A BJP supporter seen holding a placard of Narendra Modi during the election rally in Darbanga | Praveen Jain | ThePrint
A BJP supporter seen holding a placard of Narendra Modi during the election rally in Darbanga | Praveen Jain | ThePrint
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Political commentators in these pages and elsewhere; civil society activists on streets and in their social media posts have been using all sorts of adjectives to describe the creeping authoritarianism in India’s polity. In my view, an extremely insidious form of political culture, vigilantism, is propping up the authoritarian tendencies we are witness to.

This political culture is abetted by the Narendra Modi-led government, but enforced by vigilantes. The vanguard of this regime are legions of vigilantes; these are ordinary citizens, businessmen, journalists, and of course, bureaucrats. They are the new regime’s foot soldiers, led not by the government openly, but by low-level officials and ordinary citizens seeking to ingratiate themselves with the powerful.


Also read: What happens when a vigilante & a gambler walk into a bond market? Check out India’s scene


India’s vigilante problem

In contemporary India, there are at least two kinds of vigilantes. Ideological foot soldiers who believe India is a Hindu Rashtra, and that all citizens must follow this cardinal principle. This kind of vigilante has always been around, but a government that shares their ideological predispositions emboldens them.

A second, and more dangerous vigilantism that is currently prevalent, is seen in those who protect their self-interests by becoming loud advocates of the government’s policies.

Many of them have little ideological truck with the Bharatiya Janata Party, but they are at the forefront of implementing what they perceive to be the Narendra Modi-led government’s preferences. For example, if they believe that attacking beef eaters will give them a leg up in the political rung, they lynch beefeaters. If the government questions liberal ideas and their proponents, journalist vigilantes assault liberals and present themselves as the new vanguard of the truth. If activists are protesting government policies, they are arrested by bureaucratic vigilantes on the flimsiest of notions in a display of fealty to the government, to protect a job, or enhance a career.

Climate change activist Disha Ravi was arrested on what the judge termed “scanty and sketchy evidence”. A supplementary charge sheet in the Delhi riots, based solely on hearsay, laid out a claim that Yogendra Yadav provoked and mobilised the crowd. Movies and TV serials, such as Padmavaat (2018) and Tandav (2021), were targeted by a handful of those whose ‘Hindu’ sentiments were hurt (because the vigilantes apparently speak for all Hindus). Comedian Munawar Faruqui was jailed for jokes he never made because of a complaint made by a BJP MLA’s son. And more recently, nuns from Kerala were attacked and forced off a train over unfounded fears of forced conversion.

In many of these cases, there is often no high-level directive from the government or top party leadership. Mid-level bureaucrats, police officials, local politicians, and activists take it upon themselves to enthusiastically promote what they perceive to be the government’s interests. These individuals want to prove their loyalty through actions they perceive might enhance their political or career chances. This phenomenon did exist in pre-Modi India as well, but the frequency and scale of vigilantism (with its very focused ideological targeting) may have reached another level today.

Why does the BJP government not act against these vigilantes? The new political culture works to the advantage of the BJP government. For the first time in decades, the ruling party in India has a clear parliamentary majority. And the BJP is using its political power to cement its authority and ideological agenda. Government officials and many citizens who seek access to the State understand that they are dealing with a dispensation that does not hesitate to use its power to undermine its political opponents.

Hence, to have its will, the government no longer needs to issue official and open directives. Power is exercised silently. From the bureaucracy to the police and citizenry, vigilantes take it upon themselves to further the BJP’s agenda, and the government, through its silence on the excesses, creates more vigilante actions.


Also read: India is now only ‘partly free’ — Freedom in the World report downgrades status


A losing game

The government does sometimes send out more direct messages that it will not tolerate dissent. Lower-level bureaucrats and police officials hear this. To protect their self-interest, they seek to please their political bosses through over-zealousness in the pursuit of the ruling party’s dispensation. This allows the government to deny official culpability easily.

The rise of vigilantism, for which the evidence over the last year is overwhelming, carries great risks for Indian democracy. In the United States, which came perilously close to overturning a legitimate election, former president Donald Trump correctly read the motivations of most national politicians. They feared his influence over their careers, and many Senate and House Republicans went along with Trump in questioning the elections. State-level Republicans and local judges saved the sanctity of the process in Arizona, Georgia, and Michigan, and other states. They refused to bow to presidential pressure and prevented an ugly political battle.

Could we imagine something similar happening in India? Will local officials, judges, and citizens question our political bosses if they ask for something inappropriate?

Vigilantism does not bode well for citizens, the ruling party, or the vigilantes themselves. Any citizen can be subject to the ad hoc actions of a vigilante. Of course, whether the actions of the current Indian government are spurred by vigilantism or just a simple stifling of dissent is cold comfort for those who face the State’s wrath, including religious minorities, political dissidents, and intellectuals whose ideas are deemed ‘seditious’.

The BJP government is playing with fire. While these vigilantes do empower the party and its ideological agenda contemporaneously, soon it will have little control over the actions of thousands of vigilantes who interpret the BJP’s needs on their terms and act accordingly. If the regime continues on this path, it will be remembered for its excesses, and no BJP government wants history to place it on par with Indira Gandhi’s 1975-77 Emergency.

The vigilantes also face dangers. They are competing with each with a holier than thou attitude. In that competition, they should heed the words of German Lutheran Pastor Martin Niemoller, who supported Hitler before being arrested by the Nazis:

First they came for the socialists, and I did not speak out—
Because I was not a socialist.
Then they came for the trade unionists, and I did not speak out—
Because I was not a trade unionist.
Then they came for the Jews, and I did not speak out—
Because I was not a Jew.
Then they came for me—and there was no one left to speak for me.

The author is a Professor of Political Science at the University of California, Berkeley, and a Senior Visiting Fellow at the Center for Policy Research, New Delhi.

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40 COMMENTS

  1. Astute observations Mr Tog !

    I was actually struck by the very apt word “claim” in your statement:

    “US and India claim to be democracies”

    Fact is, as Trump in the US and Modi in India have demonstrated, the claims to being democracies that the US & India make are just that, hollow claims. Democracy is a lot more than having regular elections every 4 or 5 years. Between elections, democracy also entails active checks on the executive by robust institutions such as a free press and an independent judiciary. Democracy also entails the rule of law, not the rule of the mob. Both the US and India fail on that count – although the US democrcay seems to have survived Donald Trump’s onsluaght better than India has survived Narendra Modi

    Within a span of 4 years, Donald Trump, a certified charlatan and misogynistic, racist, Islamophobic, draft-dodging and utterly dishonest man who seldom paid his bills was able to play the institutions of American democracy and the public like a fiddle. What is worse, this utterly incompetent KKK admiring man was able to exploit white insecurities and the fears of Christian Evangelicals and convince them that he, and only he could fix their problems – real and imaginary. Trump succeeded in hijacking the judiciary, politicising the Armed Forces, questioning a robust election process, selling US interests to Putin, refusing to take steps to prevent Russian meddling in US elections and so on. Paradoxically, the very sections of the electorate that were adversely affected by his policies, e.g. the white, working class poor voted for Trump. He was the great white hope for America. Indeed, he even mocked Modi’s English accent – not that it deterred the latter from kowtowing to Trump.

    In India, within a span of 6 years, Modi had much more success in diluting, dismantling and disabling democracy than the bumbling buffoon Trump has ever had. Turns out, Modi has a much better institutional infrastructure to usurp and upend democracy than Trump can dream of mustering. Trump’s white supremacist organisations like the KKK, Oath Keppers, 3 Percenters, the bunch of useful idiots who stormed the Capitol on Jan 6th this year and so on are rank amateurs when it comes to translating hate into actually shedding blood. When compared with Modi’s stormtroopers such as the RSS, Bajrang Dal, VHP, Sanathan Sanstha and so on, Trump’s backers are a bunch of bumbling zombies. For instance, the RSS & Bajrang Dal can brag of several bloody riots and pogroms under their belt; the Sanathan Sanstha has bumped off intellectuals and journalists like Gauri Lankesh, Narendra Dabholkar and so on; RSS hitman Nathuram Godse assassinated Mahatma Gandhi and so on. Trump is a bloody puny pygmy compared to Modi when it comes to channeling latent hate into actual blood spilt or rapes committed. The Godhra riots, the riots in Delhi last year over the CAA, the Nellie massacres etc. should be proof enough of the massive institutional capacity of the Hindutva forces to wreak havoc. Or rather spill the blood of Muslims or Dalits. Trump is nowhere near that.

    As you perspicaciously point out Mr Tog, the KKK and the other flora and fauna of right wing organisations is nowhere near the RSS when it comes to lethality. Which why, as you conclude Mr Tog, US democracy withstood Trump’s assault on it – at least for now. In India though, it is far too late – Hindutva has replaced both Hinduism and democracy. Führer Modi is here to stay.

    H. L. Mencken (1880-1956) American writer, satirist and critic once said of American democracy:

    “As democracy is perfected, the office of President represents, more and more closely, the inner soul of the people. On some great and glorious day, the plain folks of the land will reach their heart’s desire at last and the White House will be adorned by a downright moron”.

    Donald Trump was the moron who fulfilled Mencken’s prophecy and went to occupy the White House. India is unlucky on that count – the man who occupies 7 Race Course Road is no moron but a graduate of Delhi University. This man has a pogrom on his CV and the organisational wherewithal to mobilise his stormtroopers at the drop of a hat.

    But the bigger question is;

    Trump surely represents the inner soul of vast swathes of white America. Does Modi represent the inner soul of India or rather Hindu India? As a Hindu – albeit a very lapsed one – I hope not. I still want to believe that Modi represents Hindutva and not Hinduism and that ordinary Indians have been fed so much propaganda that they conflate the two.

    Thanks Mr Tog for your stimulating comment that got me thinking.

    • What it is shows is that democracy is very fragile. The greatest danger to democracy is anti-democratic people getting elected, and then doing everything to undermine democracy. It is not the first time. Hitler was elected in 1933, and then he worked to dissolve democracy. The industrialists like Krupp fell behind him. The majority was incited with a crazed nationalism.

      Trump had the same callous disregard for democracy and values, but he legitimised himself by saying he championed the enraged ‘small man’ (that is the low end white ) who was ignored by the elites. The US has survived. I asked one American whether things are fine now. His reply was ‘they (white nationalists) have laid the foundations for a takeover’. Still America has a better chance of holding on to democracy than India.

      Modi and the RSS parivar also have scant regard for democratic norms. That was the case from the outset. They assassinated Gandhi. The Congress’s biggest mistake was not to dismantle the RSS after this, for which they and the country are paying the price now. Tumours should be taken out early before they spread and become uncurable. Nehru for sure understood fascism and where that leads. The Congress banned the RSS for sometime. They are operating within a democracy – for the moment; but anything goes to get elected, they organise a communal riot against the minority to unify the majority; they can assasinate journalists and opponents; EVM tampering will not be beyond them (when you can arrange mob murder, what is EVM tampering ?); bring in money power of Ambani and Adani, and control the media. You can run democracy that way for sometime, but it is not sustainable. They are not able to manage the economy. In the US, Trump did not take the economy down. In India, it was a relatively poor country, and Modi and his associates have taken the economy down, so lot of people have dropped from lower middle class to poor. When people start questioning like the farmers, and it spirals out of control, you can always order a crackdown and emergency in the interest of saving the nation. Wait till they try to sell the PSUs to Ambanis and people (many of them who are their supporters) get thrown out of jobs.

      The Swedish report said only 4 % of the world’s population is lucky enough to live in well run democracies. Most live in various forms of lower grades of freedom. This is not to say that people are discontent by lack of democracy. In some places like Saudi Arabia, where they had no prior experience of democracy, they have religion and oil wealth, and people will accept lack of democracy. They have no other experience. China’s system is based on a result-oriented legitimisation of the rulers – the party provides habitation, food and work, and people except the intellectuals, accept this. In democratic countries, it has to be people-oriented legitimisation of the rulers.

      In countries, where people had prior experience of democracy for quite long periods, and it is eroded, there will be resistance. That is what we see in the US and India. Democracy in the US will survive most probably, because it is still the leading economy. There are lower chances for democracy surviving in India. In India, we are in an economic crisis, the govt. is clueless and has in fact given up, and in such situations, the anti-democrats will not accept their failure, or see themselves as the cause, they will think democracy is the problem for their failure. They will say nationalism demands suspension of democracy and dissent and many will agree that this is needed to save ‘my country’. And since they cannot improve the economy, they will set the majority on the minorities.

      If you speak to Indians, you will find all the minorities (all Muslims, Christians and Sikhs) understand the situation in India. They disbelieve Modi’s pompous claims, they understand that the country has gone down, and even the most uneducated can grasp that. But if you speak to the majority, most think that the country is on an upward swell and Modi has brought India to world class level. Countries go down due to the majority, and not due to the minority. Germany went down due to Germans, and not the Jews.

  2. It has nothin to do with Modi. The voice of the (hindu) nation long suppressed fiinds an outlet. The anger and hatred of past so many years finds utterance. I am proud to be a vigilante. Real justice is not found in a court of law but in a mob. Lynch mob justice is REAL JUSTICE. Now all you left liberal pseudo intellects, take a hike. If you libtards, have no problems with Pakistan, what exactly is your problem with a hindu Pakistan???

    • Hindu Militant: You bark:

      “.. I am proud to be a vigilante. Real justice is not found in a court of law but in a mob. Lynch mob justice is REAL JUSTICE ..”

      Well, well, we have Babu Bajrangi, version 2.o !

      So care to inform us as to how many Muslims you have killed? How many Muslim women have you raped? And like your mentor Babu Bajrangi, how many Muslim babies have you burnt with diesel?

      Proud of your record of violence against innocent people?

      Incidentally, former Union Minister Jayant Sinha of the BJP liked to garland gaurakshaks who had murdered Muslims. More specifically, in 2018, he garlanded and distributed sweets to the 8 gaurakshaks who were let off on bail even though they had lynched and murdered Alimuddin Ansari (RIP) in Ramgarh. My question to you is:

      “Have you also been garlanded and given sweets by Mr Jayant Sinha?”

    • It is nice to hear your explanation and justification of Hindu vigilantism. Thereby you admit there is Hindu vigilantism, but you do not see it as a problem, you see it is a Hindu reawakening and method of self-expression. There are some here who deny there is Hindu vigilantism (like they deny the impossibility of Hindu terrorism). They support it, but are a little abashed about admitting it, so they say it does not exist; this way, they can avoid condemnation. You say what is on your mind.

      Your justification that the voice of the (hindu) nation long suppressed finds an outlet, reminded me of the incident last week where in an Air France flight between Delhi and Paris, a Hindu nationalist got up and threatened Sikhs and Punjabis, forcing the plane to make an emergency landing in Bulgaria to off load and arrest him. There is a video of him shouting that Hindus are reawakening due to Modi. So your statement that Hindu vigilantism has nothing to do with Modi is not correct.

      May I suggest that you may see Hindu vigilantism in India as natural and something to be proud of, but going abroad and doing it does not create a flattering image of Hindus.

      Your reference model is Pakistan, a country 1/7 the size. Liberals never looked up to Pakistan as a model. Onlt the right wing looks to Pakistan and wants a Hindu Pakistan – as you yourself have written.

      When Pakistan did not succeed or do better than India with a single religion, one God and one Book, what are the chances India will succeed with a multitude of religions, gods and books ? Even more impossible. If your notion of Hindu awakening leads to destruction of India, it is not much use.

  3. The article is interesting and appropriate, because the author has an Indian and also US perspective.

    The US and India claim to be democracies. The US’s democracy was battered by Trump and it nearly ended with vigilante mobs staging a coup. The US has been saved, and Biden is taking steps to restore the primacy of law. Reality took precedence eventually in the US over fake news and the ‘alternative reality’ culture that Trump foisted.

    There is no such luck for India. The path of recovery of democracy appears closed. The difference is India has allowed an extra constitutional body like the RSS to grow unchecked. They have captured all the institutions. In the US, the KKK is not as big as the RSS and the institutions have been strong enough up to now.

    The US visa form asks questions such as the following :

    1. Have you ever served in, been member of, or been member of a paramilitary unit, vigilante unit, rebel group, guerrilla group, or insurgent organisation ?

    2. Have you ever ordered, incited, committed, assisted, or otherwise participated in genocide ?

    Based on the above questions, the RSS, Bajrang Dal and such groups will qualify as paramilitary unit, vigilante units. Some of the BJP MPs and MLAs would fit the second question. All it takes is someone to compile a list of members and notify the US. The US embassies in India have to be alerted of such people.

  4. The author has a good point, but it is undermined by the knee-jerk comparisons to Trump and the US, and his own biases prevent balanced editorial. In fact, in the west the godi media is liberal, not conservative. In the US the vigilantes are on the left. Compare Portland to DC. But the danger remains the same here or there.

  5. The western press is comparing India’s infatuation with vigilante mobs and groups, not with Indira Gandhi’s Emergency, but with Nazi Germany in its early days.

    Nehru had correctly described Hindutva as ‘fascism, Hindu style’.

    Lately – and oddly -after the US and Swedish report downgraded India’s democratic credentials based on objective criteria which were applied to all countries, Modi supporters started admiring China and wishing India adopts Chinese methodology against dissidents and minorities ! Only some months ago, China had delivered a beating and our chowkidar Modi kept quiet. The bhakths said Modi was planning to strike China at a time of his knowing, and they told us tough Modi was cracking down on China by banning TikTok !

    I would like to point out to bhakts that China also is condemned for human rights abuses and will never be fully respected. However, one thing China does not allow is vigilante groups. They know that would lead to lawlessness. They would never allow that. Pakistan allowed militias and vigilante groups and they set back the country. Even if the leaders want to curb them, they cannot. Thus if bhakts want India to become powerful and developed like China, vigilantism is a ‘no, no’. What bhakts are doing is taking India to the same status as Pakistan !

    Vigilantism in India has brought lawlessness. Tavleen Singh who has interviewed the RSS fellows (from whom the vigilante culture springs) found that they see lynching of Muslims as an act of Hindu valour. They think it as only getting even with Muslims, whereas she says it is only cowardice. An 8 year old Muslim girl is fair game for gang raping in a temple by a priest, his son and nephew. They know BJP vigilantes will march to get them released.

    Now the supporters of the BJP may have no issues with lynching and raping 8 year old Muslim girls. But they need to think again. In Modi’s first term, ABVP vigilantes were let loose in northern universities, to combat liberals and leftists. The ABVP goons frequently harassed (Hindu) girls in BHU. NDTV reported the BHU girls complained to the VC of the ABVP fellows coming outside their hostels and masturbating. The VC, being a RSS appointee, could not take action. Similar complaints against ABVP came from Gargi College girls (mostly Hindu). If you allow violent criminality thinking it will not affect you, one day you will find it bites you also. That is the author’s message and he is correct.

    The author points out ‘The BJP government is playing with fire. While these vigilantes do empower the party and its ideological agenda contemporaneously, soon it will have little control over the actions of thousands of vigilantes who interpret the BJP’s needs on their terms and act accordingly.’

    Indeed, the BJP has outsourced its fascism to many groups, and pretends diminished responsibility. Eventually, no one is in control and no one is responsible. The same thing happened in Nazi Germany. A climate of intimidation, hate and fear was created and one German who lived through the era said for absurd laws which were not clear, whoever had a little power interpreted it as they wanted, and acted cruelly and violently for the benefit of ‘the national interest’, as they saw that was what was expected in general.

    Another relevant passage is ‘The government does sometimes send out more direct messages that it will not tolerate dissent. Lower-level bureaucrats and police officials hear this. To protect their self-interest, they seek to please their political bosses through over-zealousness in the pursuit of the ruling party’s dispensation. This allows the government to deny official culpability easily.’

    The author is right that everyone who joins the BJP has to show zealous rage against liberals and critics, and hatred of Muslims, to prove their ‘Hindu nationalist’ credentials. That is what is expected of them. See Arnob Goswami. See Metro man Sreedharan who has joined the BJP to contest in Kerala. He was interviewed in NDTV. When the lady asked why he joined the BJP and whether he had any misgivings about communal polarisation, he exploded and said the public has no issue, it is media people who constantly vilify Modi, and if it were not for Modi, there would be no development and Kashmir would have gone out of our hands. He lambasted the journalists for being negative etc.. Sreedharan is doing what is expected from the BJP, and he thinks it pleases Hindus to see a militant.

    The vigilante Hindu culture is now spreading abroad. Sikhs were beaten up by militant Hindus in Australia and an Australian senator demanded an investigation of the VHP. An Air France flight was forced to land in Bulgaria to off load a vigilante passenger who started shouting Hindus have awakened and Modi was going to teach the Sikhs and farmers a lesson.

    Western observers can see what is happening in India as they have memories of what happened in Nazi Germany. My advice to bhakts is to get real, you can fool around in India, but it fools no one outside. Modi is seen as a failure and a liability. Not to recognise negative performance is not positivity !

  6. India has never been a true participative democracy. It’s more used to the concept of Raja and Praja through its history. And that is doubly true of the bureaucracy and politicians who behave like Rajas and Maharajas and expect to be treated like one. And so you have sycophancy which is prevalent across India in almost all power structures (not just in government). So when you have a powerful Raja what else do you expect? Laws in India have always been applied selectively. This is not new. One can only hope that as India becomes richer, people truly participate in governance and hold the government to account and not just through elections. Otherwise, we will continue to have vigilantism one day, or sycophantic corruption the other.

    • Correct, but what is your hope ‘that as India becomes richer based on’ ? Evidence shows India became poorer after demonetisation, and became even poorer after mismanagement of Covid, and we are forced into an arms race against China due to Amit Shah’s provocation. The farm strike will make the economy shrink further. They do not have any competent people, their focus is on winning elections, using communal polarisation and violence. FDI is not pouring in, and people looking to diversify supply chains from China are not looking at India. Even an alternative govt. will find it impossible to reverse the economic decline. We have a lot of youth entering the job market daily, and the only opportunity is to be a cow vigilante or shakha attendant.

    • Mr Amit: You resignedly shrug your shoulders and ask :

      “.. when you have a powerful Raja what else do you expect? Laws in India have always been applied selectively. This is not new ..”

      Well, turns out that in 1975, there was a powerful Rani called Indira Gandhi. This Rani, along with her crown prince – a particularly nasty and unsavoury chap called Sanjay Gandhi – ruled like an absolute monarch for nearly 2 years. Much like the RSS chap in power these days.

      And guess what happened in 1977 ?

  7. First they came for Muslims,and I did not speak out—
    Because I was not a Muslim,
    Then they came for University students,and I did not speak out—
    Because I was not a student.
    Then they came for farmers,and I did not speak out—
    Because I was not a farmer.
    Who next ??

    • Classic adaptation from Pastor Niemoller about Nazi Germany !

      Who next ? It will be the whole country that goes down like Nazi Germany. The history of fascist movements and their failure is documented. But people do not want to learn, they want to think this is different.

  8. ‘The false narrative of vigilantism is self-explanatory.’

    It is not self-explanatory at all.

    Can you explain the lynching of Akhlaq by a mob and the minister Sharma explaining it away as the crowd got excited. The police did a check on the meat in the fridge, and it was mutton, and 6 months later, they changed the report and said it was beef.

    Pehlhu Khan and son were beaten to death by a mob for transporting cattle – and it was put on video and celebrated. You do not see that as vigilantism ? Over 40 people have been lynched.

    Can you explain the rape of 8 year old Asifa Bano by a priest, his son and nephew in a temple, and afterwards BJP MLAs marching to support the release of the rapists and to obstruct justice ?

    Kapil Mishra said goli marron sallon ko – that is fire on university students. And somebody did fire a shot.

    Yesterday, 2 nuns with 2 Christian girls were ‘arrested’ on a train by Bajrang Dal vigilantes and handed to the police. The vigilantes had a suspicion the two girls were being converted ‘forcibly’. Both girls said they were Christian by birth.

    Are you saying these are false narratives ? All have been reported with videos in Indian and foreign media. Please comment if these are fabrications. Why is it in the MMS period, all the outside press praised upcoming India and in the Modi period the same press has gradually and finally become firmly negative to India ? I put it to you it is the actions of the vigilantes. The foreign press do not see India as promising star as in MMS’s time, they now feel it is heading the same way as Yugoslavia. Is all the foreign press wrong ? Or do you think they have all suddenly developed a grudge against India ? What is the point of being in denial ? It seems you made that statement (that vigilantism is a self explanatory falsehood) to avoid reality.

    Why do you emphasize ‘MY Nation’ as if you are special ? That is the psyche of the vigilante. He believes he is entitled to violence to defend HIS nation, be it who eats what, who marries who, who watches what, who studies what ….He does not believe others in India belong to the nation. He believes only he loves the nation.

    • The above was meant for Col KL Viswanahan (Retd), in reply to your post below of 26 March, 2021 At 9:59 am.

      Respected sir, kindly reply.

      • Akash,

        Thanks for your comments. I respect your views on all aspects including criminal activities that you refer. We can’t say your views are wrong and mine are right or vice versa. That is the beauty of democracy. We can both co-exist amicably with differing views on all or any matter.
        I have said all I have to say. I am addressing you here as you have specifically asked me to.

        Best regards

        • Thanks for your reply Colonel sahib !

          I understand the philosophy of mutual co-existence if it is applied to something unprovable like the existence and nature of God. And of course on many political matters, such as privatisation or public ownership of companies.

          However, I must say I cannot understand your statement when applied to the cases I cited. Your response was ‘I respect your views on all aspects including criminal activities that you refer. We can’t say your views are wrong and mine are right or vice versa. That is the beauty of democracy. We can both co-exist amicably with differing views on all or any matter.’

          Let us apply it to a specific. From the list of criminal activities I mentioned, let me select the most ghastly : the gang rape of an 8 year old by a priest, his son and nephew; and BJP and RSS workers marching to obstruct justice. When you say you respect my view (condemnation) of this, does it mean you do not agree with my view as such, and you have an alternative view on the rape of a child and RSS and BJP MLAs obstructing justice, which I should hear out amicably in the spirit of democracy ? The journalist Tavleen Singh says she has interviewed RSS workers and they have a thing about ‘getting back at Muslims’. Is that the alternative view that I should respect in the spirit of democracy ? Is it like respecting Godse and Gandhi ?

          Well I am willing to hear the alternative view in the spirit of democracy. Please explain how you see this incident (which I see as ghastly and is damaging for India’s fair image).

  9. Modi haters heart is burning and burning with no hope of any medicine working. India has so much freedom now that Maharashtra government is enjoying openly indulging in extortion and killings. But these Modi haters love to do all anti national activities without any hindrance. With these anti national behaviour, these crooks would never earn the trust of voters. They will leave this world crying, abusing and accusing Modi. Just keep patience dear nationalists.

  10. If really Modi government is facist like Islamic Leftist writers and print media propagates, none of the owner or writers and their family’s will be alive in India , try these things in any Islamic country or communists country and see what happens!!

  11. BJP rules 13 out of 31 states/UTs, junior partner in five, law and order to check vigilanteism is state subject not the centre govt subject. How can modi of bjpo be faulted, this article is absurd. modi has revived pride and confidence of india where india has an equal and respected seat at every global forum of reputed and powerful nations, this leftist author is talking nonsense, a hasbeen presstitutes crying for his undeserved and illgotten privileges he had under the previous scam ridden CONgress+Leftist+Dysnast+Islamist coalition govt. Indian voters are vigilant against such antinationals and we have neutralised you and your voice of divisiveness, go to H.E.A.L.

  12. One thing that we must acknowledge that Britishers have colonised our minds so completely that we are still looking up to foreigners, green card holders and NRIs to examine what is happening in our country! Can anyone imagine an article in any US newspaper on Black Lives Matter, that would be authored by some unknown educator from India, who shuttles between these two countries?

  13. Just Jealousy and Hypocricy!!
    If same group of journalists, businessman, academic persons protest, resign, write a letter against Modi, they become Guardians of Democracy.

  14. !00% AGREE WITH MR. VISHWANATHAN. NEVER IN THE 70 YR HISTORY OF THE NATION THE NATION HAS THERE BEEN SO MUCH DISSENT OPENLY EXPRESSED. IF THERE HAD BEEN SUPPRESSION OR COERCION WE WOULD NOT BE SEEING THE AUTHORS ARTICLE OPENLY.
    WHAT MODI HAS DONE IS GIVE US A NEW SENSE OF CONFIDENCE & SELF BELIEF. THE OLD NARRATIVE THAT HINDUS ARE THE OPRESSORS & WE NEED TO TREAT MINORITIES WITH KID GLOVES IS GONE.ONLY MUSLIMS ARE SPREADING THIS PROPOGANDA .NO OTHER MINORITY LIKE JAINS ,BUDHISTS ARE EXPRESSING INSECURITY.
    WHAT IS WRONG WITH A HINDU NATION.WE ARE NOW OPENLY EXPRESSING WHAT HAS LONG BEEN SUPRESSED. JAI HIND.

    • ‘WHAT MODI HAS DONE IS GIVE US A NEW SENSE OF CONFIDENCE & SELF BELIEF. ‘

      Indeed that is what the article is saying – Modi has given you a new sense of confidence that you can be a vigilante, a criminal, a lyncher or rapist, and no one will dare question you.

    • Do you reside in Modistan Mr Pratik? Trying to please your Hindutva friends for a favourable career growth perhaps ?

  15. History is a mirror only for future generations. The present are the ones who suffer.

    What this also tells you is that strong men across the world will be adored by some twisted logic by the fans. Look at Chengis Khan. He raped and pillaged villages albeit in different times. Yet, he is a hero in Mongolia and historians count his DNA remains.

  16. As usual Anti-Modi chant by the Dejected leftists whose ideology is trampled under feet by the voters in most of the countries of free democratic world. Voters of India know collectively and individually what is good for them and their country and have started voting accordingly after having suffered for decades under so-called secularists and socialists . What India needs today and tomorrow is a Government committed to economic growth of the nation with equity and also one that can save the nation from internal and external security threats and believes in and practices APPEASEMENT TO NONE on the basis of religion, region , language or ethnicity. The present day BJP seems to fill the bill and will remain people s first choice for a considerable period of time . Till then leftists can go on ENJOY HOLIDAY.

    • ‘What India needs today and tomorrow is a Government committed to economic growth of the nation …’

      So why did the growth go down in Modi’s first term from 10 to 5% and now to – 9% ?

  17. We can understand the glamour of sounding philosophically diplomatic.
    Had the main stream media and ‘handy’ party ruled been as secularly sincere as it barked, this vigilance wouldn’t have been manifested.

    • Handy party and main stream media did their part in maintaining secularism. It’s just that now when they continue to do the same, fanboys like you don’t like your Supreme Leader being questioned. With BJP, dogs that barked at night now do so in the day and now they have one that does so infront of a mike in Mann ki baat. But fanboys and vigilantes alike will start feeling the pinch when hunger, unemployment, poverty sets in, Chowkidar becomes Erdogan and India turns into Pakistan.

      • ‘India turns into Pakistan…..’

        The fanboys of the Supreme Leader sometimes dream of being Israel, sometimes Myanamar, and lately China. They have given up dreaming about being the US due to the criticism over democracy and religious intolerance – although they will be the first to seek a visa.

        They would not say they want to be Pakistan ! Pakistan makes them feel suicidal. But that is what they will turn India into.

  18. Disclaimer: In Defence of a Nation and not an individual or political party.

    BJP is in power in only 13 out of 31 sates of which it is in power in a coalition in 5. Law and order is a state subject. The false narrative of vigilantism is self-explanatory. It is akin to the false narratives on Democracy and free speech.

    Let me explain (I repeat, I am not speaking for any Political party, but in support of MY Nation) the false narrative.

    I am reading in the media these days that NAMO does not tolerate criticism. To jog people’s memory, it was not very long ago when Namo was called “just a chaiwala”, “Mauth ka saudagar” (Merchant of Death), “Chaukidar Chor hain” (The caretaker is a thief), beside references to million dollar suits etc… by no less than people in the highest echelons of Politics in India. In the run up to the imminent State elections, we also do not hear the pollical parties singing paeans of leaders from the opposing parties. Every day, in some sections of the media, mostly same sections, there are many articles by “experts”, “intelligentsia”, “activists” and a plethora of journalists criticizing PM’s every move and that of his political party and the Government. In the parliament the opposition parties vehemently and passionately oppose every move of the Government overtly and covertly. One also comes across false narratives on Indian democracy and free speech by vested interests aided unabashedly by a section of the media. When a few such false, misleading and offensive narratives by some people are investigated democratically by those legally authorized to do so, it is termed as strangulating free speech.

    I as a common person in India, do not see the same feeling of “frustration” reflected in any of the large section of people with who I interact daily digitally and physically. Now, you may say that I do not meet many people. Pray tell me how many people and what type of people do these self-appointed champions of democracy (some residing outside India) meet and interact on a given day? None of them have interacted with me anyway.

    On the “money channels” on TV, every day, some high ranking bureaucrat (like Finance secretary, CEA, Reserve Bank Governor and the like) are seen being grilled on all new and old policies and about the past, present and future of Indian economy etc.. Concerned ministers also appear frequently, answering questions.

    I tell these people who are crying wolf, to continue to criticize and question the authotities. It is your democratic right to be seen and read, you are free to do so. Nobody has the right to stop you and I see reading your grouses daily that nobody is stopping you. I am not writing for or against what you say. But for God’s sake and for the sake of MY Nation, please do not go around falsely telling people you are not allowed to question the Government in India.

    Tail piece: Thankfully, false narratives fall though in a democracy like India. Don’t underestimate the electorate. They will decide the right and wrong.

    • Very well written. Unfortunately will fall on deaf ears of those who self certify themselves as liberal. It is not for nothing that Fareed Zakaria said on CNN a few years ago that liberals think they are tolerant, but frequently they are not. They think that their views are so pure that can’t bear to hear an alternative voice.

    • Omg.. very well articulated and written.. appreciate the words and the sense you have showcased..
      Well it is a bit childish to say I feel the same when someone articulates it so well.. but honestly I do feel the same..

    • Col KL Viswanahan (Retd): You pontificate:

      “.. I as a common person in India, do not see the same feeling of “frustration” reflected in any of the large section of people with who I interact daily digitally and physically ..”

      Well Colonel saab, This is very good news ! After all, since you seem to hold your hands on the pulse of the people, one could do away with Gallup polls and other costly statistical polling methods and simply call you. After all, you do interact with a “ large section of people .. digitally and physically ..” right ?

      Forgive me for my sarcasm Colonel saab, I do not mean to be dis-respectful to a man who has donned the uniform of the Armed Forces. I have nothing but immense admiration for your skills in statistics. Yet, I do have some questions:

      How many Muslims did you interact with digitally & physically?
      How many Dalits did you interact with digitally & physically?
      How many Keralites did you interact with digitally & physically?
      Did you talk to anyone from Sikkim and Nagaland? Any Keralites? Kashmiris?

      I would sincerely appreciate an answer Sir.

      Reading your post, I am also reminded of a quote about statistics:

      “There are two kinds of statistics, the kind you look up and the kind you make up”

    • Col Kl. Viswanahan: Your statement:

      “BJP is in power in only 13 out of 31 sates of which it is in power in a coalition in 5. Law and order is a state subject”

      reminds me of what PM Modi said when Mohammad Akhlaq was lynched in Dadri.

      “What is the fault of the Centre”?

      And incidentally, Akhlaq’s son was an Air Force corporal.

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