Global South should know how successful the Modi way is

There are those who believe government is best through an overly, top-down patronizing approach, reflecting of themselves as a superior authority. And that democracy does not really count – or at least, that much – especially when they do not get the outcome that matches their (selfish) interests. That there are those in the West […]

There are those who believe government is best through an overly, top-down patronizing approach, reflecting of themselves as a superior authority. And that democracy does not really count – or at least, that much – especially when they do not get the outcome that matches their (selfish) interests. That there are those in the West who believe one form of neo-liberal to neoconservative values is best for all. That whatever innovative and “Made in India” or for Indian policies are cultivated by the Narendra Modi government based on the overall will of the people, is questionable. And they call themselves democrats?
Those who chastise with their self-righteous ways, especially from the West continuously, too often come to a conclusion: the huge number of Indian voters who kept on giving the Prime Minister and the BJP party a clear majority in Parliament are politically wayward “children” who need to listen to what Western neo-liberal, globalist, “Big Daddy” knows is all best. Or indeed, what “Mummy” wants. Indians will not put up with such politics of condescension.
What might the critical, wildly off-track naysayers on India have missed out? Certain Washington insiders such as those writing from the “bowels” of the US State Department or NGOs, like Human Watch have too many passages hinting at too much of their navel gazing and arrogance of all knowing what democracy should look like with strong undertones of not only ignorance of the real India and its needs. But their ideas at times are of a western exceptionalism that is effectively bordering on being a new colonialism. That, again says to the South, “Come on ‘children’, Father Knows Best.” The latter was a title of a popular American TV series in the1950s that had high ratings. But even most Americans of today, or Europeans for that matter, are highly wary of such patronizing attitudes to the poorest of countries. Even, Jake Sullivan, US national security advisor to US president, Joe Biden said the president would not lecture India. In fact, Biden had heaped much praise, specifically onto Prime Minister Modi and India, in general when the PM was on a state visit to Washington.
Those critics or Indiaphobes, especially in capitals of Europe and of the ‘Five Eyes”, English speaking countries, including former colonial powers in some instances, should know this: Indians are finished with being talked down to by any of them. On this, the foreign minister, S.Jaishankar has done a formidable job in hitting the right spots in supporting the PM’s view that India will not put up with gross misinformation about it. That includes hypocrisy in preaching on democracy and human rights from the West, or “surrogates” of it from the Opposition.
So, let us look at the achievements of people power by the Modi government that the Opposition tends too conveniently to sweep away or give misinformation. Such that sometimes, worryingly is in parallel to foreign detractors like certain US-based oligarchs, hardly full democrats in themselves.
After all, there is a growing body of research such as from Princeton and Northwestern universities professors that says that the US is no longer a democracy but run by oligarchs. That former US president, Jimmy Carter described Washington as a system of bribery. India does not, therefore, want to hear heated and hypocritical, self-righteous criticism of its democracy.
Contrast this with India, which is the largest democracy in the world with few election results fully contested, unlike the US where the last one is still fully challenged as not having been carried out properly, by the leading Republican candidate for the US presidency. One whose election campaign of 2016 was besmirched politically by the US Department of Justice by DOJ’s issuing a false fact-based FISA warrant. Even President Biden says US democracy is under threat.
Yet almost year after year “friends” of Washington have to make unreservedly bizarre critiques of the state of democracy in India, without even acknowledging sufficiently the positive work in progress of the ever improving political and economic system in India. This includes the campaign against corruption, started by PM Modi, personally that is working according to surveys. (Wikipedia)
In fact, India’s highly democratic system, ensuring positive development happens simultaneously, could be a framework or even model for many developing countries that Washington should give at least a reasonable degree of approval to such a formula. With Indian GNP growth rates in recent years all the way up to 10 (or more) percent with flow through to the poor, including from many positive PM Modi led programnes, India in many ways is an envy to much of the world. And its recent accomplishments in technology, be it the governments digital connections for all, burgeoning space achievements to its advancing firms ever present in global markets explain the general optimism and pride by the vast majority of Indians in their country.
Also, very notable with regard to the last decade or so the UN has stated, “That India saw a remarkable reduction in poverty, with 415 million people exiting poverty…” Most of this tremendous accomplishment occurred during the Modi government years.The right to be able to have a well-functioning economy and employment opportunities may be supreme to the poor and struggling. Having their country rated as lacking by some smug academic in a US Ivory (Ivey League) tower, decrying vociferously that India does not promote young teenagers having the right to change their gender, for example does not resonate within the country. Or letting homeless people shoot up heroine or other drugs publicly, like in downtown, San Francisco. Nor opening borders to a neighbor the US has done with Mexico with strong human rights advocates for letting in undocumented millions of whom some are terrorists.
It should be remembered that it is hard to maintain democracy without security. For in the midst of chaos, people power often loses and usually dictator-types take over. And the notable scholar, Samuel Huntington wrote if a country does not have enough development, it is hard for democracy to flourish. Consistently, the Modi way delivers for the people of India while those sometimes far-removed and distant from the facts chastise India without end. They do it from a “Tower of Babylon” reminding of the one that came crashing down on the occupants and their sinful followers. The Global South should keep on knowing how successful the Modi way is. Indians, for their part, should maintain their excellent government, led by Prime Minister Modi’s approach of people power, unabbreviated.
Peter Dash is an educator.