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Books written by B G Verghese

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Books written by B G Verghese

Other things aside, the signing of some MOUs in Ahmedabad between President Xi and Mr Modi, was accompanied by the distribution of two Gujarat-produced maps gifting Arunachal and all of Aksai Chin and more to China. The gaffe was most embarrassing and was followed by ridiculous excuses that the maps were not official

A Circus in New York

In a week when India put a satellite into Mars orbit, the over-hyped visit of the Indian Prime Minister to New York assumed theatrical proportions.

By B G Verghese

Deccan Herald, 19 September, 2014

In a week when India triumphantly put a satellite into Mars orbit in a first try, the over-hyped visit of the Prime Minister to New York has assumed the proportions of a circus. All stops have been pulled out by wildly competing channels as though everybody is panting for24x7 coverage. The RSS diaspora was rallied to fill every venue where Modi was to appear to augment the spectacle. This is what we have now come to expect: shock and awe more than substance.

Two spoilers intervened early on. The Telegraph, Calcutta, (September 22) and the News-X channel discovered through their RSS contacts in the U.S that it was really Modi who won the Kargil War for India. In a proclaimed world scoop it was broadcast that Modi was in the U.S as an ordinary RSS pracharak when Nawaz Sharif came begging President Clinton for a reprieve from disaster. Modi’s message, presumably channelled by RSS lobbyists in the U.S through diplomatic sources, tilted the balance and set the terms of a formula for financial sanctions that Clinton ultimately announced.

The media did not take this nonsense seriously, but it was the damndest lie peddled to show up Modi as the man of the hour. Stand down all you Kargil land and air heroes who showed incredible daring and perseverance against tremendous odds to vanquish a deceitful enemy and bring him to his knees. That is all gossip. There were no martyrs – only Modi. How dare these third rate Hindutva whippersnappers demean a historic and unique victory by seeking to attribute it to someone who was nowhere on the scene and probably did not even comprehend what was going on, Great Teacher though he may be called.

The President’s Special Assistant for Near Eastern and South Asian Affairs, Bruce Reidel sat through the entire negotiations and set it down for the record in a memo titled “American Diplomacy and the 1999 Kargil Summit at Blair House”. Modi and his so-called formulations simply do not figure. How could they? It was pure fiction.

As a member of the Kargil Review Committee, I was privy to all the military and diplomatic records. The truth is otherwise than the crude fabrications put out by a bunch of RSS clowns and liars glorifying a rank upstart in a most dishonest manner. As usual, Modi and, surprisingly, the Foreign Office have been silent.

A few days earlier, the India-China summit concluded with less achieved than touted. Part of the reason was the Chinese intrusion into the Demchok area in Ladakh and a prolonged confrontation that only just been resolved. Other things aside, the signing of some MOUs in Ahmedabad between President Xi and Mr Modi, was accompanied by the distribution of two Gujarat-produced maps gifting Arunachal and all of Aksai Chin and more to China. The gaffe was most embarrassing and was followed by ridiculous excuses that the maps were not official and were not appended to the formal agreements. None has been taken to task. The Foreign Office was kept at a distance and PMO and the Gujarat Government handled the show to India’s discomfiture. Modi has remained silent.

And through the confrontation on the border, we did not even have a part-time Defence Minister as Arun Jaitley was hospitalised. We are moving from less government to no government! These are serious issues but it suits Modi to keep everything in his hands even to watching how the I&B Minister, Prakash Javdekar dresses while travelling! And even as he prepared to depart for the US, Mr Modi transferred 48 Joint Secretary level officers as many were perceived to be close to the UPA. With continuing efforts by the Education Ministry to control institutions of higher learning through the UGC, the Supreme Court had to tell it to lay off. The Modi mantra is to centralise everything in his hands.

Mr Modi’s address to the United Nations was a routine speech with nothing remarkable said. Yet Indian commentators dissected it for hours and some found deep civilizational meaning in a reference to the need to propagate yoga!

Earlier, Modi “spoke to the world” through CNN. He told his interviewer, Fareed Zakaria, that Muslims will live and die for India. This, even as they are being hounded day and night as quislings and love-jihadi hate mongers and told by Mohan Bhagwat, the RSS chief, that “Hindutva is the identity of India”. Never has the beautiful Navratri garba festival been so abused and turned into an occasion to divide friends and neighbours as this year. The shame of it.

It was heart-rending to read of a Muslim’s lament in the Indian Express (September 27): “Like never before, I the Muslim am seen as the root cause of the nation’s problems” It is not enough to weep for India. The time has come to stand up and fight for the idea of India to which the Hindutvadis are strangers. Christians too and all minorities and liberal Hindus, who constitute the vast majority of the Indian people, are under attack as never before by home grown Hindutva-Pakistanis.

Even as he arrived in New York, Modi was greeted by a charge filed by some Indians before a New York court of complicity in the 2002 Gujarat pogrom. This case will no doubt be dismissed as inadmissible on account of the immunity enjoyed by a Head of Government, but what a slap in the face! His Man Friday, Amit Shah, is so busy doing “political work” that he has been unable (more likely, unwilling) to attend court on murder charges while on bail. Despite being busy, he was photographed playing cricket with a young lad! Justice can wait 12 years and more in Modi’s Gujarat when the Prime Minister demands an accounting of all things within 24 hours, or else!! Jayalalitha’s arrest on corruption charges after many years of artful dodging should send out a message.

Addressing the General Assembly, Modi referred to India’s commitment to the beautiful idea of “vasudaiva kutumbakam”, the world is my family. He is yet to learn the meaning of that noble phrase.

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