You are here: Home » Topics » » Manmohan Singh

Manmohan Singh

GALLERY

By Nivedita Menon <em>Editor's note: This piece was originally published on <a href=http://kafila.org/2014/06/28/seriously-who-writes-modis-blogs/>Kafila.</a></em> While I would promptly concur with any sane person who thinks that this is the least of our worries, I have to return to a suspicion I expressed in an earlier post - at least one of the writers of blog posts attributed to 'Narendra Modi' is someone based in the USA who basically lifts American political idiom wholesale, regardless of its relevance to the Indian situation. The posts sound absurd, or should, to any reasonably aware person, but the Indian media seems to lack even one such person in its ranks. Hence the brain-dead way in which these blogs are reported, with much enthusiasm and empathy for the PM. The first one I noticed was a blog post reported at the end of polling, in which 'Narendra Modi' said : <blockquote>Lets place people over politics, hope over despair, healing over hurting, inclusion over exclusion and development over divisiveness. It is natural for the spirit of bipartisanship to get temporarily lost in the midst of an election campaign <a href=http://www.livemint.com/Politics/b4Mn5l0FJdngUlCLhIXsIP/Narendra-Modi-says-its-time-for-healing-reviving-bipartisan.html>but now is the time to resurrect it.</a></blockquote> We'll come to those phrases I have emphasized in a minute, but first, the term 'bipartisanship' rang oddly in my ears. This is what bipartisan means: <blockquote>representing, characterized by, or including members from two parties or factions</blockquote> That's the US party system, not India. For example, Reagan is said to <a href=http://www.washingtontimes.com/news/2011/feb/3/bipartisan-spirit-part-of-reagans-legacy/?page=all>have had a bipartisan spirit</a>, reaching across the aisle to Democrats. Or take this essay <a href=http://www.economist.com/blogs/democracyinamerica/2010/12/political_language>'What is bipartisanship '?</a> in <em>The Economist</em> in a section titled Democracy in America, which discusses this term in its specific context. In India it would have to be multipartisan, for there are not just two parties. And there never has been a spirit of multipartisanship in Indian politics, where there are still real differences between parties, unlike the US, where the Republicans and the Democrats pretty much mirror each other. And of course, <a href=http://www.npr.org/blogs/itsallpolitics/2010/12/07/131881526/obama-s-message-boiled-down-people-over-politics>placing people over politics</a> was seen as Obama's message, and Hope over Despair was the <a href=http://www.visionandvalues.org/2012/02/hope-vs-despair-the-discussion-is-coming/>centre-piece of his 2008 campaign.</a> I thought okay, some ghost writer plagiarized tired cliches from American politics to represent the voice of the first Prime Minister of India born after Independence. Do I care? And then I found this one, reported yesterday, in practically every newspaper. This headline is from <a href=http://articles.economictimes.indiatimes.com/2014-06-27/news/50912104_1_prime-minister-narendra-modi-month-honeymoon-period><em>The Economic Times</em></a>: <blockquote>Narendra Modi on first month in office: No honeymoon period for my government.</blockquote> I went and read the actual blog, in which this widely quoted para appears: <blockquote>Every new Government has something that friends in the media like to call a 'honeymoon period.' Previous governments had the luxury of extending this 'honeymoon period' upto a hundred days and even beyond. Not unexpectedly <a href=http://www.narendramodi.in/a-few-thoughts-as-we-complete-a-month-in-office/> I don't have any such luxury.</a></blockquote> Again I had a feeling of deja vu and confusion. Deja vu because I was watching the reruns of <em>West Wing</em> quite religiously, and I began to feel I had slipped into one of its scripts; and confused because no government in India has ever had a honeymoon period nor does it expect one - most governments hit the ground running. As the Congress spokesperson indignantly pointed out in response to the blog, in 2004, within days of the UPA government forming government, the BJP-led opposition made such a furore after the Presidential Address that Manmohan Singh had to literally place his Motion of Thanks on the table, <a href=http://www.thehindu.com/news/national/congress-slams-modis-blog/article6156107.ece>being prevented from actually delivering it.</a>

By <strong>Nivedita Menon</strong> <em>Editor\'s note: This piece was originally published on <a href=http://kafila.org/2014/06/28/seriously-who-writes-modis-blogs/>Kafila.</a></em> While I would promptly concur with any sane person who thinks that this is the least of our worries, I have to return to a suspicion I expressed in an earlier post - at least one of the writers of blog posts attributed to \'Narendra Modi\' is someone based in the USA who basically lifts American political idiom wholesale, regardless of its relevance to the Indian situation. The posts sound absurd, or should, to any reasonably aware person, but the Indian media seems to lack even one such person in its ranks. Hence the brain-dead way in which these blogs are reported, with much enthusiasm and empathy for the PM. The first one I noticed was a blog post reported at the end of polling, in which \'Narendra Modi\' said : <blockquote>Lets place people over <strong>politics, hope over despair,</strong> healing over hurting, inclusion over exclusion and development over divisiveness. It is natural for the spirit of bipartisanship to get temporarily lost in the midst of an election campaign <a href=http://www.livemint.com/Politics/b4Mn5l0FJdngUlCLhIXsIP/Narendra-Modi-says-its-time-for-healing-reviving-bipartisan.html>but now is the time to resurrect it.</a></blockquote> We\'ll come to those phrases I have emphasized in a minute, but first, the term \'bipartisanship\' rang oddly in my ears. This is what bipartisan means: <blockquote>representing, characterized by, or including members from <strong>two</strong> parties or factions</blockquote> That\'s the US party system, not India. For example, Reagan is said to <a href=http://www.washingtontimes.com/news/2011/feb/3/bipartisan-spirit-part-of-reagans-legacy/?page=all>have had a bipartisan spirit</a>, reaching across the aisle to Democrats. Or take this essay <a href=http://www.economist.com/blogs/democracyinamerica/2010/12/political_language>\'What is bipartisanship \'?</a> in <em>The Economist</em> in a section titled Democracy in America, which discusses this term in its specific context. In India it would have to be multipartisan, for there are not just two parties. And there never has been a spirit of multipartisanship in Indian politics, where there are still real differences between parties, unlike the US, where the Republicans and the Democrats pretty much mirror each other. And of course, <a href=http://www.npr.org/blogs/itsallpolitics/2010/12/07/131881526/obama-s-message-boiled-down-people-over-politics>placing people over politics</a> was seen as Obama\'s message, and Hope over Despair was the <a href=http://www.visionandvalues.org/2012/02/hope-vs-despair-the-discussion-is-coming/>centre-piece of his 2008 campaign.</a> I thought okay, some ghost writer plagiarized tired cliches from American politics to represent the voice of the first Prime Minister of India born after Independence. Do I care? And then I found this one, reported yesterday, in practically every newspaper. This headline is from <a href=http://articles.economictimes.indiatimes.com/2014-06-27/news/50912104_1_prime-minister-narendra-modi-month-honeymoon-period><em>The Economic Times</em></a>: <blockquote>Narendra Modi on first month in office: No honeymoon period for my government.</blockquote> I went and read the actual blog, in which this widely quoted para appears: <blockquote>Every new Government has something that friends in the media like to call a \'honeymoon period.\' Previous governments had the luxury of extending this \'honeymoon period\' upto a hundred days and even beyond. Not unexpectedly <a href=http://www.narendramodi.in/a-few-thoughts-as-we-complete-a-month-in-office/> I don\'t have any such luxury.</a></blockquote> Again I had a feeling of deja vu and confusion. Deja vu because I was watching the reruns of <em>West Wing</em> quite religiously, and I began to feel I had slipped into one of its scripts; and confused because no government in India has ever had a honeymoon period nor does it expect one - most governments hit the ground running. As the Congress spokesperson indignantly pointed out in response to the blog, in 2004, within days of the UPA government forming government, the BJP-led opposition made such a furore after the Presidential Address that Manmohan Singh had to literally place his Motion of Thanks on the table, <a href=http://www.thehindu.com/news/national/congress-slams-modis-blog/article6156107.ece>being prevented from actually delivering it.</a> [caption id=attachment_1595679 align=alignleft width=380 View full gallery