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Narendra Modi
March 11, 2009 10:00 PM   Subscribe

India’s New Face. "Meet Narendra Modi, chief minister of Gujarat and the brightest star in the Hindu-chauvinist Bharatiya Janata Party. Under Modi, Gujarat has become an economic dynamo. But he also presided over India’s worst communal riots in decades, a 2002 slaughter that left almost 2,000 Muslims dead. Exploiting the insecurities and tensions stoked by India’s opening to the world, Modi has turned his state into a stronghold of Hindu extremism, shredding Gandhi’s vision of secular coexistence in the process. One day, he could be governing the world’s largest democracy." [Via]
posted by homunculus (12 comments total) 5 users marked this as a favorite

 
I really hope some moderate voices get heeded there, because if not the bloodshed will escalate exponentially.
posted by Burhanistan at 10:12 PM on March 11, 2009


Gandhi’s vision of secular coexistence in the process

Hasn't that pretty much been dead letter since India was partitioned along strictly religious lines sixty years ago? It also revises Gandhi, who held the idealistic but disastrous belief that pre-partition India was ready at that time for peaceful religious coexistence. Hundreds of thousands of deaths from sectarian-related violence and two nuclear-armed rival states later, that idealism seems rather misplaced.
posted by Makoto at 10:52 PM on March 11, 2009


What they said about Modi. Accused after accused testified to how the Gujarat genocide would not have been possible had Narendra Modi not sent out clear directives to the administration to look the other way. A recent U.N. report says there is a real risk of Indian religious strife. (previously ).
posted by adamvasco at 1:23 AM on March 12, 2009


"Hindu chauvinist"? No, the BJP is a hate group. Don't pretty up extremism.
posted by QIbHom at 6:32 AM on March 12, 2009


Interesting article, although that huge sweeping narrative tone that feature writers tend to use to suggest something of great portent occurring started to grate on me a little by the end.

I especially liked the ambivalence of the piece - you know the guy pretty much sanctioned 2,000 deaths, but if you can just get past that teensy weensy detail, he's hugely efficient, dedicated, personable, caring etc etc.

The other point of note was the suggestion that Modi sees fervent nationalism as a passing phase. I wasn't too sure how to read that because there is a benign and a not-so-benign interpretation of it.
posted by MuffinMan at 6:34 AM on March 12, 2009


As a footnote, I don't know whether to applaud the fact that the word chauvinist is actually being used correctly here, or correct this use of the word because nowadays the word has changed and means sexist.
posted by idiopath at 6:44 AM on March 12, 2009


Ugh. I met one of these BJP followers in NY. He was a Gujrati Brahmin trained at the London School of Economics now working as a writer for the Wall Street Journal. The hate speech coming from him was something I haven't heard for a while and hope never to encounter again. What had started as an interesting discussion about the modernization of India turned into ranting about " goat-fuckers" (he knew I was Afghan) and attestations of glowing admiration for how Israel dealt with "you people". Yeah, some of it was fueled by alcohol but it was really eye-opening to know how some presumably worldly people really think.
posted by nikitabot at 7:47 AM on March 12, 2009 [3 favorites]


Gandhi’s vision of secular coexistence in the process

Hasn't that pretty much been dead letter since India was partitioned along strictly religious lines sixty years ago? It also revises Gandhi, who held the idealistic but disastrous belief that pre-partition India was ready at that time for peaceful religious coexistence. Hundreds of thousands of deaths from sectarian-related violence and two nuclear-armed rival states later, that idealism seems rather misplaced.


To be fair, Ghandi also wanted India to completely reject European style modern development, so in his ideal world everyone would have been too busy with subsistence farming, making their own clothes, and hauling their water from wells to bother with killing each other with medieval weapons.
posted by Caduceus at 10:18 AM on March 12, 2009


Modi is a criminal who should be brought before the ICC and convicted for the state-sponsored and orchestrated slaughter of over two thousand Muslims in India. Should India elect him, his past will catch up with him, and will not improve India's image in the least. However, hopefully, thought the BJP and it's allies have a significant following in India, I hope that more sensible minds will prevail.

A couple more points:

Hasn't that pretty much been dead letter since India was partitioned along strictly religious lines sixty years ago?

No. You're wrong. That is why there are almost as many Muslims in India today as there are in Bangladesh and Pakistan, respectively. Additionally, had the partition strictly adhered to religious lines, Kashmir would have gone to Pakistan.

It also revises Gandhi, who held the idealistic but disastrous belief that pre-partition India was ready at that time for peaceful religious coexistence. Hundreds of thousands of deaths from sectarian-related violence and two nuclear-armed rival states later, that idealism seems rather misplaced.

Gandhi's belief was not quixotic. It was inadequate planning by the British overlords and their moving up the independence of India and Pakistan by a whole year (from Aug 1948 to 1947) because they were mired in WWII, that led to the sectarian slaughter that followed the Partition. Better planning and a reasonable schedule could have avoided most of it, and the history of India and Pakistan today would have been different. But why would the retreating imperial power want to leave a united and strong Indian subcontinent? They conquered by dividing, and they retreated by ensuring ill-conceived divisions also.
posted by Azaadistani at 11:55 PM on March 12, 2009




homunculus, that was a very interesting article.

And I'd wondered what Nussbaum was up to these days.
posted by QIbHom at 8:50 AM on March 16, 2009




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