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How Modi is restrained by the Indian intelligentsia

In Indian politics nowadays, there are two personalities whom I consider to represent Indian intelligentsia. They are Arundhati Roy and Shashi Tharoor. Roy is an internationally acclaimed Indian author, best known for her novel “The God of Small Things,” which won the 1997 Man Booker Prize. She also writes political essays and has been advocating the rights of minority groups in India and beyond. Described as the “conscience of India” in Time’s 2014 list of 100 most influential people, she has a voice that counts.
Tharoor is an Indian politician, writer and a former career diplomat, is serving as member of parliament, has been India’s former State Minister for External Affairs, has served as Under Secretary General of the UN and is an author of 14 best-selling fiction and non-fiction works. From their profiles, their opinions are expected to be objective and un-biased. My purpose in this piece is to show how widely respected Indian icons who have seen life deeply and vicariously in the broader world context, and free from local prejudices think about the current Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi.
Arundhati Roy writes that Narender Modi is a lifelong member of the Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh (RSS), a paramilitary Hindu nationalist organisation founded in 1927 and inspired by the fascist movements of Europe. Adolf Hitler was their greatest hero. Just as the fascists of Germany took great pride in their racial superiority and purged their country of the Jewish minority, the same way RSS have faith in their Hindu superiority which is termed as ‘Hindutva’ and firmly believe that all entities other than Hindus are interlopers, who should be gradually eliminated from the Indian soil. In 1948, a former member of the RSS murdered Gandhi for being too soft on Muslims. The followers of RSS mostly dominated by upper-caste Hindus, have since led many vicious assaults on minorities.
In 2002 when Modi was the Chief Minister of Gujarat, a train carrying pilgrims was returning back after destruction of Ayodhya mosque when it caught fire as a result of which 57 persons were burnt alive. In retaliation to that and under his supervision, the Hindu mobs of Gujarat went crazy and massacred 2000 Muslims, raped their women and displaced about a hundred thousand Muslims from their homes. The police did not interfere and let the Hindu mob attack the Muslim minority. At such mass killings, loot and arson, Modi’ never felt sorry or apologetic to the victims and arrogantly remarked that ‘to every action there is a reaction’ and thus justified all atrocities committed against Muslims.
According to Roy, the RSS considers Muslims as usurpers of their land and believe that India should be purged of Muslims, who should not have any civil rights at par with Hindus. The militancy of RSS grew with time and by the year 2000 which had more than 60,000 branches and an army of 4 million volunteers.
Arundhati Roy has also criticised the constant killings of several liberal activists. The BJP government manages to undermine and insult Dalit population. In a country ruled by Hindu nationalists, she says, “it’s safer to be a cow than a woman or Muslim”.
The investigation by the Karnataka police into the assassination of the journalist and activist Gauri Lankesh has led to the unveiling of the activities of several right-wing Hindutva activists. The investigation reveals the existence of a shadowy, full-blown terror network with hit lists. Arundhati Roy has termed the recent government crackdown as potentially more dangerous than the 1975 emergency proclaimed by Indira Gandhi. According to her, the 1975 emergency was supposedly declared to implement the constitution, although it was a violation of the peoples’ rights. But Modi’s government is trying to overturn the constitution in order to declare India a “Hindu Rashtra”. Some four million people in Assam state, nearly all of them Bengali Muslims who have lived in India for more than four decades, are at risk of disenfranchisement. The ethnic cleansing by the BJP is continuing as its core policy in India. In an interview Roy stated that in Kashmir, Manipur, Nagaland, tens of thousands of people have been killed and tortured in the army camps all around the country. She added that the Indian rulers accuse Pakistan of being a military dictatorship, but the Pakistani army has not been actively deployed against its ‘own’ people in the manner in which the Indian army has been deployed to crush people in Kashmir, Manipur, Nagaland, Hyderabad, Goa, Telangana, Punjab and now, Chhattisgarh, Jharkhand, Orissa etc. She further says that Modi has now turned India into a police state.



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