The distance to Delhi
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- IPL 2013: Imperious Brad Hodge powers Rajasthan Royals to four-wicket win
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- IPL spot-fixing: 'Bookie' Vindoo was close to BCCI chief's son-in-law, say cops
- Jessica Lall case: Shayan Munshi to face perjury trial
In modern capitalist societies, as the well-known social theorists Theodor Adorno and Max Horkheimer pointed out, there is a deep need for and attraction towards authoritarian personalities. India is, in this respect, no exception. Capitalism may advocate a free market, but its success lies in the ability of the state to intervene and create conditions necessary for the accumulation of capital. Capitalists, therefore, look for leaders who can stand up against dissent and impose their fiat. The need for such a strong person at the helm of affairs becomes even more acute during periods of economic crisis and in the face of global competition. The Indian corporate sector knows and recognises this. Indeed, long before most, it was the big industrialists who certified Modi as the next PM. It is the success with which Modi has created pockets of safe haven for big industries that has added to his appeal and support base.
But it is not the corporate sector alone that seeks out strong men like Modi. In a world marked by anomie and social transformation, where institutions are weak, it is even "voices of reason" that seek out authoritarian personalities. Those who see things as black-and-white, who are frustrated with the way things are (the lack of law-and-order and ineffective institutions), those who want to re-establish norms in a society where the existing order is being challenged, also desire a strong leader. Restless reason, unwilling to accept its limits and impatient about quick results, is willing to back a person who has the will to discipline.
There is thus space for a person like Modi and ignoring this would be a grave error. Yet, this may not be enough. The possibility that exists and which can catapult him into the top position may not materialise.
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