This Sunday, internet Hindus including me were in shock when they found the following tweets and FB posts from the Ministry of WCD:
The face of this vile anti-Hindu bigot on the face of a Modi sarkar sponsored campaign sparked a revolt of sorts. I can hardly express in words how deeply offended I was to see this vile creature’s face sponsored by what I thought was “our” government. This is the majority BJP government we dreamed of all our lives. And Nandita Das as a face for it?
Shortly after, the tweets and FB posts disappeared (thankfully). But, after causing such deep offense to all its supporters, the BJP owed us a written clarification. To be fair, Varun did step in with an explanation:
First of all, it is truly lame for Varun Gandhi to give the explanation, that too from his personal Twitter account. Also, I am not impressed by the mentality behind Varun giving an explanation for “Mummy”… the Ministry is not their family fiefdom…professional courtesy demands that the clarification should have come from the Ministry’s official handle. But at least, I am glad they did respond and remove Nandita Das.
This is really the tip of the iceberg, perhaps more like the straw that broke the camel’s back. There is a rising sense of disquiet among the BJP’s online supporters demanding to know why the party wont listen to “us”. Sadly, I believe there are two simple explanations for this.
(1) I have made this first point several times before in comments: if you think of the political market, the BJP has a complete monopoly on the right wing space. It is an immutable law of nature that monopolies produce crappy products. The BJP knows that its right wing supporters have literally nowhere else to go. So, the party does only the barest minimum possible to not lose the right wing. In fact, the BJP is not pro-Hindu, the BJP is rather the only party that is not actively anti-Hindu.
Compare to the left wing, pro-Islamic political space. Extremely competitive. There’s Cong, SP, BSP, JDU, RJD, TMC…and so many jostling for space. There’s AAP in Delhi and Punjab eating up “secular votes”. It’s a Darwinian struggle for survival. It leads to “survival of the most secular”… this is why every pin prick faced by every peaceful echoes loud and clear in Delhi and across the country. If Congress does not serve them well, peacefuls will just take their votes elsewhere. Who cares when Hindus suffer? If the BJP does not raise their issues, who will the aggrieved Hindus vote for? For Mulayam? For Mamata? Lol!
The same also goes for the economic right wing. The BJP can get by with doing the barest minimum to promote business in the country. Because other political parties are so left wing that they see “businessman” as roughly equivalent to “rapist”. Before every election, we are familiar with this standard headline:
“X number of candidates have criminal cases and Y number of candidates are crorepatis”
Lol! Being rich is seen as disreputable, almost on the same level as being a criminal! This is what happens to public discourse after decades of drinking from the poisonous Nehruvian well.
It’s tough to say what can be done to disturb the comfortable monopoly of the BJP on the right win in Indian politics. We know two things for sure:
(a) Monopolies always produce crappy products: so as long as the BJP’s monopoly lasts, the Hindu and economic right wing in India will be feeble.
(b) If new right wing parties are created to try and break the BJP’s monopoly, seculars will merrily ride to power because of division of votes.
Are we screwed?
(2) The second reason the BJP doesn’t listen to “us” is that quite simply, “our” feedback isn’t integrated into the BJP’s system. A party as big as the BJP tends to have its own babalog and gather its own internal bureaucracy. This internal bureaucracy is drawn purely from RSS pracharaks. Now, I have repeatedly talked about how the RSS influence overrides personal ambitions within the BJP and gives it the ability to expand far and wide…which simply no other party has managed to do since independence. But the RSS structure simply hasn’t absorbed technology and social media. The BJP might be the clear leader online, but these are mostly random people doing things on their own time…like me. There is no real evidence that the online/media/SM teams of the party even have a place at the table where decisions are made. Ditto with party spokespersons. In fact, I honestly feel sorry for folks like Amit Malviya…
This is one place where one can learn from AAP. Almost everyone knows who AAP’s IT guy is: Ankit Lal is part of their decisions. Ditto with AAP’s TV spokespersons like Assholetosh and Ashish Shaitan….they are all part of Kejriwal’s core team. Of course, this is easier for AAP because of its media based origins and simply for the fact that it’s a very small and new party. Back when the RSS built its structure, no one had imagined there would be Facebook or Twitter. Now they have to integrate these new sources of feedback into the large pre-existing structure.
Well, evolve or perish! The BJP has no family to keep it running. Because it does not survive by reproducing, it has to survive by evolving. Evolve or perish!
I’ll end with a small anecdote. Just like that. So, I am young enough to take pride in joining Twitter and Facebook…and laughing at “oldies” who don’t seem to see what the big deal is. But now Whatsapp is the rage and I simply don’t see the point of joining. My student years have been over for a while…maybe I have become set in my ways and I no longer understand what “young people” are doing on Whatsapp. I hear that teens have moved on to things like Instagram and Snapchat. All of them are beyond me…now think about an RSS pracharak high up in the BJP hierarchy, at least 60 years old…
But then, I am mortal. Ideology is not. Evolve or perish.