New Delhi: The Asia edition of American famous news magazine TIME has called Prime Minister Narendra Modi India’s ‘divider in chief’ and asked if India can endure five more years of his government.
Featuring Modi on the cover page for its May 20, 2019 issue, the magazine is highly critical of the Prime Minister stating that after the 2014 elections, basic tenets of the Indian states considered to be normal such as “the character of the Indian state, its founding fathers, the place of minorities and its institutions, were shown to be severely distrusted.
In the cover story titled “Can the World’s Largest Democracy Endure Another Five Years of a Modi Government?” the writer Aatish Taseer highlights about rising populism in democracies like Turkey, Brazil, Britain, the US and India.
“Of the great democracies to fall to populism, India was the first,” says the opening sentence of the article.
“Populism has given voice to a sense of grievance among majorities that is too widespread to be ignored, while at the same time bringing into being a world that is neither more just nor more appealing,” the article says.
The article compares former Prime Minister Jawaharlal Nehru's idea of secularism with the prevailing social "stress" under Modi.
“Modi’s victory was an expression of that distrust. He attacked once unassailable founding fathers, such as Nehru, then sacred state ideologies, such as Nehruvian secularism and socialism; he spoke of a “Congress-free” India; he demonstrated no desire to foster brotherly feeling between Hindus and Muslims. Most of all, his ascension showed that beneath the surface of what the elite had believed was a liberal syncretic culture, India was indeed a cauldron of religious nationalism, anti-Muslim sentiment and deep-seated caste bigotry”, the article reads.
The author also accuses Modi to be silent about 2002 Gujarat pogrom proving him to be “a friend of the mob”.
“Modi will never again represent the myriad dreams and aspirations of 2014. Then he was a messiah, ushering in a future too bright to behold, one part Hindu renaissance, one part South Korea’s economic program. Now he is merely a politician who has failed to deliver, seeking re-election. Whatever else might be said about the election, hope is off the menu”, the author explains.
The article accuses the administration of being silent on cow lynchings.
TIME's cover story on Modi come as India is heading for two remaining polling phases of Lok Sabha elections before votes are counted on May 23.