Mr. A.S. Panneerselvan’s, that is, The Hindu Newspaper’s Reader’s Editor’s column in that paper (“Moody’s, Modi and mood”, dated 09-11-2015, p.11) brings to fore existence of a spat between the Newspaper and the PMO. The bone of contention is factuality. The Hindu’s Reader’s Editor contends that the Newspaper scrupulously held on to the facts while it’s the PMO that erred in claiming that the Moody’s report to have been drafted by a relation of a left oriented Historian. But the misunderstanding seems to stem from differences in readings, perceptions and the need to tailor response in view of the intended addressee-profile. This analysis hopes to show how the Moody’s report may mean different things to different people while at the same time showing the subtle and insidious ways summoned by the West to meddle in Indian affairs.
To be sure, a wave of intolerance was sweeping the country (so says, at any rate, the political opposition of the day) when the Moody’s Analytics made its report known. That artists, writers, scientists and film-makers also rose in protest against this atmosphere of apparent intolerance, only to buttress such an impression. In the event, these protests were preceded by a string of despicable incidents: Killing or threatening rationalists, the lynching beef disputes, torching of dalits, Pakistan-bashing… all of which is perceived as a new found ‘Hindu assertivist’ agenda of the government. And the matter stands compounded as the Union government fell short of a statesman-like response to this developing situation, Modi’s disclaim of Center’s responsibility sounding more like political bickering.
There are others who reject this intolerance theory and reduce the entire happenings to electoral maneuvers. To be sure, if it is supposed that BJP provoked Dadri in a bid to polarize Bihar vote, the opposition could as well have instigated the “intellectual protest”, even if this counter went beyond expectations. Similarly, the caustic responses by the ruling party members could be thought of as an attempt to maintain the polarized situation in the hope of gaining a larger vote share. And not to miss is the point that perpetuation of such a situation would only serve as a potion of resurrection for certain political parties. That leaves rationalists’ killings or threats and torching of Dalit children in Faridabad to contend with as any knowledgeable person would brush aside the recent parochial outpourings of Shiv Sena vis-à-vis Pakistan as banal display of nationalist pride.
Though the Dadri incident is ghastly, it could only be seen, from this standpoint, as a calculated electoral maneuver but not as an instance of visceral intolerance!
That leaves us with just two serious incidents of law being taken into individual hands, something that is in any case not more serious than mass killings perpetrated by the Maoists or a serial bomb-blasts orchestrated by terrorists! True. A hundred or more intellectuals are protesting. But then, they are doing it peacefully. It is hard to see how these isolated developments would throw the economic life of the country into any sort of quandary! Yet, what does the Moody’s Analytics say in its advisory? According to PTI (as reported by NDTV, 30-10-2015),
“Modi must keep his members in check or risk losing domestic and global credibility”.
It appears that the Moody’s Analytics is convinced of the Modi government actually instigating these incidents! Thus, if the company’s assertion is anything to go by, the Sanathan Samsthan was only following Modi’s unstated directive to kill Kalburgi and others; the upper castes of Faridabad torched Dalit children at the behest of the ruling party; Shiv Sena had simply played proxy to BJP in creating rumpus vis-à-vis Pakistani personalities!! Doesn’t it already sound preposterous for a highly accredited agency to lay all the blame at the door step of the government of the day? But then, why doesn’t gangsterism raising its ugly head in the US with alarming regularity killing people in the very heart of its cities, despite the US boasting of one of the most efficient security systems being in place, wouldn’t cause loss of credibility in American economy?
If the Moody’s contention (or is it concern?) is India losing economic credibility, the reference it made to social unrest needs to point to some economic indicators being affected by the current unrest. But there is none of it and Moody’s does not refer to such tell-tale signs even in its refutation (as reported in The Hindu 6-11-2015) of the PMO’s contention brushing aside the advisory as a junior Assistant Economist’s opinion. How then the unrest is connected to ‘loss of economic credibility’ in the perception of this highly rated Economic Advisory agency? Here it is (PTI, NDTV, 30-11-2015).
“Along with a possible increase in violence, the government will face a stiffer opposition in the upper house…”
Notice the terms, “possible increase” and “stiffer opposition”. That is, it first and foremost is assumed that the unrest would result in increased violence. Yet, no such thing has happened since the date of Moody’s statement. Second, Moody’s does not identify the economic indicators that would be directly affected as a consequence of escalation of the assumed violence. What the agency does is to take a detour and connect the unrest to the political circumstances that may trigger economic dysfunction!
Plainly what Moody’s is saying is that continuance of unrest would make the opposition more intransigent thereby rendering it that much more determined to block economic bills (like GST and Land Bill)! But this eminent economic rating agency, did not pause a while to recall that the Congress and the opposition did not need the alibi of the “intolerance protest” to bigotedly embarrass government during the last session. In short, Moody’s is simply contriving relevance to be able to include an observation on social unrest in the otherwise economic report.
Why does Moody’s prefer to strain both their discretion and logic by adjoining speculative inputs into what should be a rigorous scientific reporting? A consideration of the import of such a premeditated exercise would unravel the motives behind it.
1.It amounts to according academic recognition, from a highly respected Western institution, to the social unrest against the incumbent government, thereby strengthening substantially the impression that is gaining ground.
2. Again, coming as it is from a Western body, it serves as a directive, as to the action orientation, to be followed by millions of Western-grounded and attitudinal Western attuned people in this country.
- It warns, worse blackmails, the government to give up its perceived Hindu-assertive agenda at the risk of facing a total and global economic boycott, though, at a superficial level, this may appear to the lay people as ‘admonishing’ the government for wavering from the just path of secularism.
It is easy to see that Moody’s statement impacts Indian affairs at all levels. Socially, it strengthens people’s perception of intolerance and by implication the impression of ruling party’s steadfast communal pursuits.
Electorally, it helps emphasizes the ruling party’s alleged communal insensitivity thereby implicitly appealing the electorate to vote for the ‘truly’ secular opposition. That is, a subtle way of weaning away electorate from the ruling party amounting to clear interference in the electoral process.
Politically, the statement not only warns of West’s disapproval of Hindu-assertive tactics of the ruling party. Worse, it virtually intimidates the government of global economic blockade if it persists with its Hindu assertivism as a policy matter (overt or not).
It may be objected to that Moody’s Analytics is a private body and is no way connected to any of the Western governments to promote these latter’s policy presumptions. Notice here the extreme caution with which Moody’s acted in this matter. The company declares, at the very outset, that its ‘Research’ wing’s report is independent of its ‘Rating’ unit’s conclusions! Yet, generally research constitutes an unavoidable input to arrive at effective and authoritative conclusions. And when such research is effectively de-linked from the imminent conclusions, the former loses, largely, its scientific significance. In other words, such reports acquire purposes other than what they are originally meant for. That is exactly how Moody’s October 30 report and its 6th November’s refutation need to be taken.
Notice also that the Fitch Rating (as reported in The Hindu dated 10-11-2015) assured India of immunity of credit ratings from Bihar election results. The alacrity with which such a clarification was given by itself constitutes evidence of the contrived and non-Economic nature of the Moody’s Research Unit’s report.
That is, the Western-style communication creates a sort of contextual dislocation thereby reorienting the speech to point to a different speech situation. Here Moody’s had effectively displaced its report from the economic context to socio-political context. The spat between The Hindu and the PMO arises precisely because of such meaning bi-valency. The Reader’s Editor of the Newspaper stuck to the original Economic context whereas PMO seems to have found the implied political intimidation unacceptable. And diplomacy requires that PMO resist a direct launch of accusation against the West. Hence, apparently, is the veiled retort alluding to left-oriented Historian and his son-in-law. After all, Democrats, at the helm in the US, are a left-of-the center party in so far as the US politics are concerned!
India and its enlightened citizens need to guard against such insidious maneuvers if only to safeguard the country’s dignity and sovereignty. The problem with the West is it is not just hegemonic by nature, but it is also extremely image conscious. It cannot thus sacrifice the impression of being a just and civilized politico-social system by overtly giving vent to its hegemonic ambitions. Again, the analytic innateness of its ethos renders it both amoral and practical to the point of not being able to renounce its goals of world-domination. The solution it found is to collectivize this illegitimacy and pursue the same through collective co-ordinations that shield this illegitimacy behind smokescreens of alibis, hedges, verbal and contextual ambi- or poly-valences. Needless to say that such a line of action both camouflages motives as well as serves as adequate legal defense.
In fact, the West’s unstated cultural-imperialist action consists precisely in bringing about this kind of anthropological conversion through enticements, intimidation, creation and exploitation of chinks in the existential life processes of non-Westerners and thereby constituting an astoundingly large number of silent ‘foot-soldiers’ in the non-Western countries.
Thus, as secularism, in as much as it is seen as a rational and principled way of managing politico-social life, already complicates the social structures in multi-religious societies, the insidious Western interference, aided to the hilt by the silent pro-Western millions, can actually turn the tide of events that may even lead to overturning politico-social structures of a country. This should underscore, for the adherents of Hindutva, how subtle and fine-tuned their actions should be. Thus, if they want to consolidate the age-old personality of India, they should first and foremost assure followers of other faiths that their agenda is not against other faiths. At the same time, by crying hoarse, by losing its sense of equanimity and perspective, and seeking superficial equality, the civil society would only be damaging its own age-old heritage that provided an enlightened alternate vision of life to those of other cultures.
By Dr. Coddau Pratap