What if Modi becomes premier?::::::Fr. Cedric Prakash, Sj;

Four myths about India’s leading prime ministerial candidate.

By Fr. Cedric Prakash sj
Ahmedabad: 

As a Christian and particularly a Jesuit priest, I take stands and believe that while being open to dialogue and reason, one has to be unequivocal about what one stands for. So, I take a stand against politicians or political parties that are sectarian, corrupt, casteist and above all those who indulge in the criminalization of society.

I do not espouse any political party. All have their own drawbacks. A reality check would show that each one has failed the people of India in some way or another, especially the poor and the marginalized, either because of their particular ideology or because they have catered to a particular class or caste.

All this brings to mind the powerful words of Pope Francis in his Apostolic Exhortation, Evangelii Gaudium (The Joy of the Gospel) in which he condemns “the economy of exclusion and inequality” and “a financial system which rules rather than serves”.

We have to accept that genuine fears and anxieties exist about Narrndra Modi, the pro-Hindu Bharatiya Janata Party’s (BJP) prime ministerial candidate and three-time chief minister of Gujarat becoming prime minister, after the general election due in May.

However let me clarify some matters about Modi and his rule in Gujarat.

Myth 1: Modi is a development man

This cannot be further from the truth. Gujarat has always been a developed state from the time it was carved out of Bombay state in 1960. Economic indicators clearly show that Gujarat under Modi has been ‘worse off’ than under previous governments (even the BJP one before him).

The fact is that foreign direct investment in Gujarat has taken a severe beating in the last few years and even local investment is far below what is being flaunted. Regarding social indicators, Gujarat fares poorly.

A UNICEF report published in 2013 says social development in the state has not kept pace witheconomic development; almost every second child in Gujarat under five years old is undernourished, while three quarters are anemic.

Myth 2: The Gujarat carnage is a thing of the past and Modi has been given a “clean chit”

Many believe the courts exonerated Modi of involvement in the Gujarat anti-Muslim riots in 2002. The hard facts are, however, very different. First of all, no court has given Modi a clean chit.

True, there is a Special Investigation Team (SIT) report that says there is not enough evidence against Modi.

But this has been challenged, with the petitioner Zakhia Jafri being given leave by Ahmadabad magistrates to question the merits of the SIT report in a higher court.

Raju Ramchandran, appointed by the Supreme Court as amicus curiae for many of the Gujarat riot cases, asserts that there is enough evidence to prosecute Modi on several counts with regard to the violence in 2002, in which more than 1,000 people died.

Modi has neither shown any remorse nor taken responsibility for the killing of innocent people under his watch. The least a chief minister could have been expected to do was to enforce lawand order and protect the life and property of every citizen in his state. That he ignored this responsibility, there is no doubt among many. That he has denigrated minorities has been documented by the print and the electronic media.

Myth 3: Modi has “made up” with the minorities

There are some claiming to be representatives of minority Christian and Muslim communities who sing Modi’s praises.

A careful analysis indicates these people have vested interests, especially in business, and are not really interested in their community or what is happening to minorities in the country.

In 2003 Modi introduced an anti-conversion law and established rules to govern the implementation of this law in 2008.

It is perhaps one of the most draconian laws in the history of democratic India. It forbids a citizen from converting to another faith unless she/he has permission from civil authorities.

Even now, police and intelligence officers constantly visit Christian institutions and Christians in general, making all kinds of inquiries and demanding to check baptism registers and other records.

Myth 4: Modi is not corrupt

In May 2012, anti-corruption campaigners Anna Hazare and Arvind Kejriwal visited Gujarat. They came away declaring it the most corrupt state in the country. Why they have not continued to highlight corruption in Gujarat is anyone’s guess.

Several years ago, the Tata Motor Company was allowed to establish a plant to build the “world’s cheapest car” in Gujarat with surprising ease, flouting every rule in the book and even the state’s industrial policy.

It is alleged that the Adani Company controls the price of compressed natural gas, amassing huge profits. In addition, the role of the Ambanis in mega projects in Gujarat is being questioned. The way environmental laws are flouted and the terrible ecological degradation that is taking place all over the state, all point to the fact that corruption is alive and kicking in Gujarat.

Another indicator is the way land has been handed to big corporations, displacing thousands of small farmers across the state. There have been huge protest rallies, but they were not covered by a media, which by and large seems to have been muzzled in Gujarat.

These four myths provide an insight into the grim reality in Gujarat under the leadership of Modi. No one really knows if he will become prime minister. But India deserves better leaders. Indian politics revolves around regional parties. As of now, the BJP has practically no allies from several states. Most regional parties are obviously waiting to see which party will emerge as the single largest party in the 2014 elections.

Fr Cedric Prakash SJ is the director of PRASHANT, the Ahmedabad-based Jesuit Centre for Human Rights, Justice and Peace.

Source: ucanews.com

What If Modi Becomes Premier?
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5 Comments

  1. Noel Corriea said,

    February 14, 2014 at 7:44 am

    I applaud and appreciate Fr Cedric Prakash efforts to make us aware of the Namo conspiracy wave covering the nation. As explained the various myths of Modi, there are many who go by the decorated analyzed reports of the media which is deliberately fabricated to show the rosy picture.
    Like Fr Cedric Prakash, I wish there were many other of our Priest who can contribute and educate our masses thru this kind of awareness.

    The Dioceses is always silent on such issue and don’t give a clear picture to our community the direction they should follow. They do have political cells in the parishes but are not vocal about whom to support.

    There are other Communities who dictate their terms thru their spiritual leaders and I feel nothings is wrong about it , the Muslims leaders do it, the Jain communities in their gathering encourage their community to vote for BJP,
    If we have to lift our community socially the spiritual leaders should take the lead to guide the flock, because today our community we are either confused or lost in the whole process. We should create and agenda for Catholics and create a space for us. We have many individuals who can become good leaders but are left behind because we are and divided flock.
    So I thank Fr Cedric Prakash once again, and urge the clergy to be more active and vocal about it.

    Regards
    Noel Corriea
    Mumbai

    Like

  2. March 29, 2014 at 3:41 pm

    This man sounds more like a political analyst than a priest. More like a Congress stooge.

    Like


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