BJP leadership’s anti-cosmopolitanism

EducationWorld November 2022 | Anniversary Essay

There’s paranoia driving the mindset of BJP leaders. Overtly directed at religious minorities, its animosity is equally if not more, focused on westernised, English speaking segments of Indian society, writes Rajiv Desai

HERE’S A TRUE STORY: A DELEGATION OF Christians called on Narendra Modi soon after he assumed the office of prime minister in 2014, to seek reassurance that the new government would respect minority communities. A member of the delegation recalls encountering unwarranted hostility. Modi told him that Christians speak, read, and write in English which would enable them to plant stories vilifying the new government in international media.

The comment reveals the paranoia driving the mindset of BJP leaders. Overtly directed at religious minorities, its animosity is equally, if not more, focussed on westernised, English-speaking segments of Indian society. There’s a pervasive sense of inadequacy that stems from the BJP leadership’s difficulty with the language and the cosmopolitan culture it has engendered.

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