Indian Muslims and the ‘demonic’ Narendra Modi
The results of the Indian elections will be announced by Friday afternoon Gulf time
The results of the Indian elections will be announced by Friday afternoon Gulf time. These results will be of great importance to the future of India. Never has an Indian election been so controversial and seen such venom hurled by candidates against each other.
For Muslims and all secular Indians, this election will be a watershed. On one hand, you have the old guard — Congress and some of their allies — and on the other, you have a new leader, Narendra Modi, whose meteoric rise is alarming to those who do not want the secular fabric of Indian society to be torn apart.
Modi is perceived as demonic. He is accused as chief minister of Gujarat of presiding over a pogrom in which thousands of innocent people were killed. His state police also joined the fray and took part in the massacre.
Charges against Modi
Charges against Modi and his complicity in the tragedy continue to surface in the media.
In 2005, the U.S. government denied Modi an entry visa under the terms of a 1998 U.S. law which bars entry to foreigners who have committed “particularly severe violations of religious freedom.”
Modi in his cunning way has attempted to absolve and distance himself from this heinous act. He abandoned his own cabinet minister and confidante Maya Kodnani who is now serving a life sentence for her role in leading a mob of 1,000 that hacked to death 97 innocent Muslims.
The issue here is that of a man who was chief minister of a state when 3,000 people were murderedKhaled Almaeena
The Indian media and judiciary should be credited for ignoring threats and pressure from the BJP and exposing the real facts behind this genocide in Gujarat.
The issue here is that of a man who was chief minister of a state when 3,000 people were murdered. Modi did not even for public relations purposes express remorse or regret.
Compare this to the recent resignation of the South Korean prime minister who left office because a ferry capsized. Compare Modi to Mahmoud Abbas, the Palestinian leader who is openly adopting Gandhian principles of nonviolence to confront a repressive Israeli regime that has flouted all norms of civilized behavior aided by a helpless U.S. administration made impotent because of a Zionist-controlled Congress.
‘Chai walla’ at the forefront
Many Indians today are asking why this “chai walla” or “tea vendor” has been brought to the forefront after stalwarts like L.K. Advani, Jaswant Singh and A.B. Vajpayee.
India is a great country with many capable people. Its diversity can be a source of strength and progress. It is passing through a critical period and its many challenges include illiteracy, hunger, disease, poverty, corruption and communalism.
India needs a leader who will inspire and not conspire. It needs a leader who will heal not wound. It needs a leader for all communities, faiths, ethnic groups and castes.
To Indian Muslims who are mortified at the thought of Modi as prime minister, I say, be like Moses and his followers - stand up to the modern day Pharaoh.
Unfortunately, Indian Muslims have become insular and rigid. Their self-appointed leaders, the mullahs and others, have not served them well. For them education is the key to societal advancement. They should make use of the Indian system which by and large allows for self-expression, accomplishment and advancement. They should shun extremism and ignorant and obstructionist clerics. Indian Muslims are also important stakeholders in their country. They should not pay heed to accusations by extremist Hindutva nationalists. Indian secularism and liberalism are the ingredients for the nation’s future well-being. Everyone should have the opportunity to use the system.
The majority of Indians are focusing on the larger picture: A progressive India that can play a prominent role in global affairs. It has a lot to offer.
The Muslims of India should get on the India Train. They cannot get on board by wallowing in self-pity and groveling in mortification.
If Modi assumes power, so what? He is clever enough not to allow a large segment of society to resort to violence in order to achieve justice. The stakes are high. He will have to negotiate, compromise and deal with all. India is not Gujarat. Modi will not want to go down in history as the man who tore India apart by his rejection of Gandhian principles. Indians will never forgive him for that.
This article was first published in the Saudi Gazette on May 16, 2014.
Khaled Almaeena is a veteran Saudi journalist, commentator, businessman and the editor-at-large of the Saudi Gazette. Almaeena has held a broad range of positions in Saudi media for over thirty years, including CEO of a PR firm, Saudi Television news anchor, talk show host, radio announcer, lecturer and journalist. As a journalist, Almaeena has represented Saudi media at Arab summits in Baghdad, Morocco and elsewhere. In 1990, he was one of four journalists to cover the historic resumption of diplomatic ties between Saudi Arabia and Russia. He also traveled to China as part of this diplomatic mission. Almaeena's political and social columns appear regularly in Gulf News, Asharq al-Aswat, al-Eqtisadiah, Arab News, Times of Oman, Asian Age and The China Post. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org and followed on Twitter: @KhaledAlmaeena