PM Modi in tears makes people question motives

Mafazah Sharafuddin
May 26, 2021

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Prime Minister Narendra Modi choking up at the plight of healthcare workers in Varanasi had brewed up a storm. It has been met with both sympathy and disbelief. The Indian public is divided on what to make of the spectacle.

It is no secret that politics is most often elaborately planned and executed. The speeches are written, the leaders are told what to say, what questions to answer, what questions to evade. That is not to say that there is no truth to what they say, but simply that they choose what truth, and how much of it, to speak.

The question then arises, how much of it is an act?

The video of the Prime Minister in tears has, predictably, gone viral. By his supporters, it has been described as an outpouring of grief. He is commented for empathizing with the terrible situation the healthcare workers are in. It is perceived as him truly caring about the Indian public.

The more skeptical of the Indian public, on the other hand, have called it a spectacle of ‘crocodile tears’. It’s been referred to as drama. Rising to the occasion as always, trolls on the internet have begun to refer to it as PMCries, an allusion to the ‘relief fund’ PMCares.

Pathos has always been the preferred tool in BJP’s arsenal. Indians are sentimental folk, and swaying the public’s emotions is a good way to gain their support. Strategically speaking, it is undoubtedly a smart move. In terms of credibility, however, it leaves much to be desired.

Some other instances of PM Modi being ‘moved to tears in the history of Indian politics may help shed some more light on the current situation. A few notable moments are after he was chosen as the leader of the parliamentary party in 2014 and during the demonetization debacle in 2016. 

The two instances are great examples of the two different kinds of scenarios that brings PM Modi to tears in public. 

When he was chosen as the leader in 2014, he was made emotional saying that he was grateful for the BJP for giving a ‘poor boy’ such an opportunity. It is an act of humanizing politicians. One of removing the professional distance maintained to give the public enough of a glance into their personal lives to make them see them as individuals rather than an amorphous blob of party ideology.  Although the PM’s current lifestyle is far from one of a ‘poor boy’, it creates a relatable figure to look up to. He goes from simply being a man in power, to an underdog who fought against circumstance to get there.  

During the time of demonetization, the public was up in arms, outraged. It was a policy that hit the middle class and poorer sections of society hard. The speech that had him in tears did not speak of how the crisis would be solved, or why it was considered appropriate to plunge the country into crisis without warning. Instead, he tearfully spoke of his sacrifices to reach that position. He said he wasn’t in it for the ‘kursi’ and requested that the public endure the hardships brought about by demonetization. .

Rahul Gandhi tweeted “No Vaccines. Lowest GDP. Highest Covid deaths...GOI’s response? PMCries.”

Amidst the struggle to find beds, oxygen and medicine, along with the mismanagement of the vaccine and social distancing measures, the pressure on the government is high. There has been some questionable decision making, like conducting the Kumbh Mela amidst the pandemic that further exacerbates the public’s skepticism towards how well the government is handling the situation. 

It is important to remember that trying to earn an emotional response happens when logic and competence have both failed. 

Comments

Ramesh Mishra
 - 
Wednesday, 2 Jun 2021

PM MODI IN TEARS: INDIA
The article authored by Mafazah Sharafuddin about the Honourable Modi's tears is to hoodwink the people that he is a genuine person who cares for the people. I welcome the scholarly article and congratulate the writer. I am a UP NRI, have studied, worked and travelled the world for over 50 years. My comment is made in good faith based on my learning, experience and my personal dealings with the UP and the Central Government. Both levels of the governments are governed by irresponsible politicians, IAS, IPS, PCS, terrorists, who are mostly unskilled, uneducated, uncivilised with a Godly attitude. People of India are the victims of the religious faith at the hands of our politicians and their executive's
mafia and their culture are fundamentally barbaric, irrational, violent and horrifying. I provide a simple example that Modi, PM and Yogi CM of UP are untrustworthy and unfit to Govern and they have no moral, as an example for the progress of civilised society. I made a parental property partition application before the civil Courts. My younger brother, his wife and children, other co-shareholders consulted advocates related to my co-shareholders, the advocates advised them that since I married a Japanese Buddhist women I was not entitled to get my shares in the parental properties. I am 75 years old with three children residing in Canada since 1975. My co-shareholders are related to an IAS in Assam, who conspired with 3, IAS, 4, PCS of UP, police, politicians and bhumafia and recruited one relative of co-shareholders late Vikas Dubey of Kanpur to murder me with a motive to steal my properties which is possessed in gun violence by my brother. I prayed to Modi and Yogi for the protection of my life and property they ignored me in a similar way as they ignored the victims of Covid-19, pandemic causing a massive death all over India. The Indian politicians and their executives were willfully negligent which negligence has ruined India. It is up to the Courts of India to judge the conduct of Modi. In my opinion India is a lawless Nation governed by Gundas and no one and no one's property is safe.
Ramesh Mishra
Victoria BC CANADA

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News Network
September 22,2021

Koppal, Sept 22: Five people have been arrested for allegedly seeking to fine a Dalit family of Rs 25,000 for "purification" of the Hanuman temple in Miyapur village in the district after their two-year-old son entered it, police said on Wednesday.

"We have arrested five people in connection with the case," the superintendent of police T Sreedhara said.

According to the official, the incident took place on September 4 and it came to light only on Monday following which a case was registered. "The Dalit family was reluctant to lodge a complaint," Sreedhara added.

Chandrashekhar belonging to the Chennadasar community wished to seek the blessings of Hanuman for his two-year-old son on his birthday on September four. "Chandrashekhar and his family members were standing outside but the boy ran inside the temple, which irked the temple priest who sought to make it an issue," they added. Some others from "upper castes" sided with the priest, and a meeting was held on September 11 where they demanded Rs 25,000 towards the expenditure for the "purification" of the temple. However, other villagers from upper castes opposed the move terming it 'harsh.'

The episode sparked a debate in the village and came to the notice of the Kushtagi police. The family was afraid to approach the police fearing backlash from sections upper caste. Some members of the Koppal district Chennadasar Mahasabha too visited the village and held meetings, leading to a tense atmosphere.

Based on a complaint by Social Welfare Department assistant director Balachandra Sanganal, the case was registered on Tuesday. In the past two days, the district administration conducted a series of public meetings to sensitise people of the village against the evil of casteism and its impact on society. Further, a grand Pooja was organised where all the communities of the village took part including Chennadasars in the presence of police.

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News Network
September 15,2021

New Delhi, Sept 15: After its recent withdrawal from the Afghanistan, the United States has hinted that it has been in talks with the government of India for using airfields in India as “staging areas” for carrying out aerial surveillance and launching attacks on terrorists in Pak-Afghan region.

President Joe Biden’s administration is “deeply engaged” with New Delhi, the US Secretary of State, Antony Blinken, said, testifying before the Foreign Affairs Committee of the House of Representatives – the lower house of the American Congress.

He was responding to Republican Party’s Representative Mark E Green, who asked if the Biden Administration had reached out to New Delhi for using “over-the-horizon” capabilities from “staging areas” in north-west India for neutralising potential threats to the United States in and around Afghanistan, in view of the collusion between the Taliban and the Inter-Services Intelligence (ISI) of Pakistan.

 “We are deeply engaged with India across the board,” Blinken replied to Green.

He, however, did not share the details of the discussion between the two governments on the US launching drones from India for keeping watch on terrorist infrastructures in Afghanistan.

“With regard to any specifics about over-the-horizon capabilities and the plans we put in place or continue to put in place, I would rather take that up in a different setting,” Blinken replied to Green.

The Taliban of late returned to power in Afghanistan through a swift military campaign across the country taking advantage of the withdrawal of the US troops.

Biden and other senior officials of his administration in Washington DC repeatedly stated over the past few weeks that the US had sent troops to Afghanistan in 2001 in response to the 9/11 terrorist attacks and to neutralise the threat posed by Osama Bin Laden and his Al Qaeda – the objectives, which had been achieved over the past two decades.

Though terrorism continued to remain a threat and spread around the world, the US no longer required to deploy a large number of soldiers overseas to combat the menace as it had now developed the “over-the-horizon” capabilities of carrying out aerial surveillance and launch drones to eliminate such threats, they argued, justifying the withdrawal of troops from Afghanistan.

But what may limit the US' capabilities of launching drone attacks on the terrorists and terror infrastructures in the region is the fact that some of the airbases it had earlier used for the purpose are no longer available to it after its withdrawal from Afghanistan.

The nearest airbases the US can use are in Qatar, Kuwait and other countries in the Gulf and far away from the Afghanistan-Pakistan region where the targets may be located – a fact Green pointed out while asking Blinken about the Biden Administration’s discussion with New Delhi.

New Delhi did not officially make any comment on Green’s query or the reply given by Blinken.

The Commander of the US Special Operations Command, General Richard D Clarke, had visited New Delhi in July and held a meeting with the Indian Army chief Gen M M Naravane.

Admiral John C Aquilino, Commander of the United States Indo-Pacific Command, also visited New Delhi and held a meeting with Chief of Defence Staff General Bipin Rawat, just about 10 days after the Taliban’s return to power in Afghanistan.

India is a “major defence partner” of the US and the two nations had inked a Logistics Exchange Memorandum of Agreement (LEMOA) in 2016, creating a framework to support each other's aircraft, ships and personnel with logistics, fuel and spares.

They also signed the Communications Compatibility and Security Agreement (COMCASA) in 2018 and the Basic Exchange and Cooperation Agreement (BECA) in 2020 to enable the exchange of geospatial information between the two countries. 

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News Network
September 21,2021

Even after the UK announced easing of travel rules related to Covid-19, travellers who received their vaccines in the UAE, India and a few other countries will be considered ‘unvaccinated’ in the UK.

According to the rules, passengers who aren’t recognised as being fully vaccinated will have to take a pre-departure test, further PCR tests on Day 2 and Day 8 of arrival, and self-isolate at their given address for 10 days upon entry.

The rules announced last week will be effective October 4. Britain said it will recognise vaccinations given in 17 more countries, including Australia, Canada, Japan, Qatar, Kuwait, Bahrain, Saudi Arabia and South Korea. It had previously recognised only shots given in the UK, the US and the European Union.

However, James Cleverly, Minister for Middle East & North Africa in the Foreign, Commonwealth & Development Office, said the UK government is finalising arrangements to include the UAE in the plans. “We are finalising arrangements with UAE to include their nationals and residents in our plans to open up to the fully vaccinated from other countries from 4 October,” he said in a tweet.

UK expats residing in the UAE responded angrily to the tweet.

“I hope you’re right. I’m a UK citizen and resident vaccinated while in Dubai, had to do severe rounds of unnecessary quarantine not to mention the cost. It breaks my heart that I feel unwelcome in my own country. It makes no sense!,” said Twitter handle @nataliebirkett.

@EnsOrenda replied to Cleverly: “UAE has a very high vaccine rate, low case rates & v.low death rates. We are obliged to wear face mask in all public places still. The UAE represents a much lower risk than many approved countries. So, it makes sense to recognise Pfizer and AZ vaccines administered from UAE too.”

Aviation analyst Alex Macheras also criticised the policy, saying it is unnecessarily complicated.

“Quite something for UK to take such a stance against so many countries vaccine rollouts…especially those countries administering the exact same vaccines as UK (Pfizer/AZ/Moderna/etc). As we’ve come to expect, UK’s latest travel policy is as unnecessarily complicated as ever."

Author WIlliam Dalrymple used harsh words to slam the policy. “Idiotic UK arrogance & stupidity- especially when Boris was arguing that the Indian AstraZeneca vaccine was the same as the UK one earlier in the Summer,” he said in a tweet.

Meanwhile, former Indian ministers Jairam Ramesh and Shashi Tharoor slammed the UK’s travel rules under which Indians vaccinated with Covishield would still be treated as unvaccinated.

Ramesh called it “smacks of racism” while Tharoor said that because of the restrictions he had even pulled out of a debate at The Cambridge Union debating society and from the launch events for the UK edition of his book, The Battle Of Belonging.

From October 4, the current traffic light system of red, amber and green countries based on levels of Covid-19 risk will be scrapped in the UK and replaced with one red list only.

The scrapping of an amber list, which is what India is currently on, means reduced cost burden for travellers — especially for the Indian diaspora vaccinated in the UK — related to compulsory PCR tests.

However, an expanded list of countries whose vaccines are recognised in England does not include India, which means that Indians vaccinated with Covishield — the Serum Institute of India produced Oxford/AstraZeneca vaccine — would still be subjected to the restrictions mandatory for those unvaccinated.

This new two-tiered system in the UK is expected to stay in place till the end of the year, with a further review planned for early in the New Year.

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