For sociologist Shiv Vishwanath, a major part of the past decade has been spent chronicling the history of violence perpetrated by the State.
At the centre of that history is the figure of the current Gujarat Chief Minister Narendra Modi, whose march to Delhi he sees as a threat to democracy.
Mr. Vishwanath was in the city on Saturday to deliver a lecture on the topic ‘Democracy, Development, and Narendra Modi’, organised by the Secular Collective.
Speaking on the occasion, he shared with the audience the facts he gathered on the shifts in Modi’s regime.
His analysis is pertinent in a scenario where Modi’s march to prime ministership is seen as a possibility.
According to him, Modi’s transition from a crude communalist to a fascist over the last few years needs to be understood.
“Modi has cleverly distanced himself from his party. The BJP has no say in the internal matters of Gujarat. He has created a gap between the people of Gujarat and the outside world and presents the State as a victimised land.
“He evokes the ‘Videshi’ identity of those outside the State and plays on the idea of Gujarat asmita. This is an act of appropriation through continuous re-writing of history,” says Mr. Vishwanath.
Criticising the ‘Gujarat model of development’, he says development in the state is the social contract that requires that the riots of 2002 be forgotten. Also, Modi is an expert in breaking voices against him and weakening the civil society, he adds.