Dick of the Year – Narendra Modi
This is a nomination for Dick of the Year from Nishma Doshi. If you want to nominate someone, please email 200ish words to editors (at) brightgreenscotland (dot) org
India. A picture of the colonial success: income inequality has doubled in the last couple of decades, society is still stratified along strict caste/class/religious lines, and neoliberalism is having a disastrous impact on the environment and people. In all of its nationalist propaganda of economic growth, the “largest democracy in the world” is cracking – splintering over religious lines, and leaving India awash with the blood of the poorest peoples. And no-one is more to blame than Gujarat’s Hindu-fascist Chief Minister, Narendra Modi.
For many Gujaratis, the Hindu-nationalist propaganda and the “Development” focus of Modi’s reign often secures him the picture of a hero, despite the environmental and social costs of his ruthless expansionist policies. But Modi’s actions in 2002 have not been forgotten, and as income inequality rises exponentially across the state, many are beginning to gain a voice.
Let’s go back to 2002. A train is burnt with about 80 Hindu pilgrims. The government erupts into various accusations – it’s Pakistan, it’s those Muslims, etc. No evidence is collected to support those accusations, but the Hindu-fascist media wheel is in motion, and Gujarat erupts into riots. Over 800 Muslims are brutally murdered (officially, though independent reports suggest up to 2000), women gang-raped in front of their children. Modi says nothing. The government says nothing. Everyone is supposed to believe that those innocent victims of the riots deserved it. Because of their faith, they were guilty.
Nine years later, and there has been no enquiry into the riots. The murderers roam the streets, justified in their actions. The Gujarat state government which promised to preside over the riot cases has done nothing. The victimisation of Muslim Gujaratis goes on. To many the wounds of Modi’s social impact are still fresh, and as investment in India slows down, the silent victims are gaining support from their Hindu allies. In a shocking set of Open Letters this year, Modi begins to be challenged by the Hindus he claims to stand for. The Supreme Court takes over the Gujarat riots enquiry.
In response, Modi has claimed he was an innocent victim in all of this. In an open letter to the media he dared to claim:
After 2002, Gujarat has not spared any effort to march towards peace, harmony and progress even amidst false propaganda, lies, conspiracies and allegations.
‘Six crore Gujaratis’ has not remained merely a word. It has become the mantra of unity and human endeavour. Every citizen of Gujarat has internalised peace, harmony and development. Gujarat has experienced an unparalleled phase of peace, harmony, and development in the last decade. Gujarat is committed to march forward on this path only.
To mark his dedication to unifying Gujarat, he performed a Sumbhava 3-day fast in an ashamedly obvious political stunt meant to mirror his Gandhi-like beliefs. Despite poor attendance, and the continued discontent of his people, Modi claimed the Sumbhava Mission a success – commemorating it with Hindu festivities. Modi’s agenda is simple: to aggressively and ruthlessly become India’s next Prime Minister, and with all of “India Inc” (India’s largest industrialists) in his back pocket – he’s on a strong trajectory to win the BJP candidacy at least. If he does, India faces a bloody and long civil war marred by myopic economic policy.
Give him your vote. Show him that we’re watching, and we don’t tolerate genocide.