No single word defied the last term of Congress rule before 2014 than the word bhrashtachar literally ‘corrupt-behaviour’ (bhrasht-aachar) aka corruption. To define PM Narendra Modi’s rule since 2014, we have to invent a new, similar word – BHAKTACHAR, literally ‘behaviour of devotes’.
Bhakt, meaning a religious devotee, acquired political currency since 2013 to denote blind followers of Narendra Modi and/or RSS and their Hindutva brand of ideology. By extension Bhaktachar should mean action of these devotees. However, in the current political climate, it has begun to carry a deeper, sinister meaning.
Bhaktachar is the feeling of security fanatical Hindus feel in believing that by merely gathering enough Bhakts, waving the national flag, chanting ‘Bharat Mata Ki Jai’, they can get away with the brutal rape and murder of an 8-year-old child. #Kathua
Bhaktachar is the feeling of invulnerability that mobs feel when a bogie full of adults either participate or silently watch a kid get lynched in broad daylight. #Junaid
Bhaktachar is the justification given for to the brutal killing of a man in his very home for carrying the wrong kind of meat, for assaulting women in the house and beating the man’s barely adult son to an inch of his death. #Dadri
Bhatktachar is when a lean man with longish hair, takes a Muslim labourer in his bike, hacks the pleading man to death, burns him and has his teenage nephew film all of it, circulate the clip with pride fully aware that he will be rewarded for this abhorrable, cowardly act. #Rajsamand
Bhaktachar is when support – monetary and legal - for this man lodged in Rajasthan jail, comes not just from India, but blinded Hindus spread in far corners of the world. #BlindNRI
Bhaktachar is justifying hundreds of death (reported, no count of unreported ones) of people standing in line for an ill-conceived plan by the PM of the country, just because one of the dead wasn’t your mother, father, brother, child, sister. #Demonetization
Bhaktachar is refusing to believe that farmers in the country have any problems, till they walk hundreds of kilometres with scalded soles and souls. #Farmers
Bhaktachar is staying silent when people across the country die (dozens reported, hundreds, perhaps thousands not reported), just because they could not get a Aadhar card and thus get essential services that is guaranteed and legalised for them. #NirAadhar
Bhaktachar is when people do not want to consider that the terrible implementation of GST could be a deliberate ploy to decimate small businesses, thus benefitting the big one, thus plunging a nation reeling under unemployment into further destitution. #BadlyImplementedGST
Bhaktachar is when you do not notice that your beloved Prime Minister – as if it were a dictatorship - has not given a single Press Conference, perhaps realising that he has no answer to intelligent questioning from the press, the cornerstone of any democracy. #MaunModi
Bhaktachar is when no one is safe in the country, not judges or lawyers, not witnesses, not journalists, not students if you go against the central government yet a large section of India believes that everything is just peachy. #AttackonDemocracy
Bhaktachar is when you get emotional about hollow words like ‘patriotism’, ‘nationalism’, ‘cow protection’ etc. while forgetting that what is really sapping the nation to the core, are unemployment, crumbling healthcare, deliberately being eroded education system, destruction of scientific temperament and thus India’s standing in the world. #IndiaEroded
Bhaktachar is the cancer that is spreading over this ancient civilization that may have had its terrible moments in history, but had found in its heart to chug along, find a delicate balance and harmony amidst all the difference amidst it people. #MoralCancer
Bhaktachar is when you justify the brutal attack on students, talk of putting tanks to ‘inspire nationalism’ in colleges across the country – indeed some of the best this nation has ever made, instead of talking about igniting minds and educating ever single child in the nation. #EducationUnderAttack
Bhaktachar is failing to see that our relations with our immediate neighbour has been the worst since independence and our relationship with countries is dependent on how much we acquiesce to their demands at the cost of our own nation and people. #ForeignPolicyMess
Bhaktachar is not seeing the connection between the 56-inch chest nationalism, the Gujarat riots of 2002, Muzzaffarnagar 2012, the mob lynchings, the attack on students and institutions of higher learning, attack on science in favour of superstitions, attack on women etc. #56inchHollowChest
Bhaktachar is when you see the gathering tide of deplorable crimes, the states collusion in either hiding or attempting to belittle them, yet believe that these are aberrations. #RisingCrimes
Bhaktachar is staying silent to the brutality that has been unleashed on the tribal hinterlands of central India since a decade now, of the dozens of Nirbhayas there whose story never make it to the limelight because we just don’t care. #OutOfSight
Bhaktachar is believing that development at any cost – environment, social-justice, equality etc. - is justified. #SaveEnvironment
This rise of Bhaktachar under Narendra Modi is not very dissimilar to the rise of Bhrashtachar under the Congress regime. Except that what is at stake today is not just a few billion or trillion rupees, but the very soul of India.
It is time India stood up like they did after the Nirbhaya rape in 2012. It is time every Indian hits out against the violence, the impunity of Bhakts and their Bhaktachar. Because what we are defending are not just minorities, not just our children or women, or our vulnerable lot… we rise to protect, defend the very soul, the very idea of India, Bharat, Hindustan.
(Satyen K Bordoloi is a writer based in Mumbai. His written words have appeared in many Indian and foreign publications
Read more by Satyen K Bordoloi:
How Sardar Patel stopped the greatest riot in the history of the world
Want a war? Go fight one yourself
The symptoms and remedies for a true Indian patriot
Valentine's Day - Why Bhagat Singh would have approved
How Mahatma Gandhi 'lived' cow protection more than preaching it