It's that man again - Financial Times boost for Modi
RIGHT-WING Indian political leader Narendra Modi, whose invitation to a London business conference caused controversy earlier this year, looks like receiving a new boost to his career. The Financial Times group has decided to confer the 'FDI Asian Personality of the Year 2009’ on the Gujarat chief minister.
Modi began his rise to political power in the RSS, a youth movement whose founders admired Adolf Hitler, and which, contrary to India's secular and tolerant tradition, believes in a nationalism based on Hindu supremacy.
Modi and his BJP party took over government in Gujarat in 2001. The following year the west Indian state suffered some of the worst inter-communal violence India had seen since partition. Ostensibly in response to the death of Hindu pilgrims in a train fire blamed on Muslim rioters (it has since been put down to accident), mobs attacked Muslim shops and homes, and more than 1,000 people were killed (some rights orgaisation estimate there was twice that number). Witnesses said the pogromists seemed organised, led by men with lists of addresswes to go to. Police had orders not to interfere.
Some 5000 families of Internally Displaced Muslims, who fled the carnage, still live in rehabilitation colonies built by NGOs as they have not been allowed to return to the villages which bear the sign of the Hindu supremacy.
The BJP and its front organisations have spread their influence - and fund-raising - among Hindu communities abroad, by posing as cultural, religious and philanthropic efforts. At the same time, Modi toured in Britain and the US addressing rallies. But after his visit to the United States, unease among both Asian Americans and human rights organisations led to the US government revoking his visa the following year. He was cited for responsibility fer violations of the 1998 International Religious Freedom Act.
But this year, amid reports of big business backing for the BJP, with some of India's biggest industrialists singing the praises of Modi and his government in Gujarat, he was invited to attend a major investment conference at the Marriott hotel in Grosvenor Square, in May. There was talk of him being in line to be prime minister of India if the BJP did well in elections, and it was feared he would use the visit to London both to boost his standing here and obtain a new visa for the USA.
In the end the BJP did not do that well, and the London business conference was cancelled.
But now Narendra Modi is being given another chance to boost his ambitions thanks to the prestigious Financial Times.. For those of us who remember the old advert where someone was asked their opinion on some development and, not having he newspaper to inform them replied "No FT - no comment", it would seem the new slogan might be "thousands killed or injured by mob in name of religion?" "FT -no comment"
The FT Group, is part of Pearson PLC, a London headquartered media conglomerate. The current CEO is Marjorie Scardino, she serves on the board of MacArthur Foundation, which ironically gives out peace grants.
The award in question has been instituted by the FDI Magazine [glossy, 15,000 circulation], which is part of the FT Group. It is a fortnightly and focuses on the business of globalisation.
The panel which chose Modi include the editor at FDI Mag -- Courtney Fingar, e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org/ Tel: +44 (0) 20 7775 6365].
Some people in India are also sending letters of protest to the British High Commissioner. ( Emailommissioner (Email: email@example.com) and send copies to firstname.lastname@example.org or write to her directly.
There seems no harm in protesting to the Financial Times in London. There was a time when that business publication contained a nest of left-wing journalists. It used to be said that the capitalists themselves wanted to know what was happening in the world, so would leave the lies and right-wing propaganda to the tabloids for the deluded masses. But if the FT can turn a blind eye to the bloodshed that lies behind a man like Narendra Modi's political ambition then it has degenerated.