Most of the points raised by the US against India are relevant (“What explains India getting such a public lashing from US lawmakers on the eve of Modi's visit?”). But holding Prime Minister Narendra Modi responsible for this is unfair.
Incidents of lynching, caste- or religion-based violence and the oppression of Dalits and other lower castes have been taking place in the country for a long time. That is why the Congress has been practically reduced to a regional party today. The Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh is also painted wrongly. It respects all religions. There are other fanatical Hindu groups that earn the country a bad name.
This is the first time in many years that we’ve gotten a prime minister who is working relentlessly and selflessly for the country. Don’t expect a miracle in two years. This government has been making a lot of efforts for the betterment of rural India, but the elite class doesn’t like him because their black-money flow has been curbed. – Parul Madia
There is nothing new about the US’ haranguing. The Indo-US relationship is not a one-way street; if India has so many problems, the US can stop cozying up to it. Such self-serving criticism from them is unwelcome. India too can point fingers at them about the gun culture, drug abuse, racism and several other problems. The time has come for US legislators to tone the anti-India rhetoric down and understand their own problems before sermonising. – Arun Sahgal
Excellent piece! It provides a counter-argument to the whitewashing of unfavourable opinion and the ad blitz of the BJP on its two-year anniversary. – Rajratna Jadhav
Dear US Senators, as the saying goes, those living in glass houses shouldn’t throw stones. The Western world has perpetrated some of the gravest human rights violations historically and continues to do so today, in the name of fighting terrorism or protecting their countries.
We can’t forget the little boy who came to Europe seeking refuge died on the shores. We can’t forget the many black American citizens who were killed by white police officers in the US.
People are fleeing countries where citizens' homes, schools and hospitals are destroyed by relentless bombings and drone attacks by Western powers in the name of eradicating terrorism. And then, they close their shores to migrants instead of providing them refuge. American children are not safe at their schools and colleges as there are frequent reports of shootings at campuses.
India has a large population with Hindus, Muslims, Christians, Sikhs and other religions co-existing. Yes, there are stray incidents of communal violence, but we are largely a secular country and the law protects each citizen equally. – Mukund Ramaprasad
The Indian leadership’s inadequacy in prioritising its responsibility to its people before giving into wanderlust is a real cause of concern. It needs to realise that they will be judged not on appearances but on what they can offer in real terms.
India needs better civic governance and a higher standard of living for its more than one-billion-strong population. People need to be enthused to work by building awareness about minimum wages. The tax regime and business laws need to be changed to correspond with inflation and higher costs of living. India needs to fast track its growth and create avenues for income generation.
Irrespective of the so-called verbal lashing by the USA or anyone else, it is important for the Indian leadership to set the country before projecting that it is right. – Renu Malhotra
The attitude of US Senators is condemnable. There are no slaves in India, as has been alleged. The article and the timing of this move, just before our prime minister’s India visit, is nefarious. – Jainarayan Sharma
***I’m relieved to see that US senators – even if not Obama – are finally calling it like they see it and are willing to challenge the Modi government’s claims. Within India, there have been attempts to challenge right-wing ideology and the government’s bogus development claims, crony capitalism, an unparalleled neglect of situations such as widespread drought and so on, but they definitely need more support from the world. – Neo Pachisia
***There’s nothing new about the reactions from the US. During the United Progressive Alliance’s rule, the US had denied a visa to Modi for various unconfirmed human rights violations in connection with the 2002 Gujarat riots. It was only because of the change of guard at the Centre, when the BJP won the elections, that Modi’s visa was sanctioned because it had become necessary for the US to interact with the new prime minister of India.
The latest lashing, however, indicates that the BJP’s glory days are on the wane, thanks to its Hindu majoritarian politics.
The Sangh Parivar may be gloating about the BJP’s vote share and electoral gains, but they will realise that India, especially the lower classes, has had enough of their speeches that do not translate into any measures that bring relief to citizens. – Tony Chacko