The TIME Magazine had published a highly condemnable cover story before the Lok Sabha elections about PM Modi. The cover story labelled PM Modi as “Divider in chief”. The cover story did not really come as much of a surprise given the biases and prejudices of the international media. In fact, even the New York Times (NYT) published a highly biased and unrealistic story about PM Modi when the election results were announced. Continuing with the controversial narrative set by TIME magazine, NYT termed PM Modi as “one of the most powerful and divisive leaders India has produced in decades.”
Prime Minister Narendra Modi, one of the most powerful and divisive leaders India has produced in decades, appeared headed for another 5-year term, according to preliminary results https://t.co/YtbXFVhMcU
— The New York Times (@nytimes) May 23, 2019
However, times seem to have changed at least when it comes to TIME Magazine. In its post-poll analysis, TIME seems to have taken an about turn. An editorial was published in the Magazine carrying the headline ‘Modi Has United India Like No Prime Minister in Decades’. The editorial reflects how TIME has changed its analysis about PM Modi. The editorial asked, “How has this supposedly divisive figure not only managed to keep power but increase his levels of support?” It further elucidated, “A key factor is that Modi has managed to transcend India’s greatest fault line: the class divide”. The editorial summed up what TIME seems to have ignored when it had labeled PM Modi as “divider in chief”.
The editorial written by Manoj Ladwa delved into how the western media which has been constantly ranting about upper caste domination, missed or deliberately ignored the fact that PM Modi has emerged as a unifier courtsey his origins in backward caste. The article further explained, “Narendra Modi was born into one of India’s most disadvantaged social groups,” he explained. “In reaching the very top, he personifies the aspirational working classes and can self-identify with his country’s poorest citizens in a way that the Nehru-Gandhi political dynasty, who have led India for most of the 72 years since independence, simply cannot.” Ladwa further added, “Through socially progressive policies, he has brought many Indians, both Hindus and religious minorities, out of poverty at a faster rate than in any previous generation.” The article also stated, “Modi may have been criticised for remaining silent during incidents of social unrest. But his work has been given the thumbs up at the ballot box by the Indian voters for directly addressing the root causes of some of India’s divisions. For them, the Modi dream of a New India remains very much intact.”
It is thus, clear that TIME magazine realized how it went horribly wrong when it came to its analysis of India’s growth story under PM Modi. PM Modi’s socially progressive policies are bringing the gap across all forms of social division in India. The TIME magazine had made the error of looking at the biggest unifier as a divider, and now it seems to be making amends for it.