Reacting to the BJP’s nomination of Narendra Modi as Prime Ministerial candidate the famous Veteran Kannada writer and Jnanpith award winner UR Ananthamurthy said that he would not want to live in a country where Narendra Modi is Prime Minister. Immediately, as expected, BJP, according to its tried technique of character assassination, responded through Ayanur Manjunath and he accused Mr Ananthamurthy of seeking “cheap publicity” . He said, “Ms. Poonam Pandey had done the same by offering to strip for the Indian cricket team if it won the World Cup in 2011. He also suggested the author keep his visa ready.”
But the unfazed Mr Ananthamurty told the Press at his Bangalore residence today, “I stand by my sentence with a modification: I don’t want to live in a world where Modi is Prime Minister.” He said he had expected to be attacked: “There’s a whole gang on the Internet everywhere. I knew that that would happen because it’s a fascist mind and I could foresee that. Sangh Parivar is like that.” Mr Modi, he alleged, “lacks an inner life”.
He is unimpressed with Mr Modi’s and his much hyped corruption-free image.”Nobody should be corrupt. It’s become a virtue and he’s getting his mileage from the poor performance of others. It is horrifying for him to see the way Hindu nationalism was being merged with politics. The politics of Hindu nationalism is destroying Hindu religion. For someone with that past to occupy the highest position in this land would be. I think, deeply destabilising.”
Earlier Nobel laureate Amartya Sen also said that he would not like to see the Gujarat CM as India’s Prime Minister. Let me quote Mr Sen, “As an Indian citizen I don’t want Modi as my PM, he has not done enough to make the minorities feel safe. The physical infrastructure in Gujarat may be good but Modi has not done enough for the minorities or for the majority.”
Another acclaimed Indian author Amitav Ghosh has categorically said that having BJP nominee Narendra Modi in the highest seat of the country would be ‘deeply destabilizing’ for India. According to Mr Ghosh the way Hindu nationalism had transformed faith into politics. “I see no piety in it, no genuine love of spiritual attainment. An intense tradition in Hinduism is actually bhakti – love. And there seems to be so little of that, even as something remembered in this kind of political movement,” he said. “What is most worrying about Hindu nationalism is that is taking away what I grew up in. It portrays Hinduism in a different light,” he added. As for Narendra Modi, Ghosh said that while it was for the courts to decide the level of responsibility he bore for the 2002 riots, the fact remained that the ‘appalling’ event took place on his watch and he was therefore culpable. “For someone with that past to occupy the highest seat in the country would be deeply destabilizing.”
On 18 th March 2013, Arundhati Roy, one of the glittering star of Literary Galaxy of India, had said about Narendra Modi in a gathering of Chicago – “I want to tell you who this man is. Under his watch thousands of innocents were killed. People who did the killing were helped by police……….”
Amid all the praise and brouhaha that surround Gujarat Chief Minister Narendra Modi today, there are strong voices sounds of discord from the conscience keepers of the nation. Even as the RSS is going all out to prepare for the 2014 electoral battle, solid voices against Modi must reach. “There is many a slip between the cup and lip.”
By Naim Naqvi