Worldbeater ...Narendra Modi

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Worldbeater...Narendra Modi

Job: Prime Minister of India

Reputation: Hindu fundamentalist with a lot of ambition


Narendra Modi Channi Anand / Press Association Images

In March 2014 the non-religious side of India had a lot of problems. Narendra Modi, the leader of the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP), became Prime Minister.

They beat the traditional Congress Party and won a majority in the Parliament. This changed the politics of India. The Congress Party is no longer at the centre.

There are problems with what Modi has done in the past. He was chief minister of Gujurat (in NW India). And he could not stop the riots there. More than 1,000 people died.

Most of the dead were Muslims. Angry groups of Hindus murdered them. And many people said Modi’s government was bad because it did not try to protect the community and because it was against Islam.

People who support Modi talk about his economic ‘miracle’ in Gujarat. Since Modi came to power, he has not openly attacked India’s 170 million Muslims.

Modi is not modest. He often talks about how good and clever he is. After he became Prime Minister, his official website said he is ‘a dynamic, decisive and development-oriented leader who brings hope for the dreams and aspirations of a billion Indians’. What could possibly go wrong?

There are many Hindu nationalist organisations - eg. the RSS (Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh), Bajrang Dal and the VHP (Vishva Hindu Parishad) – and all these young people support Modi.

They are against Indians who are not Hindu. And sometimes they are violent. They have forced some Muslims and Christians to change religion to Hinduism. Modi has always had a connection to these groups, but now he is not so close. He is giving the groups space to grow.

But Modi is good at politics. He has had meetings in many other countries – Washington, Tokyo, meeting Putin in Russia and Xi Jinping in China.

The Congress Party was not very successful with problems like poverty and corruption. So there was space for Modi and the BJP. Indians want more honesty and equality. But they probably will not get these with Modi.

Modi says he is modern and he wants development. But he also supports the rich businesses that paid for the BJP campaign. He thinks ‘development’ means attacking workers’ rights and making environmental laws weaker.

Now he is fighting India’s coal unions about privatization. Village tribal councils are fighting against forest and water projects. But Modi is trying to take away the rights of the councils.

Since the early 1990s, India has opened its economy to globalization. This has brought a lot of money and also a lot of poverty. The middle-class ‘new India’ is doing well. But there is terrible poverty in the old India of the countryside and urban slums.

Not enough money is going to education, health and other services compared to other countries of similar levels of development. The poor have suffered most from this.

Modi wants growth and religious moral discipline. He wants to keep the old levels of society (caste) and the difference between men and women.

NOW READ THE ORIGINAL: (This article has been simplified so the words, text structure and quotes may have been changed).