Swapan Dasgupta’s essay on PM Modi that NYT asked for, but refused to publish

Author and columnist Swapan Dasgupta has revealed that ‘The New York Times’ approached him in March this year for a “thought-provoking essay on the appeal of the PM’s BJP movement”. Dasgupta sent his 1,500-word essay to the NYT and was first asked to incorporate “some of the criticisms of Modi”, which he was fine with. The essay, which was sympathetic to Modi and had elaborated on the shift in the Indian establishment, was sent on April 22, says Dasgupta. However, after two days, he was told “it looks as though we won’t move forward with this. Sorry for that.”

Firstpost’ is pleased to share the essay with its readers. Here it is:

Dogmatic consistency has been the defining characteristic of the overseas India-watchers’ perception of Prime Minister Narendra Modi.

Ten years ago, on April 10, 2014, in a feeble bid to influence voting in the general election, a clutch of notables including writer Salman Rushdie, Harvard professor Homi Bhabha, artist Anish Kapoor and others, published a joint letter in a British newspaper charging Modi with “failure of moral character and political ethics”. “Were he to be elected prime minister,” they argued, “it would bode ill for India’s future as a country that cherishes the ideals of inclusion and protection for all its peoples and communities.” Adding its voice to the panic, The Economist suggested “it would be wrong for a man who has thrived on division to become prime minister of a country as fissile as India.”


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