A western publication recently compared the RSS to the ISIS. Is this overreaction? How is the western media perceiving Narendra Modi’s upcoming US visit?

narendra modi madison square garden Overreaction from the Western Media or Justified Apprehensions?

  1. The evangelical Christian newspaper, The Christian Post recently carried an alarmist article about the Hindu nationalist group RSS likening it to the ISIS in Iraq and Syria. The article expressed concern about the Sangh Parivar “inflicting suffering and looking to cleanse the minority Christian population in India”.
  2. The article also made general references to “mobs attacking Christian houses” and “churches being turned into Hindu temples” without citing actual instances. It expressed apprehension that the situation will get worse since “radical Hindu nationalist groups popping up across India have been given almost complete impunity under the new Hindu nationalist government”
  3. The article cited sources such as Open Doors, a persecution watchdog ministry and International Christian Concern, another watchdog group. (Source – The Christian Post). Is this apprehension justified? Does this base itself on paranoia and rank ignorance? What do mainstream western media have to say about the new BJP government under PM Narendra Modi’s stewardship?
  4. Mainstream western media has certainly been a lot less censorious of India’s new movement and shortly before Mr. Modi assumed the country’s top spot, British publication, The Guardian spoke about what the west can learn from Mr. Modi’s popularity. The article also admitted that the policy makers and officials in the west tend to have an “extraordinarily narrow vision” that excludes huge numbers of people; that western politicians and diplomats typically favour “Anglophone moderates”. (Source – The Guardian)
  5. The western apprehension about extremist Hindu organisations running amok with their own agendas is largely unfounded. All extremist organisations in the nations do from time to time create incidents but there appears to be no rise in the activities of some organistions more than others; certainly there appears to be no political sanction – overt or covert.
  6. The Western media currently has its eyes trained on Modi’s upcoming visit to the United States; one that will hopefully ‘reboot U.S.-India relations”. One of the topics of interest is the PM’s fasting during the Navratri and how this will present a challenge to the White House chefs. (source – Washington Post)
  7. The address by the PM to American Diaspora of Indian origin in Madison Square, slated for the 28th of September is also creating a flutter. The event is being described as“an important moment to strengthen the friendship between India and the United States.”
  8. Ahead of the visit, US senators have expressed hope that the visit will be an opportunity to continue making the kind of progress that will benefit both nations. Senator John Cornyn was reported as having said, “We warmly welcome Prime Minister Modi to the United States and are hopeful we can work together to grow our relationship and identify areas we can strengthen in the years to come.” (Source – Economic Times)
  9. In fact Narendra Modi is to be the first Indian PM who will be staying at the official President’s guest house in 9 years. The PM has been invited to stay at the 190-year-old Blair House, which is described as a “significant foreign policy tool” by officials.

 Image source – Rediff


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