In the first part of our analysis, we discussed the power of narrative over reality. Creatively structured and forcefully delivered narrative without shame or remorse can trounce reality in most cases.
In the second part of the analysis, we looked at the different extremes that those who are for Modi Government think – exclusively development and passionate Hindu camps. We also discussed the difference between the efficacy of Fundamental reforms and populist changes.
Now we will look at what the BJP and Modi-Shah combination needs to do to win in 2019.
Propaganda of Slogans and Perjury
Adolf Hitler who knew a thing or two about rousing the masses with falsehoods based strong narrative, has said it very powerfully.
“The receptivity of the masses is very limited, their intelligence is small, but their power of forgetting is enormous. In consequence of these facts, all effective propaganda must be limited to a very few points and must harp on these in slogans until the last member of the public understands what you want him to understand by your slogan.” ― Adolf Hitler
Since 2014, Congress has focused on targeting PM Modi personally and his schemes specifically. Even when his schemes were truly successful, propaganda contrary to that was being spread. But unbeknownst to anyone, there was a underlying attempt to normalize abuse of Modi.
Constantly, using his wife and that his relationship was not even there, or portraying him as a fool because he was not as suave as the English speaking elite. Words that were unprecedented in public sphere were used. This abuse reached limits during the 2018 State elections. For example:
- In a rally in Solapur, Congress MLA from Solapur South Praniti Shinde shouted, “We have a new dengue mosquito in our country, whose name is Modi baba. Everyone is falling sick because of him. So do whatever you can, spray pesticides and throw him out of the power next time.”
- Raj Babbar linked the Rupee depreciation to the age of Modi’s Mother.
- Just 3 days later, senior Congress leader Vilasrao Muttemwar said – everyone knew of Rahul Gandhi’s ancestors, buut no one is aware who Prime Minister Modi’s father is. Portraying as if he was useless and illegitimate.
These are not usual political rhetoric. This is beyond that. It is institutionalizing hatred for the Prime Minister of India and trying to make it stick. In the eyes and mind of those who have been taught that hating Modi is indeed the “liberal thing” to do, such personal abuse which targets a person’s family seems legitimate. Such is the sickness of mind of the people who have bought the propaganda.
Abuse of Modi accompanied with mocking him and spreading falsehoods is a common tactic. However, this is accompanied with slogans spreading lies that have no basis in reality.
For example, the accusation of “bringing Rs 15 lakh of black money and depositing in bank account of every Indian“. Here is the video, where he is supposed to have said it.
He says – there is so much of black money stashed by Congress that if it is brought back, every Indian could have Rs 15 lakh for free”. Now, when this is said, it simply means – in case of democracies – that the Government will have access to that money on behalf of the citizens. For example, Rashtrapati Bhawan (President’s house) in India is owned by the citizens of India as it is the property of Government of India. Does that mean that tomorrow some citizen can go ahead and do a deal for it in the real estate market? To even suggest that would be lunatic. Ditto for the “Rs 15 lakh in your pocket” slogan and jibe.
And, that is the effectiveness in popular psyche of sloganeering. It can be used by those prone to institute tyranny the most.[blockquote align=”right” author=”Lysander Spooner”]“Those who are capable of tyranny are capable of perjury to sustain it.”[/blockquote] The fact is that Modi Government is on track to bring in at least Rs 447, 610 crores by 2018 or $63 billion! That comes to roughly Rs 3600 per capita. Not Rs 15 Lakh per capita but still quite a lot of money! (Information is based on the table here and the link mentioned)
If Modi Government has fallen short, it has not in comparison with the other Governments since 1947 (whose Ministers were siphoning OFF money as opposed to bringing in!), but in comparison to its own benchmarks. To hold THAT against the government to pave the way to bring in other parties who were responsible for siphoning that black money is rather imbecile! But that is where the false but effective sloganeering has helped. And this is not the first time in India’s political history. It has been happening earlier as well. Remember Vajpayee’s time? Here is an interesting and informative video on how it all works.
This propaganda and dishonest sloganeering and false and fake cases drummed up by a pliant and bought media. All this has pitted a thoroughly dishonest, confirmed and indicted bunch of looters against the one who is taking them to task and getting their ill-gotten wealth out. And guess what the narrative is? The guy who is getting the money back is not doing enough, so we will pave the way for those who were looting anyways.
That utterly crazy scenario is what propaganda and dishonest but effective sloganeering can do. Specially in the face of NO effective counter.
Political battles are not fought on the basis of reality (retrieved $63 billion of black money), but on the basis of dishonest yet effectively simple propaganda (Has Modi deposited Rs 15 lakh in your bank?).
So effective has Congress propaganda been that even educated and otherwise intelligent people have fallen for it. Even those who root for propriety are belittling a battle fought against black money to pave the way for those who have created it in the first place. Their garb of neutrality notwithstanding.
Politics, you see, is a binary game. I lose, you win. Its never I lose, you lose too. But such is the level of psychosis created that falsehoods triumph and sow confusion and because of which we saw in Part II, that NOTA votes were higher than the victory margins in 22 seats – because people cannot make up their minds even when the case for one against the other is so overwhelmingly clear. That is the impact of confusion sown by sloganeering.1
So that is the first thing BJP and Modi need to do. Create effective and simple slogans to set the narrative against Congress. Not just counter, but SET the narrative. Because one must remember when Constantinople fell in 1453, it had waged defensive battles for almost 800 years. Relentless defense without offense is foolhardy.
And, that is what must change.
Taking abuse head on, but by flanks of soldiers
Narendra Modi is by far one of the most effective communicator that BJP has today. In fact that the nation has seen in a long time. And the abuse he has been through is, as we noted, unprecedented! From his humble past to his mother, father, family, caste and his origins – everything has been fair game and he has been abused and mocked.
The memes and even the tweets used for him are downright abusive.
The attempt is obviously to draw him out and to have a one-on-one with the many “foot soldiers” of Congress. And, given the level to which he has faced this in his life, Modi would naturally tend to gravitate to “taking them on”.
But that is a mistake.
No, taking them on is not a mistake. They should be taken on and given a nice dose of what they think they are giving. But not by the leader. By the soldiers.
During the US elections in 2016, one of the BIGGEST mistake that everyone did was to not stand up to and mock Donald Trump so he could be rattled and belittled as well. He kept doing it to others – with great success. Given that Congress is using derivative of Cambridge Analytica, they are using the same template on Modi that Trump used against Marco Rubio and Hillary Clinton. Mark my words, a derivative of “Lock her up” is just around the corner against Modi.
The only way to rattle and beat up a bully is by deepening the fight to a level that he has to submit. Hit him in so many ways and in so many directions that he has no way to recover. Being good to a bully is not the right way to handle things.
In Mahabharat, Shishupal started abusing Krishna, after the rituals for the Rajasuya yagna in their capital city of Indraprastha was complete. Shishupal kept on abusing and Krishna kept on listening, but he had promised to pardon Shishupal 100 times. As Shishupal crosses that mark and kept on abusing, Krishna killed him without any delay.
It was not as if Krishna could not take abuse or was prone to anger. The principle was that beyond a point abuse should not be taken any more. Such a scenario encourages a state where bullies will rule. Where bullying is pardoned and not punished, there is no justice or peace. Punishment should, in such cases, specifically when indulged by Kings or political opponents, should be exemplary.
Create different layers of “soldiers”. First level, Second level, third level which would be the ministers themselves and finally Modi.
Level One for fight “fire with fire”: The abuse or sledging has been effectively used for long to rattle people. That is what Congress is trying to do. Create a layer of effective but lower level communicators who are there for only abusing and rattling serial abusers like Digvijay Singh, Rahul Gandhi, Sonia Gandhi, Manish Tiwari, Kapil Sibal and Mallikarjun Kharge. Apart from Congress leaders, people from other opposition parties – like Mamata Bannerjee, Akhilesh Yadav, the Abdullahs, Chandrababu Naidu etc should also be called out. This cadre should be those who are not directly members of BJP or low level workers.
Level Two for daily questioning Opposition leaders: Ask stinging questions. If the facts have to be tweaked, so be it. Ask open questions and make them trend. Spend the effort, research and money. Let no leader get away. Every major regional and national leader within Congress and the opposition should face a barrage of questions on their character, work, family and dealings.
And, this includes people who are on the TV channels as spokespersons and backers of Modi. People like Nalin Kohli and the way Nirmala Sitharaman was prior to 2014, should be encouraged, cultivated and used as representatives. Except for Sambit Patra who is over-used now, the others are rank bad. Shubhrastha is the only good find in the last 4 years.
Level Three for exposing the juvenile and dishonest ways of Opposition: From Justice Loya to Rafale deal, it has been one dishonest propaganda after another. The ministers should be involved every week making media rounds and using Social Media effectively to start campaigns to bring down these dishonest attempts. IN fact, the ministers should regularly take the fight to the opposition camp and constantly question Congress, TMC and other parties on their work in their states as well as other actions that come out.
Level Four, the Leader himself to walk the high ground: Leader Modi, needs to take the initiative and show congenial ways to the opposition. The hug diplomacy should and other actions should be taken on. The fight that needs to be fought is being fought and should be, but the General should never be the one exposed to filth. That is what the soldiers are for.
The Level Two and Three warriors should be credible, strong orators, well respected in society. If Congress has enlisted someone like Raghuram Rajan as their warrior, it is time to enlist someone of equal level to deal with folks like him.
[blockquote align=”left” author=”Niccolò Machiavelli (1469-1527)”]There is no avoiding war; it can only be postponed to the advantage of others.[/blockquote]When Dronacharya was wreaking havoc with the Pandava Army, Krishna enlisted Yudhister to announce that “Ashwatthama is dead”. Ashwathama, the elephant was dead, which Yudhister added subsequently but it was drowned in sounds of conch and drums. Actually, Drona’s son’s name was Ashwatthama as well. And Yudhister was known to speak only the truth. So Drona became inconsolable. That brought Drona’s guard down and he descended from his chariot, laid down his arms and sat in meditation. That is when Dhrishtadyumna beheaded him.2
The Second step is to create a multi-pronged, multi-level and multi-flank attack. Fighting fire by fire, intrigue by intrigue is the call of any battle. Today’s battles for the civilizations are not fought on battlefields but within the societies themselves. So make no mistake – this battle, as in the US, is a civilizational battle. You cannot talk of being a genteel monk when on battlefield.
Create the ecosystem and back your base
It has become a common experience with those on social media that the moment they abuse or say anything anti-Modi, they are contacted by someone from the Indian National Congress. People who have tweeted anti-Modi stuff are immediately followed by official handles, thus increasing their profiles.
Those who have created memes, have been approached for “paid collaboration”.
This is the level of alacrity on part of Congress to create an amenable and pliable ecosystem. In fact, there are some who have suggested that Congress does this with the stand-up comics as well. Otherwise, it is quite strange, isn’t it, that all the jokes by the regular stand-ups are anti-Modi and not one comic takes apart the opposition, specifically Rahul Gandhi, when he is a walking-talking comedy material?
Something to think about!
Whoever is writing for and defending Modi Government is not doing that out of personal gain, but out of personal conviction that this fight is one that equals the battle for India’s independence. In many ways, it is so. And in that civilizational war, Modi is not the goal. He is a tool. A means to the goal. He is the maker of today’s destiny. Whether he pays one or not, whether Amit Shah defends or follows one or not, this fight is not for Modi or Shah. This is for one’s own existence. There is no one better to do what is needed to be done other than Modi and his chief strategist Amit Shah.
They both have weaknesses and may not always be doing what one thinks should be done completely. But the chasm between Modi and anyone else is beyond imagination.
So, people like yours truly and many other writers take their time out of family and personal duties and expend the effort to research, learn and share the truth, facts and narratives that will shape the India, and indeed the world of today and tomorrow.
But not everyone is driven by conviction of what is right.
Building an ecosystem takes time, effort and compensation. What someone like me could have achieved for India’s civilizational narrative if I did not have to bother about my family’s financial security could have been so much more. However, unlike websites like Altnews, indiaspend etc, those who run online blogs and sites defending Modi do not get anything. That is why their reach and search results are not as high as of the blogs and sites favoring anti-Modi content. I have tested it many times – on topics which are controversial – that the first page will always be full of anti-Modi narrative on a Google search.
That takes money, reach, and an ecosystem.
Remember, narratives define ethos and civilizations. Not reality.
So, if Modi and team feels that they can succeed sans a strong, dominating ecosystem, then they are mistaken. Ecosystem is the most powerful tool. It can and has always collaborated to defend itself. Those who feed this ecosystem and strengthen it, win even when they have lost.3
That is the third step – Build and Strengthen an ecosystem. An ecosystem that is global, articulate, effective, resolute and well-funded. From movies to comedy stars to bloggers to orators to Social Media stars, the powers that be within BJP and the corporates backing Modi need to step in to back the base! Without a wide and strong base, you cannot create an effective edifice.
Conclusion: Fight is not for Modi, but for India and its Civilization
The situation in politics is clear cut and black and white. There is no ambiguity.
Amongst the main opponents, if one does not win, the other does. It’s that simple.
You cannot, in your fetish for some imaginary perfection – a benchmark where you cannot even measure in at 1% of the man’s accomplishments – bring down that is truly revolutionary in scale and effort given the options we have had.
You cannot bring down a man who is fighting corruption and bringing back the money for the poor, even when it is not nearly as much as he would have liked to (given the tremendous legal and other resources of those who are being indicted), and hoist those whose mess he is cleaning up in the first place. It’s not just masochist, it is downright imbecile.
For the first time, India has a leader who thinks about India and one who is rooted in India’s ethos fully. Here are two accomplished thinkers and people discussing what Narendra Modi means for India. Why is he a leader unlike any other.