Despite big election victory, Indian author slams Modi’s rule

New York, May 24, 2019: American print and electronic media gave extensive coverage to Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s massive electoral victory but so far there were no editorial comments, apart from an article in The New York Times that called him “dangerously incompetent.”

In a news detailed dispatch on the election result from New Delhi, the Times said, “His (Modi’s) success mirrors the rise of right-leaning populist figures around the world. But detractors say his commitment to giving more power to the country’s Hindu majority has struck fear in the Muslim minority and is pulling the country’s delicate social fabric apart.

“Under him, mob lynchings have shot up, Muslim representation in Parliament has dropped to its lowest level in decades, and right-wing Hindus have felt emboldened to push an extreme agenda, including lionizing the man who fatally shot the independence hero Mohandas K. Gandhi.”

In a separate opinion piece, Indian journalist and author Pankaj Mishra noted how Modi’s “raw wisdom” had made India suffer for five years, proving him to be “dangerously incompetent”. He wrote about threats to minorities and lower-caste Hindus, as well as dissenting journalists and women.

Mishra said that during Modi’s rule, India had witnessed a “savage assault on not just democratic institutions and rational discourse but also ordinary human decency”.

In the article titled “How Narendra Modi Seduced India With Envy and Hate”, Mishra wrote that voters had chosen overwhelmingly to “prolong this nightmare”.

“The sources of Mr. Modi’s impregnable charisma seem more mysterious when you consider that he failed completely to realize his central promises of the 2014 election: jobs and national security,” Mishra said.

The writer also said that corporate-owned media had “fervently built up Modi as India’s saviour”. He added that the Opposition was right to suggest that the Election Commission had been “shamelessly partisan”.

Mishra said Modi had exploited the “long-dormant rage” against India’s “self-perpetuating post-colonial rulers”, noting how previous governments had left “no possibility of dialogue with a metropolitan ruling class … which had cruelly stranded us in history while itself moving serenely toward convergence with the prosperous West”.

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