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"The Economist" recalls Modi role in 2002 Gujarat riots, questions his silence on RSS-backed ghar vapsi

Modi with Sakshi Maharaj
By Our Representative
In a hard-hitting commentary, the influential British weekly, “The Economist”, qualifying the whole RSS-Sangh Parivar “ghar vapsi” (home coming) “offensive” and “threatening” to Indian Muslims and Christians, and “highly contentious”, has sharply questioned Modi’s “reticence” on the issue. The top weekly believes, while some reports want one believe that Modi tried to rein in the hardliners, the fact is, he cannot hope to antagonize them. After all, it is they solidly stood with Modi when he was “shunned internationally” following the 2002 Gujarat riots.
“It was the BJP’s right wing and RSS activists that stayed with him and provided the platform for his campaign”, the weekly says, adding, “He is in their debt, and also needs them to keep getting the vote out in state and national elections.” In its commentary in the print edition dated January 17, underlines, yet “another explanation for Modi’s silence is that he agrees with them, if not with their methods. He, after all, is an RSS veteran, steeped in its teachings.”
Titled “The Hindutva rate of growth”, “The Economist” wonders what made John Kerry, US secretary of state, say, when he attended Vibrant Gujarat Investors’ Summit (January 12-13) that he “hoped the Gujarat experience could be ‘extrapolated’ to the rest of India”, going so far as to call Modi a “visionary prime minister”. In a sarcastically remarks, “It seems churlish and irrelevant to recall that a decade ago America refused Modi a visa because of his failure to prevent appalling communal violence, mostly directed at the Muslim minority, in Gujarat in 2002.”
“The Economist” says, one should not forget that the party to which Modi belongs, the BJP, is India’s centre-right party, which is “socially conservative and economically liberal”, and which is the “political wing of the RSS, a mass organisation inspired by Hindutva, or Hindu nationalism.” It points out, in this context, how “some BJP members are driven by this ideology as much as by Modi’s modernising zeal.”
Recalling how BJP MP Sakshi Maharaj said that every Hindu woman should have at least four children to protect the Hindu religion, with another of his colleagues advocating five children per Hindu woman, “The Economist” suggests, while it may “flout government policy”, those in power also know how it also “panders to an atavistic fear that Hindus are producing fewer children than Muslims”.
Differentiating the current BJP rule from the one that existed under Atal Behari Vajpayee during 1998-2004, when the party did not have enough numbers to rule and was driven by coalition requirements, the journal says, “Today, the BJP government can govern without the votes of ‘secular’ parties in the lower house of Parliament.” That is the reason why the “RSS is enjoying a resurgence, and its ideologues have the wind at their backs.”
Pointing towards a parallel between Modi and two other Asian leaders, Chinese president Xi Jianping and Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe, “The Economist” comments, Xi may be “pursuing many admirable aims – rooting out corruption and tackling difficult economic reforms”, but all this “is accompanied by intensified political repression”. As for Abe, “Modi’s friend”, he be promising “economic reforms” but is also pandering “to the Japanese right” by trying to “airbrush history.”
“The Economist” concludes, both the leaders “want to make their countries great again”, and to them “economic reform is the means to a nationalist end.” But as for Modi, to him “nationalism is of the Hindu variety.”

Comments

Dilip Banerjee said…

An erroneous Election System has given the party (BJP) to capture thumping majority of seats in Lower House of Parliament by securing just around 31% of votes polled NOT eligible Voters List nor Total Population!

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