Gandhism Vs Modism

A Gujarati dictionary has given the definition or meaning of the word Gandhism. Gandhism means “the vision or philosophy shown by Gandhiji of human life and of whole social system based on the foundation of Truth and Non-violence.”

The word ‘Modi’ is there in the Gujarati dictionary meaning “a merchant of grains, ghee, species etc.” The surname ‘Modi’ may have come from such occupations. But there is no such word like ‘Modism’ in the dictionary. So how can one find a definition for Modism in the dictionary!

Modism word is in circulation in internet. But there is no definition. A famous bilingual writer and scholar Vidyut Joshi has written thought provoking article on Modism, which I read in the net. Here I am trying to make a definition of Modism based on the article. Modism means Acquiring absolute power through mesmerizing speeches on development as the king of Hindu hearts, the messiah of the poor and on Hindu nationalism. It is the art of escaping even serious crimes through self promoting advertisements in the style of Hitler, Stalin, Mussolini and Pol Pot.

Only in one thing Gandhi and Modi are similar. Both hail from Gujarat. There is no similarity between the two in anything else. Gandhism has specific philosophy while Modism has no specific philosophy or vision. For, Modi has only one goal. That is power. In the words of Vidyut Joshi, “Modi has only one consideration power, power and more power.”

Modi may try to follow Gandhism; but it is easy to see Modism is far from Gandhism. Gandhiji through his life has shown that the dignity or importance of a person consists in reducing the difference between one’s words and actual life style.

But Modi’s life proclaims that the differences between what he says and what he does are ever growing. For instance, Modi speaks persuasively every now and then about his readiness to sacrifice himself for the poor, the Dalits, and the Tribals. But his life shows that I don’t care for the poor, the Dalits, and the Tribals. I don’t do anything for them. So under his rule and authority basic things like basic health care, under nourishment, child mortality and deaths due to hunger get neglected. In other words, Modi is against the whole round development of the nation, even though one can hear often his clarion call “Sab ka Sath Sab ka Vikas”.

Modi wears suits worth several lakhs. He changes clothes every now and then costing crores of rupees for the tax payers. Modi’s vestments are an affront to the poor people who do have enough clothes to cover their nakedness. Compare Modi with Gandhi who was satisfied with his waist clothes till the crores of Indian poor people got sufficient clothes to wear.

Gandhi has specific purpose in developing khadi and hand-woven cloths. For Gandhi khadi was a means in promoting self sufficiency among ordinary people. For, from the cultivation of cotton to producing cloths innumerable people are employed. From cotton to making cotton-rolls for spinning, then from spinning to cloths and then stitching dresses people are gainfully employed; and they earn to be self sufficient. This was Gandhiji’s vision in using and promoting khadi. Gandhiji found much success in it as on one side ordinary people found earning and food through Khadi enterprises and on the other side cloth mills in England began to be closed down.

Without understanding this effort of Gandhiji to make people self sufficient, the power hungry people make laughable attempt to put their own photos replacing Gandhiji in his famed symbolic picture of Gandhiji spinning on a Charka! In the original picture Gandhiji is spinning Charka squatting on the ground with wrapped in khadi cloth on his waist. In the new picture dressed in most expensive cloths Modi makes a show of spinning on a specially made so called Charka for the photo-opportunity! This is not only debasing the value of Charka but it is also an insult to Gandhi and all his followers in khadi cloths.

Obviously Modi’s ways are far from the ways of thinking and doings of Gandhiji. In fact, there is nothing common between the two. When we see a person dressed in most expensive cloths spinning Charka and gets photographers to take photos we see the picture of person’s hunger for power and publicity. Gandhiji never cared for publicity and power. So we see no similarity but one versus the other.

Gandhi had a passion. He always did what he thought to be true. But there was no pride in it. For, whenever Gandhiji realized that what he sincerely did was proved to be wrong, he not only apologized saying, “That was my mistake,” but he also did voluntary penance to correct himself and took steps to improve. In his autobiography “Experiments with Truth” there are many instances of Gandhiji repenting and making amendments for his mistakes.

These types of Gandhiji’s experiments are totally different from the thoughts and actions of our Prime Minister Modi. Under Modi’s Chief Ministership thousands of people were mercilessly butchered in Godhara train burning crime and Post-godhara pogrom against the Muslims in Gujarat in 2002. Like a crystal glass one thing is very clear. The state government used both the police force and executive officers in favor of the ruling party. Besides, strong punitive steps were taken against the police officials and the excusive officials who prevented the 2002 murderous communal riots   in their area against the Muslims.

It was in such context IPS officers like Kuldeep Sharma and Shree Kumar fought cases against the government and got justice for them through the Supreme Court. So there is no trace of seeking forgiveness and doing penance in Modism. On the contrary Modism goes all out to trash and destroy anyone coming on the way.

If one examines like this, we see many instances of Gandhism versus Modism. God has not created any two persons equal or alike. So Modi can never become (another) Gandhi. For Modism is running away from Gandhism in life style, in being transparent. Gandhi gave a lot of importance to be responsible and accountable. Modism will be welcomed and acceptable only when he becomes transparent and responsibly answerable and help others to be such, a man of true development.

I do not desire that Modiji become another Gandhi. But as the elected Prime Mister of India, I pray daily for Modi that the great gap between his talk of development and the actual practice of development    may ever decrease and that Modiji really become a true nation builder and leader of this country through hard work especially for the welfare of the 40 percent poor people of India.


Finally I recall a verse from a famous Gujarati poet Umasankar Joshi:


“I am tired of seeing the smallness of the great people

But I live seeing the greatness of the small people.”



Changed On: 01-08-2018

Next Change: 16-08-2018

Copyright Fr. Varghese Paul, SJ – 2018