January 17, 2013 By Shauqeen Mizaj

Modi as ‘PM’: Anger Surges through Indian Intelligentsia

ghoshAfter the Bharathiya Janatha Party (BJP) has announced as its Prime Minister candidate in the forthcoming Parliament elections Narendra Modi who is known to be the mastermind behind the Gujarat pogrom in 2002, oppositions from different parts of the country seem to be building up against him. His detractors include renowned economist and Nobel laureate Amartya Sen, Jnanpeeth award winning Kannada author U R Ananthamurthy and acclaimed author Amitav Ghosh.

While the exact role of Narendra Modi in the 2002 Gujarat riots is crystal clear to the whole nation, the self claimed “Hindu National” moves ahead with his ambition justifying his actions. The controversies swirling around Modi persist profoundly as he enters his fourth consecutive year as the Gujarat Chief Minister. Now appointed as the Chief of the BJP’s election campaign committee, he is making efforts to erase the blood-stained image by performing acts aiming to please the Muslims. This includes greeting the Muslim community on Ramzan in one of his tweets.

Despite attempts at an image makeover, Modi continues to furnish excuses on account of his actions. The statements made by him regarding allegations over the Gujarat riots triggered widespread furor. He did not hide remorselessness and said his Government used “full strength” to do a “rightful thing” thereby leading the way for  people. There was huge uproar when he stated that he would be sad even if a “puppy” came under his wheel. The brashness with which Modi moves about is due to the clean chit given to him by the Special Investigation Team appointed by the Supreme Court of India. The efforts to butter up the Muslim community so as to gain their support for the forthcoming elections will only end up in aggravating the fissures already existing among different social segments including the Muslims.

Many prominent intellectuals have come forward with their opposition against Modi becoming the Prime Minister. Amitav Ghosh said that a person like Narendra Modi in the highest seat of the country would be “deeply destabilising” for India. He said that Modi would definitely not get his vote because he was culpable for the 2002 riots. In an interview to CNN-IBN deputy editor Sagarika Ghosh, he expressed his concern at the way Hindu nationalism had transformed faith into politics thereby destroying the Hindu religion and pointed out the instances of Pakistan and Sri Lanka where single religion or language were held above the others. Ghosh was in India to celebrate 25 years of his book Shadow Lines. Renowned economist Amartya Sen has also strongly condemned Modi’s assuming the highest position of the country.

Jnanpeeth award winner U R Ananthamurthy said that Narendra Modi could never build a model India that Mahatma Gandhi or Jawaharlal Nehru dreamt of and that he would not like to live in India and would leave the country if Modi attains power. According to him, the media was projecting only one face of the Gujarat CM concealing the other. In a recent article, published in the Outlook magazine, renowned writer Arundhathi Roy lashes out at Modi and the Sangh Parivar quoting that they consider the one hundred and thirty million Muslims living in India as the legitimate prey and that they knew nothing of civilization. According to her, the Muslims in India will be degraded to second-class citizens with a substandard living, no civil rights and no justice if Modi makes it to the top. She added up that fascism could only be abolished if the people show a commitment to social justice equal to the intensity of their resentment.

(Caption: Amitav Ghosh, Photo Credit: Outlookindia.com)

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