Modi’s tenure ledger – newspaper

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AAKAR Patel’s book on Narendra Modi led me to a snappy poem by Gorakh Pandey, the JNU’s Marxist poet from the fight against the emergency in 1975-77. The pithy lines eerily capture the spirit of Patel’s survey of PM Modi’s resounding incompetence and undisclosed failures on key fronts as opposed to a divisive and potentially doomed project called Hindu Rashtra. Pandey died in the saddle as a student activist at JNU, some 45 years before the book was published.

The 488-page tome – Modi Years Prize – is an archival work with detailed notes and cross-references on the Prime Minister’s shortcomings in relation to the core challenges. Patel, a seasoned journalist from Modi’s home state of Gujarat, headed India’s section of Amnesty International before the unit closed down after harassment from the new order.

Pandey succinctly described post-truth India, anchored as it was (and is) through shamelessly submissive media. “Raja bola raat hai / Rani boli raat hai / Mantri bola raat hai / Santri bola raat hai / Ye subah subah ki baat hai!” (The King said it was night. The Queen said it was night. The Minister and Guard agreed with Their Majesties, assuring them that it was night. The exchange took place this morning.) The Indian media did, apart from obvious ones Exceptions, performed under Modi’s supervision, a rerun of his shy and mostly indulgent show of Ms. Gandhi’s emergency. Of this, Hindutva’s own LK Advani would say: “Journalists were asked to bow down and they chose to crawl.”

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The pathetic surrender and blatant pretense then undermined a truer picture of emergency, as is the case today with Hindutva’s efforts to replace India’s secular, democratic state with a predominantly predominant theocratic state. Upright journalists made up for the poor media exposure by writing their exposés about the emergency in books. You do it with Modi’s tenure, too.

Pandey succinctly described post-factual India, anchored as it was – and still is – by shamelessly submissive media.

Patels is an exceptional work in this area. The cover of the book is initially devastating. The main graphics show Modi’s miserable performance since 2014. The falling indices span democracy, the human development index, individual rights, rule of law, freedom of the press, women’s security, prosperity, civil liberties, corruption, social cohesion, etc. Modi sees itself as tough on terrorism. Patel gives examples to emphasize the exaggeration.

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Six months after the pogroms in Gujarat there was a terrorist attack on a Hindu temple, in which 30 believers and security guards were killed. Two suspected cross-border commuters were shot. The investigation, which was overseen by Modi, who also held the Home Secretary’s portfolio, arrested six men and brought them to justice. Three were sentenced to the death penalty and the rest were sent to prison. The Gujarat Supreme Court heard the appeal in camera on its own grounds. The matter went to the Supreme Court. Somehow, the top court’s furious criticism came the day Modi won the May 2014 election, and the verdict was buried, according to Patel. What did the court say?

The acquittal of all men stated, “Before parting with the verdict, we intend to express our fear of the incompetence with which the investigative authorities have investigated such a serious case that affects the integrity and security of the nation. Rather than denouncing the real culprits responsible for killing so many precious lives, the police have caught innocent people and brought serious charges against them that led to their conviction and subsequent conviction. ”Patel is wearing his amnesty hat here to quote faithfully from page 280 of the judgment.

It remains to be seen what could happen during Modi’s tenure as prime minister, especially with regard to the so-called terrorist cases. The mind here, of course, turns to human rights activists, public intellectuals, outspoken journalists, even stand-up comedians, who are exposed to the wrath of an arbitrary establishment. Commenting on the sloppiness of the indictment, Patel notes: “The murmur goes on and on. The Gujarat police had a handwriting expert – JJ Patel – who checked the defendant’s Urdu handwriting while admitting he did not know Urdu and could not distinguish Arabic from Persian. “

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On civil liberties, pluralism, political culture and the electoral process, Patel quotes the Economist Intelligence Unit’s “democracy index”. India slipped from 27th in 2014 to 53rd in 2020. Other embarrassing reviews are featured in this score, reaffirming how India came under Modi’s supervision.

On the economic front too, Modi’s performance caused India’s ranking to decline. See the World Economic Forum’s Global Economic Competitiveness Study. India has dropped 28 places from 40 in 2017 to 68 in 2020. Other indices from renowned agencies confirmed the result. The Thomson Reuters Foundation cites discrimination, health care, sexual violence, non-sexual violence, cultural traditions and human trafficking as parameters in its report on the world’s most dangerous countries for women. India lost four places from fourth in 2011 to first in 2018 “to become the most dangerous place for women, behind Pakistan, Congo, Somalia and Afghanistan”.

Interior Minister Amit Shah recently alleged that the Indian passport had gained respect under Mr Modi. Patel cites the Henley Passport Index to contest the claim. Indian passports dropped from 74 in 2013 to 85 in 2021, a drop of eleven places in the global ranking. The reasons given showed how few nations give Indian nationals visa-free access. In the 2017 Air Quality Index, 11 Indian cities were among the 30 most polluted cities. In 2020 they rose to 22.

While the crawling media is freaking out about “Moditva” and “Modinomics,” Patel says Modi himself never defined the terms. “We are left with a number of mantras, offered as acronyms and alliterations, through which he has expressed his ideas on several occasions.” Some acronyms from the book are mentioned: 5Ts – talent, tradition, tourism, trade and technology; 3Ds – democracy, discipline, determination. Gorakh Pandey would smile warmly at the book’s robust challenge to India’s progress towards a post-factual nation.

The author is Dawn correspondent in Delhi.

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Posted in Dawn, December 28, 2021


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