Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi and his vitriolic politics are in the international media spotlight once again, with the cover of Time magazine’s May 20 issue proclaiming him India’s “divider in chief”.
The magazine carried Modi’s picture on all of its international issues – – Europe, Middle East and Africa, Asia and South Pacific – except the edition circulated in the United States.
The US edition ran a cover story on Democrat Elizabeth Warren and her bid for the presidency in 2020.
The Modi cover story was authored by Aatish Taseer, the son of assassinated former Punjab governor Salmaan Taseer and Indian journalist Tavleen Singh.
The article has the headline: “Can the world’s largest democracy endure another five years of a Modi government?”
It states that ” … the advent of Modi is at once an inevitability and a calamity for India” and “the country offers a unique glimpse into both the validity and the fantasy of populism”.
Taseer writes that Modi ” … attacked once unassailable [India’s] founding fathers, such as Nehru, then sacred state ideologies, such as Nehruvian secularism and socialism …” and ” … demonstrated no desire to foster brotherly feeling between Hindus and Muslims.”
The article further says ” … Modi, by his deafening silences after more recent atrocities, such as the killing of more than 1,000 people, mostly Muslims, in his home state of Gujarat in 2002, proved himself a friend of the mob.”
It accuses Modi of helping ” … create an atmosphere of poisonous religious nationalism in India.”
Taseer sums up with the words that “he [Modi] was a messiah [in 2014] … one part Hindu renaissance, one part South Korea’s economic program. Now he is merely a politician who has failed to deliver, seeking re-election.”
The May 20 Time issue also carries another article on Modi.
Penned by political scientist Ian Bremmer, it paints the Indian PM in a slightly better light. It says “he [Modi] can be fairly be accused of fanning flames of hostility toward India’s Muslim population” but “India still needs change, and Modi remains the person most likely to deliver.”