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Coalitions: Both art and science

Updated Jun 17, 2013 02:26pm


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enter image description hereAllow me to start with a digression.

One of the best descriptions of India that I have read comes from Shashi Tharoor, currently in Manmohan Singh’s council of ministers, author and former under-secretary general for public affairs at the United Nations.

His metaphor of India as a thali is both appealing and enduring.

“If America is a melting-pot, then to me India is a thali, a selection of sumptuous dishes in different bowls. Each tastes different, and does not necessarily mix with the next, but they belong together on the same plate, and they complement each other in making the meal a satisfying repast,” Tharoor has argued.

India is nothing but diverse. In every which way – language, dress, food, religion, dialect, caste, culture – you name it and the country has it.

Its diversity has consumed those with monochromatic views. Its electorate has humbled those who felt that they were entitled to rule simply by birth.

Equally, it has been unkind to those who feel that they have a right to rule India because they belong to the majority Hindu religion, which itself is practised in diverse forms.

My love for diversity doesn’t take away from the myriad problems and drawbacks India suffers from and the absolute need to resolve them.

It’s a difficult country to understand and even more difficult country to govern.

Many have described the Congress party, in its grand old avatar as a coalition, which ruled the country from 1947 to 1977. After being voted out after Emergency ruled by Prime Minister Indira Gandhi, the Congress and Mrs. Gandhi returned to power in 1980.

The baton passed to Rajiv Gandhi in 1984, whose assassination led to the assumption of power by P.V. Narasimha Rao (who presided over the demolition of the Babri Masjid in December 1992) and became the last Indian prime minister to run a single-party government from 1991-1996.

After that it’s been a succession of coalition governments.

Run either by the Bharatiya Janata Party-led National Democratic Alliance (NDA) or the Congress-led United Progressive Alliance, these multi-party governments have governed India for nearly two decades.

Like them or hate them, coalitions are the Indian reality, which is unlikely to change anytime soon.

If anything powerful regional parties and leaders like Nitish Kumar (Bihar), Mamata Banerjee (West Bengal), Naveen Patnaik (Orissa), Maywati and Mulayam Singh Yadav (Uttar Pradesh) and Jayalalithaa (Tamil Nadu) look stronger when compared to the BJP or the Congress.

The short point is this: whoever wants to run India in 2014 will have to build and work a coalition government.

Enter the BJP with Narendra Modi, the divisive chief minister of Gujarat, who did little to stop the massacre of 1,000 Muslims in February 2002.

He’s quite different from the only Prime Minister the BJP has offered to the nation – the ailing Atal Bihari Vajpayee – the master of political ambiguity – who often ran the government by his silences rather than by words.

While part of the BJP establishment, which believes in the principle of Hindu supremacy, Vajpayee managed to project himself as standing a little distance away from the core objectives of his party.

Modi’s appointment as the BJP’s campaign chief led to the short-lived resignation of senior leader and Karachi-born Lal Krishna Advani from all party posts.

His projection as the tallest leader in the BJP – to which Advani has objections (along with others) – has already led to fissures with Bihar Chief Minister Nitish Kumar, who has terminated his 17-year-long alliance with the BJP.

In sum, Modi is a divisive leader – not acceptable to secular Hindus (India’s largest vote bank) and to Muslims in general because of his open espousal of Hindu communal politics.

A bankrupt BJP should understand that there’s no way he can build or run a coalition government.

The collapse of the alliance in Bihar simply confirms this hypothesis.

Not all the corporate funding for Mr. Modi, not all the Twitter messaging and fudging facts about Gujarat’s development record can turn him into an acceptable leader for thali India.

Reducing your appeal is not going to allow you to build a new coalition – either with political parties or with the electorate. Particularly when you don’t have a base in the whole of South, North-East and East India.

And, as journalist Ajit Sahi writes, the numbers don’t really stack up for the BJP and Modi.

Author Image

Amit Baruah is an independent, Delhi-based journalist. He is the author of Dateline Islamabad and reported for The Hindu newspaper from Pakistan. He tweets @abaruah64.

The views expressed by this writer and commenters below do not necessarily reflect the views and policies of the Dawn Media Group.

Comments (63) Closed

HITESH Jun 17, 2013 02:57pm

Three steps of acceptance of Masiaha the saviour !

  1. Ridicule the saviour
  2. Protest or Persecution the saviour
  3. Acceptance of the saviour

Mr. Bauah is in 2nd stage !

Ravi Ingale from University of Pune Jun 17, 2013 03:21pm

News on India Politics is too good. But why E-dawn put them on their website?? in this whole article Pakistan is not mentioned nor related to Pakistan Politics.

Madhu Shanmughan Jun 17, 2013 03:40pm

" Narendra Modi, the divisive chief minister of Gujarat, who did little to stop the massacre of 1,000 Muslims in February 2002" - It is just an understatement!

It is more accurate if we say "Modi planned and executed a mass massacre".

Trine Jun 17, 2013 03:41pm

I say, let every dog have its day.

rahul17 Jun 17, 2013 04:52pm

looks like amit has solid proof that modi encourage rioters...why not give to supreme court who gave a clean chit to modi... the enemy of india are hindus like you who want india to go back into slavery as your inferiority complex cannot have it any other way...sad truth for hindu community..

Anshuman Jun 17, 2013 04:53pm

The problem with journalism is that it is propaganda and hypocrisy. The writer has passing judgements on Modi's secularism and that he has little in Gujarat during the riots. Well, he should know what Congress did in 1984 in anti-sikh riots and that no one has been convicted..yet. In Gujarat, accused have been punished and Modi has been cleared by SIT appointed by Supreme court.

Also, why doesn't he write on the state of the Pakistani Hindus who have been reduced from 20% to less than 2% in India... or to less than 10 in Bangladesh. Pseudo secular people like these have kept minorities such as Muslims paranoid in India and the Muslims keep voting for parties such as Congress /SP who keep on fleecing them.

He is not in touch with the masses and what they are thinking...Let see in 2014..

The new definition of journalism should people it is a profession where people who never do anything judge and pass opinions on people who to something.

Madhav Jun 17, 2013 04:56pm

I really don't prescribe to what the author had mentioned. Don't forget that it was the Congress Government under Rajiv Gandhi that had changed the Constitution in favour of Muslims in the Shah Bano case and to appease Hindus, he got the chains of the closed Ram Janmabhoomi Complex opened and even got a Bhumi Puja performed. BJP just took it forward.

During the riots in Gujarat, 790 Muslims and 254 Hindus were killed.Why every political writer forgets to write about this fact that 1/3 of those that were killed were Hindu ?? What about the hundreds of communal riots that took place since 1947 till 2002 ? What about the anti-Sikh riots after Indira Gandhi was assassinated by her Sigh body guards ?? Have you forgot the famous quote from Rajiv Gandhi ?

Maddy Jun 17, 2013 05:01pm

"In sum, Modi is a divisive leader

nandubhai Jun 17, 2013 06:14pm

I understand the predicament of the author when he is writing for the Pakistani readers. This Modi guy , if elected, will be tough to deal with for the Pakistanis.

No wonder all other political parties, including the small leaders of BJP, are crying foul. Modi has the vision which others do not. And the youth of India supports him.

As for Muslims, they have nothing to fear. It will be the first time when Muslims will not be treated as vote bank, and as human beings. If Congress claims themselves as well wisher of the Muslims, why is it that after sixty odd years Muslims are still at the bottom of the scale. Nevertheless, Muslims should ask themselves that why is it that all other minorities prosper and only Muslims are not. The answer to that question is,according to Dr.Farrukh Saleem, EDUCATION. Majority of muslims are light years behind in education.

Prashant Jun 17, 2013 07:42pm

You make me laugh Mr Baruah. Kindly dont judge. Looks like you have started certification course on secularism, and in order to be called secular one has to be certified by you? :-). Another thing Mr Baruah, half truth is more dangerous, and deliberately hiding the fact is cardinal sin in journalism. But I set the record correct..

790 Muslims and 254 Hindus were ultimately killed and 223 more people were reported missing.

kart Jun 17, 2013 08:42pm

Oh how I'd love to see each one of ur left-leaning, minority appeasing and pandering faces when Modi does win the 2014 elections... The media must realise, the more it demonises the man, the more it promotes him indirectly... It's hilarious to see you ppl write half-truths, give urselves a pat in the back and believe yourselves to be secular and democratic and wat not...

I wonder who is the authority who demarcates ppl as secular and nonsecular?? Am I nonsecular bcos I support Modi?? Or r u secular cos you publicly denounce him??

Virendra Jun 17, 2013 08:44pm

BJP is unlikely to win the coming election(despite Congress' every effort to lose) because they are trying to get Modi elected rather than BJP as party elected. They are getting very basics of Indian elections wrong - you need 225+ men in parliament before you choose a leader and given how strong regional parties are - coalitions are a no-brainer. BJP is using media (and twiterrati) and thinking Modi is getting popular. Did they forgot how media made "India Shining" in an election some time back??

Prafull Jun 17, 2013 08:57pm

A paid jouranlist, & pseudo secularist of congress party writing something not true at all.

murali Jun 17, 2013 10:15pm

Seems that Amitji has composed this only to align with what Pakistan thinks about Modi. an Author must remember that writing what is liked by readers can not make him stand distinct. Well, as per subject, it is difficult to believe that Muslims in general can not accept Modi when they have elected him 3 times in a row. If there is a problem in India, it is due to pseudo secular leaders (mostly in congress, Mulayam, Lalu, Nitish, pawars etc..) who give a damn about muslim's problems when in power but just blackmail them sentimentally for the sake of votes.

Mumbai Babu Jun 17, 2013 10:52pm

Its so true, BJP with just 3 other partners which included secular JD(U), Hindu rightist Shiv Sena and Akalis as their partner in coalition. RSS ( Sangh Parivar) picked Modi ( the most polarising figure in Indian Politics) to take central role in BJP for forth coming General elections. BJP and its supporters must be naive to expect JD(U) to continue to be part of alliance after BJP back stabbed JD(U) in picking Modi , against their wish. BJP lead alliance is comprising of parties who are ultra- rightist, religious fundamentalist. India being ..rightly said multi diverse ...can never accept such monochromatic view of these Rightist parties . Indians have shown door to extremist views of any political party..same will be done during coming 2014 elections.

Tahir A Jun 17, 2013 11:16pm

To all the posts here, all I would say is what Modi and his cronies enjoy in India is what guys like Hafiz Saeed and many zealots like him are given similar free platform in Pakistan to spew out hate and violence. Of course legally, these guys always stand acquitted of any wrong doing. Such is the unquestionable truth.

Ram Jun 17, 2013 11:14pm

@Maddy: I agree. Modi-bashing seems the best way to gain "secular" credentials. Unfortunately, Amit Baruah seems to have fallen prey to this disease. While I have never voted for the BJP, I would like to ask Mr. Baruah the following question. Why shouldn't we try and mention by name the Congress leader in Assam by name, where more Muslims have been killed (5000) than in Gujarat? Or is it fashionable to name Modi because he belongs to the BJP?

Ravi Jun 18, 2013 12:19am

More of an article on Modi bashing than anything else. Another Sickular Congress hired Journalist trying to pacify the Pakistani readers. Keep bashing and Modi will keep growing!

Indian - that is enough Jun 18, 2013 12:24am

Who is this Amit by the way ? And who gave him this holy responsibility to preach on behalf of the entire nation of 1.3 billion ? Have not heard/seen anywhere in digital/print media ever ? Does he only write for Dawn ? It is dangerous when these half - educated half-journos are given free hand in responsible platforms like Dawn. Ok enough of Amit. Now countering some of his key arguments: 1. If Modi is divisive why he is winning hands down 3 terms (15 years) in Gujrat where 11% of the voting population is muslim ? 2. Ok...So Nitish is now secular, so what was he for last 17 years when he was with BJP (i.e. Modi's party)? And remember, he did not leave BJP's hand even after riot in Gujrat in 2002. Dont think this Amit is so innocent not to understand that Nitish's hidden wish is to get to the PM's chair which cannot happen as long as Modi is there. Now here is trying to find backdoor route via 3 front or whatever. 3. So corporate funds are bad - is it ? Can you enlighten Mr Amit what are the sources of funds for Congress/Left/JDU etc etc. ?

Masila Jun 18, 2013 12:37am

Well said , You seems to know more about India, how, may be through news and media, Tv and internet. But one thing India will ever be India and your nation will as it is created.All we can say good luck and work towards one goal , be calm and peace and believe in Almighty. Mr.Modi will be Modi and time will let us know. Muslims will love to be apart of India, they are our brothers and sisters we do not forget. let us grow better and stronger and live in harmony in hearts and our deeds.

anil Jun 18, 2013 12:52am

I support Mr. Modi for the work he had done for up liftment of Gujarat, which is now a model state for India. Why does the author deviates from the facts and always takes to Communal riots, Mr. author I am no journalist but I can assure at least I can write much better and sensible than what you write, learn something from N.F.P

Hindi Jun 18, 2013 12:53am

@Trine: ...and let the lion have the dogs.

Jat Jun 18, 2013 01:02am

Title of the blog says - "Coalition building - art or science". There is nothing in the blog about it - instead it simply veers around to Modi. Whatever your opinion is Amitbhai, at least have courage to put the title exactly on what you want to say.

Tristan HK Jun 18, 2013 02:24am

Maddy is absolutely right. What has always failed to be acknowledged by the Western and Pakistani media is that Modi enjoys strong support from a large section of the Gujarati Muslim population. Without this support, he would not have been able to hold power as long as he has, and instead would have descended into an unwieldy coalition that stagnates ( as has been seen in other states ) . Some analysts have pointed out that his Muslim support is especially strong from the Shia community whose members occupy prominent posts in the police force and elsewhere within the political administration.

Ramana Madhavpeddi Jun 18, 2013 02:46am

Narendra Modi is a very polarising figure. He cannot govern the majority of Indians and will end up pandering to a minority. This minority will become dictatorial citing a variety of home grown doctrines in the name of nationalism, righteousness and supremacist attitudes. What do you get at the end? The end of a barely functioning democracy and the rise of a fascist regime. History is filled with such examples. Modi could spell the end of the Indian Republic as we know it today. Ramana

Tamil selvan Jun 18, 2013 02:48am

@Madhu Shanmughan: Modi was elected CM for the first time in Oct 2001 and the riots started when a compartment full of Hindus was deliberately set on fire by Muslims thugs in Feb 2002 and this started the riots. Since then for more than a decade no communal riots ave taken place under Modi's regime. Is this not a proof that he has done a wonderful job in preventing unwanted deaths! He must be praised for it rather than blamed for something which happened just six months into his first tenure.

Sheetal Jun 18, 2013 02:57am

Journalism can not get worse than this. I say so not because Modi should not be criticized, I say so because Modi's real or imagined crime is far less in intensity and magnitude, than the so called secular parties. These are the secular parties who have given birth to communalism, not the BJP. Why are we singling out Gujarat riots out of so many happened under Congress rule ? One third of victims in Gujrat riots were Hindus, while in 1984 riots 100% victims were Sikhs ? Why no one wants to talk about them ? The poison of communalism was injected by Congress itself in Shah Bano case to appease Muslim fundamentalists for easy votes, much to the dismay of moderate Muslims. To counter-balance, Shilanyas was performed by Rajiv Gandhi in Ayodhya and the ghosts became alive which were excorcized by the saffron brigade. It is Congress who showed path to Advani. The meaning of secularism in India does not mean Muslim appeasement. 200 million are not a minority. It is not Modi's anti-Muslim image that is pulling middle class Hindus to him, It is Congress's appeasement of Muslims and suppression of divided Hindus that is gravitating Hindus towards Modi, and not to forget the dismal performance and corruption happening under the nose of Mr Clean. I regret having voted for Congress. I want to give a chance to Modi.

umesh bhagwat Jun 18, 2013 04:01am

India is a cultural coalition representing unity in diversity!

Nabarun Dey Jun 18, 2013 05:54am

Spin doctors like Baruah world over tried their best over a decade to stop Modi's march towards unbending determination in vein. Contrary to their belief Modi went from strength to strength. Modi is engaged in course correction of History of India and the sub continent. Let History judge him.

Jalaluddin S. Hussain Jun 18, 2013 06:32am

As an outsider(Pakistani-Canadian) I sincerely feel that India, as a Hindu-majority country, should be ruled by a STRONG "rainbow" coalitions at the Centre. The provinces of India, however, can afford to have majority ruling parties.

Compared to Pakistan, Bangladesh, Sri Lanka and Nepal, India seems to have done much much better, during the last more than 6 decades. I am all for making regional organizations like SAARC strong, on the lines of the European Union.

Let all the constituents units of India prosper!

Bakul Jun 18, 2013 06:33am

@Maddy: I have read many of Amit Barua's articles. I have gathered feeling that he is simply out of touch.

Reveller Jun 18, 2013 07:41am

I wonder how much Congress paid this author to write this ludicrous article which basically is attempting to malign Mr. Modi. Poor attempt though.

Rajiv Kaushal Jun 18, 2013 07:52am

@Madhu Shanmughan: see madhu you say bad about modi on pakistani news site and even pakistnis dont like it....

Kanwaljeet Jun 18, 2013 08:11am

bankrupt BJP?? you mean vote bank--ruptcy..And who are these banks? Muslim vote bank, khap vote banks, so called secular hindu vote bank...Mr Baruha, you are such a blatant shameless politician. Secuaralism doesnt mean giving minority undue advantage because they are minority but ulifting them so that they can match the national main stream. congress are cajoling muslims on thier fundamentalists agenda to exploid the vote bank. they are actually harming them than doing good. The exact opposite is done by Mr Modi. they uplifted their lives. gave them education, the opportunities and tried to take them in the mainstream. there are so many muslim corporators in gujrat who are supports Mr Modi. At the same time, he has a guts to tell muslims that, friends, this is india and we are indians. if you want to stay here, you better be indians firsts and then muslims. if you ever tried to break law of land, be prepaerd to get hard kick on your backside. Today these rogue muslims brainwashed by mullahs are in contents becayause that kick he gave them after Godhra...Does any congress leader have this guts? they are good enough to explot them as vote bank, keep them underpoverish for theri own good. Secular and nationalist muslims should understand BJP is thier true friend and not congress.

IndiaUSA Jun 18, 2013 09:01am

Modi not acceptable to the people of Mr. Baruah...stop being Nostradamus of the day..vl see in 2014.

hell Jun 18, 2013 09:05am

@Maddy: agree with you.. these are actually Congress paid authors/journos

Shubs Jun 18, 2013 10:17am

@Anshuman: Ad hominem attacks masked as intellectual commentary never works. I don't agree too many times with Amit Baruah's views, but this time he's right on the money. It is not the author, but Modi fanboys who are out of touch with the masses. Mainly because they describe the "masses" as their immediate friends and family who think alike. The Modi fan brigade is limited to middle-aged urban Indians who were in their twenties during the Ayodhya movement. They are fed stories about the wide roads and working public services of shining Surat and amazing Ahmedabad and really want to believe that Modi is the one who's going to do the same to the rest of India too. They forget that there is a difference in being a demi-god and an autocrat in a government filled with yes-men and sycophants , and trying to lead a government in Delhi with representatives from all over India with varying agendas and political ideologies. And now, with the NDA literally down to the bone, one wonders where the BJP's numbers will come from to even attract new allies for a sizable coalition. If only the fanboys polled the people of the country outside their own tiny demographic, they would perhaps realize that the nation is more than their group of hero-worshipers, and no, they don't give a damn about Gujarat.

Bharat Jun 18, 2013 11:39am

Modi devisive?

And Rajiv Gandhi actually approved the killing of thousands of Sikhs. And not a single prosecution to date.

Prasad Jun 18, 2013 11:46am

I have been following the articles of Mr Baruah. Lack of balance and motivated reporting probably is to keep his own job with Dawn by contributing what people would like to read instead of unbiased analysis of facts

Jalil Jun 18, 2013 01:16pm

@Madhu Shanmughan: What would you call an up-provoked torching of a train coach full of innocent people? Some people deliberately ignore the facts.

vijay Jun 18, 2013 01:54pm

Mr. Amit Please tell us about Godhra carnage where a train full of karsevaks were burnt to death

Secular Indian Jun 18, 2013 02:22pm

Haha, Mr Baruah, how untrue you're; no wonder you serve congress, the most communal party of India, well but sadly you're days of false glory (I mean days of congress rule) are limited. You did not mention how Modi got elected, hugely, 3 times in Gujarat, you also forget how Muslims in Gujrat supported him winning local body elections; I'm sure you know how many corporators are Muslim from BJP but you did not mention that; Ohh did you call your self a journalist, really!

Now, tell me if Gujrat gets 24 hrs electricity, is that only for one community? if Gujrat gets good Road Infrastructure, is that for only one community...and so on... see the other side, UP of mulayam singh the messiah of minorities, they get 7-8 hrs of light, No investment in industry, law & order at worst...but hey he's enjoy this secularism of poverty, ignorance & appeasement;

What Modi says : India first; Development to ALL-appeasement to none; tell me what's wrong with that? Congress kills 3000 sikhs (only sikhs, no other community dies) is nothing for you? but one riot (of hundreds in modern India) where both community people died is special for you? Majority of riots in India happened in Congress ruled states but if there is NO RIOT in Modi's rule of 12 year-that's nothing for you?

Mr Baruah, you are simply untruthful- you may sell well in pakistan (dawn news) but Im afraid there will be no taker, atleast now onwards, of you back home.

R.Kannan Jun 18, 2013 03:08pm

Mr Burman needs to answer one basic question - why did the BJP win assembly seats in muslim majority areas in the 2013 Gujarat elections ? The average Indian wants development and not some speeches. Whether Modi will be PM in 2014 depends on actual seats won by BJP and its allies. However, Modi is also known to have dismantled temples in Ahmedabad and other parts of Gujarat when they formed obstacles to road or other development. By focusing on one aspect of Modi's reign, and calling everything else fudged statistics, Burman has chosen to ignore the facts.Every year, people are migrating into Gujarat, and not out of it. This shows where the actual job creation is. Roads, Electricity & other infrastructure in Gujarat is way ahead of the rest of India, excepting Delhi which is given an unjustifiably high share of resources but still is only comparable to Gujarat. Mr Burman, facts are sacred, opinion is free.

Dr Mohsin Kazmi Jun 18, 2013 03:25pm

Dear Amit
Keep writing truth subcontinent needs it.

Anidesh Jun 18, 2013 03:23pm

The ethics of journalism should be non-biased view of things happening around. But unfortunately I dont find this article as such one. The author is more interested to demoralize and accuse Modi who got clean chit by the Supreme court of India. The entire article seems to be a campaigning for Congress and unfortunately it is not going to work out.

Khan Jun 18, 2013 05:47pm

Amit, "Coalitions:Both art and science" has nothing to do with your blog.Your article is about anti-modi, then why to give wrong heading?

Maddy Jun 18, 2013 06:10pm

@Tahir A: For God(Allah) sake dont compare Mr. Modi with Mr. Haffez. Even if you don't like Modi I'm OK with it. Modi is head of State and responsible to running a state of more than a Crore people. He is doing that effectively from Past 15 years. FYI, Gujarat is the best state in India and Most of India's GDP is contributed by Gujarat. You search anywhere in the world in any Media and try to get one statement from Modi which he made against certain religious section of people. Where as the person you are comparing, daily spit venom against other minorities of Pak. Sad part is Pak doesn't have access to youtube. If god willing youtube is made available, search Modi's speeches where he talks about tremendous Ideas about upliftment of common man's life standards using technologies. After reading the this article I could only say to readers by famous Sprite ad "Dikhavepe mat jao, apni akal lagao"

varun thakur Jun 18, 2013 06:40pm

@Sheetal: amazing..! very true and influential sheetal!

Jay Jun 18, 2013 06:41pm

But there are two "thalis" - Veg & Non-Veg....

Madhu Shanmughan Jun 18, 2013 08:14pm

@Tamil selvan: Your statement does not address my point. My point is that Modi planned and executed a massacre. Do you agree with that? We, in India, had many occurrences of communal riots. But it is the first time in history of India, a chief minister planning and executing a genocide. Do you have any doubts on that?

Ankit Jun 18, 2013 09:14pm

This is a funny article and far away from the fact. Narendra Modi is the most acceptable P.M. candiate in India as proved by various surveys and polls. When I say most acceptable, I mean acceptable to the citizens of India and not the leaders like Nitish Kumar, Mayawati, Mulayam Singh Yadav as they see Mr. Modi as an obstacle to their dream of becoming P.M themselves one day. But whoever has followed Indian politics knows that the leaders mentioned above have greed for power and money and whoever will offer them that they will support him. Congress has been using CBI and money to get support from them.

Amer Jun 18, 2013 09:41pm

BARUAH has done nothing but to reflect the widely-held beliefs, or notions usually attributed to secular Hindus and Muslims at large. Let us not accuse him of anything. If India prides itself on democracy, than the Indians should not object to diverse (thali) opinions expressed by able writers such as Amit. Yes, while writing for India and Pakistan simultaneously is a difficult job for any writer. They are not "two dishes" of the same thali! But I think the scribe's views are balanced and shorn of any prejudices.

Shubs Jun 18, 2013 11:26pm

@Indian - that is enough: "Who is this Amit by the way ?"

Amit Baruah's profile below....sourced to the internet. More appropriate question, @Indian, is who are you, other than being a typical low-on-facts and high-on-opinion Modi fanboy?

BBC World Service has announced the appointment of Amit Baruah, a leading Indian print journalist, as the Head of BBC Hindi. Amit will be based in New Delhi and will be responsible for BBC Hindi service

FactCheck Jun 18, 2013 11:27pm

You wrote so much to say Modi is divisive? It is a well known fact and BJP have no chance whatsoever.

Shirish Jun 19, 2013 12:33am

Article should be title "Modi bashing: Both Art and Science". Worst piece of journalism ever, simply biased and nowhere near facts. You should leave journalism and join Congress.

Zak Jun 19, 2013 01:55am

India is a thali falling apart. It is crime to suppress the beauty and characteristics of each nation by confining them in one unnatural boundary and demeaning them with comparisons a thali. Kashmiris want out of this thali and so do 20 others.

Khan Jun 19, 2013 02:51am

India is a Secular country without Secularism.

Yuvraj Jun 19, 2013 06:18am

@R.Kannan: Actually Pakistan is relatively New to Democracy. They can't understand strong features of Democracy. We can wish that Pakistan should stay with Democracy for long to be matured enough to comment on Indian Democracy

roshan Jun 19, 2013 10:49am

Mr. Amit may be Dawn pays you hefty some for your anti-India writing and till you will be getting money from Dawn, keep pleasing Dawn and Pakistani people. Are you jobless in India?

vijay Jun 19, 2013 12:22pm

Mr. Amit Baruah You do not know the art of writing and the science of journlism.

Pak Jun 19, 2013 01:55pm

@Ravi Ingale from University of Pune:

I agree; why an article related to Indian politics on a Pakistani newspaper?

Shalini Jun 19, 2013 03:43pm

@Prasad: He must be news fixing like Arnab Goswami of Times Now news channel. Paid reporting is this? If he is a journalist true spirit he would have mentioned Godhra in the first place and highlighted Modi's achievements. But here we have a man who like to write about Guru Meyyappan and Srinivasan but does not have anything to say about why Shipa Shetty and Raj Kundra were not handcuffed and shamed. Suits Dawn and Pakistani readers anyway.

Shubs Jun 19, 2013 09:19pm

These comments from my countrymen (and women, presumably) scare me. Here is a person who has had three terms as Chief Minister of his state. Not once has he acted like a statesman, taken the high road, and even so much as expressed sadness at the events of 2002. He has used all his powers to weasel his way out of lawsuits and portray himself as legally clean. Which is fine. But politics is about image and imagery, and what people "feel" about you. I, for one, do not want such a person at the head of my country as we head into the middle of the 21st century, with a mountain of problems at our feet. This person comes with so much baggage that there is no way he could do good, even if he wanted to. If he becomes PM, every decision of his, every move, will be scrutinized, criticized, perhaps unfairly, perhaps perfectly fairly, that it will paralyze decision making. This will be compounded with the fact that the BJP will have to make dirty deals with unscrupulous regional parties and will be left largely toothless, if they have any hope now to form a government at the center. But perhaps, the biggest worry I have, as a person who wants democratic institutions in India to succeed and thrive, is the stranglehold that an unelected, unrepresentative body like the RSS has over this political party. Does it set a good precedent for our democracy that this group, with a single person at its helm, which is not answerable to any Indian citizen, will be the real power behind the throne of a country of a billion people? And it's sad that middle class urban Indians have drunk the Modi cool-aid to such an extent that they are ignoring these very basic questions about the future of their own country. It's not about who killed whom in 2002. It's about losing our focus from growth and development to the regressive religious politics of the late 90s. And it will come back, not because Modi wants it to, but because the entire opposition will make sure it is brought back. For them elevating Modi to the potential PM's chair is the biggest gift the BJP could have given them. My personal feeling is that the BJP has overplayed its hand, and they are going to regret this step. Urban India has never voted in a central government. And Modi fanboys, with their wet dreams of the glory days of Mandir politics have no clue what the vast majority of the country, which is much much much bigger than middle-class Gujarat, thinks about their hero.