Modi’s polemics 

ModiBy S. M. Hali 

Narendra Damodardas Modi is the 15th and current Prime Minister of India. During the 2014 Indian elections, Modi led the BJP to victory, more due to the lackluster and scandal ridden rule of the outgoing Indian National Congress Party and less due to any mass appeal of the BJP. Modi is a Hindu Nationalist and a member of the extremist Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh (RSS) and is a controversial figure both within India as well as internationally as his administration has been criticized for failing to act to prevent the 2002 Gujarat riots in which over 2000 Muslims were massacred by bloodthirsty Hindu extremists. Cases were registered against Modi for planning and abetting the ethnic cleansing of Muslims in his state. Resultantly the US and Europe refused to grant visit visa to Modi on account of the carnage he was responsible for. Modi has been credited with creating an environment for a high rate of economic growth in Gujarat but criticized for failing to transfer the economic progress towards human development of the masses.

Modi hails from a very humble background, in 1967; he completed his schooling in Vadnagar, where a teacher graded him as an average student, but a keen debater who had an interest in theatre. It is the last trait, which has served him well in politics.

At the age of eight, Modi came in contact with RSS and he began attending its local shakhas where he came in contact with Lakshmanrao Inamdar, popularly known as Vakil Sahib, who is known as his political guru and mentor. Inamdar inducted Modi as a balswayamsevak, a junior cadet in RSS. During this session at the keri pitha shakha of RSS, he also came in contact with Vasant Gajendragadkar and Nathalal Jaghda, leaders of the Jan Sangh who later founded the BJP’s Gujarat state unit in 1980. Many Indian analysts find it hard to swallow that Modi, a virtual pygmy has stepped into the shoes of BJP stalwart like Atal Bihari Vajpai but his theatrics have served him well. It was the trading and business community which reposed confidence in Modi to turn around the ailing economy, which had gone to the doldrums under Manmohan Singh’s weak government, which looked the other way when corruption, sleaze and avarice prevailed.

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Modi’s election campaign was built upon rhetoric against Pakistan and the usual Pakistan bashing. Some Pakistani analysts opined that Modi is a shrewd businessman and under his rule, Pak-India relations will prosper because he would give weightage to economic benefits vis-à-vis continued hostility. Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif, who came into power in June last year to serve his third tenure as Prime Minister, was quick to extend the olive branch to India but his overtures were spurned. When Modi was to be anointed as the Prime Minister, he extended invitations to all SAARC leaders to attend the inauguration ceremony of his reign. Considering it a personal invitation, Mian Nawaz Sharif over zealously accepted the invitation despite being advised to weigh the pros and cons of attending the ceremonial event before sending his assent. Last year India was browbeating Pakistan, with numerous cross border incursions, aiding and abetting separatists in Balochistan and manipulating the TTP to execute heinous attacks on Pakistan’s military establishment and destroying high value and strategic assets, besides inflicting horror on the civilians. Mian Sahib, in his naiveté assumed that both he and Modi having trading interests might hit it off and usher in a new era of peace in the region. Unfortunately Modi was cold and his staff read the Miranda rights to Pakistan.

Ever since Pakistan launched its military operation Zarb-e-Azb in North Waziristan and discovered caches of Indian weapons, literature and currency in the possession of TTP, Indian troops have been constantly firing across the Line of Control (LOC) and the international boundary to exert pressure on the Pakistani military and divert its attention from ongoing Operation Zarb-e-Azb. In direct violation of the 2003 ceasefire between Pakistan and India, a number of civilians and army personnel have been martyred. In two unrelated incidents, a Pakistani civilian strayed into the Indian side while an Indian soldier was arrested, havening ingressed into Pakistani territory. Pakistan returned the Indian soldier with dignity and decorum worthy of a brother in arms albeit from a hostile force and arrested under suspicious circumstances. India reciprocated by returning the dead body of the straying Pakistani civilian, bearing marks of extreme torture.

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The very next day, while visiting Kargil, Modi unnecessarily fired a broadside targeting Pakistan. In his address at Leh, Modi declared “Pakistan has lost the strength to fight conventional war but continues to engage in proxy war of terrorism.”  Both aspects of this statement were in bad taste. To start with, Modi was visiting Kargil, which is disputed territory, currently under Indian control. Earlier this year, during the election campaign too Modi was criticized by Sonia Gandhi for garnishing votes by attacking Rajiv Gandhi and using the names of Kargil heroes for electoral gains. Modi knows well that Kashmir is a bone of contention between Pakistan and India and its disputed status is recognized by the UN and specific Resolutions to resolve the issue remain pending for execution. One of the first actions of Modi after assuming the mantle of power, was to stir a hornet’s nest by started the process for repealing Article 370, which grants special status to Jammu Kashmir within the Indian republic. Kashmir is not a part of Indian republic and is awaiting resolution but India has martyred more than a 100,000 Kashmiris.

Blaming Pakistan for conducting a proxy war is a case of “the pot calling the kettle black”. India is wreaking havoc in Pakistan but it has the temerity to challenge the credentials of a nation, which has sacrificed 55,000 precious lives through Indian machinations. Instead of accepting Pakistan’s proposal for jointly tackling the demon of terrorism, Modi finds it expedient to bash Pakistan and blame it for shenanigans being carried out by India. Modi’s polemics are unwarranted.

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