Here is something that might be difficult to swallow for those of us on the right side of history. India loves Modi. There is no point being in denial about it. And it doesn’t mean there is anything pure about this love. Love is often toxic, as it is in this case. But we will never solve the problem if we don’t have a clear understanding of what the problem is. And our problem is that India loves Modi.
India was seduced. India was made false promises and India fell for them. Modi is a charismatic leader and the reason logic, awareness, and empathy do not get through to those in love with him is because of this charisma. He is seen as a saviour, a protector, and a wise man despite the fact that with each passing day, there is less and less evidence of it.
He is the kind of partner people in abusive relationships make excuses for. They say his heart is in the right place, or that he is only doing what is best for them. They say he only hurts them because he wants what is good for them. They exaggerate his small achievements loudly in attempts to forgive him for the wrongs he commits.
He has asked India to pay his bills and she did. He asked her to prove her loyalty by surrendering her privacy and she did. He started telling her that if she didn’t agree with every single thing he said then she couldn’t possibly be in love with him. He started demanding that she show her love for him publicly in all kinds of places and she did. Presently, he is busy pushing her out of her own house while telling her she doesn’t have the documents to prove she owns it. For the first time, a part of India is having second thoughts. She is thinking that maybe she did read him wrong all these years. But this won’t be enough.
We are already seeing signs of institutional gaslighting, where instead of listening to India’s complaints, people are being jailed for complaining. People are being told that if they don’t want to be hurt, all they have to do is stop complaining. That the price of peace is compliance and that you are responsible for all the pain that comes your way.
What’s the way out? What do you do when you find your friend in a bad relationship and unwilling to break up? It takes time and patience and a lot of listening and a lot of talking. Nothing changes overnight.
But the good news is that once you break the spell, once you get to the point of no return, there is no going back. Toxic relationships don’t end with a break-up after which people remain friends. They never speak again. Out of a break-up of that sort, the kind of person that emerges is more aware of their true power. So that is what we have to work towards in our families and friend circles. In a very real sense, you are up against your friend’s abusive partner.