Howdy Modi: Bypassing Travails Being Faced by India

In Houston, America, a grand spectacle was created with Narendra Modi, in the presence of Donald Trump. The massive rally of nearly 50,000 people cheered both the leaders. Both these leaders praised each other and criticized ‘Islamic Terrorism’ and Pakistan.


While it is true that South Asia and West Asia have been suffering the cancer of terror, what is forgotten in the hysteria created in the name of ‘Islamic terrorism’ is the fact that the seeds of this terrorism were sown by the American policy. It not only designed the syllabus for brain washing Muslim youth, using the retrograde version of Islam, but the whole exercise was also funded by America to the tune of $8000 million and 7,000 tons of armament. The dreaded operation was programmed to fight the Russian army, which was occupying Afghanistan. America, in a shrewd manner, deployed the products of terror training to its benefit and, now, is trying to wash its hands off the whole thing. As Hillary Clinton had pointed out “let them come from Saudi Arabia and other countries, importing their Wahabi brand of Islam, so that we can go beat the Soviet Union.” 

There are many sidelights of the gala event. The media is full of the massive response to the Modi event, while what was equally important has been hidden. The protests by different groups, protests against the policies of Modi in India have been ignored by media. In America, while a substantial number of those from Indian origin are supporters of Hindu nationalism, and many are ModiBhaktstoo, there is a good number of those who are concerned about the state of human rights and the health of democracy back home. Right from America, Bernie Sanders, the Democrat leader, tweeted about Trump endorsing Modi, overlooking the violations of the norms of freedom of religion and of human rights here in India. Sanders, in a tweet, said, “When Donald Trump stays silent in the face of religious persecution, repression and brutality, the dangerous message this sends to autocratic leaders around the world is: “Go ahead, you can get away with it.”In his long speech, thecentral point of what Modi said was that ‘all is well’ in India.

Modi can say so despite the gross violations of the basic citizen’s rights of a large number of Indians, including those in Kashmir. His primary constituency is away from the ‘last man’, to focus on whom the ‘father of our nation’, Gandhi had suggested to us.
While a large section in the audience lapped everything which Modi said, a large number of protesters outside the stadium did draw attention to the reality of the Indian situation under Modi’s rule.

From among the protestors, the most apt comment came from the coalition of groups ‘Alliance for Justice and Accountability’. Sunita Vishwanathan, part of the alliance and a member of ‘Hindus for Human Rights’, hit the nail on the head, when she stated, “We are horrified that our religion, which teaches Vasudaiva Kutumbakam, (whole world is my family) is being hijacked by extremists and nationalists, who are lynching Muslims, trampling democracy and law and order and arresting, if not murdering, those who are speaking out,…We are especially appalled by the most recent nightmare of the Kashmiri people and the situation of 1.9 million people in India, who are rendered stateless due to the imposition of the travesty called the National Register of Citizens.”

One is at loss to understand the direction which India as a nation is taking at present, more so forthe last few years. While our Prime Minster is celebrating and addressing rallies in America, the Indian economy is taking a nose dive. Lakhs of workers are being retrenched; the average people are feeling the pinch of the policies being pursued by the Government in power. These policies do not want to solve the problems of the average people of the country. As such,the last few years have seen a total change in the pattern of issues being brought to the fore by the BJP-led government. It has gone on to give importance to issues like the abolition of triple talaq, the abrogation of Article 370, focussing on NRC in Assam while there is talk in the air that NRC will be extended to the whole of the country and that the Uniform Civil Code will be implemented.

The central focus of policy making and the concerns of the ruling Government has seen a drastic change. In the initial years of the republic, solid foundations of industries, universities and irrigation systems were laid. The idea was thatthis is what the nation needs – focus on issues related to livelihood. There were many weaknesses in the planning and implementation of these policies, but the direction was right. This did lead to improvement in levels of literacy, health related indices, economic growth, agricultural production, milk production, to list a few.

Identity issues like the Ram Temple or the holy cow and-beef, conversions, love jihad were on the margins, not influencing the direction of policy making. With such a focus on infrastructure, India became a global economic power. Now, the nation’s outlook has been shifted away from India as a guardian state, focusing on basic issues of its people, to one which just makes claims to have welfare schemes, but in reality is withdrawing from its responsibility in areas which are the dire need of the vast sections of its society.

After the launch of the Ram Temple campaign, BJP started coming up and claimed that it is ‘a party with a difference’. It is true. This is the party guided by the agenda of Hindu nationalism. Such religious nationalism thrives on issues related to identity and hatred for religious minorities. It creates violence and polarization. It is this polarization which gives electoral strength to religious nationalist parties all over the world, and BJP, in the case of India. In the din of the hysteria created by ‘Howdy,Modi!’ type events, how should one bring the national focus back to the problems faced by the average people of the society, is the question staring us in our face.

  1. Modi’s tryst with destiny in Texas
  2. From Howdy to How could you?
  3. Modi appeasing increased global acceptance of anti-Muslim ‘bigotry’: US Congressman
  4. Howdy Modi? ‘Houston Chronicle’ recalls Kashmir, human rights, attack on minorities
  5. Women’s Voice releases Fact-finding Report on Kashmir



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