Friday, April 25, 2014
The cult of cronyism: Siddharth Varadarajan
Who does Narendra Modi represent and what does his rise in Indian politics signify? Given the burden he carries of the 2002 anti-Muslim massacres, it is tempting to see the Gujarat chief minister’s arrival on the national stage as a watershed moment in the escalation of communal politics. Certainly the cult-like following he has amongst the sangh parivar faithful and a wider section of the Hindu middle class is due to the image he has of a leader who knows how to “show Muslims their place”. For these supporters, his refusal to do something so simple – and tokenistic — as express regret for the killings that happened under his watch is seen not as a handicap but as further proof of his strength.