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Narendra Modi asks for restraint and disapproves of the remarks made by his party man, Giriraj Singh in Bihar few days ago. The Prime Ministerial candidate of Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP), a right wing Hindu organisation, in a tweet said that,

Petty statements by those claiming to be BJP’s well wishers are deviating the campaign from the issues of development and good governance.

The statement on social media came in response to a statement that Singh made last week in which he asked the opponents of Modi to migrate to Pakistan.

Modi’s response sounds like the pot calling the kettle black.

Not long ago, the BJP leader equated defence minister AK Antony and Arvind Kejriwal of the Common Man’s Party as agents of Pakistan. At the time no one asked Modi for an apology and there were no disapprovals of such by any other party leaders.

Also read: Watching Modi, the maestro, at work

Why then, in the Indian elections, should Pakistan be an issue when the relationship with our immediate neighbour is not as rocky as it once was?

Those who are familiar with the politics of the Hindu rights understand what Pakistan means for them. It’s one way of terming the 180 million Muslims of India as the enemy of the state, as unreliable citizens of the country.

When Giriraj Singh talks of sending all those who oppose Modi to Pakistan, he obviously does not mean the Hindus. He wants to say that if the Muslims don’t vote for the BJP, which they don't normally, they are the enemy.

It is this fear of Hindu majoritarianism that was at the root of the two nation theory in the first part of the 20th century that led to Partition in the subcontinent. Now, the rise of Modi symbolises the same fear not just among the minorities but also among the liberal and secular Hindus.

Such fear will of course not indicate the second redrawing of the Indian map, but it will accentuate the fault lines which democratic India has been trying to bridge since 1947.

By referring to Muslims as ‘the others’, other radical Hindu right wing organisations want the wedge to continue and stop the emotional integration of Muslims in the mainstream.

This has been their project since 1925 when Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh (RSS), the BJP’s parent organisation was founded. The idea was to create a majoritarian state. They have not succeeded thus far but their nuisance value cannot be underestimated.

When Modi was anointed as the BJP prime ministerial candidate he vowed to fight the elections on the issue of development. A few rounds into the poll, the rhetoric has changed.

The mask has started slipping.

Also read: The Narendra Modi model: A carefully crafted myth

The first indication of the Hindutva leader’s duplicity emerged when he chose Amit Shah as his points man in Uttar Pradesh. Shah is a rabid Hindu right wing worker, who as a Deputy Home Minister of Gujarat was allegedly involved in fake encounters and extra judicial killings. He was debarred from entering Gujarat by the Supreme Court for few years. He is now Modi’s trusted aide.

Within six months of being appointed as the man in charge of Uttar Pradesh, he brought the Hindu right wing into the reckoning, in the largest state of India which sends 80 out of the 545 members to parliament.

For the Muzaffarnagar riots that claimed the lives of 60 Muslims and displaced hundreds of families, most of the investigations have pointed to the local BJP leaders and the state government. Such human tragedies failed to move Modi; he has not commented on it so far.

A documentary released recently blames Shah for inciting violence in western UP, a part of the country that did not witness any violence during partition even! The area has been the crucible of communal harmony.

However, the violence has polarised the voters in UP and today opinion polls predict close to 50 seats to the BJP, which was at the fourth position in the last elections. To reach close to a simple majority in parliament, a good show in Uttar Pradesh and Bihar (120 seats collectively) is a must. Communal polarisation is a speedy way of garnering the maximum seats within a short span of time in these states where Muslim votes play crucial role.

The BJP rose to political prominence by polarising voters. In the 1990s, when the party came into political prominence, it used the campaign to demolish the Babri mosque to divide voters.

The party is resorting to the same tactics now.

With the elections in northern India well in its crucial phase, the party believes that it has a better chance of expanding its shrunken bases in these areas by rousing raw passion. Therefore, Pakistan becomes a punching bag.

Modi has previously employed similar Pakistani barbs in the first two elections after the Gujarat riots in 2002. He used to address Pakistani president as Mian Musharraf.

Modi’s rise has emboldened a divisive ideology and individuals. In a recent remark in Gujarat, Pravin Togadia, one time friend and companion of Modi, advocated the eviction of Muslim owners from a housing society.

Also read: Modi’s rise a defeat for freedom in India

Shiv Sena leader, Ramdas Kadam in a rally in Maharashtra attended by Modi announced that, “Pakistan would be destroyed if the BJP comes to power”.

Modi is an old master of this kind of rhetoric. It is no wonder then that he inspires people like Togadia and Kadam, who have been in a political oblivion for the last decade, to utter such inflammatory statements.

Modi’s rise has unleashed an intolerant frenzy in the country; it has become difficult to convey counter narratives. Be it the social media or mainstream media, any voice against this mania is hurled at with invectives. You are instantly termed anti-national and an agent of Pakistan.

The problem with this anti-Pakistan and anti-minority narrative is that it vitiates the atmosphere between the neighbours. The huge peace constituency across the border which wants greater people-to-people interactions and enhanced economic engagement gets sidelined by hardliners who flourish by promoting animosity between the two countries.

Today, when Pakistan is engaged in a serious effort to root out extremism and religious radicalism from its soil, a charged atmosphere on Indian soil can put paid to such an effort.

A review of the nuclear doctrine emboldens anti-India forces in the neighbourhood and injects fear which is not good for peace in the subcontinent.

India cannot move ahead when its neighbours are in trouble. New Delhi can grow in stature at the international level only when Islamabad also enjoys stability and economic prosperity.

Fear from India or a potential threat from across the border does not allow political leadership in the Islamic state to focus on long term economic planning, it leads to militarisation and we all know the consequences of such an approach.

Is the emerging leadership in India capable of inducing new thinking in the subcontinent?

Modi’s persona does not inspire such confidence.

Author Image

The writer is a New Delhi-based broadcast journalist and a contributor to the magazine, The Diplomat.

He tweets @destinydefier.

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

Comments (65) Closed

Indian, Delhi Apr 25, 2014 05:42pm

In 2002, the burning of a train in Godhra on 27 February 2002 by local Muslims, caused the deaths of 58 Hindu activists returning from Ayodhya, triggered the violence in the entire state. The riots resulted in the deaths of 790 Muslims and 254 Hindus. As of April 2013, 249 convictions had been secured, 184 Hindus and 65 Muslims. 31 of the Muslim convictions were for the Train incident in Godhra. Moreover, the Gujarat court gave a clean chit given to Narendra Modi in the 2002 communal violence in the state. There was not a single riot in the state after 2002 though there were terrorists attack in Akshardham Temple and Ahmedabad blasts in 2008. At the same time Gujarat become the Guangdong of India at the development front.

TKhan Apr 25, 2014 06:07pm

"What taking potshots at Pakistan really means"

Nothing; just the election tactics. Politicians say anything to get elected; and get elected they do.

There will never be a real war ever again between India & Pakistan. It is in both countries interest and they both know it. Risk is to big and stakes are too high! Vision the Peace!

Harmony Apr 25, 2014 06:15pm

We will welcome some good people from India in exchange for our terrorists :-)

If we feels really generous maybe a couple of journalists too.

PShailendra Apr 25, 2014 06:32pm

"India cannot move ahead when its neighbours are in trouble." - which neighbors are you talking about - Pakistan / Bangladesh / Myanmar / Sri Lanka / China? Of these Pakistan is fighting its own version of Bhindranwale / Bangladesh if also fighting 'Radicalist' / Srilanka is under investigation for Human rights violation / China is successfully controlling its Muslim dominated western area which is fighting for annexation. Aren't these their internal matters. As far as nuclear doctrine each country has right to determine what's best for its own defense (especially when you have hostile neighbors). I compare these rhetoric from politicians same as Pakistain raising Kashmir issue during their election time. If BJP is that radical - then when they were in power - they would have built Ram Mandir during their tenure. Any way - in my opinion - Indian people need change. I wish AAP had continued the Delhi Govt. established themselves as a viable political party before trying to go on the National front, people would have got a better choice to select.

Niran Apr 25, 2014 06:38pm

@Indian, Delhi - Totally Agree with you...

Ali Apr 25, 2014 06:59pm

@Indian, Delhi There was no proof Muslims burned that train. Go read Time of India and the New York time articles on the riots. Remember the Samjhota train incident and who was initially blamed? This incident is no different.

Secondly your stats on the number of people dead are grossly understated. More than 2000 Muslims died and most of them were hacked and burned to death. A lot of Muslim girls were raped and then hacked into pieces.

The Gujarat model of development and the RSS agenda are one. After the riots thousands of Muslims were displaced and are now living in under-developed areas in Gujrat. The RSS idea is to use poor lower caste Hindus to fight Muslims every where and create a segregated society.

Modi's development is all about the rich getting richer at the expense of the poor. Giving breaks to big business and asking for a highway or a flyover in return.

Of course now the social fabric of India will unwind and hatred will rule. I really believe in Karma and since the Hindus have elected Hitler, I cant wait for karma to take its revenge.

Mr.P Apr 25, 2014 07:03pm

I normally don't comment on these issues but the author is either completely naive or pretending to be one. Modi calling A.K.Antony and AK as agents of Pakistan has some merit to it namely A.K.Antony twisting Army's statement and AK fumbling with Indian map and his party's stance on Kashmir. Both of their statements/opinions match with Pakistan's stand. It can be very true that both of these have no relation with either Pakistan nor its agencies but their mere stand matching Pakistan's stance was good enough for Modi to accuse. Is that good for Indo-pak relations? Probably not (or doesn't make a difference), but it definitely puts both (AKAntony and AK) opinions infront of the people and that is what is Modi looking for especially during elections.

Muzaffarnagar riots resulted in losses to both the communities and both are responsible (equally ?? that is for the courts to decide). There is no point in putting numbers and grievances of one side to make your point ? That is called crony journalism.

All of your other points seem to be either allegations or your own inferences, be it Amit Shah episode (for the trials are still going on), Giriraj comments (your inference here), nuclear doctrine (revisiting doesn't mean anything so keep quiet) and your inference of Modi's raise. Please keep in mind that Modi's raise in educated circles is not because he is hindu nationalist but of the perception that he is anti-corrupt and his accomplishments in Gujarat.

Last but not the least, from what I read in dawn everyday, Pakistan is finding its groove and it is struggling to stay in the right course but that is expected during change. Pakistan is already in the path of change while India is looking for a change (albeit at different levels). Your inference of Indian Leaders' comments would lead Pakistan towards terrorism is probably/hopefully baseless. And to conclude, your last statement saying New Delhi cannot grow in stature when Islamabad doesn't have economic prosperity is dragging it a bit too far. As long as Islamabad is in right course (read as non terrorism path), both their trajectories can be clearly independent to each other. Yes, if they increase their economic trade it would be great for both sides else it would be a slow growth for both but nothing close to peril.

Sierra Apr 25, 2014 07:03pm

@Indian, Delhi that's good; propaganda needs to be countered with facts...

Mia Apr 25, 2014 07:18pm

India's "development" is useless when almost 400 million Indians live below the international poverty line.

Kaly Apr 25, 2014 07:18pm

another mody basher...'SECUALR' people...ha..ha

Master Apr 25, 2014 07:42pm

Bjp uses pakistan,minority appeasement ,terrorism ....their slogans indirectly targets muslim minority...Eventhough at top level bjp may disown it but at grassroot level their cadres preach antimuslim sentiments to garner votes....I think even in pakistan political parties doesnt use such tactic to win elections....All these people are dreaming of Hindu rashtra...

FIZA Apr 25, 2014 07:42pm

Finally, a candid and accurate picture of the real Modi and his extremist views. This is just the tip of the iceberg and eventually some brave Indians such as Sanjay Kumar will step up and expose the true face of Modi, Shiv Sena, RSS and many other players in this extremely dangerous militant Hindu group. For "the truth shall set you free," since lies and cover-up political machinations can only go so far to dupe India's masses.

FIZA Apr 25, 2014 08:02pm

Modi and his neophytes should be sent to China to learn how the Chinese artfully deal with India in a humane and just way unlike what Modi and his Hindu extremists mire themselves in with anti-Pakistani vitriolage.

In contrast to Modi's hate filled agenda, China makes nice with its neighbors, and manages to instill a sense of fair play and decency by bringing all to the table in an equitable manner.

kapil Apr 25, 2014 08:13pm

abki baar modi sarkar...........

MEDUSA Apr 25, 2014 08:21pm

Very instructive insight into Modi's putrid mindset.

Modi's Indian "handlers" and highly paid public relations hired guns can try to take the chaiwala out of the gutter, yet the gutter will never be taken out of the chaiwala.

Laghe raho Modi, laghe raho .... let's see the dire results of your demonic deeds.

DK Apr 25, 2014 08:32pm

Why too much coverage about Modi in Paki media?

Milind Apr 25, 2014 08:55pm

These election is very crucial and last 65 years of mis management and lots of corruption the ruling party facing lots of trouble and they hired so called secular and leftist writer and projected that if Modi will come to power than whole world will collapse and there will be mass excudose but in real term not like as you can see election nearly 40-50 % vote and they get berth in power but now the trend of voting changed and they fear pf loosing ground so they write such article and purpose is that to polarized voter on name of fear and much interesting is that not a single paper in India published their story and what he head how many people will follow him and muslim in India they even don't know English and those who know English they are not interested

SBB Apr 25, 2014 09:03pm

@Ali Ali buddy, you refer to Modi as Hitler for whatever reason. I wonder what you'd call the people that have decimated non-Muslims in Pakistan. Rightly or wrongly, there is a section of Muslims in India who are ready to move beyond the Gujrat riots of 2002 but folks like you are not going to let them do so. What have been the consequences for folks that have burnt down temples and churches in Pakistan even since 2002?

s singh Apr 25, 2014 09:07pm

@Harmony good idea, swap me with your one T.

david Apr 25, 2014 09:08pm

@Indian, Delhi Absolutely correct & Muzffarnagar riots were started by muslims , after a dalit girl was raped & her 2 brothers were killed when they protested

david Apr 25, 2014 09:16pm

@FIZA you should also know how ruthlessly chinese deal with islamic terrorists, and u dont object to that

Assad Apr 25, 2014 09:36pm

Very sensible piece by the author!

Siddharth Chopra Apr 25, 2014 10:27pm

I agree 100% with the author. This RSS/BJP brigade has only one agenda, to spread hate and grab power and satisfy their egos. They call themselves upholders of Hindu religion but they just don't understand the spirit of Hinduism and are least interested in reforming some of the ills that are present in Hindu society like casteism, suppression of women etc. The sooner we get rid of this saffron brigade the better.

Parvez Apr 26, 2014 12:20am

In my view this is simply election strategy...........whether it pays off, has still to be seen.

SAMT Apr 26, 2014 01:56am

@Indian, Delhi

Thank you for details. Now I know

gary Apr 26, 2014 02:08am


There was also no proof that OBL was hiding in Pakistan, and there was also no proof that Muslim terrorists bombed world trade center. there was also no proof that Pakistani and ISI were behind most of the terrorist attacks, in India.

gary Apr 26, 2014 02:09am


As if Pakistan is already developed, so much so, that peiople are running away wherever they can.

gagan sarkar Apr 26, 2014 02:10am


If you see how the Chinese deals with their muslim problems , you will be shocked. Good thing is, unlike India, there is no free press and the world knows nothing.

gagan sarkar Apr 26, 2014 02:11am


Of course it is sensible.

gagan sarkar Apr 26, 2014 02:12am


Pakistan would hide all the terrorists of the world. Pakistan exports terror, as that is the only thing they can export.

Prapur Apr 26, 2014 02:17am

@PShailendra I agree with your first part of comment regarding Gujarat but AAP is not common man party but BAP and its candidates are millionaire and billionaire. They are also funded by many NGO from outside countries. Kejariwal is playing in hands of many and look her trusted Sazia & few others are not even law abiding citizens calling Muslims to be communal. I wish you had studied more of Indian politics and let me say that Modi may not be perfect is better for national development and taking country in right direction for its citizen then looters we got so far.

Prapur Apr 26, 2014 02:22am

@Mr.P Excellent answer to Sanjay

Unbeliever Apr 26, 2014 02:22am

What does it mean ?

It means that politics is an industry in India where this kinda articles create it.

Zak Apr 26, 2014 02:52am

@PShailendra don't compare Kashmir to Modi killing and abusing his own citizens. Kashmir is under international UN resolution, which India has violated by non implementation. Don't even compare the betterment of Pakistani politics to Indian. Never once did any Pakistani politician use hate against Hindus or any other minorities to gain votes. Reason, they and the people are confident in the integrity of their nation. India is not, due to the multiple nations with absolutely nothing in common, so they use hate based focus on minorities, on Muslims, on Pakistan on Bangladesh everyone but themselves. They are insecure and bankrupt.

Moody,India Apr 26, 2014 04:02am

To all my Indian Hindu brothers. Whether you support me or not, I will show you my true face after the election. I will teach them a lesson. Just wait and see.

Allaisa Apr 26, 2014 04:32am

@Ali If Muslims did not burn the train why were they convicted for complicity in the matter? You say Indian, Delhi's statistics were wrong. But were you there and counted the bodies? He was quoting official statistics. You were quoting statistics pulled out of thin air. In Samjhotha's case even though originally Muslims were blamed, in the final count the Indian Justice prevailed and the real culprits were brought to book. While appreciating the Indian Justice in this case you don't seem to doubt Indian Justice system in the case Godhra train burning when Muslims were convicted. You can not be selective.

Vishwajeet Apr 26, 2014 05:35am

The Big thing is that Modi does what he says.He don't makes false promises.

India Prince Apr 26, 2014 06:58am

@Ali Court convicted 31 Muslims in connection with burning of train..then what proof are you asking for?..though I personally believe that Modi might have turned a blind eye towards the riots he does not have any direct involvement and no court has convicted him either..bringing Samjhota express incident for justifying everything is not appropriate

rk Apr 26, 2014 07:27am


"Delhi There was no proof Muslims burned that train. Go read Time of India and the New York time articles on the riots. Remember the Samjhota train incident and who was initially blamed? This incident is no different."

Yes, indeed the Muslims indeed burned alive the Hindu pilgrims in the Godhra train. It was based on proof and evidence that 31 Muslims who did the barbaric act were convicted in a court of law after lengthy deliberations.

Danny K. Apr 26, 2014 07:49am

As I have said before, the muslim extremist/right-wingers can have their country and the right-wing/extremist hindus can have theirs, give us secular non-sectarian humans the rest of the subcontinent so we may live in peace. This comment section alone goes to show how grossly biased and hateful hindu indians are against Pakistanis and muslims and how grossly biased and hateful pakistani muslims are against hindu indians. So wouldn't it be wonderful to keep all of you from doing any real damage if we had a country in the middle like I suggested. Let's get it done! Thank you.

Danny K. Apr 26, 2014 07:50am

@Mr.P So if you agree with something that Pakistani says, you immediately become its agent? Talk about being guilty until proven innocent. If that's the kind of nation Modi followers want to build, no thank you.

Ratnivel Apr 26, 2014 08:37am

@Indian, Delhi Vadodara aint in Gujarat, huh?

Ritz Apr 26, 2014 08:49am

Not considering religion, loss of innocent lives is anyways a disgrace.

sumit Apr 26, 2014 09:53am

Let the result come..and what ever result comes Pakistan has to live with it... Aggression will not work.

K G Surendran Apr 26, 2014 12:56pm

@FIZA Really ask the Japanese, Vietnamese, Tibetans and the list just goes on and how do the Chinese treat the Muslims of Xinjiang province, never heard Pakistan even squeaking about the Muslims being murdered in the hundreds there. Just because Pakistan is overtly dependent on China does not make that country saintly, in fact far from that.

Hitesh Apr 26, 2014 01:23pm

@Ali Is there any proof that Muslim divided the sub-continent ?

Naveen Apr 26, 2014 02:41pm

@Harmony Thanks keep the offer to yu plz

Pegasus Apr 26, 2014 02:51pm

Sorry i don't agree with Sanjay Kumar that Giriraj Singh was referring to Muslims when he said opponents of Modi can go to Pak.He was referring to Pak apologists in India who also happen to be Modi baiters.

Asher Apr 26, 2014 03:47pm

Ufffffff mirchayn lagee hum ray neighbours ko ......:) please give modi a chance and the world will see that he will be the worse leader to come out of India for Indian Muslims. Mark my words

Tibet Apr 26, 2014 04:32pm

@FIZA yes the Dalai Lama agrees with your assessment of Chinese kindness.

DR RAVINDRA VATSYAYAN Apr 26, 2014 04:47pm

It would have been better if you had also discussed how Muslims are appeased in India. It is the most pampered community in post independent India. Now the majority community thinks that their magnanimity has been taken for granted because it was due to the Hindus only India is a secular country.

sarah hussaini Apr 26, 2014 05:21pm

Shiv Sena leader, Ramdas Kadam in a rally in Maharashtra attended by Modi announced that,

Feroz Apr 26, 2014 05:37pm

All these comments you point out are reprehensible and should be condemned wholeheartedly. The polarization you talk about has been fine tuned by secular parties and employed by them profitably not now, but for years. Without employing those tactics none of the regional parties in India would have become a force to reckon with. The Congress game was stolen by regional parties with significant electoral gains and these same regional parties joined the Congress Government in Delhi. Secondly, you must understand that the same tactics can be played by all, so accusing the BJP alone does not sound convincing. Your omitting the speeches of Imran Masood of the Congress or Azam Khan of the Samajwadi Party, why only you can answer. Muslims have been used by all political parties to further their electoral prospects, in ways that suits these parties. To get out of this rut Muslims must vote for whoever is the best candidate in their constituency without being herded and led. If Muslims vote en mass for any single political formation they will be cutting the ground under their feet as any social, caste or religious grouping can form a bloc too. To lose sight of the larger picture will be detrimental not just for citizens but for political parties too. There is absolutely no reason for anyone to have,raise or feed on fears in any country that grants equality through a strong Constitution.

Zak Apr 26, 2014 05:54pm

@Ratnivel youtube-'Kashmir- a torture trail' by J. Neumann. This will tell all.

Zak Apr 26, 2014 05:59pm

@Ali Indian police report conformed, the fire in the train started when a Hindu pilgrim used a small gas cooking canister , against rules, on the wooden floor of the train. That is why the train caught fire rapidly which no bomb could do. But the Hindu hateful brigade led by Modi and his assistant went into action by killing 6,000 innocent Muslim women and children. They still live in graveyards with no help from congress or BJP. Where is the recourse to justice , while the old kasoot judges , Hindu biased sit collecting salary.

Zak Apr 26, 2014 06:01pm

@Mia not 400 million, but 930million are below poverty line. A population starving.if anyone has witnessed the slums on the way from Bombay airport to the hotel, it will upset anyone to see the degradation of humans in those Indian slums the worst anyone has ever seen.

EJ Apr 26, 2014 06:56pm

Dear Sanjay, Many thanks for providing us with your unbiased insight into Indian political scene. Your thoughts and courage to speak the truth against all odds is commendable !

siddharth Apr 26, 2014 09:27pm

@Mia correct Mia 400 mil living below poweryy line. But that means 800 mil above powerty line. And good part we still don't beg.

imran Apr 26, 2014 10:58pm

@Ali I really appreciate your view which is absolutely true.

Ram Apr 27, 2014 08:23am

We will never know who really burned a Train in Godhra and it does not really matter how many hindus or Muslims died, but you cannot deny the fact both Hindus and Muslim killed each other and more number of Muslims died than hindus. What we really need to focus is how this happened and what needs to be done to prevent this in future. where does the hatred of Hindu and Muslim comes from, hindus and muslims lived together for centuries, was there any hindu muslim riots before 1947 the answer is no, if you try to answer these questions then you will know how many frankstien monsters were created

RagBag Apr 27, 2014 02:34pm

@FIZA China and its neighbours?

Are you rip-van-winkle, just awoke now?

Just go ask: Philippines., Vietnam, Japan, India!


RagBag Apr 27, 2014 02:38pm


HaHa...that is a Congress fiction report!

Dip Apr 28, 2014 01:31am

@Zak A country like Pakistan don't have any minority(so much less in no.), the political leaders need not to use any hate speech towards minority. Pakistani leaders will never get a chance to take challenges like Indian leaders do.. Considering the nature of countries, u shouldn't compare a secular country with a theocratic one...

Vish Apr 28, 2014 02:46am

@Mia That may not be the way the remaining 800 million and one of the largest middle class in the world see it. Just saying.

Vish Apr 28, 2014 02:54am


May be it will occur to you some day that there are hardly 1% of non Muslim 'votes' in a fake democracy like Pakistan. So what are you comparing? As for your 'no commonality in India' nonsense, it is providing more proof that education standards in Pakistan are as bad as the democracy.