People of my generation are very familiar with the name Arun Shourie. As editor of the Indian Express, he did a tremendously bold job of questioning Indira Gandhi in the days of the dreaded Emergency. Later he joined the BJP and became an MP in the Rajya Sabha. He has written a number of books which are thought-provoking. The 75 year-old intellectual spoke to Swati Chaturvedi, author of I am a Troll, a book which exposed the BJP’s digital army which abuses and harasses people online for questioning Narendra Modi and the party. Let me highlight some interesting points from the interview.
Emergency-like situation in India
Mr Shourie thinks that the Prime Minister has created a “decentralised emergency”. The country is run by mafia groups who terrorise those who criticise Modi or his policies. Gau rakshaks, for example, are not motivated by “love for the cow” but the need to dominate other people. Mr Modi’s emergency is worse than Indira Gandhi’s because the latter relied on the law machinery for imposing her will on the people while Mr Modi supports people who “act outside the law”. People’s rights are being choked to death. “... the Right to Information (RTI) is being choked, the Public Interest Litigation (PIL) is being denigrated unless it’s in your favour. The judiciary is being denigrated...”
Mr Modi is a bully
Mr Shourie says that like all bullies Mr Modi gets easily frightened. When something wrong, he immediately panics and announces some populist schemes. Like bullies, he resorts to intimidation and abuse when that suits him. “Anybody who opposes Modi is immediately embroiled in cases – like Pradeep Sharma, the [IAS] official in Gujarat, and Teesta Setalvad. A third instrument towards the same end is all Non Governmental Organisations (NGOs) to be put in the dock and then to be intimidated and troubled.”
Mr Modi and antinationals
India has been divided into them versus us by Modi and Amit Shah. “... if you look at Modi versus the cabinet, there is nobody, Modi and the party, there is no party – only Modi and Shah. Look at the choice of chief ministers – [Vijay] Rupani [of Gujarat], [Devendra] Fadnavis [of Maharashtra], [Manohar Lal] Khattar [in Haryana] – persons who do not have any base at all.” Anyone who questions them is antinational and may be asked to go to Pakistan. They might even face death threats. Arvind Kejriwal’s allegation that Mr Modi wants to kill him is not false because Mr Modi supports those who act as his hounds and will do the hunting for him.
You can read the whole interview HERE.