A long-term observer and analyst of the Indian political scene takes a hard look at the Narendra Modi phenomenon.
S. Nihal Singh believes that the rise of Modi marks a sharp break from more than six decades of political consensus. While Atal Behari Vajpayee’s six years of power at the head of a coalition government were broadly in line with Nehruvian philosophy except for teasing the fringes, the emergence of Modi as the leader of the Bharatiya Janata Party represents a significant shift in the working of the polity of the world’s largest democracy.
In essence, Modi and his mentor, the Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh, are seeking to change the basis on which independent India has evolved. Instead of consensual politics in a country of many religious and ethnic groups with Muslims alone constituting more than 172 million people, the new dispensation is emphasizing separateness with loud Hindu overtones. Where this will take the country is a question time will answer.
About the Author
SURENDRA NIHAL SINGH, better known as S. Nihal Singh, started his career in journalism in 1954 as an apprentice sub-editor. Over six decades he has been editor of two of India’s major newspapers, The Statesman and The Indian Express, and of Dubai’s Khaleej Times. Nihal Singh was with The Statesman as editor in New Delhi and later chief editor in Kolkata.
He was given the International Editor of the Year award by the Atlas World Press Service in New York for his role during the Emergency. Apart from parliamentary and political reporting and analysis at various levels in India, Nihal Singh has served in various parts of the world as the newspaper’s foreign correspondent. He was South-east Asia correspondent for five years based out of Singapore during the 1960’s Vietnam War, Indonesia’s confrontation with Malaysia and Singapore’s short spell as one of the states of Malaysia. He was the first Indian newspaper correspondent to be posted in Pakistan after the 1965 war and opened a bureau in Moscow before returning to India and then moving again to London.
Among Nihal Singh’s publications are his memoir Ink in My Veins: A Life in Journalism, The Yogi and the Bear: A Study of Indo–Soviet Relations and The Rise and Fall of UNESCO.