Book Review: Malevolent Republic: A Short History of the New India

Spearhead Opinion -23rd October 2019

Malevolent Republic: A Short History of the New India
by KS Komireddi is published by Hurst, has been brilliantly reviewed by the Guardian (UK)

“A blistering polemic exposes the country’s malaise under Narendra Modi”

The book is a brilliant expose of Modi’s India and is particularly relevant and significant after the BJP’s landslide victory in the last elections and their post-election act of annexing the disputed territory of Indian Occupied Kashmir. A decision that has sparked international outrage and led to a widely condemned 80 days and counting shut down of Kashmir and that has brought immense misery to the Kashmiris and led to renewed and dangerous hostility with Pakistan. India is also steadily undermining the cease fire on the Line of Control that divides the disputed territory of Kashmir between India and Pakistan.

Komireddy pulls no punches when he bluntly states that “The recent victory of Modi, whose formative years were spent within the austere ranks of the Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh, a vast voluntary organization dedicated to advancing a rigorous and revivalist version of Hinduism, and the BJP came despite soaring unemployment and massive distress in rural areas, savage inequality. A growth rate of 7% sounds spectacular until one factors in population growth and the massive investment needed to repair, let alone build, a serviceable infrastructure, give hundreds of millions of school leavers skills and tackle an unfolding environmental catastrophe.”

He goes on to give an insight into Modi’s India and where it is headed—““India under Modi has undergone the most total transformation since 1991 [when the economy was opened up to the free market and an astonishing boom unleashed]… the New India he has spawned… is a reflection of its progenitor: culturally arid, intellectually vacant, emotionally bruised, vain, bitter, boastful, permanently aggrieved and implacably malevolent: a make-believe land full of fudge and fakery, where savagery against religious minorities is among the therapeutic options available to a self-pitying majority frustrated by Modi’s failure to upgrade its standard of living,”

On those supporting Modi for their own gains this is what he says-“The tycoons being toasted in Delhi and Davos… chanted the virtues of democracy abroad while abetting the subversion of democracy at home” and helped to build a “New India, where possession of big cars, higher incomes, modern gadgets did not bury latent murderous impulses; it disinterred them”. The Guardian comments-‘The reference is to massive and very bloody anti-Muslim riots in Gujarat in 2002 while Modi was in charge there. The complicit media warrant several pages of excoriation, too.”

Most recently the Pakistan military invited Pakistan based foreign diplomats—including those from India—to see the situation on the Line of Control for themselves. The Indians did not accept the invitation but the others saw how the Line of Control is being exploited by India through unending cease fire violations to distract attention from the atrocities in the Indian held valley. The diplomats also saw that there were no terrorist bases or camps or ‘launch pads’—an Indian terminology virtually unknown in Pakistan and elsewhere. Another Indian invention is BATS—border action teams that are supposed to be operating in shallow forays across the LOC from Pakistan. Pakistan would have to be moronic to create launch pads and Bats or do anything to create problems for the Kashmiris being tortured and repressed by India. The fact that the international community including the UN considers Kashmir to be a disputed territory regardless of the illegal unilateral steps by India was underlined by the US official Alice Wells at a recent hearing when she called for an end to the situation in IHK that was causing hardship for the Kashmiris.

(Spearhead Analyses are collaborative efforts and not attributable to an individual)