Modi Cannot Fix India: Out Of Quagmire Of Poverty, Hunger, Civic Mess, Poor Quality Of Life
08 January 2015
By Saeed Qureshi
The euphoria that erupted following the victory of BJP
in the recent Indian general elections and the
appointment of Narendra Modi as the Prime Minister of
India seems to be abating. The defeat of BJP in the
Kashmir Valley elections is a potent indicator that
BJP could suffer similar setbacks in the time to come.
The monumental backlash that has been witnessed from
the Muslims and moderate Hindus alike on the move of
forcibly converting the Muslims and the Christians to
Hinduism is yet another devastating stunner that can
whip up a gigantic upheaval to debase Modi and his
Narendra Modi is a Hindu Nationalist and a member of
the Rashtriya Swayyamsevak Sangh (RSS). Since his
election, the right wing hard-line groups Sangh
Parivar (an umbrella of organizations), are
aggressively championing the concept of Hindutva.
The Sangh Parivar comprises organizations such as the
Rashtriya Swayyamsevak Sangh (RSS), Bharatiya Janata
Party, Vishwa Hindu Parishad, Bajrang Dal and others.
These right wing extremist groups have become overly
active and are openly calling for the transformation
of India into a Hindu nation state or Hindutva through
conversions by force or enticements.
Modi remained the chief minister of Gujarat from
October 2001 to May 2014. He should be given credit
for various far reaching reforms that greatly
streamlined the governance and markedly improved
quality of life in that state. However the Gujarat
riots of 2002 has blemished Modi and his party BJP for
mass killings of the Muslims.
Despite India's democratic and secular credentials,
patently, she has the image of a Hindu state. Lately,
a junior minister Sadhvi Niranjan Jyoti told a public
rally in New Delhi that those who do not follow the
Hindu god Ram were "bastards". Ever since the
ascension of BJG to power, several conversions have
taken place forcing the Christians and the Muslims to
In the southern Indian state of Kerala, 30 Christians
were converted to Hinduism. In the northern state of
Uttar Pradesh, around 100 Muslims converted to
Hinduism. This forcible conversion of minority
population continues by the Rashtriya Swayam Sevak Dal
and the members of the Vishwa Hindu Parishad, or World
India suffers from a host of endemic problems that
cannot be fixed so soon not even by Prime Minister
Modi attributed to be an economic maverick. The most
outstanding of these problems are colossally galloping
population, high rate of corruption, poor and woefully
inadequate and ramshackle socio-civic infrastructure.
The other bottlenecks hampering rapid or sustained
advancement of India are religious, racial and caste
based deep and unbridgeable prejudices and discords.
There are other grave issue that by any measure cannot
be fruitfully and expeditiously addressed by Modi in
his term if office. Some of these are inadequate
education facilities, environmental degradation,
grinding poverty, woeful health conditions and the
burgeoning crimes like rape, dowry deaths, and flurry
of suicides, sexism and domestic violence.
The main reason behind the rampant poverty is the
mushrooming population that of late stands at 1.27
billion. The pace of social and economic development
remains far behind and out of sync with the scale at
which the population is growing. Some 456 million
people live below the international poverty line.
Around 236 million make less than a paltry amount of
Rs. 20 per day.
According to available statistics, the sanitation and
public health are even worse in India than many of the
African countries. It is reported that barring 31% of
population utilizing reasonable sanitation facilities,
the rest of the population, more-often-than-not,
defecates in public or in rivers. It has been further
estimated that every ten deaths in India is linked to
the poor sanitation.
One of the odious curses in India is the debt bondage
mostly practiced in the agricultural areas. The
farmers take small loans from the rich cartels and
individuals and keep paying interest on the loans that
even exceeds 100% of the loan per year.
The economy of India cannot be adjudged as healthy or
robust because India has one of the largest budget
deficits in the developing world. Excluding subsidies
it amounts to nearly 8% of its GDP.
India deems China as the real contender or a matching
rival or model for economic development. China is now
emerging as number one economy for its miraculous
economic achievements even beating United States. But
India, by any stretch of imagination, cannot reach
even half way the economic miracle of China for very
In China it is the one party system and the decisions
made cannot be challenged by rival political parties.
The decisions are implemented within the stipulated
time. Moreover, China doesn't have the level of
corruption that one can see in developing nations like
India and Pakistan. The projects and plans are
completed in the given time frame under strict
conditions of quality and durability.
India is possessed by a deep seated culture of
corruption, poor infrastructure, paucity of funds;
abominable caste culture, bureaucratic tangles and
political bickering cannot attain the dizzying heights
scaled by the Peoples' Republic of China in economic,
military social, health, education and other domains
of human and social development.
In India another most daunting problem that keeps
wrecking the atmosphere of internal social peace for a
rapid and sustained multi-dimensional progress and
rapid uplift, are scores of domestic insurgencies
either for separation from the federation or
attainment of autonomy. There are roughly 30 to 40
insurgencies that pose a constant threat to the unity
of the federation of India. These cause human
casualties on both sides and there seems to be no let
up in their anti India activities.
The mighty Indian army remains busy in combating these
insurgencies posing dire challenges to the territorial
integrity of India at a huge cost of money and the
hassle of deployments. Let us take stock of the three
main insurgencies and how these are operating
For one, the Naxalite Maoist insurgency apace now for
decades has entrenched itself into the rural terrain
of Central Asia. In 2006 Prime Minister Manmohan Singh
called the Naxalite insurgency as the "single biggest
internal security challenge ever faced by our country"
There is no respite in the casualties between the
Indian army and the Naxalite rebels. The Naxalite
operate in 60 districts in India with epicenter in
Chhattisgarh. It claims to be supported by the poorest
of the rural population.
"The Naxalite–Maoist insurgency gained international
media attention after the 2013 Naxal attack in Darbha
Valley resulted in the deaths of around 24 Indian
National Congress leaders including the former state
minister Mahendra Karma and the Chhattisgarh Congress
chief Nand Kumar Patel "(Wikipedia)
In the part of Jammu and Kashmir valley under her
control, India has kept a large chunk of army for
decades now. The Indian controlled Kashmir erupts in
periodic agitations and protests marches for
liberation and against the grave human right
violations perpetrated by the Indian security forces
to suppress Kashmiris.
Reportedly, since 1989 in Indian occupied Kashmir more
than 68,000 Kashmiris have been killed, maimed and
disappeared. The Indian army also gets its portion of
casualties at the hand of the rebels. A non-binding
United Nations Security Council 47 adopted on April
21, 1948, calls for a plebiscite to decide the fate of
Kashmir that India has been thwarting.
Similarly Sikhs may not forget the 1984 massacre in
Golden Temple and then another one after the murder of
the then prime minister Indira Gandhi the same year.
The Sikh separation movements such as Akali Dal may
have gone dormant after the huge crackdown that
followed the assassination of Indira Gandhi.
Nevertheless, the demand for Khalistan, a separate
home land, for Sikhs is still alive.
Besides the internal insurgencies India has
territorial disputes with all its neighbors i.e.,
China, Nepal, Pakistan, Bangladesh and Sri Lanka.
These border disputes remain to be settled between
India and all her neighbors. Over the disputed
territory of Jammu and Kashmir, there have been three
wars between India and Pakistan. Apart from Kashmir,
both India and Pakistan have contentious claims over
Sir Creek, Siachen Glacier and Kargil.
With China India fought a brief war in 1962. "The
cause of the war was a dispute over the sovereignty of
the widely separated Aksai Chin and Arunachal Pradesh
border regions. In February this year, Modi warned
China to drop its "territorial mindset" and said his
"country's weakness had encouraged China's army to
enter Indian Territory last year".
The fundamental question is, that in the face of these
colossal internal and external issues threats, would
it be possible for Prime Minister Modi to move a magic
wand and take India out of quagmire of poverty,
hunger, civic mess, poor quality of life and usher her
into the fold of developed nations." It seems
improbable during his five years term in the office.
He may not even return to power in the next elections.
The writer is a senior journalist, former editor of
Diplomatic Times and a former diplomat. This and other
articles by the writer can also be read at his blog