An Indian Adoptee Reclaims His Voice in the Desi Diaspora
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Indians just elected Narendra Modi Prime Minister. This news upsets me.

May 17, 2014

India’s populace spoke loudly.

Narendra Modi eviscerated Rahul Gandhi in the nationwide elections.

It was Congress Party’s worst showing at the polls in their history.

The final result, a landslide victory for the Bharatiya Janata Party, led by Narendra Modi has been predicted for months. But the utter annihilation of the Congress party caught many by surprise.

India has chosen a new leader, who in my opinion is not only bad for India, he’s terrible for democracy and secularism.

Modi is not now, nor has ever been, interested in bringing people together. He is a ‘divider.’ His campaign speeches and his political rhetoric focused on separation: Hindus from Muslims, rich from poor, educated from un-educated, Hindu nationalists from everyone else, all the while talking aggressively about both China and Pakistan relations.

Do not misunderstand — I am no Congress sycophant. I think both Modi and Rahul Gandhi were awful choices to lead India.

The second most populous nation in the world just elected a man who allowed Gujarati textbooks, which not only downplayed the Holocaust and its horrors, but also extolled the leadership of Hitler and the Nazis.

His party, the BJP, is closely aligned with a group that explicitly formed itself to look like Nazi brown shirts of the late 1930s, the Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh (RSS). That is Modi’s background, now Prime Minister of India.  The BJP is a hard-line Hindu party, ideologically far-right, and espousing a view that India is for Hindus and Hindus only.

Some individuals, respected publications, including the Economist and others sounded the alarm bell on Modi during the last few months. Some used his cult of personality as a reason to vote against him, others his alliances with radical right-wing groups or his role in the 2002 Gujarat Riots.

For me, his role as Gujarat’s Chief Minister during the 2002 Gujarat Riots, an abhorrently violent pogrom by right-wing Hindus against Muslims, forever taints him.

Even if though the Indian Supreme Court exonerated him of all responsibility, some of those under his direct command were found guilty of riot involvement. If Modi was fully in charge of Gujarat, as he says, then he HAD to know what was going on. He was involved, somehow.

It cannot work both ways. He cannot claim to have omnipotent knowledge about Gujarat, while then declaring that the Gujarat Riots took place without police and political involvement. He also refused to call outside forces to intervene while Gujarat burned for three days. Is that leadership?

The Supreme Court has returned ‘not guilty’ verdicts for his involvement, but most of the evidence that would prove guilt was either destroyed (intentionally or accidentally) or is missing. While I understand evidence is paramount in a trial, the fact is that most of the primary documents establishing guilt or exonerating Modi were not evaluated and it’s suspicious that the most important ones are missing.

Modi never apologized to anyone about the riots that occurred during his leadership. He never said he was sorry anyone lost lives and livelihoods. He could make a simple statement like that, without taking any blame. However, he patently refuses to make even that small concession to the aggrieved. What kind of leadership does that show? Even if he had nothing to do with it, which I highly doubt, it still occurred ‘on his watch.’

Perhaps I will be wrong. Modi will turn into one of the best things that ever happened to my homeland. I won’t hold my breath.

Modi enters national leadership of the world’s largest democracy facing myriad problem, which he’s claimed solutions to during his campaigning. Some of the biggest include tackling youth unemployment, government corruption and the abysmal infrastructure holding her development in tangles.

Can he deliver? That’s the biggest unknown for India’s future, and I, along with 1.2 billion plus others await the result.

I'd love to hear your thoughts!