Thursday, April 12, 2012

Views on India's Narendra Modi


A kaleidoscope of events – lot told, half heard and less explored - Narendra Modi’s political life has been quite eventful which on one side is being adored as a role model and the most competent leader in the country while on the other, he is still the most divisive figure and a hated pariah for much of the Western world.


“Ill-told and ill-heard” - the Modi brigade rubbishes the never-ending stories on their enigmatic leader for whom he is the most possible future prime minister of India and his opponents, despite his fast evolving image changeover, still term his a mass murder of Muslims, on the memories of the 2002 Gujarat riots - the darkest chapter that refuses to fade away from history. His rise would rejuvenate the economy of the country but his lineage of aggressive Hindutva nationalism would polarize the country on religious lines and in all possibility, would undermine the long-cherished secular identity of the world’s largest democracy and a key American strategic ally, writes Simon Denyer of the Washingtonpost.




He is being looked upon quite enviously, even by his opponents, for his administrative excellence by which he has uprooted corruption and promoted economic and industrial growth in Gujarat. The Gujarat government under the leadership of Modi attracted investment from all over the world and many leading companies, including those from America like Ford and General Motors, flocked to the new-found favorite investment destination to do business.


However, the United States didn’t seem to have taken these good records into consideration as it denied him a visa over and again for his alleged involvement in the Gujarat riots. He was accused of failing to stop the riot during which nearly 1,000 to 2,000 Muslims were massacred and is also accused of actively encouraging the slaughter.


However, what reflects in his ever swelling popularity is a public demand among certain sections of the middle classes for a strong and decisive leader who can cure the plague of corruption, challenge the Chinese upper hand in the region, prevent the recurring terrorist attacks and finally, it also represents the general impatience of the overstated liberal principles of human rights and social justice, the Washingtonpost reads.

Modi, a man with few close friends, sleeps just three and half hours a night, admits of being a workaholic and his only pastimes is an early-morning spell of yoga. The article takes a look into his office ambience and says Modi demands a similar dedication from his colleagues and the other bureaucrats who work on tight deadlines. It portrays a quite unusual and a radically different way of working as even his cabinet ministers keeps him updated about their day-to-day schedules.


His policies, often harshly criticized as pro-industry and anti-people by his critics, had made sure that every village in the state is served by a paved road and has a reliable supply of electricity and drinking water, claims the report. With aggressive investment in irrigation, Gujarat saw a great leap in agricultural sector.


It’s there Narendra Modi came to be known as a man who can get things done and that reputation made him the favorite to become India’s next prime minister. He outstripped Rahul Gandhi to be voted favorite for the top job in a recent survey by India Today magazine with 24 percent opting Modi to be their desired PM while the Gandhi scion scored just 17 percent.



If the public sentiments grow stronger for Modi and if he climb’s the Prime Minister’s chair, it would be slightly uncomfortable for the United States. US doesn’t permit its diplomats to meet with Modi and Britain wouldn’t deal with him at all while many other countries won’t be worried by his record. “Private conversations with Western diplomats suggest that there is a general desire to rehabilitate Modi,” writes Denyer who also quoted the leaked 2006 cable from U.S. Embassy by WikiLeaks which said, “We believe it would dilute our influence to avoid Modi completely.” The cable also says that waiting until Modi “achieved national stature” to engage with him could be seen as opportunistic.


While it’s not very easy to wash away the stains of his past, his supporters say it is time to move on but his critics still call for his head saying that the systematic nature of violence makes this impossible. They says his increased efforts to do an image makeover is an attempt to fetch the national job but Modi rubbishes these allegations which he puts on “some vested interest groups” and says, “because I have not done anything wrong, and I am committed to the human cause.” With his Sadbhavana mission, Modi tried to reach out to his people with his development stories and to highlight the fact that there had been no major violence between Hindus and Muslims since 2002.

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