My appearance on BBC Newsnight

Thursday 06th June 2019 05:48 EDT

I write to you after my appearance on BBC Newsnight ( where I was, in the words of the programme’s presenter, ‘defending PM Modi from allegations of sectarianism’. And yes I was – reminding the viewers that the BJP has the allegiance of the minority wing and is supported by many Muslims.

“We have a responsibility towards Hindus who are harassed and who suffer in other countries. Where will they go? India is the only place for them. Our government cannot continue to harass them. We will have to accommodate them here…As soon as we come to power at the Centre, detention camps housing Hindu migrants from Bangladesh will be done away with,” Narendra Modi said a while ago.

Is this communalism? Is this sectarianism? Is this the Hindutva in Hindustan that the liberal elite fear?

‘Blessed is he who, in the name of charity and good will, walks the weak through the valley of the darkness. For he is truly his brother's keeper and the finder of lost children. And I will strike down upon thee with great vengeance and furious anger those who attempt to poison and destroy my brothers. And you will know that I am the Lord when I lay my vengeance upon you.’

That is all Modi is saying – and that quote from the Bible only shows that the Christians have the same values.

Modi aspires to greatness. A lesson from history, I would advise him to remember the words of Diogenese and remember that true greatness seeks to save not only your own, but all who need saving. That is dharma.

First, think global: "I am not an Athenian or a Greek, but a citizen of the world" said Diogenese. That is why India’s problems are the world’s problems.

Second, give to the world: "I threw my cup away when I saw a child drinking with his hands at the trough." That is why India’s problems are the world’s problems.

Again, said Diogenese. ‘Take little from the world, it is the privilege of the gods to want nothing, and of godlike men to want little.'

I am not being dictatorial, or pious, when I say, ‘do as you wish, but please have some sense of your own culture and history’. I am not advocating the hard-line right-wing of Indian or Hindu culture, itself alien anyway to India. But all things are not equal. Some things are better than others. Some things are right and some things are wrong. And one way to judge, yes judge, is based on your history and the history of your ancestors.

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