Narendra Modi – The Rise of ‘India’s Milosevic’

  On Friday, the results came in for the world’s single biggest election, a poll covering most of a subcontinent where 815 million people have the chance to cast their vote. The Indian General Election took twelve days to complete, and a further four to count the votes. This is truly a momentous event, easily the most important so far this year, yet it got virtually no mainstream coverage in the UK or US media.

  The really worrying thing about this election in particular, though, isn’t the lack of attention the Western media pay to such an important event – concerning though that is. No, the scary thing is that this election marked the ascension to power in India of Narendra Modi, leader of the Hindu nationalist party, the BJP. Modi swept to power in a landslide, with his party taking 282 of the Lok Sabha’s 543 seats, whilst his wider electoral alliance won a further 54 – a total of 62%, compared to its closest rival’s paltry performace of just 11%. 

  This is a party, let me make it clear, which has as its official policy a ban on Muslim immigration from neighbouring Bangladesh, whilst opening its arms to Hindu Bangladeshis; a party which states the existence of Pakistan to be illegal and has been consistently hostile towards this and other Islamic states in the region; and which is generally considered the political wing of the Hindu nationalist paramilitary the RSS, an organisation frequently linked to violent acts of terror and banned four times in India by both pre- and post-independence governments.

  In short, the BJP is bad news.

  Narendra Modi himself is a particularly vile example of an already distasteful organisation. Leader of Gujarat state since 2001, Modi was implicated in the Hindu-Muslim race riots of 2002 in that state, which killed around 2000 people – mostly Muslims. Modi’s personal involvement has never been proved, but it is certain that Gujarat state police and BJP government officials were involved. Despite receiving heavy criticism for his inaction over the violence, Modi remained in power – and actually stepped up his anti-Muslim rhetoric in the aftermath of the tragedy.

  India is the world’s second-largest country in terms of population and seventh-largest by land area; it has the world’s third-largest economy by PPP and possesses armed forces of 1.3 million troops, as well as nuclear weapons. This is a powerful nation, make no mistake, and it is now in the hands of a man who until 10 months ago was banned from entering the UK due to his extremist views and connections with the 2002 riots. 

  Modi has been likened to Serbian dictator Slobodan Milošević by Mehdi Hasan and to Adolf Hitler by former Indian Union Minister Mani Shankar, but the extreme nature of these comparisons – which has, perhaps understandably, generated calls for restraint in that small portion of the media which is paying any attention – risks undermining the very real point that this is a man with extremely disturbing views, and a history demonstrating his willingness to allow them to be realised, who has now been handed the keys to power in one of the world’s upcoming superpowers, with the capability to launch nuclear strikes and a very clear target on its doorstep to aim at.

  And THAT should make us very worried indeed.

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4 thoughts on “Narendra Modi – The Rise of ‘India’s Milosevic’

  1. I'd love to – the problem is, there is hardly anything TO read. And just because the opposition has been linked to similar scandals in the past (I saw the figure put at more like 5,000, but that's statistics for you) does not validate the BJP's culpability in 2002. Two wrongs don't make a right is a simplistic argument, but no worse for that. I would also draw a distinction between an event which occurred thirty years ago and did not involve anyone currently highly-placed in the Congress leadership that I know of, and the far more recent tragedy of 2002, in which Modi himself was personally implicated. This is not to trivialise the deaths of those who perished in 1984, of course.

    On the point about Modi's economics, forgive me but I do not see how they are particularly relevant. This is an article about the dangers of his political ideology – I do not deny his economic successes in Gujarat, but I would rather have an economically illiterate democrat in power in India than a despot, however qualified.

    That the Indian people apparently do not share this view is a sad thing indeed.

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  2. Well Chris you are right in saying that he should take responsibility for the Gujarat riots and does have connections with the Shiv Sena (right wing organisation) and RSS. However in the election his party BJP has won all the seats in Gujarat including Muslim vote, won all of Delhi again a huge Muslim population and won 3/4 of the seats in Uttar Pradesh (which is a state with over 200 million ppl). It is vital in your article to mention about his economic policies in Gujarat that attracted investment. Also the allegation about him loving Hitler seems to be a vague argument as there is lack of evidence to support this. Modi might have the allegations of Gujarat riots bu the opposition party Congress have been involved in the 1984 Genocide in Delhi with around 5000 Sikhs killed when Indira Gandhi was shot. I suggest you should read about this in depth and no read the western media.

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  3. White-out problem has now been fixed. That's Disqus for you…

    The lack of information about Modi and his party is a little worrying. I think it is partly an unwillingness on the part of the mainstream media to be too critical of foreign leaders until a general political consensus against them has emerged. It's the old echo-chamber theory at work again – people don't want their opinions challenged; they want them confirmed. I also think there's a general trend towards Eurocentricism in the UK media, which glosses over other parts of the world – with the obvious exception of the USA.

    I do, however, take the point that Lukashenko gets virtually no coverage – the recent letter to the Ice Hockey players currently competing in Minsk notwithstanding – and I must admit, even I had to google Viktor Orban (I knew there were problems in Hungary, of course, but I'd not heard the name before). So maybe the problem is even more serious than that. A sobering thought

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  4. Hmm, there's a bit of 'white out' in the comments section.

    I'm grateful that you have brought this man and his party to my attention. Although I had heard about the election results, the 'Hindu Nationalist' label barely registered as a vaguely unpleasant-sounding thing in my mind. The only level of analysis I had come across was the BBC's superficial observation that the Nationalists had supplanted a party that had been in power for most of the Indian state's existence.

    Worrying indeed, especially considering India's potential superpower status. The lack of information is somewhat surprising, given the massive British Indian population and the shared history between our countries. Perhaps UK news reporting about scary foreign politicians is limited to those that have already been deemed 'undesirables' by our cuddly democratic overlords. Not on the same scale of course, but I wonder how many Britons are even aware of Viktor Orban or Aleksandr Lukashenko, two wannabe despots of our own (sub)continent.

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