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May 16, 2014

India Elects Modi: Is the world's largest democracy entering its most sinister period since independence?

By Rob Kall

India's newly elected prime minister is bad news. He evokes nationalism as though inspired by Hitler. He was banned from the US because of the murders of many Muslims allowed under his watch as leader of the Gujurat State. His ascendence to power has been bought by giving away or selling/privatizing national resources. HIs allies have silenced dissenting journalists. Wikileaks revealed a negative US State Dept assessment:


From flickr.com/photos/92359345@N07/12984007673/: Shri Narendra Modi addressed Addressed Barak Vikas Samavesh. in Silchar, Assam
Shri Narendra Modi addressed Addressed Barak Vikas Samavesh. in Silchar, Assam
(Image by narendramodiofficial)
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India's newly elected prime minister Narendra Modi is bad news. A Neoliberal, he evokes nationalism as though inspired by Hitler. He was banned from the US because of the murders of many Muslims allowed under his watch as leader of the Gujurat State. His ascendence to power has been bought by giving away or selling/privatizing national resources. HIs allies have silenced dissenting journalists. Wikileaks revealed a negative US State Department assessment.

The MSM, including MSNBC is referring to India's newly elected prime minister Narendra Modi as Pro-business and nationalist. But there is much, much more.

"Is the world's largest democracy entering its most sinister period since independence?" That's the question Pankaj Mishra asks in his Guardian article about India's newly elected Prime Minister, Narendra Modi.

Mishra's article is a must read. My take on Modi, between my previous readings and Mishra's article, is that Modi is bad news for India, bad news for democracy and the world. I get the feel that the energy that elected him was similar to the Tea Party energy that handed the US congress to Republicans in 2010.

Why is Modi such a bad guy? Let's start with mass murder.

That was my take-away of Modi weeks before the election actually occurred-- that Modi had been the leader of the Gujurat state when many Muslims had been killed by Hindus. Mishra refers to the violence and murders there as anti-Muslim pogroms.

People on Twitter are referring to that history, plus Modi's membership in an organization that has celebrated the monstrosities of the German Nazi death camps as the Indian people having elected a murderous racist.

Modi is the ONLY person ever banned from entering the US based on a 1998 law, the International Religious Freedom Act. The Wall Street Journal reported about the 2005 decision not to allow Modi to enter the US:
"...That 2005 decision was based on Mr. Modi's failure to stop a series of deadly riots three years earlier by Hindus against minority Muslims in the Indian state of Gujarat, where he was (and remains) chief minister. The State Department invoked a little-known U.S. law passed in 1998 that makes foreign officials responsible for "severe violations of religious freedom" ineligible for visas."
One Wikileaks release of US diplomatic cables showed repeated efforts by US State Department people to determine whether Modi had done anything to resolve the murders in 2002 were rebuffed by Modi with criticism of the USA's policies in Abu Ghraib and elsewhere.

Another Wikileaks release of US diplomatic cables revealed negative high level US diplomatic assessments of Modi:
"...He has successfully cultivated the image of a clean politician who has reduced corruption in public life in Gujarat. Views differ on how clean and non-corrupt Modi actually is, however. All our interlocutors acknowledge that Modi is a modest man who, unlike many elected officials in India, has not used his position to enrich himself or his family. Most contacts also say that he has purged the state administration of petty corruption at the mid- and lower levels of the bureaucracy. However, several people tell us that big ticket corruption is still common.
and, more from Wikileaks (god bless you Julian Assange):
"...in public appearances, Modi can be charming and likeable. By all accounts, however, he is an insular, distrustful person who rules with a small group of advisors. This inner circle acts as a buffer between the Chief Minister and his cabinet and party. He reigns more by fear and intimidation than by inclusiveness and consensus, and is rude, condescending and often derogatory to even high level party officials. He hoards power and often leaves his ministers in the cold when making decisions that affect their portfolios. His abrasive leadership style alienated much of the state BJP leadership in 2005. He was able to quell their subsequent rebellion by branding them as corrupt opportunists who were angry because he denied them the tools of political patronage and corruption..."

Here are a few excerpts from Mishra's article, excerpts which make it clear to me that this election by the biggest democracy does not bode well for India or the world, and is very bad news for progressives and those on the left.
"Boasting of his 56-inch chest, Modi has replaced Mahatma Gandhi, the icon of non-violence, with Vivekananda, the 19th-century Hindu revivalist who was obsessed with making Indians a "manly" nation. Vivekananda's garlanded statue or portrait is as ubiquitous in Modi's public appearances as his dandyish pastel waistcoats."
Mishra's article adds,
"His record as chief minister is predominantly distinguished by the transfer -- through privatisation or outright gifts -- of national resources to the country's biggest corporations. His closest allies -- India's biggest businessmen -- have accordingly enlisted their mainstream media outlets into the cult of Modi as decisive administrator; dissenting journalists have been removed or silenced.
"...Growing demands across India for autonomy and bottom-up governance confirm that Modi is merely offering old -- and soured -- lassi in new bottles with his version of top-down modernisation."
"Though many exasperated Indians see Modi as bearing the long-awaited fruits of the globalised economy, he actually embodies its inevitable dysfunction. He resembles the European and Japanese demagogues of the early 20th century who responded to the many crises of liberalism and democracy -- and of thwarted nation-building and modernisation -- by merging corporate and political power, and exhorting communal unity before internal and external threats. But Modi belongs also to the dark days of the early 21st century.
"His ostensibly gratuitous assault on Muslims -- already India's most depressed and demoralised minority -- was another example of what the social anthropologist Arjun Appadurai calls "a vast worldwide Malthusian correction, which works through the idioms of minoritisation and ethnicisation but is functionally geared to preparing the world for the winners of globalisation, minus the inconvenient noise of its losers". Certainly, the new horizons of desire and fear opened up by global capitalism do not favour democracy or human rights. Other strongmen who supervised the bloody purges of economically enervated and unproductive people were also ruthless majoritarians, consecrated by big election victories. The crony-capitalist regimes of Thaksin Shinawatra in Thailand and Vladimir Putin in Russia were inaugurated by ferocious offensives against ethnic minorities. The electorally bountiful pogrom in Gujarat in 2002, too, now seems an early initiation ritual for Modi's India."

There's also the question of whether Modi was elected at all. This article by , Nostradamus Not Needed! - Predicting the Outcome of May 2014 General Elections in India-- Counted by Electronic Machines, suggests that "whosoever "out-hacks" the other, will win." If that sounds like the USA, I'm just getting started.

A number of twitter commenters also picked up this quote that Mishra ended his article with: ""Indians have dreamed collectively, & they have dreamed a man accused of mass murder"

Given his history it seems the question will be not "if," but "how many" deaths he will cause.

Submitters Bio:

Rob Kall has spent his adult life as an awakener and empowerer-- first in the field of biofeedback, inventing products, developing software and a music recording label, MuPsych, within the company he founded in 1978-- Futurehealth, and founding, organizing and running 3 conferences: Winter Brain, on Neurofeedback and consciousness, Optimal Functioning and Positive Psychology (a pioneer in the field of Positive Psychology, first presenting workshops on it in 1985) and Storycon Summit Meeting on the Art Science and Application of Story-- each the first of their kind.  Then, when he found the process of raising people's consciousness and empowering them to take more control of their lives  one person at a time was too slow, he founded Opednews.com-- which has been the top search result on Google for the terms liberal news and progressive opinion for several years. Rob began his Bottom-up Radio show, broadcast on WNJC 1360 AM to Metro Philly, also available on iTunes, covering the transition of our culture, business and world from predominantly Top-down (hierarchical, centralized, authoritarian, patriarchal, big)  to bottom-up (egalitarian, local, interdependent, grassroots, archetypal feminine and small.) Recent long-term projects include a book, Bottom-up-- The Connection Revolution, debillionairizing the planet and the Psychopathy Defense and Optimization Project. 

Rob Kall Wikipedia Page

Rob Kall's Bottom Up Radio Show: Over 200 podcasts are archived for downloading here, or can be accessed from iTunes. Rob is also published regularly on the Huffingtonpost.com

Rob is, with Opednews.com the first media winner of the Pillar Award for supporting Whistleblowers and the first amendment.

To learn more about Rob and OpEdNews.com, check out A Voice For Truth - ROB KALL | OM Times Magazine and this article. For Rob's work in non-political realms mostly before 2000, see his C.V..  and here's an article on the Storycon Summit Meeting he founded and organized for eight years. Press coverage in the Wall Street Journal: Party's Left Pushes for a Seat at the Table

Here is a one hour radio interview where Rob was a guest- on Envision This, and here is the transcript. 

To watch Rob having a lively conversation with John Conyers, then Chair of the House Judiciary committee, click hereWatch Rob speaking on Bottom up economics at the Occupy G8 Economic Summit, here.

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