The ‘development’ that the state of Gujarat achieved under the ‘charismatic’ leadership of Narendra Modi has been acclaimed by quite many people in India. People like the Ambanis and Ratan Tata did one better than another in praising Mr Modi. And the media like the Times of India lapped up the corporate accolades of Modi and highlighted them on the front page. Even the supremo of the Marxist Party in Kerala, Pinarai Vijayan, recently mentioned Gujarat implicitly as the model for Kerala to follow. When, V S Achuthanandan, the Marxist Chief Minister of Kerala and the bête noire of Vijayan countered Vijayan’s argument saying that Gujarat had become the land of the “land mafia” Vijayan went on record saying that he had not meant Gujarat. But Vijayan had in fact meant Gujarat. As a Marxist, he knew it was not worldly-wise to support Narendra Modi, the ultimate religious fundamentalist and brutal capitalist of the 21st century.
What did Narendra Modi really achieve in Gujarat?
“In a study done by Abusaleh Shariff, chief economist at the National Council for Applied Economic Research (NCAER), Gujarat surprisingly emerges as a State with high levels of hunger, while simultaneously boasting high per capita income and consistent income stability,” says a report in The Hindu [13 Feb 2011]. Per capita income is an absurd index, as I wrote a few days back [Per Capita Income & Some Questions]. Modi’s Gujarat is just another example of how the per capita income of a few can rise at the cost of many others. The reason why the corporate sector will acclaim Mr Modi is not far to seek: the corporate sector always reaps profits at the cost of large numbers of helpless people, people rendered helpless by the terrible combination of the government and the corporate sector.
“The hunger levels in Gujarat,” goes on The Hindu report, “are higher than in Tamil Nadu and West Bengal, and surprisingly even higher than in Uttar Pradesh….”
The research shows that Gujarat is a consistently well-off State, figuring among the top six States for per capita State Domestic Product. In fact, after Modi became the Chief Minister, Gujarat moved from the sixth position in 1970-71 to the fourth position in 2007-08.
Hats off to Narendra Modi, should we say?
“Kerala and Tamil Nadu are far ahead of Gujarat in Human Development Index,” says the same Hindu report. The wealth distribution in states like Kerala, Tamil Nadu, Punjab, etc is not marked by extreme differences like in Gujarat.
What people like Modi do is to make a few people extremely wealthy by giving them all the sops possible. And the sops come at the cost of the poor people who will be made poorer, if not extinct. That’s what capitalism is all about in practice. That’s why the corporate honchos love to kiss Modi’s hand.
Tehelka dated 12 February 2011 went all out to prove that Narendra Modi is guilty in a number of ways regarding the pogrom that took place in his state in 2002. Tehelka dug into the 600-page SIT report on Godhra and post-Godhra events to show that Modi stands guilty of genocide. The newspapers and the TV channels in India were quite eager to show that Modi was cleared of all the accusations by the SIT team. But Tehelka affirms with irrefutable certainty that “as chief minister, Narendra Modi presided over this terrible implosion of a just and fair society.”
Implosion of a just and fair society! That’s the cost Modi paid for bringing ‘development’ to his State. How many of us want to emulate that model of development?