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Modi’s back

Saman Hamid
IT is like reliving the same nightmare over and over again but this time the location and the faces have changed. The people of the world could not believe when Donald Trump came to power but for the people of Pakistan Mr Modi has already given ample preview of things to come when recklessness meets nationalism all the way in 2014. The Indians have spoken and Mr Modi is yet to come out at the other end only bigger and stronger. It is akin to that slasher movie in which the very last scene promises the sequel. Unfortunately, we are in for a sequel too. No new era is complete without a homage to its glorious past, more like a recap of all the events in the glorious past. Modi and his amazing skills, in no chronological order rather they take the subjective view in terms of the magnitude of the absurdity factor, in addition to the media’s attention.
Let us begin with the most recent of the interviews, one wonders whether this acted as a feather in his cap as the world saw in awe with a “captive” audience, records broke when Mr. Modi talked about the Balakot Strikes.; “The weather suddenly turned bad. There was a doubt about whether we can strike in bad weather. During a review (of the Balakot plan), experts said what if we change the date. I had two issues in mind. One was secrecy… second, I said I have a raw vision, the clouds can benefit us too. We can escape the radar. Everyone was confused. Ultimately I said there are clouds… let’s proceed,” he told News Nation on Saturday. The quote is such a gem in ingenuity that Indians all over the world must rejoice at the level of sophistication their newly re-appointed leader exhibits. Cartoons, movies what could have influenced this pearl of wisdom is still unknown. Why stop at an interview? From the perspective of any “sane”, “informed” individual outside of India’s bubble, the whole Balakot fiasco post Pulwama attack has exposed the ailing Indian military.
The biggest debacle in a long list of many is perhaps the “demonetisation” initiative. The idea was to crack down on the black currency market and Captain Marvel announced that all 500 and 1000 Rs notes would be withdrawn from circulation, 86% of the currency was rendered useless. The populist measure apparently for the poor was anything but. The Government dodges questions about the debacle and apparently the strategy has worked as Mr Modi stands to hold the office again. The agricultural sector suffered a lot under the Modi regime. A minimum support price in the last budget plus 50% was too little too late. Wheat and pulses were imported leading to domestic price decrease. Farmer suicide rose sharply during the Modi tenure, the amendment of The Land Acquisition Act of 2013, led to forcible acquisition of farmer’s land. The farmers have led many demonstrations but all their woes have fallen on deaf ears. The Indians are known for their corrupt practices. Who can forget the infamous 2G scandal, in which Mr. A Raja and his 15 known accomplices have been known to receive kickbacks for the 2G License, this is the second most corrupt act abusing executive power according to Time Magazine. Of course this happened during the tenure of Dr. Manmohan Singh, as far as BJP is concerned they are not corrupt. The Rafale Deal tells a whole different tale. Mr. Modi changed the terms of their deal to acquire Jets from France, which were three times the price and lesser in number hence more expensive, also the selection of offset partner was also questionable.
The Kashmir issue is an ongoing crisis. Mr Modi was no different than his predecessors. Needless to say he has been one of the worst leaders in many years from the perspective of Indian medias as well. The manner in which Burhan Wani was dealt with, the pellet guns that ensued, the manner in which Kashmiri opinion was attempted to be reduced to terrorism failed blatantly. What the Modi Government did achieve was to unite the people of Pakistan against him for the cause and better yet he was able to bring Kashmir in many discussions previously successfully avoided by India. If one tries to find one word for Mr. Modi it would have to be strong emotions; hatred for Muslims, denial of rights. He signifies how the people of India are increasingly becoming polarized in their views. Mr. Modi never hid from his anti-Muslim and minority sentiments. According to Human Rights watch between May 2015 and December 2018, at least 44 people – 36 of them Muslims – were killed across 12 Indian states. As PM Imran Khan Tweeted a congratulatory note we are fighting the Indians on many fronts. It is certainly not a bed of roses for anyone in question but we need to be cautious and aggressive as the last few months have exposed Modi’s intentions and those of his vote bank towards us.
— The writer is freelance columnist based in Peshawar.