In the light of the Economist’s editorial on a possible Modi govt (http://www.theguardian.com/world/2014/apr/10/indian-a, or various articles in the French Press, such as the Nouvel Observateur http://tempsreel.nouvelobs.com/monde/20140404.OBS2715/inde-la-redoutable-ascension-de-modi-le-terrible.html, titled “The dangerous ascension of the Horrible Modi”, it would be interesting – rather than perform the usual bashing-up of the Media –to try to analyse logically, without any animosity, why is it that the western press hates Mr Narendra Modi so much.
A thorough journalist, instead of judging an event or a phenomenon only by the present moment, tries to go back to the past, and see if there are any elements that built-up to the present moment’s happenings.
All right. So accusations against Mr Modi, mostly contain one word: “Hindu”. ‘Hindu’ Nationalist, ‘Hindu’ radical, Hindu murderer, etc.
Why is it that the word ‘Hindu’ evokes so much hatred? Are not the Hindus one of the most peaceful people on earth? Hindus have never invaded militarily any country in the world in their 3000 years recorded history – on the contrary theirinfluence went ‘softly’ towards the East – witness Cambodia’s Angkor; or towards the West, where yoga has become a staple diet. Has not every persecuted religious community found refuge in Hindu India: the Christian Syrians, the Parsis the Jews, or today the Tibetans, and werethey not allowed to practice their faith in peace?
The British, whenthey conquered India, quickly realised thatbeing only handful of men, they could not rule a country as vast as India without pitting one community against the other. Obviously their main target were the Hindus, as their faith had survived centuries of ruthless invasions. Thus they pitted Muslims against Hindus – and that ultimately resulted in the creation of Pakistan; they propped-up the hard working but tiny Sikh community and planted the seeds of dissent which produced Khalistan; and they gave a free hand to their Anglican missionaries whoconverted entire north-eastern sates triggering in them their own aspirations of independence.The English Media of those times, also did their best to portray the rising Hindu movements, such as Sri Aurobindo’sas barbaric, fanatical, ridiculous; and the Indian media in turn, took-up, as parrots, the cry of their British counterparts.
More than that, the British set upon establishing an intermediary race of Indians, whom they could entrust with their work at the middle level echelons and who could one day be convenient instruments to rule by proxy, or semi-proxy. The tool to shape these « British clones » was education. In the words of Macaulay, the « pope » of British schooling in India: « We must at present do our best to form a class, who may be interpreters between us and the millions we govern; a class of persons, Indians in blood and colour, but English in taste, in opinions, in morals and in intellects ».
Today, the western media, which bashes up Modi, is only parroting what the British said and practiced. The unfortunate element of course, is that those western journalists, such as in the Economist piece, quote Indian intellectuals– most of them Hindus at that- and thus canstate: “See we are not saying anything, Indians themselves are saying it”. This is because Nehru blindly adopted all that was British, including its education system, and added to it a bit of Soviet Marxism, which produced generation after generation of Hindu-hating academics.
Another important factor that is never talked about, is the very deep rooted Christian belief that Hindus are idolaters & that they adore statues of stones. YetHindus basically believe in One Supreme Divinity that incarnates into many avatarsthroughout the Ages.Also it’s illogical that Christians accept that Mary conceived as virgin or that Jesus multiplied bread and wine in thousands& accuse Hindus of superstition. But this ancient battle between so-called Monotheism and Hindu polytheism, still survives in the subconscious of westerners and that is why a Wendy Doniger, a Michael Witzel or a Christophe Jaffrelot, scholarly as they are, always attempt in subtle or nor so subtle manners,to denigrate Hindusfrom a secret sense of superiority. Western journalists alsodraw their inspiration from them
The western media mainly saysthat Mr Modiis a murderer of Muslims during the 2002 pogroms. Again, let us try to go to the past and analyse this tragic event, where no doubt innocent Muslims were savagelymurdered. There is something that journalists never say, because they never think about it, is that massive riots such as these, are not born a day, they spring of hundreds, sometimes thousand of years of pent-up frustrations, of resentment, of anger.The terrible burning of 56 Hindus in the Sabarmati train, amongst them 36 innocent women and children by a Muslim mob, was only the spark that ignited this suppressed fury. But instead of accusing one man, the western media should indict the whole of Gujarat, for it’s not only Hindus from militant organizations that went down in the street, but Dalits, middle class Hindus, and even upper middle class Hindus. But of course, it’s much easier to bash Mr Modi, who at the most delayed the calling of the army by one day, as Rajiv Gandhi did when Delhiites started killing Sikhs after his mother was brutally assassinated by her own Sikh bodyguards.
Of course, it also does not help is that all western correspondents live in that big bubble which is Delhi, where the same ‘secular’ ideas are repeated from embassy cocktails to journalists’parties. The fact that they stay for a maximum of three to five years, too short a time to understand a country as complex, vast and contradictory as India, and fly from city to city,staying in five start hotels,means they have no opportunity to soak in the real India.
Francois Gautier (firstname.lastname@example.org)
The author is the editor in chief of the Paris based La Revue de l’Inde (larevuedelinde.com)