How BJP’s ‘Swadeshi’ morphed into neo-liberalism?
Those were the days when I was living in the famous temple town, Bhadrachalam. I was an undergraduate student in the local government degree college. I was an active member (a Swayamsevak) of the Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh (RSS) and would attend Shakha wearing Khaki Knickers on an almost daily basis.
One day they distributed some leaflets in the Shakha and explained to us about the importance of getting back to Swadeshi. Those leaflets were published by an organization called Swadeshi Jagran Manch affiliated to the RSS. They said it is our responsibility to bring about awareness among the people about the need of patronizing the goods manufactured by the Indian companies. At that time I got attracted towards the idea and enrolled myself in the campaign. I, along with a senior Swayamsevak, visited many villages to distribute those leaflets and tell them about the need of using our Indian products to attain economic self-sufficiency. The activists of SJM would always tell us that they are against the Foreign Direct Investment (FDI) and advocate self-reliance. The Parivar leaders, however, would regularly hit the headlines by sporting the hugely popular French-made Reynolds pens and struggling to explain their double standard. This swadeshi campaign continued till the BJP came to power. Thereafter, I did not hear much about it.
A few days ago, while I was reading a newspaper, I came across a news item stating that the Swadeshi Jagran Manch, which sank into oblivion for a long time, organized a protest in Delhi opposing the Flipkart-Walmart deal. They say that the deal adversely affects the livelihoods of the millions of merchants, who run brick and mortar stores and may cause widespread unemployment. This news surprised me a lot. It made me wonder whether the Sangh Parivar has any economic policy at all.
Before they came to power they advocated swadeshi and self-reliance and would indulge in sloganeering stating that “we want computer chips, not potato chips”. And after coming to power, they installed Modi, one of the foremost darlings of neo-liberalism in the seat of power. Modi has been implementing his Modinomics, which is strikingly similar to neo-liberal Reaganomics pioneered by Ronald Reagan. He has been pushing the so-called economic reforms introduced by the Congress government at a breakneck speed.
Recently the Forbes magazine declared Modi as one of the most influential leaders of the world, along with Donald Trump, Vladimir Putin, Jeff Bezos, Mukesh Ambani and Pope Francis. If you closely observe the combination, we get to know that politicians, plutocrats and clergymen continue to rule the world leaving commoners no place.
Look at the modus operandi of Modi. He kept Indian economy’s doors wide open for FDI, diluted labour and environmental laws, gave a huge bailout to the corporates in the name of bank recapitalization, announced corporate tax cuts, and leaving no stone unturned to attract foreign direct investment. Even when he was the Chief Minister of Gujarat he organized the Vibrant Gujarat Summit amidst much fanfare to attract the foreign investors. It is a well-known fact that Modi and tycoons (whether domestic or foreign) are just like Siamese twins. Modi gives them ‘ease of doing business’ and the tycoons give him the ‘ease of campaigning’. And from the marriage of the ‘Hindutva’ Modi and ‘corporate’ tycoons, an offspring called ‘corporate Hindutva’ was born and ruling the nation unhinderedly.
Now, who is Modi? Wasn’t he installed by the RSS? Wasn’t he an active member of RSS before he entered politics? Didn’t he know about the Swadeshi Jagran Manch and its ideas? He knows everything. And he does what he does in spite of knowing everything.
The thing that we all should know is the Sangh Parivar people use each and everything they can latch on to promote themselves. They don’t have any specific policies, they are not concerned about people’s welfare and they don’t even bother about Hinduism or the nation. They just use all these things to promote their toxic and worn out ideas with an aim to promote themselves.
You might be wondering after burying Swadeshi and indulging in empty rhetoric in the name of Make in India, what is the need for Swadeshi Jagran Manch to hit the streets now. It is exactly because the BJP is mostly supported by the upper-class people, especially the traders, who are either rich or ultra-rich. There are many apprehensions among the traders that Flipkart-Walmart deal may adversely affect their prospects. Therefore, sensing the discomfort among their electorate, they stage-managed this demonstration just to create an impression that they continue to side with the traders. The Parivar people are blatantly fork-tongued and practice rampant double standards. When they face Hindus they say “Jai Sriram” and promise a Ram Temple. And while campaigning in Meghalaya they promise free trips to Jerusalem. When Modi goes to Davos he gets photographed with Nirav Modi and talks about ease of doing business. And when he enters campaigning mode he repeatedly reminds people that he is the son of a Chaiwala and delivers attractive slogans which so far proved to be nothing more than an empty rhetoric.
It is increasingly becoming evident that these people neither have an ideology nor do they have a specific policy to bring any improvement in the lives of the people. They just want to exploit the inherent emotions among the people and hoodwink them to serve their narrow self-interest. To tap these emotions they use 3 Hs (Hindi- upper caste Hindu and Hindustan). The people who voted for the Modi-led BJP government expected that he would improve their lot. However, his rule proved that he is no better than the UPA regime led by the ma-beta and it only added some useless things such as ‘3Hs and a Cow’ to hoodwink people.
For now, the Swadeshi Jagran Manch is dormant. It, however, may resume its operations if Modi government gets voted out of power to create trouble for the next government.