Article Review: The Modi Mirage: Why I Fell Out of Love With India’s Reformist Prime Minister
The article titled “The Modi Mirage: Why I Fell Out of Love With India’s Reformist Prime Minister” appeared in the Foreign Affairs journal on April 11th 2019. The author of the article, Gurcharan Das, seeks to explain why he feels disillusioned by the actions of India’s Prime Minister, Narendra Modi. The Prime Minister took office after the 2014 election at a time of rampant corruption, inflation and declining economic growth. Despite Indians misgivings regarding his authoritarian nature and anti-Muslim tendencies, he was elected due to greater concern for economic growth and reduction of corruption. He had built a legacy for himself in the two areas as chief minister of Gujarat. He won the polls and gave the country high hopes which were soon dashed.
The author begins by likening Modi to Britain’s Margaret Thatcher, a symbol of hope during the country’s disillusionment. Modi had been criticized in the past for his role in the Hindu-Muslim riots in 2002 during which many Muslims were killed (Gurcharan). These evils were overshadowed by the promise of economic growth using the policy of ‘demographic dividend’. Modi was voted as he understood the country’s demographics and the need to create employment for the youth who made up almost half of India’s population.
Years later, Modi is accused of polarizing his party and the country along with it. His belief that India should be a country for Hindus is particularly alarming. He has also failed to deliver on promises of economic growth and creation of employment for the youth. He has not utilized the significant power he has in the lower house of parliament to make changes in the economy. On the bright side, inflation has declined from double digits to less than three percent. Corruption has declined under Modi’s regime and this has improved India’s ranking in the Corruption Perception Index (Gurcharan). Ownership of mobile phones and bank accounts has spread widely and online business has flourished.
The author insists that Modi created an economic crisis in November 2016 by declaring that almost 90% of the nation’s circulating cash would be rendered worthless. He relied on the civil service to implement reforms which failed. Other mistakes include introduction of too many programs at once without clear implementation formula. He went to war with Pakistan in retaliation for the killing of Indian troops in Kashmir, a move seen to be unwise by many.
The author writes an informative and balanced article that gives a clear picture of Modi’s leadership timeline to the reader, He begins by explaining the motivation behind his endorsement for Modi and the high expectations India had foe the new Prime Minister. The author explains the few successes Modi has had in his tenure and also highlights the greater number of failures and challenges. The article presents and unbiased overview of Modi and suggestions on what he could have done better. The author also cites facts and figures to back his claims, adding more credibility to the well-written and insightful piece.
Das, Gurcharan. “The Modi Mirage: Why I Fell Out of Love With India’s Reformist Prime Minister” Foreign Affairs. 11 April 2019. Retrieved from https://www.foreignaffairs.com/articles/india/2019-04-11/modi-mirage
Accessed on 15 April 2019