Modi’s War on Tolerance Destroying India’s Reputation, Says Shashi Tharoor in Guardian Blog

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Former Indian minister and Congress leader Shashi Tharoor
Former Indian minister and Congress leader Shashi Tharoor

M Ghazali Khan | Caravan Daily

LONDON — Former Indian Minister and Congress MP Shashi Tharoor has made a scathing attack on Prime Minister Narendra Modi for his “war on Muslims” in his video blog on the UK’s Guardian newspaper.

“Pick up for Google search any major international newspaper for stories on India in the last month or two  … and what do you see? Articles about the lynching of Mohammad Akhlaq,  the murder of rationalist professor Kalburgi, BJP leaders making irresponsible statements about everything from Hindu reassertion to the cleansing of the western cultural influences from India’s  ethos. The impression has gained ground that India is now governed by obtrusive and intolerant forces determined to put minorities; rationalism in their place: somewhere not far from the dustbin,” said the 59 years old diplomat turned politician in a video blog posted on the Guardian‘s website.

Along with Tharoor’s comments the video blog also contains video clips of Hindutva brigade and scanned images of newspaper clippings.

The video was originally headed “Narendra Modi’s war on Muslims is destroying India’s reputation” but “war on Muslims” has been replaced with “war on pluralism”. The change may be the result of a  pressure from a very strong Hindutva lobby in the UK.

Asserts Mr Tharoor:  “Beef banning hysteria is being spread around the country by Hindutva forces”. Citing  the Delhi Police raid on Kerala House in October, at a time when African heads of states had gathered in Delhi for the 3rd Indian-African summit, as an example he says , “A dramatic police raid conducted by no fewer than 20 policemen on the Kerala House canteen innocently advertising beef fry was all over the news.  This came as 50 African heads of states and governments, every one of them a beefeater, gathered in Delhi to celebrate relations with India. It was  hard not to wonder what they were thinking about the prevailing national culture of their host country?”

Tharoor quotes “a Bangladeshi friend visiting me at the same time described how people in his home country saw this. He said Islamist fundamentalists there are emboldened by this development in India. They are having a field days stirring up hostility towards a country they say ill-treats Muslims and acts against their interests and practices.”

Citing President Pranab Mukharjee’s two speeches stressing the importance tolerance and pluralism in India Tharoor says: “The Modi regime seems indifferent to what anti-national behaviour of its zealots is being perceived abroad. Everyone else though is increasingly alarmed. President Pranab Mukharjee has spoken out twice on the waning of tolerance. Editorials and opinion makers throughout the nation are increasingly concerned. And India diplomats are tearing their hair about how much more difficult their jobs have become.”

However, says Tharoor, “For a Government that is unduly proud of its international standing the capital’s BJP administration seems curiously oblivious to the great damage being done to India by global perceptions of mounting intolerance.”

Tharoor concludes: “We cannot simultaneously sell ourselves to the world as a land of pluralism, tolerance and Gandhianism while promoting intolerance, communal intolerance and minority insecurity within the country.”

“It is time that the Modi Government learned” advises Tharoor, “they can not promote ‘make in India’ abroad while condoning the propagation of ‘hate in India’ at home.”

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