Dire forebodings about the advancement of Narendra Modi – tempered by the analysis of David Pilling

david pillingDavid Pilling, the Asia editor of the Financial Times, who oversees coverage of the Asia region from Afghanistan to Australia, including China, India and Japan, brings genial but penetrating insight to economics, politics, culture and development issues across Asia.

In 2011 and 2012, he was named Best Commentator by the Society of Publishers in Asia for his columns on China, Japan, India and Pakistan and the writer looks forward to reading his latest book on Japan, when it is issued in paperback in September.

Three extracts from his longer and more wide-ranging article:

“Fears about Mr Modi, a celibate who abandoned his wife to pursue religious devotion, are based not only on revenge killings in Gujarat in 2002 (link tweeted by Pilling), when, as the state’s chief minister, he was accused of standing by while more than 1,000 people, mostly Muslims, died. More fundamentally, many liberal Indians worry about his links with the Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh, an organisation with its roots in a paramilitary group dedicated to the cause of Hindu nationalism.

modi victory address vadodaraModi’s victory speech in Vadodara may be read here.

“The hope, shared by most of the pro-Modi business elite, is that Mr Modi will listen to his better angels. A common refrain is that he has matured. Gujarat has been peaceful, and increasingly prosperous, since 2002. Another is that India, with its independent institutions and federalist system, can never fall under the sway of one man . . . “

The article ends:

“Mr Modi has stirred the pent-up yearnings of millions who have glimpsed India’s economic awakening from afar. He has also encouraged those who long for the birth of an identity politics based on a narrow definition of Hinduism. The former is to be welcomed. The latter decidedly not”.

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