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Mainstream, VOL 61 No 5, January 21 & January 28, 2023

Will the BBC serial and Hindenburg disclosure affect Modi’s G20 profile? | Faraz Ahmad

Saturday 21 January 2023, by Faraz Ahmad


Much as Modi Bhakts and the Godi media may try to dismiss the two-part BBC serial on ‘Modi question’ as nothing more than condescending western propaganda against the Indian Prime Minister and implicit western interference in sovereign India’s internal affairs, fact of the matter, it seems to have woken up Hindu Hriday Samrat, Narendrabhai Damodardas Modi to repair his profile for the foreign audience.

The BBC serial, most of which is irrefutable and fully substantiated by instances it has mentioned, was released to Indian viewers on January 19 and within a few hours, it was blocked by the Government, presumably to save Modi from embarrassment. But being all the time on alert on any development relating to him, his actions, and his Sanghi Parivar, Modi most likely got the wind of it much in advance.

This is evident from Modi’s speech in the BJP national executive on January 16-17 in Delhi wherein he asked his men not to bother about movies. The Sanghis have been trolling Shahrukh Khan and Deepika Padukone starring latest blockbuster ‘Pathaan’ and agitating violently protesting over some song ‘Besharam rang’ which by the way I have not heard so far.

Speaking like a sober statesman, he also asked the BJP cadre to stop taking for granted the presumed victory of the BJP in the 2024 general elections and work for everyone,. The Govt. also pulled out from woodworks the current Vice-chancellor of Aligarh Muslim University (AMU) to claim that Muslims in Gujarat and elsewhere in India have long forgotten the Gujarat pogrom of 2002, and are falling over each other to kiss Modi’s hand. Dr Tariq Mansoor is a medical practitioner and former Principal of Jawahar Lal Nehru Medical College of AMU. One doesn’t recall Dr. Mansoor writing on socio-politico-economic issues ever earlier. It is evident that Modi needed to refurbish his image by using a Muslim name to put out ‘All is Well” sign for the consumption of BBC viewers.

And yet the saffron brigade feared the BBC serials so much that in JNU the authorities enforced a ban on its viewing, caused a blackout and the Modi bhakts stoned the viewers. In Jamia Millia Islamia the police spirited away students in police vans and released them only two days later, to prevent viewing the BBC serial on Modi. Same was the story in many other universities and institutions throughout the country, And the students were not just Muslims. In fact in most places it was the Students’ Federation of India (SFI), the student wing of the CPI-M, which organised this viewing. So not just Muslims, the people of India have not forgotten Gujarat 2002. Just as none have forgotten the killing of poor innocent Sikhs in October-November, 1984.

So nothing has changed, really speaking. That little comment was merely to strengthen his admirers in the USA and western Europe who could cite Modi’s speech. Remember how soon after Modi was banned from entering the USA, post the 2002 pogrom. In the run-up to the 2012 assembly elections of his state, the wily Modi who had been setting his site on the final summit of the Prime Ministership started his ‘Sadbhavna mission’ in 2011 to showcase to the world how Modi should now be acceptable to even his earlier critics and he considerably succeeded in this with the media, mainly visual chanting Modi, Modi and corrupt UPA in the same breath. So this one too appears to be largely for the consumption of his foreign critics.

But the moot question remains what prompted the BBC to release this serial on Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi now, 21 years later exposing his communal Hindutva mindset? Curiously almost accompanying this serial, clearly denting the image of our very own ‘Vishwaguru’ the Hindu Hriday Samrat it is from the United States of America USA), nee with the New York Stock Exchange connection that a report by Hindenburg Research was released on January 24, charging Modi’s closest financial ally and presumably his prime financer for his political expeditions. Hindenburg has charged Gautam Adani’s conglomerate of companies’ “of stock manipulation and accounting fraud, ” a serious charge which it threatened to take to the US courts.

The statement issued by Hindenburg Research on January 24 stated, “Today we reveal the findings of our 2-year investigation, presenting evidence that the …Adani Group has engaged in a brazen stock manipulation and accounting fraud scheme over the course of decades.”

I doubt BBC or Hindenburg care whether Modi returns for a third term in 2024, which so far anyway looks very nearly certain, and therefore it is not convincing enough to imagine that they released these serials and Hindenburg allegations to influence 2024 general elections. Then what? Modi and the Sanghis have been going to town over the presidentship of G20 as if this is the first time such a summit has been held. It is held every year and most member countries preside over the group by turn. Besides it primarily concerns financial matters and therefore attended mostly by the Finance Ministers along with the ambassadors and other secretarial staff.

Surely as chairman Modi is entitled to and is planning to address the G 20 conference. This scam and the BBC serial could cause a setback to Modi’s international profile. So what axe has the West to grind against India? Only one, to my mind. The US-led West has been pressing upon India to side with it in its campaign against Russia on the Ukrainian question. But Modi, purely in Indian interest has been resisting that pressure. And for good reason. Thanks to others imposing an embargo on Russia, India is benefitting hugely from it. While the crude prices are soaring in the international market, we have been getting our oil from Russia dirt cheap, and that too in Rupee-Rouble trade. Despite that, we are facing a huge financial crisis and inflation. So it is in our interest that we are not ready to stand with the West against Russia. The West is visibly annoyed and upset with Modi whom till the other day they perceived as their dependable ally.

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