A2LET TERS India Abroad May 2, 2014 31 The International Weekly Newspaper founded in 1970. Member, Audit Bureau of Circulation
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would you be
Almost every news article on Modi never fails to mention that he is a
Hindu hardliner or Hindu nationalist. It
is like when a terrorist happens to be a
Muslim, he is endlessly referred to as an
Islamic or Muslim terrorist. We have
had several cases of gun men running
around killing innocents in theatres and
schools — anyone ever hear of these
George Bush endlessly promoted his
Christian religion, yet have we ever read
him being referred to as a Christian
hardliner or Christian nationalist?
It is ironic that the people pointing the
finger at Modi and his faith are the very
same people who have never objected to
the US being referred to as a Christian
Obama consistently has to insist that
he is a Christian, has himself photographed while coming out of church-es, the two prominent Indian governors
have abandoned their Indian faiths and
consistently insist they are Christian.
And these are the folks sounding the
alarm for minorities in India?
Let us see our record. You would never
find a Hindu saying you must pray to
God Sri Rama or else you go to hell. A
few years ago this Hindu country had a
Sikh as PM, the president was Muslim
and the leader of the party that ruled the
nation was a Christian from Italy.
We tend to think all religions are the
same. They are not. The four major religions can be clearly divided into two
major divisions — on one side are the
ones who claim it is your religion that
matters, that is what gets you into heaven. Hinduism and Buddhism on the
other hand, insist it is your karma —
actions, work, character, conduct — that
matters, not religion. In today’s world or
in any world, what would you like to be
judged by? Your religious affiliation or
We should be proud to be Hindus.
Notes of a culture
Ijust returned from a fantastic Indian cultural event in Cleveland, Ohio. The
Aradhana Festival is a tribute to
Carnatic music. It was a treat to see
young Indian children taking active part
in the classical music of southern India.
This festival has been an annual event
for 38 years, and I am puzzled by the
lack of dissipation of its cultural contribution to Indian kids of North America
by media such as yours. Publicity to
events of this caliber enhances the Indo-US cultural connectivity.
third rail of politics
This is with reference to Lal Vishin’s letter ‘Until Vivek Murthy gets confirmed’ (India Abroad, April 25).
Yes, Murthy is an excellent candidate
to be a Surgeon General.
Yes, I would love to see deserving
Indian Americans occupy high profile
Yes, the Indian Diaspora has grown in
numbers, wealth and political clout, over
Yes, we must keep fighting for what is
right and have an influence on policy-making.
But I respectfully disagree when
Vishin compares the NRA to the tobacco
or to the alcohol lobby. Smoking and
drinking are not an individual’s rights
that are protected by the Constitution,
whereas, rightly or wrongly, the Second
Amendment does protect the right of
individuals to keep and bear arms,
which is what the NRA uses to lobby for
gun rights. To me, the NRA is more like
the entitlement programs (Social
Security, Medicare, Medicaid, etc) and is
the ‘third rail of politics’ — you touch it
and you die.
As I started reading Tarun Vijay’s ‘Is stopping Modi the West’s new priority’ (India Abroad, April 4, 14), it slowly became increasingly clear that it was
written by a BJP person. So I was ready to take it as biased. But to my pleasant surprise, it was not only well written, but also courageous in talking of the
that the West
prefers to have a
timid, half-intel-ligent and a
India. May be! I
think it is worse
than that. The
for dictators or
from Marcos in
the Shah of
Husain in the
Panama in early
days and all
Pakistani leaders; America never
sides with true democracy outside of the West. They prefer to have leaders
that can go along with the American agenda. Modi does not fit the mold. That
scares them. Really scares them.
Let’s talk about the American media. 814 million people in India go to the
polls to elect a new government in the largest real democratic exercise in the
free world and not a word on any major network. It’s as if India is on another
planet. At about the same time, the Afghan election gets big news coverage.
Who knows how long anything will last there after the election, without
American help? It reminds me of the Vietnam War when the media was totally preoccupied by Vietnam. If you were visiting from Mars, you would seriously think Vietnam was the most important country in the world. Even most of
Europe did not exist then.
The American media has a tendency to dance to the tune of the politicians
here and yet they give the evening news fancy names like ‘World News
Tonight’, no matter how small their world is!
On the eve of India’s polls, it looks like the West has accepted the widespread Indian mood for change, but still wishes it has to deal with someone else but
The Economist magazine, brazenly displaying a Western
arrogance bordering on a colored vision, suggests in its latest issue: ‘If, more probably, victory goes to the Bharatiya
Janata Party, its coalition partners should hold out for a
prime minister other than Modi.’
The old colonial psyche that described us as heathens and
pagans to be civilized through a hard dose of the gospel,
still survives in the editorial offices of some Western newspapers and magazines, it seems.
When the economy is down and the corruption is high, a
nation needs a leader with clear majority and a massive
mandate to take firm, hard decisions. It must make
Western governments, dwindling under their own ‘not so
good economic conditions’, happier and more assured.
Instead of bowing before the people’s mandate and looking
at an emerging, stronger democratic India as a guarantee for
regional peace and po wer balance, the Western media and
some hardcore Christian lobby groups in the United States
have started their last-ditch effort to stop Modi.
Though there are fears that forces inimical to India’s rise
might plot something sinister, nothing can stop Modi from
taking oath as the new prime minister.
The Indian people have shown their transparently clear
and decisive mood. It is an unprecedented event in India’s
The West has always preferred to have a timid, half intelligent and a dependent India rather than a decisively independent and self-reliant one.
No matter whether the Congress party was in po wer or
the BJP. The Western preferences have been very clear: A
Modi belongs to an entirely different world they do not
kno w ho w to connect with. Having developed a habit of
Centre, Anglophile scholars, commentators and gossip
providers in an English club ambience, the Western media
and their highly accented Indian correspondents find it dif-
ficult to comprehend the new phenomenon.
They have never read any first-hand source material on
the Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh except the extreme
Left’s hate literature; their understanding of the Modi factor is limited to briefings by frequent fliers to Cambridge
and the pre-opinionated India International Centre crowd.
How to deal with a new leadership that has studied in a
village school in Gujarat and has completed the three-year
rigorous RSS training? The ignorance and illiteracy
regarding the new language has put fear in their minds —
we do not know this, so this must be a monstrous thing.
Modi is a son of the soil. He speaks English with an
Indian accent, and not an Oxbridge one, which had been so
familiar to the Western media, crowding and appreciating
the Westernized neo-Nehru clan.
A half-baked knowledge of Indian history and a
Churchilian outlook make them too uncomfortable dealing
with a person who is best at speaking to Indians in their
language and is molded by the ideology they had despised
This is a new vocabulary to them, a new introduction to
the reality which is diametrically opposed to the half-Brit-Nehruvian model of behavior they were familiar with.
That was the protocol they could easily connect with —
looking at India the way a viceroy looked at the natives — a
Ganesha terracotta to admire, ethnic pottery, folk something of Bastar and Jodhpur, sympathies with Maoists
guerillas, talking supportively with Kashmiri separatists,
no to Ayodhya and eyes wide shut at Hindu ethnic cleansing in the valley.
That was the sum total of their Indian affair. Anglicized
masters of India’s destiny. Dictating terms to talk or stay
paused with Pakistan. Getting a baton to begin the
Commonwealth Games from the Queen. A protocol of regularly turning at Buckingham Palace and 10 Downing
Street; feeling humbled by the benevolent attitude.
It came to them so naturally that till the Atal Bihari
Vajpayee regime, the Budget of India was presented in
Parliament as per British clocks, to make the lords in
London comfortable and not for the comfort and the convenience of the Indian people. It was the BJP that changed
the timing and started presenting the Budget when India
was comfortable to hear it.
The BJP changed that and is set to change much more for
The fear is the colonial continuity of the supremacy of the
Anglophile may end with the rise of Modi.
When India gained nuclear power under Vajpayee’s
Pokaran-II test, the West was first to frown upon us, isolate
us from the mainstream and impose harsh sanctions
In spite of that, India-United States relations have
The West has always preferred to have a timid, half intelligent and a
dependent India rather than a decisively independent and self-reliant one.
Is stopping Modi
the West’s new
Is stopping Modi
the West’s new
Narendra Modi waves to his
supporters as he arrives to
file nomination papers in
Vadodara, Gujarat, April 9.
A20 COVERSTORY India Abroad April 18, 2014
Why India scares the West
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