Modi and Nazis? You can't pick and choose history, Mr Jairam Ramesh

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Union Congress minister Jairam Ramesh has recently compared the rise of Narendra Modi with the Third Reich in Germany in the 1920s. Criticism of the opponent is not something unique in a democratic system but Ramesh's likening Modi's rise to that of the Nazi Germany is an appalling act. Being a member of a 10-year-old government, Ramesh made a mockery of himself, his government and the Indian democracy through such comparison.

Politics in India at this moment has been reduced to a drama centred around Modi. But when a member of the ruling coalition in a democracy compares with the Nazis, it leaves a pathetic impression in our minds.


Ramesh said: "India right now in 2013 - I would say we are going through what Germany went through in 1932." Had some observer of political history said this, it would have been an enlightening remark, but when somebody from the establishment says this to belittle a powerful opposition leader, then the question that demands an answer is: Why is India of 2013 undergoing what Germany had in 1932?

If Modi is indeed a new avatar of Hitler as the Congress leaders are desperate to prove, then who has facilitated his rise? If the world's largest democracy is witnessing a 'threatening' rise of a 'fascist face', who made this horrible transition possible?

Ramesh should have been more responsible while making the atrocious remark.

Nazism didn't grow in the air

The rise of Hitler and Nazism in Germany was not a voluntary movement. They were the poisonous consequences of the failure of a republican system. The national pride of the Germans was left humiliated after the First World War and when she was further plagued by economic misery and crippled leadership, there was an expected backlash on the ground. The hatred for the failed state was not a voluntary reaction but was a compelling reality.

Ramesh mocked his own government by comparing Modi with the rise of Nazis

Germany of the day chose an authoritarian way to resolve its problems for democracy could not bring it any relief. Subsequently, it saw the rise of the right-wing and hyper-nationalistic forces that were capable of mobilising the masses.

Ignore Weimar Republic in the Nazi story?

Did Ramesh know the structural reason behind the rise of the extremist nationalism in Germany? If he is pointing towards a non-desired result in the rise of Narendra Modi, he must also mention what has led to such a consequence? He must realise that like the discredited Weimer Republic in Germany, the current UPA government in India has also been reduced to a shamble in public eye.

Reasons for Modi's rise? Here are they:

The state system is not trusted any more leading to an unbridgeable trust deficit and hence a big gap between the rulers and the ruled; it is also perceived as a weak entity that can't force itself in any matter, whether it is in foreign policy matters vis-a-vis hostile neighbours or in areas of governance; the steady decline in law and order, particularly the growing violence against women and above all,lack of a leadership.

The silence of prime minister, the chief executive of the state, in crucial issues is something that no vibrant democracy can tolerate for long.

Each of these reasons have necessitated a practical comparison between the deteriorating political standards in Germany in the Inter-War period and the current UPA government in India. Ramesh's demonising Modi is just a convenient way of looking at the story. He has deliberately ignored the cause of the problem.

Modi has to come to power democratically, then what's Ramesh trying to prove?

Projecting Modi as a rising demon is without any base for he has always been a popular leader elected democratically in his own state of Gujarat. He is not going to wrest power from Manmohan Singh by either staging a coup or by making any backroom dealing but will have to bank on millions of votes and allies to become the leader of the nation.

Analysis of Modi goes awry

But by trying to project Modi as an unsuitable national leader, there is an effort to hide the pressing reason that has made his rise inevitable. It is a subtle encouragement of an illiberal tendency in the democratic set-up in India, which is a big worry.

Ramesh represents a party that is historically known for a liberal ethos but what he and his some of his party colleagues are doing in an effort to defeat their enemy is entirely contradictory to that.

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