Reply to Dev Virahsawmy: “Modi has been praised (…) for his leadership skills”

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It is with a deep sense of revulsion that I read the contemptible article entitled “Narendra Modi and Indian Politics:The monster we love” by Dev Virahsawmy in l’express of Wednesday 17 April, 2019. The article is misleading and highly defamatory, to say the least. The author also seems to overlook that he is a member of the Polit-Bureau of the Mauritius Labour Party. The views of Virahsawmy neither reflect the views nor bind the party in any way. Furthermore, it would be appropriate to put things in their right perspective and bring to light the tissue of lies put forward in the said article:

Modi is referred to as a 21st century version of Adolf Hitler. It is very easy to make such a sweeping statement. The author seems to forget that Narendra Modi has been Chief Minister of Gujarat from 2001 to 2014, being democratically elected by overwhelming majorities at three successive state elections held in 2002, 2007 and 2012 respectively. Thereafter, under his leadership the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) and its allies comfortably won the 2014 general elections and he became the Prime Minister of the biggest democracy on earth. Modi has been praised all over the world for his leadership skills and style of governance. Coming from a very humble background, he shunned material pleasures to unconditionally serve his motherland and even lived as an ascetic for several years besides being a follower of Swami Vivekanand. This reprehensible comparison has not even been made by Rahul Gandhi, his direct rival from the Indian National Congress.

It has derogatorily been stated in the article that Modi’s dream is an upper caste Hindu “rashtra”. Where did the author grab that from? Is that a figment of his imagination or has it been done with a hidden motive? How can Modi dream of an upper caste Hindu “rastra” when he belongs to the “Teli” caste categorized as an Other Backward Class by the Indian Government? Virahsawmy should come forward with concrete proof to substantiate what he has written. I am sufficiently conversant with Indian politics to state that the author has lied.

Most scandalously, the author has mentioned that Modi takes women for sexpots and reproduction machines. Mr Virahsawmy, you are hideously mistaken. Shortly after 1968, the Prime Minister of India abandoned his marital obligations towards his wife, Jashodaben, to dedicate his life to the service of his country. It is a known fact that he neither has affairs with other women nor does he have any offspring. In short, he leads a life of abstinence. At the very start of his mandate, his Government came up with a revolutionary programme to educate and protect women and girls (beti parao, beti bachao). On what does the author base himself to conclude Modi takes women for sexpots and reproduction machines?

Virahsawmy unequivocally states that Modi ordered and organized the demolition of the Badri mosque. Even in India, such an allegation has never levelled. True it is to say that it had been alleged that Modi was involved in the 2002 Gujarat riots but the Indian Supreme Court found no such evidence. Furthermore, during his tenure of office senior BJP leaders like Lal Krishna Advani and Murli Manohur Joshi have had to appear in court in relation to the demolition of the said mosque. To now declare that it was Modi who ordered and organized everything is the epitome of intellectual dishonesty.

The author has mentioned that the BJP is the brainchild of the diseased RSS (Rastriya Swayamsevak Sang). Virahsawmy should be reminded that the RSS was founded in 1925 by the prominent Dr Hedgewar, a medical doctor who became a freedom fighter dedicating himself to the service of the nation. It is the world’s largest voluntary missionary organization with 5-6 million members. The organization promotes the ideals of upholding Indian culture and the values of a civil society and spreads the principles of Hinduism. Around 57,000 RSS meetings are held on a daily basis all over India promoting physical exercise, inculcating bodily and psychological discipline, singing patriotic songs, group discussions on varied range of subjects and prayer for the motherland. To say that such an organization is diseased speaks miles about the mindset of the author.

By writing such an article, Mr Dev Virahsawmy has shown how low he can stoop and how he can embark on a mudslinging exercise to denigrate someone he does not hold in good esteem. I am certain the Indian High Commission should by now have informed the Government of India about the contents of the impugned article. Steps need to be undertaken to sue the author for defamation. At a time when general elections are being held in India, the attention of its Electoral Commission should be brought to that article so that necessary steps are undertaken to prevent its sharing on social media. 

The Mauritius Labour Party should on its side take bold steps against the author if it wants to maintain a good relationship with India and for the sake of its own image. If Virahsawmy thinks he will be able to impose his personal ideology, agenda and mindset on the party, he has chosen the wrong the party and should forthwith look elsewhere or more fittingly, call it a day.

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