Ram Guha: Modi personality cult runs contrary to BJP’s own objections to worship of individuals - ToP NewS

Ram Guha: Modi personality cult runs contrary to BJP’s own objections to worship of individuals

The term, “cult of personality”, is thought to have been first used with regard to the Soviet dictator, Josef Stalin. Stalin died in 1953, after more than two decades in power; three years later, in a speech to the 20th Congress of the Communist Party of the Soviet Union, his successor, Nikita Khrushchev, spoke of how the cult of personality built around Stalin had a damaging influence on the party and the country.

It was, remarked Khrushchev, “impermissible and foreign to the spirit of Marxism-Leninism to elevate one person, to transform him into a superman possessing supernatural characteristics, akin to those of a god. Such a man supposedly knows everything, sees everything, thinks for everyone, can do anything, is infallible in his behavior”.

While the term may have entered the lexicon only in 1956, there were, of course, cults of personality before Stalin’s. They included those of Mussolini in Italy and Hitler in Germany, leaders who similarly used propaganda and the instruments of the state to elevate themselves to a god-like status, towering above their party colleagues and the public at large. Mussolini and Hitler also enjoyed limitless power, and they too demanded (and obtained) absolute submission to their whims.

Ambedkar’s warning

The cults of personality before...

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