NEW DELHI -- We cannot simultaneously sell ourselves to the world as a land of pluralism, tolerance and Gandhianism, while promoting intolerance, communal hatred and minority insecurity within the country. It is time the Modi government learned they cannot promote "Make in India" abroad while condoning the propagation of "Hate in India" at home.
NEW DELHI -- Despite speaking eloquently of tolerance and accommodation, Modi has remained largely silent in the face of hate speech by BJP ministers and MPs that is alienating India's non-Hindu minorities. The BJP may preach development, but it is practicing bigotry -- a contradiction that Modi could resolve only by repudiating the forces that helped ensure his electoral victory.
NEW DELHI -- The government's honeymoon is perhaps already over and realistically it has another six to 12 months to start putting flesh on the bare-bone schemes and ideas announced this past year. If these do not eventuate, one may well witness emptier stadiums abroad and hear shriller voices at home. Ultimately, for PM Modi to sell the Incredible India story, he will need to make India credible.
What about "shared values" that Obama and Modi have flaunted? They help in dealing with a shabby world but only up to a point. The pragmatist in Modi knows that since India is China's neighbor, it is imperative to calm a neighbor's angst -- and the angst of distant neighbors -- rather than to merely revel in the effusive cordiality of a country located beyond the seven seas. The basic instincts of the two ancient civilizations might yet astound the world.
Given the difficulty in achieving a breakthrough in any of the major problem areas, why is Obama going to India? What does he hope to achieve? I think the primary objective is to reinforce the strategic nature of the relationship by finding ways to enlarge the scope for joint action that are not dependent on what happens at the transactional end.
Picture an ancient city full of intricately carved stone temples, where millions of pilgrims and ascetics come to bathe in the holy waters of the Ganges, as Hindus have done for hundreds of generations. Now, imagine that the holy water of the Ganges is being monitored by electronic sensors to detect pollution levels, and the lights illuminating the streets and houses of this city are fitted with motion sensors and calibrated to save energy.
As intensified globalization has increased the spatial distance between Indians, they are thronging towards online platforms that offer a sense of kinship and community. To Indians, both within and outside India, the Internet is an alternative public sphere to hold discourses with those who share a similarity of interests. Social networking sites also offer them a platform to assert their identity, culture and political inclination.