Many reasons why intellectuals, artists and minorities do not favour Modi

Dear Editor,

Sase Singh’s letter, `Modi appears as the man who will finally unleash the true potential of India’ (SN 10-05-14) indicates that the letter writer knows very little of the history, social structure and politics of India.

Mr. Singh is right in saying that Narendra Modi would likely become Prime Minister (in a few weeks). He is immensely popular partly because of the economic success of his leadership in the state of Gujarat, and partly as a backlash of the populace in punishing the governing Congress party for the billion dollar scandals over the last few years. Modi is also blessed with a charismatic personality and is an eloquent speaker who appeals to many.

It seems as if Mr. Singh came to his conclusions in his letter after looking at reports from the internet media, and has had little or no contact with the “masses” of India that he has mentioned. My juxtaposition is different. I have lived almost a third of my life in India, and have had lots of interaction with those who represent the “masses” of India. I also communicate relatively well in the Hindi language, and have (recently) chatted with the rank-and-file Indians regarding bread and butter issues (in Hindi), in cities and in villages of India.

My contention with the letter is the last three sentences of the letter writer. He mentioned that India has “finally broken the silent rule that only the fair-skinned upper class can rule the masses”. First, Sase should know that in India, “fair-skinned” does not necessarily equal “upper class”, and vice versa. Second, there is fundamental difference between “class” and “caste”, in the Indian context. Third, India has not been “ruled” only with those of fairer skin; (the 11th Prime Minister of India, H.D. Deve Gowda (1996–1997) is dark skinned – black!). Fourth, though Modi is immensely popular, he is not one who could be described as from the “masses”. Muslims of India (who comprise the second largest number in the world, after Indonesia) are very wary of Modi; ditto for other minorities, as well as those of the lower castes.

What Sase Singh did not mention is that Narendra Modi is also a feared leader. His connection with the paramilitary ultranationalist “Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh” (“RSS”) group with his political party, the BJP, is cause for concern. There are many other reasons why intellectuals, artists, minorities and noted political scientists do not favour Modi.

It appears that Mr. Singh’s use of the “free at last, India is free at last” last sentence has cheapened Martin Luther King, Jr.’s famous freedom proclamation. ‘Free’ from what? Or ‘free’ from/for whom?

Yours faithfully,

Devanand Bhagwan

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