In the largest election ever in the history of mankind, over 600 million people voted. Close to 50% of them for one man. Narendra Modi.
Ever since the concept of democracy was conceived by man – a process where people, and not some elite or powerful few, decide who will govern them – the Indian elections of 2019 were the largest, grandest ever. If any one set of people in human history can lay a claim to be the torch-bearers of democratic ideals, then it has to be the current generation of the Indian people.
When the temperatures soared all the way to 48 Celsius (little over 118 F), the poor, the infirm, those even on dialysis, went to the voting booths to participate in the “festival and celebration of democracy”. Never in human history have men and women so spectacularly and vociferously laid claim to the right to decide their leaders, their representatives, as Indians did in these elections. India recorded the highest voter turnout in its history of elections – close to 70% (67% to be exact) making the total voters who exercised their right to be a whopping 600 million (twice the population of US!).
For the first time perhaps in the history of Indian elections, price rise and inflation were not even an issue. How could they? The inflation in India has been falling from well over 10% in 2014 to under 3% now. This as the GDP growth remains the highest in the world as the biggest trade wars between US and China play out.
It is at this time that Western media – specifically the American and British – is at pains to tell the Indians that they do not know a thing about democracy or freedom.
Just pause and let this spectacular hypocrisy sink in.
America is a country which has not just undermined and influenced but blatantly subverted democracies in other countries the world over, while within itself experts now believe that the country is no longer even a democracy at all! Researchers at Princeton, Martin Gilens and Benjamin I. Page argue based on data taken from 1,800 different policy initiatives from 1981 to 2002; that US has transformed from a democracy to an oligarchy.
Asking “[w]ho really rules?” researchers Martin Gilens and Benjamin I. Page arguesthat over the past few decades America’s political system has slowly transformed from a democracy into an oligarchy, where wealthy elites wield most power.
Using data drawn from over 1,800 different policy initiatives from 1981 to 2002, the two conclude that rich, well-connected individuals on the political scene now steer the direction of the country, regardless of or even against the will of the majority of voters.
So when the Western press starts to abuse and undermine the voice that surged in the largest democratic election in the history of mankind, one wonders what is really the agenda here? Specifically when it is taken up by those who pass themselves off as journalists of some of the largest media organizations on planet.
For, if those who have no experience or understanding of the culture or land and what matters in the lives of over a 1.3 billion people start telling them effectively that they are fools and idiots for voting whom they wish for, one wonders if the Western powers and those intellectuals and media people who represent these powers are really looking for Colonialism by backdoor?
India is a free country. And Indians booted the British Colonial rulers out of the country in 1947 to rule by their own volition.
In the 21st century, it is time that the Western Colonial hangover wore off. Time for Colonialism is long over!
How American and British Media Abused the Indian Electorate
Aatish Taseer wrote in Time Magazine’s diabolically tone-deaf essay titled Can the World’s Largest Democracy Endure Another Five Years of a Modi Government?, where Indian PM Narendra Modi was shown on the cover as “Divider-in-Chief”.
Populists come in two stripes: those who are of the people they represent (Erdogan in Turkey, Bolsonaro in Brazil), and those who are merely exploiting the passions of those they are not actually part of (the champagne neo-fascists: the Brexiteers, Donald Trump, Imran Khan in Pakistan). Narendra Modi belongs very firmly to the first camp.
The vote share for the alliance headed by Modi in an election fought as a referendum and vote for Modi, is now being tallied at close to 45%. That means – almost every second Indian voter has voted for Narendra Modi.
If one was to take the narrative of Taseer then Modi is a populist because he is of the people he represents, which incidentally happens to be every second Indian voter!
Isn’t that exactly what democracy should be?
And, since Taseer was painfully trying to portray Modi as someone who was either anti-Muslims or hated by them or someone who has created religious divide, here are some eye-opening statistics for him:
- BJP won at 57 out of 103 (55.34%) constituencies where Muslim voters were a victory determining factor
- BJP won at 51 out of 68 (75%) constituencies where tribal or adivasi voters were a victory determining factor
- BJP won at 102 out of 159 (64.15%) constituencies where Dalit voters were a victory determining factor
- BJP won at 97/139 (69.78%) constituencies where Farmers issues dominated
When journalists become a caricature and certify themselves as “Fake news and narrative” propagandists, not because someone says so, but because the over 600 million voters raise the chorus that spectacularly falsifies each word, each assumption and each conclusion based on writing that is more juvenile in its construction than “Mary had a little lamb”; then one needs to question the intent of the writer.
One could err on some assumptions, could misquote some facts, could make some outlying conclusions; but to construct an entire article on the basis of made-up facts, logical fallacies (backing constituency of majority voters as “populism” but that of minority voters as “Secularism”), and ideological bankruptcy, is clearly mind-boggling.
This was the basis of Aatish Taseer’s rather laughable and sad commentary on his own lack of understanding of the topic he chose to write on. His assertions include.
- The cherished achievements of independent India–secularism, liberalism, a free press–came to be seen in the eyes of many as part of a grand conspiracy in which a deracinated Hindu elite, in cahoots with minorities from the monotheistic faiths, such as Christianity and Islam, maintained its dominion over India’s Hindu majority.
- he demonstrated no desire to foster brotherly feeling between Hindus and Muslims
- Most of all, his ascension showed that beneath the surface of what the elite had believed was a liberal syncretic culture, India was indeed a cauldron of religious nationalism, anti-Muslim sentiment and deep-seated caste bigotry.
Let us investigate some of Taseer’s most outrageous assertions.
Free-press and so-called “Hindu bigots”: Contrary to his rant about the victimhood of the “free press” at the hands of some “bigots” backing Modi, the fact is that the integrity of the Indian press has indeed been questionable! For example, in 2011, FBI arrested a Pakistani national in US – Ghulam Nabi Fai. He was guilty of using Pakistani intelligence funding to lobby in US using Congressmen who were influenced by Indian journalists crafting a dubious narrative.
Syed Ghulam Nabi Fai, 62, a U.S. citizen and resident of Fairfax, Va., pleaded guilty today to conspiracy and tax violations in connection with a decades-long scheme to conceal the transfer of at least $3.5 million from the government of Pakistan to fund his lobbying efforts in America related to Kashmir. (source)
Many of the Indian senior journalists were being pampered and invited to expensive junkets in US by Fai in return for peddling a certain narrative in India.
According to another press release issued by the Kashmiri American Council for its annual 2010 conference the participants included Justice (Retd) Rajinder Sachar, journalist Harinder Baweja, Ved Bhasin, Editor-in-Chief of Kashmir Times, Gautam Navlakha, Editor, Economic and Political Weekly.
But his conferences were always Pakistan-centric and were heavy with anti-India agenda. (source)
Gautam Navlakha incidentally was recently arrested in a plot to assassinate Prime Minister Modi.
Not exactly “free press” with clean credentials, as Taseer would like everyone to believe, is it?
Anti-Muslim with no desire to foster good relations: As stated earlier, over 50% of the constituencies dominated by Muslims voted for Modi.
To better understand about the “fear of Muslims” for Modi lie, the facts show something else altogether. Five Lok Sabha constituencies in areas where Muslim population is 40%, 19 with Muslim population in the range of 30-40 per cent, and 48 others where they account for 20-30 per cent of the population were won by BJP this time. So out of 303, BJP won 72 seats (24%) where Muslim vote is substantial. Almost a fourth of all seats won by BJP were in constituencies where Muslims have a major voting share. In fact, out of all the minority concentration districts, BJP won 50% of all seats there. The rest of the opposition combined won as much as BJP won alone.
Therefore, if Taseer is to be believed, Indian Muslims must be the most masochistic lot on the planet. They are overwhelmingly in favor of a man who, we are told, hates them.
How’s that for tone deaf?
Guardian pontificates on Indian soul
In another attack on Indian democracy, The Guardian, which apparently still lives in an era and mindset that British – and not Indians – know what is best for India, announces that “Modi’s landslide is bad for India’s Soul“. India’s soul?! Really? So now British editorial writers will decide what is India’s soul and what is good for it, and not the 900 million Indian voters? And, like Taseer, Guardian editorial also uses dubious strawman arguments like these.
First, this was spoken in the LAST elections in 2014. And second, it was said about illegal Bangladeshis who infiltrated into India in large numbers and were known to be creating unrest within the local population. To equate illegal Bangladeshi infiltrators with ALL Muslims is not just a stretch but downright dishonest!
NYT calls Indian voter seduced
In the New York Times editorial, Indians were told that Modi had so masterfully seduced them with “Envy and Hate” that they voted for him. And, again, as is the wont of the Western editorial rooms pontificating on Indian soul and ways, NYT yet again uses fake arguments and narratives.
Mr. Modi did indeed benefit electorally this time from his garishly advertised schemes to provide toilets, bank accounts, cheap loans, housing, electricity and cooking-gas cylinders to some of the poorest Indians. (source)
“Garishly advertised schemes”? Let us understand the patent absurdity of this writer and NYT in blind hate for Modi by going into facts.
- Modi launched world’s largest Health Insurance program that targeted half a billion Indian citizens (almost twice of US population) with health cover of Rs 500,000 per year for free treatment of serious ailments. By the time of this election 2.5 million free treatments had been administered to the poor for many serious ailments.
- Since October 2017, 26 million households in India have been provided electricity
- Over 357 million people (that’s more than the entire US population!) – mostly poor – have opened bank accounts for the first time. And in a country where corruption was rampant and leakage of public money for the poor at 85% as admitted by an ex-PM Rajiv Gandhi, Rs 7.2 trillion (yes, Trillion with a T!) have been transferred directly to the accounts of the poor under various programs.
- In a country where open defecation was common, over 98 million toilets have been constructed in households under Modi’s flagship cleanliness movement
These are facts. Hard facts. Scale and work is herculean – if not impossible – by Western standards!
And THIS is what New York Times calls “Garish schemes”? If you need to find an editorial team totally tone deaf, then New York Times would beat anyone to that position.
In the landmark book “History of Modern India”, Bipan Chandra shares an interesting statistic – that in the combined strength of the Indian Army consisting of 311,400 men, 265,900 were Indians. In his book “India under Colonial Rule: 1700-1885”, Douglas Peers estimates that close to a million Indians died in the first Indian Independence war of 1857. Yes, that is correct – an army with 85% Indians killed close to a million Indians in 1857.
So you see, the tactics of New York Times, the Time Magazine and the Guardian – are really not that innovative. Specifically when you use fiction writers with Indian names like Pankaj Mishra to do your hit job of undermining the largest exercise of electoral power by the poorest in the world, where those poor who live on less than $1.25 a day rejected a promised dole of over $1000 a year (by Modi’s opposition leader) to vote for the leader of their choice!
From where the writer looks at this – this Western subversion of the Indian voter by proxy, is nothing more than Colonialism redux. Stop sanctifying this perversion by high sounding words. You will make even the bigoted and evil Churchill seem reasonable!
Featured Image courtesy Flickr\Incredibly Numing