Last night, we read two articles that appeared in the New Yorker. Both concerned the most recent Indian election. Indian politics are fascinating because of how it’s democracy attempts to give almost a billion people a free and fair vote.2 The most recent election was especially captivating. In 2014, the BJP won the majority of seats in India’s lower house, marking the end of the INC’s long stretch of rule.1 Because of India’s need for decisive leadership, Narendra Modi became the prime minister.2 The BJP party is very conservative. They wish to redirect India towards Hindu tradition, as well as accentuate India’s free enterprise.
I read an article from Aljazeera called “Modi Unveils Towering Statue of India’s Independence Leader.” Very recently, Modi has built a statue of Sardar Vallabhbhai Patel, a figure of Indian independence. This statue is currently the tallest in the world, and was priced at 430m dollars.3 What is interesting though, is that Patel was member of the Nehru Dynasty and the great grandfather of the current Congress Party president.
Is this evidence for new peace between the parties, or a greed for more BJP power?
Although Modi claims the statue as an act of peace, this could prove that Modi is trying to cover up many of his reactionary goals to gain more support from INC members. Modi has had a past of authoritarian tendencies, and was even compared to Hitler. Modi is a part of the Hindu Nationalists, whose goal is to revert back to traditional, pure Hindu culture, therefore the opposite of the INC’s ideology of inclusion and secularism. However, Modi has accomplished much to protect the civil liberties of at least Hindu Indians, such as encouraging new bank accounts for citizens, streamlining welfare payments, and lowering oil prices. Therefore, although this might be a selfish act underneath, Modi has at least acknowledged the other side.
1 Samanth Subramanian, “The Stunning Result In India’s Elections” The New Yorker (May 16th, 2014).
2 Hendrick Hertzberg, “India’s Election: How To Win Big By Winning Small” The New Yorker (May 23rd, 2014).
3 Zeenat Saberin, “Modi Unveils Towering Statue of India’s Independence Leader” Aljazeera (October 31st, 2018). https://www.aljazeera.com/news/2018/10/modi-unveils-towering-statue-india-independence-leader-181029095308704.html