Edward Luce was FT correspondent posted in India in the early part of the new millennium. He was not favourably disposed towards the BJP-NDA regime. He wrote several articles to that effect. At that time, I was not blogging. Had blogs been popular then, I might have posted several against his articles. He made money out of his stint in India called, ‘In spite of the Gods’. Cannot really make out what he meant to convey by the title. Unsurprisingly, I had not bothered to read the book. I am told that he was (and, perhaps still is) married to an Indian.
He wrote a vile and strong piece against Modi when one of his fellow FT journalists wrote that Modi was a risk worth taking. My strongly worded (and yet restrained) letter to the FT was not published. Here it is:
Dr. V. Anantha Nageswaran
17, Haig Avenue
I was quite pleasantly surprised to read the article by Gideon Rachman in the FT that Mr. Narendra Modi was a risk worth taking. I must thank Mr. Edward Luce (Narendra Modi: India’s Jekyll and Hyde’), for restoring my ‘faith’ in Western journalists most of whom consider Bosnia ‘liberated’ and Crimea ‘annexed’.
Mr. Luce fails to mention that, within few months of the riots of February 2002, there was a Muslim terrorist attack on a famous Hindu temple in Gujarat – the Akshardam temple – in September 2002. Modi’s government ensured that there were no reprisals and revenge attacks following that act of terrorism. The incorrect use of the word, ‘pogrom’ to describe the Gujarat riots is the jewel in the crown of his toxic and unethical journalism.
Without proof and without compunction, Mr. Luce writes that tens of thousands of Muslims have fled the State. Here is something that FT readers should know: “In the local municipal elections held in February 2013, all the 24 Muslim candidates fielded by the BJP won in the Muslim-dominated town of Salaya that had been a Congress stronghold since Indian Independence. Muslims comprise 90% of the 45,000 population. State-wide trends showed that Muslim voters in the polls to 76 municipalities were distinctly pro-BJP. In Kodinar municipality, all eight Muslim BJP candidates won. The municipal results followed BJP’s impressive show in Muslim-dominated constituencies in the Assembly polls in December 2012. In 22 of 32 such seats, 30 to 67 per cent Muslims voted for BJP, even though the party did not field a single Muslim candidate for the 182-member Assembly.” (Source: http://indiatoday.intoday.in/story/gujarat-muslims-are-voting-for-narendra-modi/1/258161.html). Mr. Luce should read the article.
Indian elections have turned a harsh spotlight on the irrational and conceited prejudices and hatred of many a Western politician and commentator. All that Mr. Luce has done is to come forward and claim his rightful place in that club – a claim that he had already strongly established during the three years he spent in India early in the millennium.
Now, I have another evidence for Mr. Luce. This is a screen-shot from NDTV around noon (IST) on May 16, 2014. Pl. see the attached picture. It effectively rebuts Edward Luce.