Showing posts from December, 2007

India’s bet on the wrong horse

One of the most controversial Indian politicians of his time, Narendra Modi, has been voted back for the third time as Gujarat’s chief minister. Most of us associate Modi’s name with the violent communal riots of 2002, while his supporters associate his name with ‘Vibrant Gujarat’!

In an article titled, ‘Why Modi appeals to Hindus’ (Rediff News, December 24, 2007), Mr B Raman analyses what the Hindu community sees in him. He asks: “His [Modi’s] simple and austere living…His reputation as an incorruptible politician…His style of development-oriented governance…The fruits of his policy, which Gujarat and its people are already enjoying…His tough stance on terrorism…His lucid-thinking on matters concerning our national security…His defiance in the face of the greatest campaign of demonisation mounted against him…?” And then Mr Raman goes on to give one other factor, which he says is more important than the ones stated above. That one factor is: “…for large sections of the Hindus – young …

My first Indian sojourn

India, a country that evokes all sorts of emotions in Pakistan and Pakistanis – some like it, some hate it, some are not bothered about it, while some (like me) love it. It had always been my dream to visit India one day because the country fascinates me. India’s rich culture and history and the fact that both India and Pakistan share a common history, including bittersweet memories, only added to my fascination. Add to it the fact that I have a lot of Indian friends whom I have met online and some of who, over the years, have become like family. Thus when I got a chance to visit India, I was overjoyed.

Panos South Asia, a media organisation, had arranged a media exchange programme for six journalists from Pakistan to visit India. This was part of a people-to-people contact programme in order to promote peace between the two South Asian neighbours. It was a 15-day trip and the three cities that we were going to visit were Delhi, Mumbai and Chennai. All of us were excited at the prospec…