody likes but they can’t get rid of.
Hitler had an entire cabinet, besides *ideological* supporters who weren’t politicians: scientists, philosophers, writers, filmmakers who believed that worldview and put it in their works. And THOUSANDS of people who accepted it.

Nazis were an ideology. COMMON PEOPLE were Nazis.
Weak, uninspiring, milquetoast leaders don’t cause Holocausts, especially in a democracy. Strong, charismatic, insidious leaders do.

Vajpayee or Manmohan Singh couldn’t have destroyed India. Nor can RaGa, even if he wanted. But Modi? I’m not so sure. And I’m very, very afraid.
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