Social Psychologist Cracks Modi’s Power Code: Exclusive Interview with Ah-Cheese Dandy
Prof. Ah-Cheese Dandy’s latest book ‘Solar Nexus: Modi’s Solar Power Unmasked’ (2013) is published by Harper & Sage Publishers India Ltd. Pages: 300 Rs.750/-
In what can be a paradigm shifting study, India’s foremost social psychologist Ah-Cheese Dandy reveals the hidden symbolism behind the solar power projects of Narendra Modi – the chief minister of Gujarat whose Prime Ministerial ambitions have created a wedge in the nation’s polity. Narendra Modi’s supporters in the social media have been spreading the alleged success of his Narmada Canal solar panels where it is claimed that these panels would collect sun light and allegedly convert it into electricity. In an exclusive interview to ‘The Chindu’, the social psychologist who just published a seminal piece “Mandalisation of Corruption : An antidote to Mandirisation of polity “, talked to our Non-Resident Indian Editor Varadarth Siddharajan regarding his new book ‘The Solar Nexus’ in which the author discusses the ominous trends in Indian politics generated by Mr. Narendra Modi by analysing one of his pet projects. Here is an excerpt from the interview.
Varadarth Siddharajan (VS): Prof.Dandy, Thank you for agreeing to talk to ‘The Chindu’. What is your new book about?
Ah-Cheese Dandy (AD): Thank you Varadarth. It is a pleasure and privilege. The book is about the much hyped solar panels atop the Narmada canal which was Narendra Modi’s pet project. I discuss the deep socio-psychological undercurrents in this project which reveal the nature of the man behind this project. I also contrast it with other solar projects in the country.
VS: Does your book have some revealing statistics about how the project does not fare well as it has been hyped?
AD: No. That shall be done by comrade economists from JNU. My concentration here is on the deep dark symbolism of the project and the authoritarian nature of execution, which sets this project distinct from other solar power projects in the nation. I also trace the roots of the project which are really very dark.
VS: Can you please elaborate.
AD: With pleasure… See the project is based on solar power. Naturally the question arises why not water power? Why not wind power… or for that matter why not biogas? Why go for solar power?
AD: Remember that the Nazis had Swastika as their symbol. The Hindu Right also venerates Swastika. Swastika is a solar symbol. So naturally Narendra Modi an inheritor of this Hindu-Right-Germanic nexus goes for the solar power. It is simply a return of the Nazi symbols. Further by projecting this solar power project Narendra Modi is also sending a strong signal. Crescent is the Islamic symbol. By making the solar acronym to the Islamic crescent Narendra Modi is playing to the jingoistic middle class in India.
VS: This is really a deep insightful study. You have also mentioned that this project is anti-feminine. Can you explain?
AD: Hindu nationalists have always emphasized the masculine. Notice that Mr. Modi is sporting a beard and a moustache. He is always flaunting the fact that he is a male. That naturally appeals to the Hindu supremacists who actually have a strong unconscious fear of becoming effeminate due to colonial constructs. The river represents here the feminine. By covering the feminine with the masculine solar panels he has created a technological male supremacist structure which naturally gels with Hindutva. In explaining this I have of course been helped by the insights of Prof. Trendy Woniger. When I first published this in Harvard South Asian Journal, a Hindu fundamentalist terrorist posted a ‘thumbs down’ icon in the comments box of the online journal. I should say that with the ascendancy of Narendra Modi the tolerance level of Hindus is descending very fast.
VS: This is a really alarming. It is hard to imagine in what kind of dangerous environments the academics have to work with a threatening Hindu Right becoming more and more powerful. You have also stated about how the solar project of Modi is centralized, authoritarian and not as empowering and democratic as other solar panel projects in the nation. Can you explain that for our readers?
AD: I compare the Kerala solar power model with the so-called successful Gujarat solar power project. In the case of the Kerala model the Chief Minister has risked his name, character etc. for the sake of making the project as much democratic as possible. The benefits of executing the project flow through various channels at each level. There are many beneficiaries and there is obvious gender empowerment. Shalu Menon and Saritha Nair are seen in the corridors of power in Kerala. Where are such women in Gujarat solar project? Notice how the Kerala solar power project provides a wholesome glimpse to the entire nation into the inner workings of the government. There is transparency. There is drama. See how the news channels all the time talk about solar project in a sensational way. But what is the case of Gujarat solar power project? There is no such drama. Scandals are an important way of empowering people. Scandals democratize our polity and business. However under the authoritative dictatorial regime of Modi there is no scope for such things to happen. A reductionist approach of merely a solar power project only for providing electricity but no entertainment is not a good thing for a democracy like India. Only a degenerate middle class psyche can support such no-corruption projects. The obsession of Indian mind with a corruption-free government, a government that delivers is actually a very dangerous thing. It is this tendency which can promote people like Modi into power. Imagine five years of no corruption, no major scams, no cover-ups, no gang rapes … what will the panellists discuss in the TV show rooms? What kind of news we will have in 24 x 7 channels… We will end up having only development, we will end up having only happy faces… we will end up having a nation proud of itself… now that can lead to jingoism… now that will make Pakistan feel bad about India… We have to respect the feeling of our neighbours also. What if Modi and his police stop all LeT operatives? Can you imagine a year without any major bomb blasts or even ‘chota-mota’ bomb blasts? Then what will the conspiracy theorists do? A bomb blast followed by our democratic leaders tweeting about how it could have been masterminded by our own security agencies… is that not a mark of matured democracy? (He gets visibly emotional)… All this will be put to an end by Narendra Modi. The solar project in Gujarat is just a glimpse of what will happen to India if Modi will come to power… And an India with only solar power and development schemes executed with no scams means no Radia-Burkha tapes as well. That will be a sad day and that India will be a sad place to live. And I am afraid we are going towards such a state.
VS: That is a very scary scenario. So what do you suggest we should do?
AD: The progressive democratic secular forces should come together. The UPA-III should promise the people of India that if they come back to power they shall bring in a ‘Right to Scam’ bill. Indian mindset of seeing scams with a negative perception should be changed. They should be made to understand that scams are part and parcel of the democratic process. A scheme executed without scams is an anti-aam-aadmi scheme. Academicians, media and progressive liberal intellectuals should all come together and make Indian psyche accept this basic fact of a healthy democracy. That is what I aim to do through this book.
VS: Thank you Prof.Dandy. Ever vigilant scholars like you are the real saviours of our system. With such a committed vision we can really save Indian polity from any dangers from any person. On behalf of the readers of ‘The Chindu’ we wish you all the best.