Modi has created a new power elite ushering in a cultural revolution; protecting India’s social & political unity is not important for them; the old elite is despised – SANJAYA BARU
In the first interview to mark the weekend launch of his book ‘India’s Power Elite: class, caste and a cultural revolution’ SANJAYA BARU says in the seven years he’s been in power Narendra Modi has created a new power elite and created a cultural revolution in terms of the people who rule India as well as in terms of their ideas and thinking.
Previously when governments changed in New Delhi there were no major changes in the social class that constituted the capital power elite. As BARU puts it, “ it was a revolving door…one set of friends went in and another set went out”. Now “ the new intellectuals around an Amit Shah and Yogi Adityanath belong to a different world”.
In a 32 minute interview with Karan Thapar for The Wire, Baru says the new power elite is more provincial, it prefers to use Hindi or vernacular languages, it’s drawn from the middle or intermediate and not upper castes or classes and it was not born into families of privilege with easily accessible contacts. In contrast, the old elite had been to similar schools and universities, as members of the Gymkhana or IIC, and was largely upper-middle class.
Mr. Thapar’s office gave details of the interview in a detailed press release.
In a particularly telling illustration, BARU said this is the first time the PMO does not have officers who have graduated from St Stephens or JNU.
BARU said “the secular left-liberal weltanschauung of the old public intellectuals” has been replaced by “a Hindu nationalist intellectual architecture”. One consequence of this is that whereas “ the old elites knew how to preserve social and political unity despite India’s cultural diversity, the new power elite see no value in that liberal endeavor”. The new elite is unabashedly pro-Hindu and unsympathetic to Muslims, it’s pro-Hindi and antagonistic to English as a national link language and it’s much more North Indian than South Indian.
In his book, BARU also discusses a section of the population he calls Aspirational India. “ It is a social class that does not think in English. It is a class that prefers to eat with the hand and does not quite understand the differing purposes of a fork and spoon. This class does not constitute India’s power elite but it has begun to matter more – socially, politically, and economically. Through its ranks, members of a new power elite are emerging.”
BARU says the cultural revolution brought about by the new power elite underpinned by aspirational India represents the ascent of Bharat and the decline of India.
BARU also compares the impact of the Modi cultural revolution to the one that happened under Mao in China. In both instances, the aim is to remove if not eradicate vestiges of the old order who may have tried to cling onto power and office.
Finally, BARU analyses Modi’s appeal and the secret of his political success in terms of the melange of differing and sometimes contradictory beliefs that comprise his political platform. BARU says it’s “ a mix of BJP’s Hindutva nationalism, Ram Manohar Lohia’s caste-based social welfarism and the Left’s class-based pro-poor radicalism”. It also has “ an anti-liberal anti-left flavor” and it’s “anti-elite” and “anti-English”.
This may be an intellectual khichadi but it is also a political appetizing if not irresistible salad. In addition, Modi is lucky the people have not spotted the inherent contradictions in his beliefs whilst the opposition has been unable to exploit them.
BARU says there only two serious challenges that can check Modi’s ascent, a revival of the opposition or a collapse of the economy. He says the people of new aspirational India are drawn to Modi because he reflects their views and also legitimizes them but they want a better life and if the economy stumbles their identification with Modi could turn to frustration snd disappointment.
The above is a paraphrased précis of SANJAYA BARU’s interview with Karan Thapar for The Wire. Though recounted from memory it is not inaccurate. However please see the full interview for a better and fuller understanding of SANJAYA BARU’s arguments and viewpoint. Here is the link: https://youtu.be/OkUKUte2zt4
‘Modi Has Created a New Pro-Hindu Power Elite—Protecting India’s Social Unity Not Important to Them’
Disclaimer: The opinions expressed in this article are based on a press release issued by the interviewer’s office. The facts and opinions appearing in the article do not reflect the views of newsabode.com. newsabode.com does not assume any responsibility or liability for the same.)
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