Defending Modi’s Honour is Unnecessary

Ritwik’s lament is that all his arguments with me devolve into nitpicking.  My response is, he starts it.  For example, in my post about terrorism, I model Narendra Modi as being interested only in votes, not in combating terrorism. Ritwik’s response to that is that while is interested in both fighting terrorism and winning elections, and when there is a conflict between the two, winning elections takes precedence. In FitW’s formulation of the same point, Modi considers winning elections his patriotic duty to keep the evil Congress at bay, and therefore considers short term setbacks in the fight against terrorism as acceptable collateral damage. 

This is an astonishingly subtle distinction, and I took some time to grasp it. The trouble is, this distinction has very little to do with my actual argument. 

First, is this about Modi or about politicians in general? In my argument, I was quite clearly using Modi as an example of a typical politician. Both Ritwik and FitW seem to be arguing that Modi is an exception to the rule. I don’t agree, but assuming for argument’s sake that it is true,  do you agree that as a rule, my claim that politicians are interested only in votes is correct? If yes, why were you wasting your breath defending Modi? 

Second, Ritwik’s argument seems to be that Modi was not guilty of the sin of commision. When he found that Vanzara had killed an ordinary criminal and passed him off as a terrorist, he was caught in a bind. If he did not defend Vanzara, he would be committing political suicide.  

Now, of course, the reason why it would have been political suicide is that the so-called “hawks” cheer on any encounter killing without bothering about whether it was a genuine encounter, or whether the person killed was an actual terrorist or not. The other problem with the argument is that we still have the sin of omission to consider. Modi presides over the government. He is responsible for setting up the incentive structure for his policemen, and for setting up controls to ensure that policemen work for the state and not as hitmen of marble traders.  But how can you set up controls over things that, by definition, exist out of the legally allowed procedures? The time and resources that Vanzara spent on a private vendetta were paid for by the public, allegedly to fight terrorism. Is this not a matter of concern?  

My view of Modi is that he is above average in his administrative competence, and that Gujarat is among the best governed states in India. If this can happen in Gujarat, what about the rest of  India? 

In Mumbai, something similar happened. Police officers were cheered on, and honoured for their “encounter killings” of underworld dons. Till one day, it came to light that these officers had become agents of rival gangs.

14 thoughts on “Defending Modi’s Honour is Unnecessary

  1. In FitW’s formulation of the same point, Modi considers winning elections his patriotic duty to keep the evil Congress at bay, and therefore considers short term setbacks in the fight against terrorism as acceptable collateral damage.

    You are grossly, grossly distorting what I said.

  2. Even if I don’t say so!
    What you claim to be my formulation of the point was written in a sentence starting with “And all this is not even considering the possibility that…”. It is just that I don’t entirely discard that possibility. I even said “Of course I am not saying that this is necessarily the case,”

    So the way you have phrased my view amounts to pure baloney, and unfortunately because of your reputation a lie from you will have more credibility than a statement of fact from me.

  3. “In my argument, I was quite clearly using Modi as an example of a typical politician.”

    That is exactly not what you were doing. You picked up how one might object to your standard model by bringing up the example of Modi, and how that example would also be flawed.

    And this is exactly why our debates devolve.

    But nevermind, I think we’re done with Modi.

  4. I am saying that that being Modi’s view of himself, whether as a consequence of self-delusional attempts at rationalization or not, is a possibility. My experience with certain passionate hindutva-vAdins and their psychologies suggests to me that I shouldn’t discard such possibilities.

  5. My response is, he starts it.

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    Didn’t expect this from you.
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    If he starts it, and it is irrelevant or counter-productive, then don’t respond to it.

  6. I don’t know where people got the impression that my blog is supposed to be the epitome of maturity and sanity. I have been fighting petty bar fights since ages. I think it is the unintended consequence of announcing my fatherhood. Suddenly people expect you to be all mature and all. Look, the child has been born, but the father is still taking birth.

  7. Oh, I have no problem with bar fights, my point is that find your equal in popularity (Big boob *cough* *cough*) for the brawl. Of course your whole purpose of invoking Shri Modi, and Shri Advani is to piss off Hindutva fascists like me, I can not get pissed and allow you the pleasure.

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