33: Pramod Kumar | India's New Identity? Modi, the BJP, anti-BJP India and the World
India is undergoing a deep transformation at the moment of which politics is just the surface.
The rise of the BJP and his Hindutva ideology -- the idea of "Hinduness" rather than the religion of Hinduism -- is convulsing much of the nation, while pushing forward and remaking it from its recent past, which was more liberal, socialist, and minority-focused since Independence.
There is still significant resistance to the BJP's intended transformation of India, and in other circles, also scepticism that the BJP will be able to change much.
English-speaking intellectuals -- either liberal or Marxist -- are one such group. Muslims and Christians, in general, are another. And Hindus from the South also resist the BJP tide.
As India seeks to navigate itself in the new, emerging global order, with Russia and China becoming major players, how does this bode for India's place in the world? How is India's redefining of itself related to the global emergence of populism and nationalism, against the liberal and globalist elites?
Today, my guest is Indian journalist Pramod Kumar, based in Kerala, South India. Pramod has been a journalist with one of the leading Indian newspapers, THE HINDU, for about a decade and then a senior advisor with UNDP in Asia Pacific for another decade. He has since left the UNDP to concentrate on his writing. His subjects include contemporary politics, socio-economic issues and public health. The history of indenture and the life of the Indian diaspora that emerged from indentured labour has been a subject of deep interest to him as well, which is of great interest to me, as I am a descendant of Indian indentured labourers here in the Caribbean.
Topics discussed include:
- the decimation throughout India of the Indian National Congress, the once dominant party of Nehru and Gandhi that led the country into Independence
- the political march of the BJP into the South of India
- the underlying, deep, existential nature of the rise of the BJP
- the failure of Congress and the failure of liberalism
- the importance of global Indians for the BJP and its transformation of India
- the distinctive politics of Narendra Modi
- the BLP's so-called "fascism" and the (weakening) resistance of communists, Muslims, Christians, and South Indians to the BJP
- the opposition of the Western media to Modi and the BJP
- BJP is now the only national party
- BJP's dominance may now last for several decades
- examining Dr. Shashi Tharoor's exceptional victory over the BJP in Kerala
- the importance of the Communist Party in Kerala
- India's changing place and difficulties in international relations with the US, China, Afghanistan, Pakistan, Russia
- the interest of the Indian Diaspora in Indian affairs
- redefining the boundaries of the Indian nation to include the Diaspora
- the new challenge for the BJP now that they have vanquished the Congress Party - delivery on promises
- defining the new India