It is too early to compare the BJP's prime ministerial candidate, Narendra Modi, with former U.S. President Ronald Reagan, though the situation in India has parallels with the U.S. of the 1980s, in terms of low economic growth, high unemployment and high fiscal deficit. If the BJP forms a government under Mr. Modi’s leadership, it should propose a sound policy concentrating more on improving our economic status globally, increasing employment opportunities, improving levels of productivity, allowing FDI and investing more in developing technology. Ronald Reagan followed a free market policy and supply side economics, which made the U.S. a strong power in the global economy.
David B. Cohen’s unbiased picture of Mr. Modi (“Is India about to elect its Reagan?” April 21) is the first time I have read such an article in the mainstream media without the Modi-bashing. Opponents of Mr. Modi should now realise that they cannot continue to spew false propaganda against him. His elevation as Prime Minister, which is sure to happen in May, will take India to new heights.
The article was a surprise, and was a correct assessment of the state of the nation.
The article represented a balanced western view on Indian politics with a particular focus on Mr. Modi. Mr. Cohen’s views on “secularism” and “religious extremism” as portrayed in Indian politics are definitely an eye-opener. In India, secularism, unfortunately, refers to an anti-Hindu stance and communalism to a pro-Hindu stance.
Comparisons of Reagonomics and Modinomics — especially as an outsider’s perspective of the general election — with more positives on Mr. Modi instead of the usual rhetoric using the “communal” angle, are a breath of fresh air. The article shows that the international media need to focus more on the economic agenda and project India in a different light, than resort to the tired and old phraseology of communalism and secularism in circulation in the media.
Harshil Deepak Ayyadurai,
Mr. Cohen’s view of “cultural elitism” being the reason for the opposition to Mr. Modi betrays his superficial understanding of the Indian polity and its nuances. Mr. Modi was at the helm of affairs in Gujarat in 2002.
Mr. Modi, the BJP and its allies including the VHP, the RSS and the Bajrang Dal, stand for a form of religious extremism that is an anathema to Hinduism. His past life in politics is of no consequence; it is what he did after coming to power that matters. Let me quote Abraham Lincoln: “Nearly all men can stand adversity, but if you want to test a man’s character, give him power.” Does this strike a chord in Mr. Cohen?
The writer needs to revisit the dictionary and look for the word “communal.” He is deluded if he thinks that not supporting Mr. Modi is a sign of cultural elitism rather than a simple distaste for extremism and hate politics. Also, since when has Mr. Modi been against cronyism? His becoming the Prime Minister will only bring in a new form of crony capitalism.
Mr. Cohen has branded all criticism of Mr. Modi as coming from political opponents, ignoring the huge cry of injustice from the Muslim community as well as many social and human rights organisations. He ignores Mr. Modi’s actions, statements and the conviction of his Ministers in riot cases, and, more importantly, the BJP’s open RSS ties and the Hindutva agendas. A lack of evidence in court proceedings does not change the truth which the world took note of, keeping in mind the inefficiencies and malpractices of the police and judicial system in India. Also, there was continuous growth in Gujarat even before Mr. Modi took over the reins of power.
Azhar S. Saiyed,
Mr. Modi, a right-wing Hindu nationalist leader, will not able to come to grips with ruling a country like India with a vast majority of its population being multi-religious, multilingual, multi-ethnic and multicultural. This has been proved by his failure as the Chief Minister of Gujarat in protecting the lives of thousands of innocent Muslims even though we have no proof to clearly state that the Gujarat government precipitated the violence against the minorities through its inaction.
The article by David Cohen once again proves that the forces behind globalisation consider Mr. Modi to be their champion whom they can use to mint profits through favourable policies, which they expect to be framed by him once he comes to power in Delhi.