There have been numerous articles written about Narendra Modi, who will be sworn in as the Prime Minister of India on May 26, 2014, after a huge victory in 16th Lok Sabha elections. He has been praised as well as criticised on his secular credentials, governance, politics and what not.
In the last decade, Narendra Modi has been criticised more than praised by the so-called secular/liberal intelligentsia of the country, apart from the politicians in the opposition.
I came across a column ‘The Shining’ in mid-day written by Pakistani journalist Mehmal Sarfraz, which prompted me to write back.
The writer started her column with a note of disappointment as the Narendra Modi-led National Democratic Alliance (NDA) had come to power in India. She had stated that the Prime Minister-designate is accused of being complicit in a communal pogrom.
Let me tell her that although sections of the media and the secular/liberal intelligentsia may not have given a clean chit to Narendra Modi in the 2002 Gujarat riots, the Supreme Court of India constituted a special investigation team (SIT), which has done so. Media trials don’t hold true, while judicial trials and verdicts do.
The smear campaign against Modi may continue even after his major victory in the Lok Sabha elections and despite him being set to sworn in as the Prime Minister of India because it gives fodder to certain sections of the people in India. For some people, he will be a figure to be derided and ridiculed, whatever be the verdict of the Supreme Court of India.
This liberal/secular intelligentsia may not have faith in judiciary but the common people of India, like me, have faith in the judicial process. So, as per the verdict of judiciary, Modi can’t be indicted for the 2002 riots in Gujarat. Had he been indicted by the courts of India, no sane progressive Indian would have supported him.
Regarding the comments on the number of Muslim MPs in the newly elected Lok Sabha by Sherry Rehman and other Pakistanis, the fact is a member of parliament (MP) represents people of a particular constituency irrespective of religion, language, caste or faith. It works that way in India, at least.
By the way, anyone can comment on India’s politics and government; not only Pakistanis.
Narendra Modi gave hope to the people of India who have been anguished by, and frustrated with, ten years of UPA rule. The people of India voted Modi to power. and the people’s mandate should be respected. The fact of the matter is that Modi was voted to power by Indians, irrespective of religion, caste or background.
If Modi’s politics had been of communal exclusion and discrimination, the minorities in his state and elsewhere would not have supported him and voted for him in these Lok Sabha elections.
For a progressive Indian like me, it was a relief when Modi was elected because this verdict was a rejection of the Congress party’s politics of dynasty, arrogance, appeasement and communalism by the people of India.
This rejoinder is a call to all the progressive people of Pakistan, including my friend from sarhad paar, Mehmal Sarfraz, to wait and observe Modi’s politics and governance as India’s Prime Minister and then comment.
Varad Sharma is a writer. You can follow him on twitter @VaradSharma