Gujarat has been the great Hindutva laboratory, and there are many who have articulated the belief that the “Gujarat Model”—a combination of muscular cultural nationalism and unstoppable China-like economic growth—can be embraced and replicated across India, to give the BJP a much needed shot in the arm and to transport the country into a new era.
Pamela Philipose writes in the Indian Express that both assumptions are flawed:
“Can the politics of communal polarisation practised successfully in Gujarat be replicated in the country? There is the argument that Narendra Modi’s model of governance has a certain resonance in the New, Resurgent India, which is impatient with the burdens of the past, and its legacy of poverty, backwardness and encrusted Nehruvian values….
“But Gujarat is not, and cannot be, India and Modi’s future ascendancy to prime-ministership is a political pipe dream. First, we need to clarify that Gujarat’s ‘growth’—on which Modi has put his personal imprimatur— actually dates back a thousand years in a region that has been at the intersection of innumerable trade routes. Gujarat’s economic history is bound to its geographical location both as a border region and a maritime one….
“That apart, Gujarat itself has a social composition that does not approximate India’s. Not only does it have a higher percentage of upper caste population, it has lower Muslim representation. At the all-India level, Muslims represent 13.4 per cent of the population, while they constitute 9.1 per cent of Gujarat’s population. This combination of a higher upper caste/lower Muslim presence makes Gujarat unique (in UP, for instance a higher upper caste presence is accompanied by a significant Muslim presence), and makes it easier for Gujarati politicians across party lines to practise the politics of communal polarisation, something that is considerably more difficult to do at the national level”
Read the full article: Is Gujarat the new India?