The Modi government is not living up to the reputation of ‘intolerance’ it is supposed to have for those who oppose Modi. The ministry of tourism is one of the lead sponsors for the Kerala literature festival. The literature festival is filled with anti-Modi and even anti-India figures who have called him all sorts of vile names. One wonders why the ministry of tourism has extended support to an infamous gathering by wasting taxpayers money. List of sponsors includes financially sick Air India and Incredible India as per the sponsors page of the literature fest’s web page.
Infamous figures in the gathering
Arundhati Roy who has called India a Brahminical state which is oppressing Christians, Tribals, Sikhs and Muslims, is a speaker at the event. She has been widely quoted in Pakistan and has a sympathetic view of Hafiz Saeed and terrorists who struck Mumbai on 26/11. Her article titled ’26/11 was not India’s 9/11′ says :
All these years Hafiz Saeed has lived the life of a respectable man in Lahore as the head of the Jamaat-ud Daawa, which many believe is a front organization for the Lashkar-e-Taiba. He continues to recruit young boys for his own bigoted jehad with his twisted, fiery sermons. On December 11 the UN imposed sanctions on the Jammat-ud-Daawa. The Pakistani government succumbed to international pressure and put Hafiz Saeed under house arrest. Babu Bajrangi, however, is out on bail and lives the life of a respectable man in Gujarat. A couple of years after the genocide he left the VHP to join the Shiv Sena. Narendra Modi, Bajrangi’s former mentor, is still the chief minister of Gujarat. So the man who presided over the Gujarat genocide was re-elected twice and is deeply respected by India’s biggest corporate houses, Reliance and Tata.
More than a decade ago, when Narendra Modi was a nobody, a small-time RSS pracharak trying to make it as a small-time BJP functionary, I had the privilege of interviewing him along with Achyut Yagnik, whom Modi could not fortunately recognise. (Fortunately, because he knew Yagnik by name and was to later make some snide comments about his activities and columns.) It was a long, rambling interview, but it left me in no doubt that here was a classic, clinical case of a fascist. I never use the term ‘fascist’ as a term of abuse; to me, it is a diagnostic category comprising not only one’s ideological posture but also the personality traits and motivational patterns contextualising the ideology.
Not surprisingly, Ashis Nandy’s event in Kerala literature fest is about fascism.
These two examples are just a sample. The list includes the Prakash Raj, Rajdeep Sardesai and Sagarika Ghose.
Was the ministry for tourism ill-informed about the nature of the program?
The more unlikely explanation is that the ministry of tourism ill-informed about the nature of the programs and sessions at Kerala literature festival? There hundreds of dilapidated monuments in India which need attention. It would have been great if the ministry funded rejuvenation and maintenance of these monuments rather than fund a bunch of hard-line leftists who have a visceral hatred for the current prime minister and some people, who even have visceral hate for the country.