Book exposes ‘Mann ki jhooti baat’ told by PM Modi

The Modi government\’s divisive agenda and authoritarian governance pose a significant threat to democratic principles and the inclusive fabric of society. If not curtailed, this trajectory could lead India into a precarious situation.

These concerns were articulated by multiple prominent speakers during a book launch event that took place on Saturday, August 5. The unrelenting targeting of minority groups, particularly Muslims, and political adversaries is eroding the foundations of democratic institutions. Noted author Aakar Patel, who unveiled the book titled \”Vidveshapu ‘Vishwaguru’\” (World Teacher of Hatred), emphasized the necessity of open discussions about these issues and raising awareness about the potential pitfalls that lie ahead.

The book, authored by N Venugopal, the editor of Veekshanam, is a compilation of editorials he penned over the past nine years in his Telugu journal based in Hyderabad. These editorials provide a continuous commentary on the rule of the Sangh Parivar and meticulously dissect each policy of the Modi government.

The event, hosted at the Potti Sriramulu Telugu University, was overseen by Zaheeruddin Ali Khan, the managing editor of The Siasat Daily. Several writers, intellectuals, and concerned citizens attended the event.

The book\’s cover, which juxtaposes images of Hitler and Modi, symbolizing the connection between fascist regimes, garnered attention. Khan criticized the Modi government\’s anti-minority stance and expressed dismay over events in Manipur. He cautioned against the perils of majority fundamentalism.

Zaheeruddin Ali Khan asserted that the RSS ideology would ultimately lead to the downfall of the country and that the BJP was treading on precarious ground. Despite its attempts in Karnataka, the party failed to secure a foothold. Khan praised Venugopal for his timely work and urged its translation into English and other languages.

Katyayani Vidmahe, a literary critic and former professor at Kakatiya University, offered an extensive commentary on the book. The incisive editorials lay bare the insidious confluence of corporatization, communalization, and militarization. The book thoroughly discusses a range of issues, including religious intolerance, demonetization, ghar wapsi (reconversion campaigns), the Rafale deal, CAA-NRC, love jihad, hijab controversy, the bulldozer culture, the dissolution of the Planning Commission, and media compromises. It also exposes the cozy relationship between the Modi regime and corporate interests.

Speaking at the event, Aakar Patel drew attention to the symbols of authoritarianism that have emerged in the country. He highlighted that significant portions of the state seemed to be functioning as a tyranny, especially concerning civil society, activists, and political dissent. Patel remarked that Hindutva lacked a constructive agenda and failed to address the social and economic challenges faced by Dalits and Adivasis. Its primary focus appeared to be an anti-minority agenda, particularly targeting Muslims. He pointed out the absence of Muslim representation in the ruling party at the ministerial, parliamentary, and legislative levels. Patel accused the Modi government of discriminatory practices against minorities through legal means, such as criminalizing divorce for Muslims while treating it as a civil matter for others. He stressed the importance of recognizing and confronting the harassment faced by Muslims.

Akunuri Murali, a former IAS officer and convener of the Social Democratic Forum, likened Modi to a more extreme version of Hitler and called for a separation between religion and religious politics. While acknowledging the importance of religion, Murali cautioned against the perils of using it for political gain. He criticized the BJP regime for prioritizing corporate interests over quality education and healthcare, which has led to the country being exploited.
Murali also denounced the unfounded propaganda that Hindus would become a minority by 2040, with Muslims becoming the majority community. He stressed the need to expose these baseless claims and provide people with accurate information.

Venugopal, the author of the book, attributed his motivation to Prime Minister Modi\’s radio program \”Mann ki Baat,\” which he sought to counter with the publication of his book.

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