If anything, the electric atmosphere that thrilled crowds of NRIs at Madison Square Garden on the occasion of the Indian PM’s visit was tantamount to an exceptional rockstar welcome. Such exciting and exalting moments in a public audience are associated with only great artists.
Okay, one would say that desis or NRIs, Indians and PIOs are deeply imbibed with the bhakti attitude. Pandit Nehru was perhaps the last Indian PM who drew crowds of admirers around him. This was despite the socialist-inspired 5-Year Plans that kept India lagging behind in technology and innovation, while the outside world set down the rules of economic ideology, heading towards scientific and technological progress at a fast pace that left behind developing countries in the role of imitators rather than inventors.
What is striking in the Modi wave that swept across expats is that it highlights the high expectations that a great number of Indians and lovers of India put on the newly-elected PM to boost the economy, lift millions out of poverty, fight against corruption and enhance the image of the country. The other reason for his successful interaction with the public is the very personality of the PM, his patriotic stance and deep commitment to progress and welfare, and powerful speeches which win the hearts of millions. Indeed, he emerges as the long-awaited leader India needs at this crucial stage of its history, and besides, he is perceived as a leader who is set to play a key role in global politics.
A seat at the UN Security Council is still not on the agenda as for decades India has not been a country that is taken seriously by big western powers. As things stand, influential countries do not need the green light of the Security Council to go to war against enemies. The big ‘Make in India’ invitation sent to corporates around the world raises the question of ultra-liberalism though only the food retail industry is spared in the FDI bid for the coming years. The prospect of having US big pharma corporates in India raises eyebrows while local medicine is a hundred times cheaper. The relevance of ‘Make in India’ without real transfer of technology is another issue. Notwithstanding the successful mission to planet Mars, there is still a long way to go to upgrade technology in all areas.
Seemingly, the PM questioned the relevance of not only the idea of a single country being a global leader but also of having different bodies such as G8 or G20 amid the big family of nations which the UN stands for. Wise enough. Just see how global cop USA has landed the world in such a mess in Afghanistan, the Middle East, putting US-made weapons in the hands of dangerous armies, and funding rogue regimes with American taxpayers’ money. Better let the US send its own ground troops to fight against the progenies it fathered with its favourite ally in the 80s.
A well-organized anti-Modi demonstration was said to have been orchestrated by Pakistan’s ISI to run down the PM and tarnish the image of India at an international level. Part of the Obama administration is not known for being pro-Modi or pro-India, so is the media, some of them being overtly racist in presenting the Indian PM as a ‘small man’ trying to impress ‘bigger men’.
Only anti-Modi detractors in the subcontinent and their ilk in the US relish in airing such views. The truth is that most of the American media reflect the views of their government, which means that they do not like to see any strong leader emerging anywhere except in their own country. It would be foolish to believe that the USA and its European allies can be ‘friends’ of anyone, and it would be wiser to bear in mind that they are hell-bent on keeping their supremacy in the world.
Human rights concerns of US politicians in the Obama administration as regards 2002 Gujarat riots smack of glaring hypocrisy. Whether their stance is meant to please specific lobbies is not the point here. Never mind the fact that the victims who perished in the Godhra train are never mentioned, and the Supreme Court did not find the ertswhile Chief Minister Narendra Modi guilty of ‘letting’ riots take place. The point is that the Americans, just like their European allies, have helped crush down democratic movements across the world in favour of dictatorial régimes whenever it suited their self-centred interests.
Remember the US backed military coup which stormed over the presidential palace of democratically elected Salvador Allende on September 11, 1973 in Chile, and the killings and assassinations that ensued? According to National Security Archive, March 2006, two days after the military coup, supported covertly by Washington in Argentina 1976, William Rogers, H. Kissinger’s top deputy on Latin America, stated that « we’ve got to expect a fair amount of repression, probably a good deal of blood in Argentina before too long. »
US-backed Latin American dictatorships in the 1970s and 1980s to hunt down, torture and murder tens of thousands of opponents are blatant examples of not only ‘letting’ things happen but actively arming aggressors with sophisticated weapons. The 1979-1992 El Salvador Civil War and the involvement of the CIA in the violation of human rights, the abduction and murder of left-leaning Jesuit priests and the rape and killing of Jesuit nuns is another reminder of the ‘American’ value of freedom and human rights.
A large-scale butchery took place over decades in Latin, Central and South America, a region which was unilaterally defined as a US zone of influence. It speaks volumes of the commitment to democracy and sovereignty. The same pursuit of self-interest motivated the Bush administration to attack Afghanistan and invade Iraq, bringing misery and death everywhere. Currently, the same scenario is being replicated in a divided Middle East. And it keeps the armament industry prosperous, which is also part of wildcat capitalism.
The concept of the United Nations as a world family is far too much a remote concept, out of reach for the most influential powers that have been mostly been raised on the idea of supremacy and submission. That is why the suggestion of the Indian PM at the UN regarding an International Yoga Day is meaningful and most relevant in connecting the world to its core reality and fostering serenity and harmony.
* Published in print edition on 3 October 2014