When Manmohan took Modi to task

Published : October 27, 2018 17:53 IST

Two book launches on October 26 brought to light the changing colours of Indian polity. Congress leader Shashi Tharoor's book The Paradoxical Prime Minister gave plenty of opportunity to political leaders of parties other than the Bharatiya Janata Party to express their disappointment with Prime Minister Narendra Modi.

Finding his range was former Prime Minister Manmohan Singh, who accused  Modi of failing the electorate and eroding voters’ faith in the institutions of Indian democracy. Manmohan Singh, himself derided for his alleged silence as Prime Minister, attacked Modi  for his deafening silence on a series of incidents of communal violence, cow vigilantism and cow lynching.

Manmohan Singh also alleged that the environment in the country’s universities and national institutions such as the CBI had been vitiated under the Modi government. “In 2014, Narendra Modi was elected 14th Prime Minister of India on the back of many lofty promises he made to the people. In the past four years, Modi ji and his government have failed the electorate and eroded the voters’ faith,” Manmohan Singh said and added that Modi was a paradoxical Prime Minister, as accurately described by Tharoor in his book.

The event was attended, among others, by P. Chidambaram and Arun Shourie, both former Union Ministers; Pavan Varma, JD(U) spokesman and former diplomat;  and Ashutosh, former leader of the AAP.

Saeed Naqvi’s book

Earlier in the day, the Hindi, Urdu and Malayalam editions of the seasoned journalist Saeed Naqvi’s much-talked-about book Being The Other: The Muslim in India were released in the presence of  former Vice President Hamid Ansari, besides Zafarul Islam Khan, Chairman, Delhi Minorities Commission, and the noted editor Om Thanvi.

“People talk of the feeling of being the ‘other’ in last three-four years. I experienced it more than 50 years ago when I set out to look for a house with my wife,” Naqvi said at the launch, adding, “Mr Modi and the present dispensation have taken it to another level.”

Pointing out how his paternal family was full of Congress supporters, while his maternal family comprised better read members who supported the Communist parties, the author referred to  the binaries of politics, of British-Indian, Hindu-Muslim, upper castes-Dalits, and said he realised being the ‘other’ only after he left his native Awadh and came to Delhi. “The people on my paternal side knew Urdu, Hindi and Braj bhasha, but stayed away from English, associating it with the British.... It was only when I came to Delhi and experienced the early difficulties of getting a house that I realised what being the ‘other’ meant.”

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