The rise of right-wing forces in the Indian sociopolitical framework is a case study that is to be researched to understand the sentiments of the Indian electorate and the way forward to strike a balance between the 2 poles of political ideology in the Indian context.
To understand the reasons we need to go back in history and trace our way forward to the present times. If BJP-RSS’s claim or theory is to be believed the reference point is around 700 -1000 AD which period the foreign invaders started coming to India. The historical fact of the matter is that the sub-continent of India or ancient Bharat has been attacked by foreign invaders and rulers since long before the reference point which the right-wing propagates. There is this Aryan invasion theory then there are records of Alexander coming to the sub-continent as part of his expansionist crusade. Many civilizations have thrived and died on this great land in thousands of years of traceable history. We will leave it here and not jump into the whole history of it and move forward toward the primary focus of this article.
The rise in right-wing sentiments is not something that came up only after the 2014 electoral success of the BJP but it is there on the rise since the late 1980s and what we see right now in 2022 in its present form is a cumulative effect of almost 100 years of work since the foundation of RSS in 1925. In the following sections, we will try to understand a point-wise breakdown of what worked well for the BJP and what it signifies about the present state of Indian society and its psychology.
A century of motivated breeding and conditioning
RSS shakhas have been the biggest success factors for the right wing’s electoral success and the rise in their support base. Shakhas engage and mold young kids in a particular direction that inclines with the right wing’s long-term goals and intentions which later on creates a strong ideological base. This is being done in a constructive manner that from the outside it would look like a totally apolitical organization but it’s not.
Now imagine a young boy who got associated with the RSS at a tender age and stays connected with the organizational ethos forever, this young boy grows up to become a civil servant, a govt official, a policeman, a judge, or a journalist carrying the same ethos he learned and imbibed from his shakha days. Such individuals have spread all across the country and they are the biggest strength of the right-wing ideology and the BJP’s electoral aims. They not only amplify and solidify the right wing’s message for the nation but also serve as faceless but efficient pieces in BJP-RSS’ political game.
Just note that RSS is not that successful in the whole country, it has its grip on the Hindi and Marathi belt majorly but this belt covers the majority of the Lok Sabha seats which is good enough to win an election.
A barrage of propaganda fueled by a lot of money power
A citizen with a very basic understanding and awareness of current affairs can judge that the leading media houses and print media people are heavily biased in favor of the ruling party. Now obviously it goes without saying that it has something to do with the above point (RSS ranks have penetrated everywhere) another major reason is the alliance which they have formed with the BJP which has enormous amounts of money and capital backing through its relations with big industrialists and business houses of the country. (Media + Industrialists + Politics)
In addition to the digital and print media, the most effective tool in the propaganda or message amplification machinery is the social media and the internet. The reach of the internet combined with the rise in social media users in India coincident with the rise of the BJP and its support base. Troll armies, bot accounts, WhatsApp groups, and broadcasts amplify the messaging in a flash across the nation. BJP was the first political party to foresee this advantage and they utilized it to the maximum benefit at the right time. In short, BJP used the concept of ‘Memetics’ (you must have heard the word Memes, it comes from memetics’) to its advantage.
Creating a sense of redemption for the majority
BJP through its deep-rooted RSS network in the Hindi belt and century-long propagation of its idea of India has projected the right-wing political option as the redeemer of the ancient indic glory of this land. They have created this notion that the majority has been wronged by the invaders the Mughals the British and then by the Congress, they have boiled this sentiment to enough temperature that it can drive the political engine forward. Supporters of BJP both in the political arena and in the influencer or even in the scholar/academic world are enforcing this idea by remembering some ancient glory of indic culture which was intentionally destroyed by everyone else and only the RSS-BJP understands its value and can turn the clock backward and bring it back. You will find YouTubers, comics, historians, and lawyers all speaking and working along these lines. This whole scheme has created a delusional sense of mission for the masses who have to struggle a lot for basic things in day-to-day lives and they associate themselves with this larger cause of redemption of long-lost glory (no matter how fallacious or fictitious it is) and work towards its realization by supporting the BJP.
Tapping the fear of the majority
Another sentiment that is fueling the support for BJP is tapping the fear of the majority by constantly telling them they are under attack by the religious minority and they use historical incidents such as invasions and destruction of temples and native civilizational symbols as proof of this threat. Fear is a very strong emotion and BJP’s associates especially media channels are promptly doing the job of creating this environment through their prime times and stupid debates. This fear combined with the vengeful sentiment described in the above point creates a very strong foundation of belief in support of the BJP.
Creation and then propagation of a great story
One credit that surely should go to the BJP is their storytelling, whether it is the prime minister whose public image was so meticulously created through well-thought-out design. The pictures that they spread with the mother with the broom etc. created this holier than thou kind of an image and projected the prime minister as the redeemer himself who took birth on this land to revive the greatest civilization of all times from its dark ages. Of course, many of the stories have been proven false by fact-checkers and myth busters but it is too late the work that is supposed to be done is already done and there is no going back from it. This story gives people a relatable character that symbolizes all that is good and benevolent and brave and heroic all at the same time. Now it will be wrong to say the BJP leadership is not devoted to their mission, whether that mission is any good or not is a different issue altogether, this devotion amplifies the story running around the greatness of an individual who is better than everybody else and there is no alternative.
In addition some mentions should be made about anti incumbency for UPA2, Anna hazare’s movement against corruption and developmental schemes launched and implemented by BJP that are actually benefiting the population to a good extent and should be given its due credit. All this collectively shows that the present times belong to the BJP and all these factors are to be credited for the same.
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