Wednesday, 20 November 2019

Why India-Hater Indians In The US Are After Narendra Modi

Updated: September 18, 2015 10:30 am

One would have no quarrel if they just despised Modi personally. Everyone has the right to like someone or do not. But if their hatred leads them to fib and twist facts about India so as to stop its progress then one has no option but to condemn them as namak harams. Is it that they are using Modi to conceal their real motive—to slow down India’s digitalization?

Is it that they do not care that they are being hurdles in the modernisation and development of India, their hatred of Narendra Modi has stifled all regard for the country of their birth? Like the Gandhis they want poverty to persist so that they punish a big mass of people who voted ‘wrongly’ and made Modi India’s Prime Minister.

One would have no quarrel if they just despised Modi personally. Everyone has the right to like someone or do not. But if their hatred leads them to fib and twist facts about India so as to stop its progress then one has no option but to condemn them as namak harams. Is it that they are using Modi to conceal their real motive—to slow down India’s digitalization?

This is what the US patrons of most India-born academics want, and these 135 signatories through an ‘advise’ to the Silicon Valley executives to be cautious in dealing with Modi, are merely echoing his or her ‘majesty’ voice.”

“Modi’s first year in office as the Prime Minister of India includes well publicized episodes of censorship and harassment of those critical of his policies, bans and restrictions on NGOs leading to a constriction of the space of civic engagement, ongoing violations of religious freedom, and a steady impingement on the independence of the judiciary. Under Mr. Modi’s tenure as Prime Minister, academic freedom is also at risk: foreign scholars have been denied entry to India to attend international conferences…”

This is what these honourable eminent academicians wrote to Silicon Valley executives. How many facts have been twisted?

First, haven’t these ‘erudite’”heard Arnab Goswami rave and rant and Karan Thapar hiss, but they have not been ‘censured’? In fact, censorship through patronage and other inducements was practiced by the Gandhis, did anything against the Gandhis”ever appear in the media, was ever cameras pan on the crowds at Rahul Gandhi rallies, no, because the crowds would always be thin.Were any TV panel discussions ever held on how Rahul travelled abroad, who financed his trips, how many channels discuss Robert Vadra’s shenanigans?

More recently when the media was enjoying itself reporting and discussing Lalit Modi and help to him by Vasundhra Raje and Sushma, suddenly names of the Gandhis cropped up and then the whole controversy was buried. Silence in newsrooms.

One does not have to detail what happened to NGOs, who numbered one for every six Indians. Most of the NGOs have same source of funding as the ones who have been mentors of academics. The NGOs which have used funds irregularly and for disruptive objectives are the ones in trouble. If they are Jaichands here, the ‘eminent’ academics”are playing a similar role in the US.

“Such treacherous persons have throughout the country’s history wrought immense damage to security and defence of India. They have been responsible for foreign invaders to defeat the country’s rulers and helped enslaving us.

The globalisation has spread Jaichands all over the world–their number is huge in America. Some of them are being helped by various anti-India and anti-Modi elements including those who arer angry with Modi for banning conversion in Gujarat when he was chief minister there. They have been given jobs in prominent universities with fat salary packets. These academics unused to high income, most hardly deserving that kind of pay scale, were and are keen to prove their loyalty and usefulness to their mentors all the time.

But unfortunately for the anti-India group, only 135 academics signed the letter of advise to Silicon Valley executives. Against them the number of academics wanting mega deals for Digital India has touched almost 1400.”A war of words has inevitably broken out between pro and anti-Modi academics of Indian descent spread over major American universities.


Statement Of Faculty Members


As faculty who engage South Asia in our research and teaching, we write to express our concerns about the uncritical fanfare being generated over Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s visit to Silicon Valley to promote “Digital India” on September 27, 2015. Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s visit to Silicon Valley highlights the role of a country that has contributed much to the growth and development of Silicon Valley industries, and builds on this legacy in extending American business collaboration and partnerships with India. However Indian entrepreneurial success also brings with it key responsibilities and obligations with regard to the forms of e-governance envisioned by “Digital India.” We are concerned that the project’s potential for increased transparency in bureaucratic dealings with people is threatened by its lack of safeguards about privacy of information, and thus its potential for abuse. As it stands, “Digital India” seems to ignore key questions raised in India by critics concerned about the collection of personal information and the near certainty that such digital systems will be used to enhance surveillance and repress the constitutionallyprotected rights of citizens. These issues are being discussed energetically in public in India and abroad. Those who live and work in Silicon Valley have a particular responsibility to demand that the government of India factor these critical concerns into its planning for digital futures. We acknowledge that Narendra Modi, as Prime Minister of a country that has contributed much to the growth and development of Silicon Valley industries, has the right to visit the United States, and to seek American business collaboration and partnerships with India. However, as educators who pay particular attention to history, we remind Mr. Modi’s audiences of the powerful reasons for him being denied the right to enter the U.S. from 2005- 2014, for there is still an active case in Indian courts that questions his role in the Gujarat violence of 2002 when 1,000 died. Modi’s first year in office as the Prime Minister of India includes well publicized episodes of censorship and harassment of those critical of his policies, bans and restrictions on NGOs leading to a constriction of the space of civic engagement, ongoing violations of religious freedom, and a steady impingement on the independence of the judiciary. Under Mr. Modi’s tenure as Prime Minister, academic freedom is also at risk: foreign scholars have been denied entry to India to attend international conferences, there has been interference with the governance of top Indian universities and academic institutions such as the Tata Institute of Fundamental Research, the Indian Institutes of Technology and Nalanda University; as well as underqualified or incompetent key appointments made to the Indian Council of Historical Research, the Film and Television Institute of India, and the National Book Trust. A proposed bill to bring the Indian Institutes of Management under direct control of government is also worrisome. These alarming trends require that we, as educators, remain vigilant not only about modes of e-governance in India but about the political future of the country.

We urge those who lead Silicon Valley technology enterprises to be mindful of not violating their own codes of corporate responsibility when conducting business with a government which has, on several occasions already, demonstrated its disregard for human rights and civil liberties, as well as the autonomy of educational and cultural institutions.

—Signed by 135 that include the usual Modi-haters, and most women faculty members and professors of Bengal origin.


The first salvo was fired by over 100 professors “who engage South Asia in our research and teaching”, asking US technology executives to be wary of supporting Modi’s Digital India initiative when he visits Silicon Valley on September 27.

The other group hit back with “a counter petition against the anti-Modi statement given by some faculty of South Asian studies” on change.org, an American website providing a petition tool backed by nonprofits and political campaigns. Within hours the counter-petition accusing the anti-Modi group of lacking “the slightest respect for facts and for academic integrity” had gathered 1108 supporters.

“The allegation that Narendra Modi ought to be viewed with suspicion, if not disdain, by business leaders in Silicon Valley because of surveillance implications in the Digital India initiative seems a desperate ploy rather than any genuine concern for India,” the counter petition said. “Their attempt to invoke an admitted mistake on the part of the US government in denying Modi a visa as a ‘powerful signal’ is a stark case of false reasoning …and a deplorable attempt to exhume ugly lies about Modi’s attitude towards Muslims,” it said.

“The allegations that somehow academic freedom is under threat in India because of administrative changes at a couple of institutions are completely belied by the reality of what Indian citizens see in their news media every day,” the counter petition said. “On the contrary, for all their talk about assaults on academic freedom, the signatories of the anti-Modi letter have never admitted that the subject of the greatest censorship and distortion in South Asian academics in recent years has been Narendra Modi,” it said.

Rejecting “the faculty statement against Modi in its entirety,” the pro-Modi group asked the other “to introspect, change, and for once seek to earn the trust and respect of the community in whose name they have been making a living all these years.”

Responding on the Academe Blog, the anti-Modi group said that: “despite the intimidation and harassment we have received at this blog site and elsewhere” their numbers had swelled from 125 to 135. What a laugh! The group claimed that it “did not ask Silicon Valley companies not to invest in India; we asked them to consider carefully the terms of partnership with India.” Climbing down? Can’t expect them to feel embarrassed!

“The objective of our letter is to raise awareness and debate in Silicon Valley and elsewhere, of Mr. Modi’s record on key issues related to ‘Digital India,’ it said. While “technology can unleash potent changes in society, many of them positive,” the group said, it can also pose a threat to privacy that “is certainly not unique to India.”

“We caution any Digital India plan to be cognizant of these risks, and to take effective, transparent steps to protect against them.”

“Given the Modi administration’s intolerance of dissent, its poor record on freedom of expression in general, and on freedom of religion in particular”, the group asked “What does ‘Digital India’ look like.” How do these gentlemen know about intolerance of dissent. Their kind have become endangered species in India not because Modi has stifled them but because they have lost relevance. They tried to swim against the current, against the rising tide of Modi’s popularity and got exhausted son.

But in the present venom spewing the urban and young are irked because they realise these handful of academics are trying to stall India’s progress. A Digital India can help eradicate poverty which Gandhis do not like, so does acdemics. A prosperous India does not suit the mentors of most of the academics.

This clearly shows that Modi’s visit to Silicon Valley is riven by left-right row. But Modi is expected to reach out to various interest groups for the promotion of Digital India.

Has the negative campaigning of 135 academics had any impact? Activists and academics from the right of the ideological spectrum rubbished the petition, pointing out that possible online surveillance was put in place by the then IT minister Kapil Sibal during the UPA government, and the track record of supposedly secular governments when it came to communal riots was abysmal.

Amid a vigorous debate on social media on how to counter the “leftist propaganda,” some activists also charged the liberal intelligentsia of hurting India’s cause with their ceaseless campaign against the Indian prime minister despite the broad acceptance he had in the U.S and across the world in the face of their effort to stigmatise him.


Madhu Kishwar’s Response


26-09-2015

I am shocked and it is beyond belief that US academics of Indian Diaspora urged Silicon Valley to avoid dealing with Narendra Modi government. Supreme loyalty of these leftist intellectuals and NGOs may betray India but will never be namak haram with their American handlers and funders. The hand of Ford Foundation and other such donor agencies is clearly visible in the hate tract of USA academics against Modi. Letters to Silicon Valley by Indian academics in US is a blatant anti-Indian act using human rights mask—Kya takat hei America ke namak mein. Really successful Indians in USA from world of science, technology, business, enterprise almost are all planning a big welcome to Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi. US South Asian studies scholars specialise in ‘atrocity literature’ as US universities offer Indian bashing as lucrative career building strategy. Amartya Sen’s role in anti-India signature campaign by academics is visible though he did not sign in the letter. Saffronisation of Indian education is complete myth; it is a plan to malign the government.


Most security steps were put in place by UPA heading supposedly a secular and democratic government. And as said above, Online surveillance was put in place by then IT minister Kapil Sibal during the UPA government Why are then these academics worried?

As for impact on the people it is almost negligible.”This is evident from the fact that over 25000 have petitioned for invitation to the reception”of Modi.

The problem with most 135 academics accusing Modi of encroaching on rights of privacy and censorship etc, had left India two or even three decades ago and they know nothing of today’s India. The television has reached villages, most listen to discussions and form their own views.

The liberals and so-called intellectuals, all cousins of the 135 in the US, have lost the trust and link with the new middle class and the young who are 65 per cent of 127 billion population, by just criticising Modi for the last 18 months, while Modi’s some schemes have started to show results—like Jan Dhan Yojana. The majority feels these critics are upset because they are no longer patronised and have lost respect all round because the feeling is these people and their patrons forget about India’s interests when they clash with theirs’.

The 135 academics, who have been exposed just like their cousins in India, have possibly played their last ace. For they have been trumped by the more involved and intelligent aspirational people in more confident and upward rising India.

By Vijay Dutt

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