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When realpolitik, and nothing else, determines state policy

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Machiavelli was not a great thinker. He was not in the same league as Plato, Aristotle, Karl Marx, Immanuel Kant or Shankaracharya. He was not a man for epistemology. He was a politician who was practical and wrote treatises for kings and princes on how to conduct statecraft. In that, he was similar to Chanakya. Machiavelli blurred the line between moral and immoral; he was a worshipper of power and believed that if a king or leader had to resort to any vices to preserve the kingdom, then so be it. Virtue had no meaning for him if it led to disaster. Unlike Machiavelli, ideologies and ideologues are mostly not realistic; they chase dreams and are guided by high morals for the betterment of the universe. Narendra Modi is a rare breed of politician. He is a purveyor of an ideology that dreams of making India a Hindu Rashtra; on the other hand, he is also a technician of power, if I may borrow the phrase from Isaac Deutscher, in his tenure as chief minister and later as prime minister, Modi has ruthlessly married the idealism of ideology to the pragmatism of politics. For him, his politics provides the ecosystem in which his ideology of Hindutva can attain its goal.

Atal Bihari Vajpayee was also a product of the same ideology as Modi; but he failed to create an organic mix of ideology and politics. His conviction tilted more towards virtue than power. For Modi, power defines virtue and paves the way for an ideological empire. Vajpayee was........

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