Rabindranath Tagore, undoubtedly one of India’s greatest sons, defined a nation as an ‘organization of politics and commerce’. He contrasted it with society which he called the ‘spontaneous self-expression of man as a social being’.
This bifurcation takes some time to sink in. It may never happen to those who have been indoctrinated to worship the nation. But if and when it sinks in, it becomes a very good tool to understand the world in general and India in particular.
From this understanding, it becomes clear that Yoga is the product of a society, not a nation. Politics or commerce didn’t lead to Yoga. In fact, when it was first discovered (or invented, you choose), there was no pan-Indian politics or commerce. There was no Indian nation.
The Government of India, on the other hand, is not a social institution. It’s is a national institution, i.e., one of politics and commerce. It’s really the biggest business in the country, and it must behave as such.
While it would be idiotic to deny the greatness of Yoga, it would be equally idiotic to think of the Government of India as having anything to do with it.
Yoga Day, therefore, signifies the usurpation of society by politics and economics, i.e., the usurpation of society by nation.
All those text messages about the importance of Yoga, which the Government of India seems to have sent to every Indian with a mobile phone, all those ads, all that propaganda, were nothing but a vulgar display of the power of the Centre to infiltrate into society and take control.
Let there be no doubt in anyone’s mind that Patanjali is no justification for Modi. However, because of the sheer power that the Government of India wields, many will end up thinking he is. That’s the desired result.
In other words, Yoga Day is designed to justify Mr. Modi and his government, their actions, and their right to rule India. It’s this century’s Indian avatar of the Divine Right of Kings.
This government, like most monarchies in history, wants to get into people’s minds together with a dose of divinity. Once the common man falls for the scheme, he attaches divinity to the government itself. His mind cannot disentangle the two easily, even though the government is no more than India’s biggest corporation.
Reason thus blinded, the poor fellow finds it nearly impossible to question those actions of the government which have a greater bearing on his own life. And that’s the whole idea.
Put differently, Yoga Day is an attempt by the Government of India to appear divine to the people of India by psychologically overpowering them, take away their liberty when they’re unguarded, and thereby win on the material plane. This psychological attack is at the very foundation of the party currently running the government.
It’s no secret that the BJP has forever tried to justify coming to and remaining in power using Hindu gods such as Rama. Having learnt that they’re too controversial, they’ve moved on to Yoga.
This time, together with the execution excellence of Modi’s team, the psychological overpowering is almost completely successful. The Divine Right of Kings, ladies and gentlemen, is back in currency. In a democracy.