When it comes to narcissism no world leader is a match for Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi. What makes it his own USP is the craving to establish himself as the sole saviour of India in the annals of independent India.
His and the BJP’s initial focus was on making former prime ministers Jawaharlal Nehru and Indira Gandhi appear like villains who destroyed the country. In their enthusiasm to rewrite history, they did not even spare Mahatma Gandhi.
Yesterday, it tested the limits of tastelessness when BJP president Amit Shah called the Father of the Nation a ‘chatur baniya’ (a shrewd trader).
He is entitled to free speech but it is his and the BJP’s agenda to denigrate all past leaders that makes it questionable.
Late Chinese leader Mao Zedong is credited with having advocated “letting a hundred flowers blossom and a hundred schools of thought contend”, which was seen as a toning down of totalitarianism.
There appear to be traces of Mao in Mr Modi. But then Mao wanted more leaders to emerge and more schools of thought to flourish. Modi, in contrast, is keen on enforcing his own majoritarian ideology on the people (who are ready to lap them up) while seeking to obliterate the contributions of leaders who built India.
G Joslin Vethakumar