Modi, the sham dictator
PM Narendra Modi with each passing day reminds me of Ben Kingsley's decoy Mandarin in Iron Man 3, who projected as an ultimate super-villain, is revealed to be a farcical character hiding behind a veneer of aura and evil. 7 years ago it was hard to imagine that we'd have a Prime Minister who attends photo-ops featuring grand temples and Brahminical rituals, projecting himself as a super sage statesman. His foot soldiers laud every decision of his historic, putting the very idea of history in crisis across the country. The reality is that there's not a single policy decision of Mr. Modi that sticks in public memory, except for the ones brimming with subliminal hate and enforced with sheer brute force.
Beneath all this veneer, Modi is a frail man with the cracks showing when his job requires him to deliver full accountability. Last year during the COVID crisis or this year during the second wave, his total media presence had been conspicuous. He came from the woodwork only to do some damage control, convincing the world that his acumen has saved the country. Meanwhile, thousands of people died across the country without access to hospital beds, care, and oxygen.
Modi's true power within the country comes from his party's careful control of the media. He is in essence a true media dictator, one fabricated in the minds of the people who look at the news for information. The real Modi is never available for a freewheeling conversation, in the last seven years there hasn't been a single instance of him giving an unfabricated press conference. Like the Mandarin, Mr. Modi might as well be a weakling in the hierarchy of power, whose only ploy to hold on to his position is his narcissistic cult of personality that he carefully curates.
In case of a real crisis or call for accountability, one will find him going the path of Saddam Hussein, hiding in a small cave, a weak man who will shy away from any questions. Until that moment comes we are to be afraid of Mr. Modi the influencer, whose social feeds only motivate us to “like” him.