(Un)reading the Modi Deception

By Fr Victor Ferrao
12 May 2014 12:12 IST

The discursive representation of the prime ministerial candidate Narendra Modi of the BJP appears to be craftily constructed to bring most of us under the spell of deception. Therefore it is important to bring into open not only what this stage managed discourse reveals but also what it hides. This means it remains urgent that we not only pay heed to what is said but also be attentive to what remains unsaid in the threads that weave the entire discourse. In the background of a corrupt Congress majority of us seem to be taken captive by designer signifying warp that is certainly a great illusion. This signifying warp disperses a meaning chain that seems to bring about an erasure of the polarizing figuration of the very personality of Narendra Modi while simultaneously keeping it. The ambivalence thus, artfully carved by presenting Modi as a Vikas Purush while retaining all his core Hindutva  leanings is indeed of great significance. Behind the panoply of erudition of this discourse, it becomes a medium where the opposites are held in an unstable opposition and the play that links them opens them to be viewed or read from multiple locations. That is why for the hardliners, Narendra Modi continues to be a man who has Hindutva ingrained in his heart while for those others who view him as man of development can do as the play of the opposites cloaks and almost erases his allegiance to the Hindu fundamentalist ideology.  His earlier hardcore Hindutva avatar being disarticulated, Modi successfully blends in himself, the age old politics that BJP played with positioning of Advani as an ultra hardliner and Atalji as the more liberal face.  Somehow both Advani and Atalji are made to cross into each other in the crafty imaging of Modi and is certainly producing rich dividends for the BJP in the present elections in our country.

Modi has therefore been viewed as both poison and a remedy. The political discourse unleashed by BJP and its ilk has produced a sedimentation that has two contradictory layers of signification. This double signification is certainly milked by BJP as a resource to make us believe that there is one-man solution to all our problems. In fact, the discourse has converted Modi into a text that allows its readers to mime their own orientations. If you are hardliner, you feel Modi mimics your orientation. If you are liberal and progressive you tend to think that also Modi mimics your orientations. Thus, the political discourse across the political spectrum has converted Modi into a mimic man who conceals and reveals all at the same time and lends himself to be seen as an ego-extension of his (readers) viewer. Thus, the mimicry of Modi manufactured that bind conflictual opposites in him with amazing mastery leading multiple shades that can be recovered through a miming or mirroring the selves of its readers (consumers) in the discursive formation. This means Modi appears to complete the circuit of signification that allows a tailor made mimicked reading of one’s own orientation onto to him. The fact that this plasticity dumped on or wrapped around Modi is fake does not seem to be deciphered by the gullible people in our country.  


Therefore, it is important as well as urgent to (dis)articulate, interrogate and dismantle the political discourse that has reached blinding as well as deafening heights in our society. This blinding and deafening effect has a potentiality to boomerang on the designer and socially engineered positioning of Narendra Modi. The surplus meaning possibilities in a text lend it vulnerable to deconstruction. Hence, this one man super hero or Rambo image of Modi also carries surplus luggage that can certainly bring his downfall crumbling under his own weight. Those with critical acumen can easily discern the social engineering and the amount of investment that is put into the building of the brand Modi. Certainly the brand Modi is vulnerable as it is dissymmetrical (undemocratic and dictatorial) and is working on a hierarchically ordered space whose closure is constantly being transversed by the forces it produces as well as represses. The imagery of Modi survives on unstable equilibrium which may succeed to deceive once but never twice. This means the manufactured triumphant march of Modi has the seed of his own destruction. It is for us to unmask the fake mimic men in him. 

Disclaimer: Views expressed above are the author's own.

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Fr Victor Ferrao

Fr. Victor Ferrao is a Dean of Philosophy and teaches at Rachol Seminary in Salcete taluka of Goa. He has done his Phd in Philosophy of Science. He writes often on socio-political scenario.

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