Narendra Modi loves any accolades that come from the West. Ever since the wicked USA cancelled his visa, he has been eagerly waiting for a good word or two from any quarter in America or Europe. And if such good words are not forthcoming, he does not mind his Bhakts (followers) faking them. Recently, a fake endorsement purportedly from Wikileaks founder Julian Assange stating “America fears Modi because they know that he is incorruptible” was being circulated by BJP’s official volunteers till it was pointed out that Assange had said no such thing much to the embarrassment of BJP. However, Modi did have a moment of delirious happiness when his picture appeared on the Time Magazine Cover page (26 March, 2012) along with the article “Modi means business”. This was promptly splashed on Modi’s website.
Modi’s website also ran an opinion poll and posed a question whether “West has finally woken to Gujaratâ€™s model of development”
It has been 2 years since that article in Time Magazine and despite a frenzied propaganda blitz over his nomination as the “Prime Ministerial Candidate”, the ‘firangi’ accolades have dried up instead of increasing the pitch. So far as the Foreign media is concerned, it has become more critical in examining the score card of Modi, now that he has laid his claim for the top office of India. While the Foreign media punches gigantic holes in Modi’s Gujarat Model, Indian Media has been largely siding with Modi in spreading the myth of “Gujarat Model of Development”.
In just one month starting February 2014, three articles have appeared in three leading media outlets of Europe and USA questioning the objective basis of the “Gujarat Model” being a successful one and whether it is a model capable of pulling up the sagging Indian economy. Time magazine has actually questioned whether Modi’s Governance has given equal justice to the Muslims after the massacre they faced in 2002. A few extracts from three articles appearing in Guardian, Time Magazine and Forbes would help understanding the current psyche of Foreign media vis-a-vis the Modi Model:
The BJP candidate may be leading India’s prime ministerial election polls, but his record, while good, doesn’t justify the hype… There are two problems with this argument. First, there are other states that have achieved this, but no one is talking about the Maharashtra or Haryana model of development. Second, Gujarat’s growth rate was higher than the all-India level in the 1980s and 1990s as well… Gujarat’s growth rate in the 1990s was 4.8%, compared to the national average of 3.7%; in the 2000s it was 6.9% compared to the national average of 5.6%. The difference between Gujarat’s growth rate and the national average increased marginally, from 1.1 percentage points to 1.3 percentage points. A good performance? Yes. Justifying the hype? No. … Contrast this with the performance of Bihar, the state that has been in the bottom of the rankings in terms of per capita income throughout: its growth rate was 2.7 percentage points below the national average in the 1990s, but 1.3 percentage points higher in the 2000s. So the prize for the most dramatic turnaround in the 2000s would go to Bihar.
Officials reject claims that Muslims, who make up about 9% of the stateâ€™s 60 million people, have been neglected. Why separate by religion? says Pratik Doshi, a Modi aide.. ..Adds A.K. Sharma, a close lieutenant of the chief minister; The Muslim population in Gujarat is doing as well as the Hindu community. Thatâ€™s only partly true, according to the 2006 Sachar Committee Report, a paper commissioned by New Delhi on the status of Muslims in India. It found, for instance, the rate of poverty among rural Muslims in Gujarat was lower than that of Hindus, but in urban areas it was double.
..In Ghoda, a village a few hoursâ€™drive from Ahmedabad, a young woman, Shakari Ben, sits under the roof of her red-mud house, its walls scorched black from the cooking fire. Small chickens peck at nothing on the mud floor. Ben produces a stack of five round chapatis and a 10-kg sack of flour. This is all the food we have in the house right now, she says. Sure, there is an electricity line running to her lean-to home, but her two boys, who stick to her side sucking their thumbs, both have bellies that look bloated, a textbook symptom of malnutrition.
Adani has, over the years, leased 7,350 hectaresÂ€ â€œmuch of which he got from 2005 onwardsÂ€â€œ from the government in an area called Mundra in the Gulf of Kutch in Gujarat. FORBES ASIA has copies of the agreements that show he got the 30-year, renewable leases for as little as one U.S. cent a square meter (the rate maxed out at 45 cents a square meter). He in turn has sublet this land to other companies, including state-owned Indian Oil Co., for as much as $11 a square meter. Between 2005 and 2007 at least 1,200 hectares of grazing land was taken away from villagers.
For miles at a stretch the chimneys of the two power plants are visible against the horizon. Gajendra Sinh Jadeja, the 28-year-old head of Navinal village, says the Gujarat government took some 930,770 square meters of his villageâ€™s grazing land for Adani,s SEZ. Adani got it for 19 cents a square meterâ€¦Traversing a couple of nearby barren fields, Jadeja says he had been growing alternately cotton, millet and castor there. Now patches of white salt are easily visible across stretches of the fields and have become a common sight across farms. The saline water ruined the soil, and the poor production now is just not worth it, he says.
The tenor of all the three articles published in a period of just one month is very clear. None of the authors have swallowed the myth of Gujarat Model. In fact, they have questioned the integrity of the Governance noting the huge pieces of land given away to Adanis and the damage to the villagers and environment. Guardian has questioned the very basis of the claim of Gujarat Model being a superior model. When people far far away can see the Truth Of Gujarat, how come our erudite Indian Media cannot discern the truth?