Skip to comments.India's Election: The Next Prime Minister Is A Dangerous Man
Posted on 05/17/2014 1:40:42 PM PDT by 2ndDivisionVet
The results of India's election, which are rapidly appearing today, seem to show a huge win for the right-wing Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP). A victory had been expected, but this looks like a massive landslide. The next prime minister is almost certain to be Narendra Modi, the chief minister of Gujarat, a state in western India. He is known for his economic agenda, which is seen to be relatively business-friendly (expect stocks to react very positively to the news), and his controversial brand of Hinduism. Modi's ideology is certainly going to be important over the next several years, but his worrying personality might end up mattering more. It may be time to bring back an old slogan: over the next five years in India, the personal will be political, and probably not in a good way.
It's easy to describe Modi to people who have never heard him speak, or read about his past. He is a depressingly familiar type. He is secretive; he is vindictive; he has creepily authoritarian tendencies (a woman in Gujarat was placed under surveillance by Modi for months in a controversy that somehow didn't seem to register with voters); he ricochets between aggression and self-pity in a manner familiar to anyone who has heard nationalists of any stripe; and he is simply incapable of sounding broad-minded. During the 2002 Gujarat riots, hundreds of people (mostly Muslims) were killed in communal violence on Modi's watch. (This is why he has been denied a United States visa for many years.) The extent of Modi's role in spurring on the horrors has been extensively debated; suffice it to say that he once said his only regret about the mass murders was that he didn't handle the media well enough.
Modi is also known for his close ties to unsavory, right-wing Hindu fanatics, notably in the Rashtriya Swamyamsevak Sangh (RSS), which he joined when he was very young. Arguably Modi's closest confidante is Amit Shah, who has been accused of numerous crimes, including murder, and whose attitude to Muslims might be euphemistically described as unwelcoming. (He likes to talk about "appeasement" of Muslims and said this election was about "taking revenge" on them.)
For more on Modi's personality, I encourage everyone to read Vinod Jose's brilliant profile of him from 2010, which gets at the way he deals with dissent, and takes a disturbing trip through Modi's psyche. (The dizzying summary: this is how a fascist person thinks.) The biggest question thus may be the degree to which India's institutions and democratic checks and balances can contain Modi's worst tendencies. It's possible that Modi himself will moderate in office, but moderation usually refers to ideology; Modi may simply be incapable of keeping his worst instincts under control. Indian society has shown a disturbing willingness to disregard freedoms of speech and expression, and the country's institutions are often weak in defending these encroachments. (See here for a good example.) Modi has never shown any interest in civil liberties; nor has he made the slightest positive noises about the communal violence that still frequently afflicts the country.
On a policy level, Modi's has presided over strong economic growth in Gujarat, although his state has not done as well on various social development indicators. Still, the combination of corruption and inefficiency in the national government and within the Congress Party seems to have led many Indian voters to embrace the so-called "Gujarat Model." (Texas, with its economic growth and lagging welfare indicators, is a very rough but not entirely inapt comparison.)
The election results also display the depths to which the ruling Congress Party has fallen after being led for over a decade by a weak prime minister, Manmohan Singh. The central campaigning role of Rahul Gandhi, the heir to the Nehru-Gandhi political dynasty (whose mother still controls the Party, and limited Singh's maneuverabilty), didn't do much good either; Congress was soundly defeated and Rahul appears to many observers (and voters) as someone who combines inanition and intellectual lightness. If dynastic politics takes any sort of blow, the election will at least have accomplished something positive.
Anti muslim, free market head of state? Now &THERE& is an H1-B I could get behind.
Sounds like a good guy to me....
Several Freepers have commented to posts I made that Modi is an evil, anti-Muslim bigot. Of course, they don’t exactly adhere to all the facts.
A under-appreciated fact is that no other non-muslim country has suffered the most from islam through pogroms and terrorism for the last 1300 years than India.
Give’em hell Modi1
Anti Islamist, distrustful of sweet peaceful Pakistan, and capitalist to boot!!! Quick, run away, we’re doomed!!!!!
My very conservative buddy Raj, that runs the quickie mart down the road,
sees the election of Narendra Modi as a very positive step.
You're deluded and gullible if you think a BJP Hindu fanatic is a good thing. Christian persecution in India to increase as if it weren't too high already. My wife (from Mumbai) was sick when she watched the election results come in.
Now that right there is funny, folks. [/cableguy]
Was there a missing sarcasm tag?
He’s great if you’re for continuation and escalation of the anti Christian mob violence that’s erupted in India.
Read with a box of salt in one hand and a barf bag in the other. The NR is simply not an unbiased reporter.
The enemy of my enemy is not necessarily my friend.
Extremist Hindus can be every bit as bigoted as extremist Muslims, at least in rhetoric.
It might also be remembered that it was Hindu fanatics who invented suicide bombing, the Tamil Tigers, though their activities were mostly limited to Sri Linka and were seldom aimed at the West.
The deal is, while I can agree with Modi’s anti-Jihadist and Capitalist views - the fact remains that Modi’s BJP party is not just hostile to Muslims - but to Christians as well.
Modi and his party are ‘radical Hindus’ who seek to expel ‘foreign’ elements from India’s culture - which includes Christianity.
BJP party members are said to be largely responsible for intimidation, beatings and persecution of Christians in many rural areas of India that I have been to. Several brethren conveyed these facts and fears to me just a few weeks ago while elections were going on.
Christians there understand that Modi represents the Caste structure of India under the Hindu system - and Modi to them will usher in a greater wave of anti-Christian and anti-American/English bias as his party seeks to ‘purify India’ and return it to it’s ‘mother religion’.
That an official of the BJP party told Muslims in India to ‘get out’ and go to Pakistan or elsewhere is as frightening to Christians in India as well as to the 13% of Muslims who live in India.
How can one be TOO ANTI-MUSLIM?
It’s gotten worse in recent months and there is real fear among the Christians in India about what the mobs will do now that they feel they can ‘purge’ India of all ‘foreign’ influences in their culture.
Christians are already as you said a horrifyingly persecuted people there - virtually unknown in this country. But I have seen and heard such institutionalized persecution myself and got a very mild taste of what it is like to be a Christian living in a slum area amongst high caste Hindus.
It’s like food being too delicious.
On a policy level, Modi’s has presided over strong economic growth in Gujarat, although his state has not done as well on various social development indicators.
That is probably why there was strong economic growth...
It’s like being too rich.
I fear some day all this appeasement in this country will lead to a backlash like what may come to india.
This is what liberals don’t realize withany of their social experiments. They push reasonable people too far after the initial goal is acheived then a backlash always occurs..