The Incendiary Appeal of Demagoguery in Our Time

Before Trump’s election in America exposed the failures of democracy, they had been revealed in Modi’s India.

Comments: 153

  1. Wow! This is the type of article I would have expected to read in Ramparts or the Nation years ago. Potent, accurate and angry left-wing analysis.

    Is the NY Times finally getting it?

  2. The Times would be well advised to read Jawaharlal Nehru's Discovery of India. It is powerful in propounding a progressive thought process devoid of global notions of left and right.

  3. @Philip S. Wenz
    Agree! This article reflects real and enlightened liberalism in its original sense, seeking some truths behind the thick veils of right-wing demagoguery. Keep it up, NYT!

  4. There are no similarities between Modi and Trump. The author is just venting his personal bias against a politician from a distant part of the world which most people will not know much about, giving the author a free hand to slander away at will without regard to facts. Read the comments section for people from India, who will tell you the truth.

  5. I didn’t know that Indians were so impressed with the size of hands. Interesting. My congratulations to Mr. Modi.

    If the thesis is that demagoguery is alive and well, then … I get it. But it seems there are other agendas.

    India’s ”founding ideals of egalitarian and collective welfare” resulted for decades in perpetuation of a desperate poverty seen in few other places on Earth, and at a time when much of the planet’s human population was making immense strides in building lives beyond bare-sufficiency. It was only when American (and, yes, Thatcher re-energized British – despite the unwillingness of Indians to admit it) ideas infected this poor host that a crust of a middle class began to develop, like kindling catching fire to eventually ignite more substantial fuel. And, yes, the sensible world congratulated them on their good judgment.

    India’s “inequality” is measurably less today after that market explosion than it was before, right back to its founding. This can only be denied by people who know nothing of Indians or India – or who have ideological agendas that don’t find reality compelling.

    Those who have most effectively harnessed the power of resentment in politics are the statists and collectivists for whom Mr. Mishra appears to hold such reverence. Mr. Modi may have a track record of substantial ethnic prejudice, but Donald Trump does not. And his actions to exacerbate resentment were AT LEAST equaled by Hillary Clinton, Bernie Sanders and Elizabeth Warren.

  6. "Mr. Modi may have a track record of substantial ethnic prejudice, but Donald Trump does not. And his actions to exacerbate resentment were AT LEAST equaled by Hillary Clinton, Bernie Sanders and Elizabeth Warren."

    Richard - classic trumpian tactics, projecting his faults onto others. Never mind his record of racial discrimination as a landlord, he said and dog-whistled plenty in the course of his campaign.

    It's no accident that he's the only major presidential candidate in my memory to be endorsed by the Klan; they know prejudice when they see it, even if you don't - or won't.

  7. mancuroc:

    David Duke and the KKK's official newspaper endorsed Trump, but Ku Klux Klan Grand Dragon Will Quigg Endorsed Hillary Clinton for President back in March. Even odder, the NAACP endorsed George Wallace back in the day.

    The Klan endorsed Reagan in 1980 and 1984, who issued a dramatic condemnation of them each time (as Trump should now). But, then, Robert Byrd, the storied Democratic senator from WV was a former Klan member and served until 2010 -- he died as president pro tem of the U.S. Senate.

    Any prejudice Trump holds is passive and generational -- as a GENERAL manner, he's not into identity politics. But to a lot on the left, those who don't spend every waking moment thinking about Christ risen aren't Christians.

  8. "Mr. Modi may have a track record of substantial ethnic prejudice, but Donald Trump does not."

    Pull the other one.

  9. There are some interesting coincident events occurring here. Three centuries ago, India and China had the two largest GDPs in the world. The British Empire mercantilists demolished the Indian economy by converting it to a virtual slave state, serving the new mechanized textile industry centered in Manchester. They similarly weakened and subjugated the Chinese, forcing opium as a trade good into their cities.

    Today, Brexit marks the end of Great Britain as a major financial center, the last legacy of Empire.

    Today, China and India are ascendant in the industrial revolution started by the British. Immigrants from both countries are vital participants in the emerging Technology Revolution worldwide but especially in the US.

    The fortunes of large countries ebb and flood like the tides. The US has largely avoided mercantilist policy during the Obama Administration, favoring global economic cooperation and partnerships.

    With Trump, it appears there are no guiding principles other than the America First isolationism we tried in the 1930s as Hitler was building his war machine.

  10. You should read the article. India's "ascent" is spotty and based on unsustainable resources and practices. Modi comes from a much more dangerous background in ethnic scapegoating - the RSS, a quasi-totalitarian outfit on the fringes of Hindu nationalism. It would be as if Trump were openly aligned with a white nationalist organization.

  11. For the follow up article, read the script of the Hunger Games.

    We are witnessing the decline of liberal democracy all over the globe. It is being replaced by the strongman form of government. There is another name for the leader. The leader is more accurately called the tribal chief.

    Large human societies have always been structured around a chief, or king, or some kind of despot. Only during the past few centuries has this thing we call a democratic republic been in widespread use. That means our minds have evolved under the strongman form of government. The reason I say that the chiefdom is resurgent is because all of these despots use ethnic purity as the basis of their campaigns. By manipulating the public in this manner, they have been able to take over without firing a shot. They all got elected.

    In the case of America, the door to despotism was blown open by the failure of government to function. Republican obstructionism paved the way for the rejection of collective governance which is being replaced with the more efficient chiefdom.

    To seal the deal and placate the intelligentsia, we have developed "think tanks" to provide some kind of argumentative rational for the loss of our freedoms. The public then buys it, and goes wild for the despot who only enriches the ruling class at the expense of the lower classes. They in turn, are told its all for their own good.

    So, which weapons do you want to choose when you walk into the arena?

  12. Bruce,

    "The Hunger Games" was widely and enthusiastically received here in the opinion section of the NYT. Few if any of the Liberal Commenters saw anything wrong with the movie's premise. Commenters who would never let their children touch a toy gun sent them off to see these terrible films.

    That said our current President, when he couldn't have things all his own way simply announced "I have a pen and a phone!". The courts, including the Supreme Court routinely found him having exceeded his authority. These mostly unanimous censures by the courts were greeted at the White House with disdain! This has gone on for the last two years until it was stopped last Tuesday at the ballot box!

    The Senate is elected at large directly by the voters in each state there is nothing in the Construction that makes it inferior to the Executive branch. Those voters returned the Republican Congress Tuesday and turned out rule by "the pen and the phone"! That seems to be a victory for the rule of law. The Despot has been turned out! True, he was your Despot but you lost!

    You and those here need to get over it!

  13. CNN used the Empire State Building as the backdrop for announcing states and the winner. I commented how very Hunger Games it was. So scary.

  14. From afar Mr. Modi's PR appeal seems promising. But beneath the slick shiny veneer is apparently a vile, self-dealing and self-seeking power monger. With Trump vaulted into public office by less than half of eligible U.S. voters--we now get to suffer with our own home-grown version. India we share your grief.

  15. Will you be willing to consider, a possible fact, that India is not in grief?

    No corruption scandal in nearly 3 years under PM Modi. Economy is moving forward. Demonetisation has led to a 50 Billion dollar deposit in bank accounts in 3 days. National Level Toilet, Sanitation and Cleanliness drive. Bank accounts for the poor.

    I mean, I know you don't like the guy, PM Modi, but atleast we can be objective. If we really are Liberals!

  16. I don't know where you get your news from other reading from this one sided leftist barb.

  17. India has been surging under Modi and doing very well. He has invested in infrastructure, education, women's rights, and cleanliness. He is also dismantling the opaque power structures of past that have allowed the Oxford-Harvard-Yale educated 'liberals' to basically treat the national treasury as their personal source of income. Your grief for India is well-meant, but misplaced.

  18. Another link in the chain of demagogues around the world was forged in Russia by American economists. After the Soviet Union collapsed, Chicago-school types flooded into the country, promoting a cold shower of raw capitalism. It was too much for the fragile democracy. It fueled the rise of a few oligarchs (mostly former high communist officials who magically became wealthy capitalists) amid a population facing privation - conditions ripe for Putin's rise.

  19. Both countries lived under British rule. Artifacts of a conquered point of view are still present in both countries. Even in simple, petty things, they can be clearly seen, like Americans' raving love of British historical TV, or Indians' exaggeration of British meanness and cursing language in cinema.

    Both countries were "trained" to fear and value authoritarians. As country-wide societies, we're still generically susceptible to the shine of glitz, power, money and smack-talking, hard-eyed, bullying individuals.

    I've been thinking on this issue for years. How do we turn a ship which has been on a relatively steady course for centuries?

    Revolutionary strategies are only partly effective, it seems, because in using such, we take on some of the attributes of our conquerors. Once supposedly free, some of us then don conquerors' likenesses and mimic their behaviors, even to the point of having episodes of highly-violent civil strife.

    It's not democracy itself that's at fault. It's what democracy originally reacted to. It's long shadows cast by past extra-regional authoritarian (and economically devasting) rule.

    Only by turning around to again face those old people, by identifying and speaking of the behaviors, values, mass and private communication styles, and education that represent the conquerors' stance in present times, can we move our lives to a healthy, fully-free place.

  20. 'Twas the night before Trumpmas, when all through the house, Not a creature was stirring, not even a spouse; Reporters stood close by the chimney with care, In the vain hope that somebody smart would be there; His children were nestled all snug in their beds, While visions of Breitbart danced in their heads; When on NBC there arose such a clatter, Billy Bush sprang from his bed to see what was the matter. The Bunnies on the Mara Lago golf-course outside, Made passersby stare and surf at high tide, When, what to my wondering eyes should appear, But an Access Hollywood Bus, with a microphone to hear! With a little old driver, so lively and quick, Donald said things to make Olympia Snowe sick! His eyes didn't twinkle, his brow wore a frown, His demeanor and gestures were those of a clown. His droll little mouth was drawn up like a bow, As he began to say more things to blanch Olympia Snowe! He had a broad face and a large fat round belly, That shook just as when he repulsed Megyn Kelly. He was chubby and plump, not a jolly old elf, And I vomited and fainted, in spite of myself; A wink of his eye and a wave of his hand, Beckoned hooligans everywhere to join his band. And laying his finger aside of his nose, For publicity cameras, struck a soap-opera pose. He got back in the bus, to Arianne Zucker gave a whistle, And away they all flew like the down of a thistle. But I heard him exclaim, ere he drove out of sight, "I'll buy you a highball at Hooters tonight!"

  21. The op-ed doesn't really make sense:

    Pakistan doesn't support Kashmiri separatists. It supports those who want to give Kashmir to Pakistan. Separatists want an independent Kashmir.

    What is wrong with natural resource extraction and foreign capital inflows as bases of prosperity? They do not contradict productivity gains; resources can be extracted with productive labor, and capital inflows usually buy machines that increase productivity.

  22. I am so tired of out of touch New York Times mischaracterizing entire populations because they don't agree with the Times' warped leftist view of the world. India has more minority population than any other nation on earth and hasn't become a terrible place for them like the article suggests. I am still waiting to hear from New York Times and other such elitist media on how minorities are treated in Muslim majority nations or the Middle east! hmm. Crickets!!!! Demagoguery? New York Times just has to look in the mirror!

  23. Since when is the RSS or the BJP alt-right? They are the right, take it or leave it. Does Mr. Mishra find nothing in his home country to report factually that he must, in every article, paint India the color of his rage?

  24. Time for media to start calling out the racist and bigots in politics. NYT could start by adding a few adjectives in their headlines when mentioning Steve Bannon. But that might be showing bias, I guess. Maybe if Hillary mentioned it in an email NYT might notice. But then again, we must be fair to the new administration as we all know that they were born in the US.

  25. Mr. Mishra seems to be making intellectual leaps for the sake of making them.

    Today's India is no Turkey. And today's U.S. is not India.

    Mr. Mishra should be thankful to The New York Times, for it provides him the canvas to paint his fantastic visions, and perspectives.

  26. A couple things that the author got egregiously wrong. The first is that it should be noted that under Modi's government a department to bring equal rights to women in domestic, educational, and economic spheres has had its budget tripled and numerous extra laws to protect women have been passed. Modi doesn't taunt women, he has been one of the biggest supporters of equal rights FOR Indian women. The second is that the campaign in Pakistan was after more than a dozen Indian soldiers were killed by rebel groups. The same groups that caused apprehension about Pakistan amongst US security agencies. The third is that India has huge government run corporations which are abject failures like its airlines, banks, and other transportation services. So it is understandable when the average Indian makes $1,000, and wants more economic liberalization especially after observing China's rise and its own wage increases after its 1991 lite liberalization. Comparing Trump to Modi is the epitome of stupidity.

  27. The author has correctly called key similarities in the outcomes of recent General Elections, 2014 in India & 2016 in the US. Over 630 Million Indians voted in the World's Largest Democracy. Around 122 Million Americans voted in the World's Most Powerful Democracy. Both Elections produced Winners abhorred by the Values & Cultures of their Nations. Narendra Modi's bare-faced LIES 'I will bring back Black Money stacked by Corrupt Indians in Foreign Banks & Deposit Rs.15 Lakh in every Indian's bank account' was an Election Winner. Donald Trump's Rejection of NAFTA & Trade Deals & Bring back Jobs from Mexico & China to Make America Great Again was a Winning appeal. Narendra Modi's Religious Fascism packaged by his call 'Development for All, Appeasement of None' appealed to the vast majority of Hindus Resentful of Reservation Policies for Minorities & Socially Weakest Sections. No Matter that these Visionary Policies of Affirmative Actions preserved India's Hugely Diverse Soceity for over 67 Years. The Hindu Majority gave Narendra Modi Victory. Donald Trump also won support of Majority White Americans Resentful of Increasing pressures from African-Americans, Latinos, Immigrants & attracted to his Blunt Rejection of these groups. The Outcomes of Elections in both Democracies, India & the US, reveal the need for Centrist, Inclusive, Progressive Parties - Congress Party in India & Democratic Party in the US - to Retain the Trust of the Majority Communities to gain people's Mandate.

  28. The sad story is that now not only are we going back to pre-First World War nationalist thought and theory in terms of economy, but also to early 20th century racial division. You would think that in 100 years we would have progressed. All of that involved Western thought and economy imposed throughout the world through imperialism. For decades the Cold War held everything in check. The current state of world affairs calls for a reassessment of the basic formula where the West (with Russia a late-arriving political and economic force both in the early 20th century and in the post Soviet era) was the only dominant agent. Perhaps an evolving peaceful and fair world economy will be the ultimate result after much furious back pedaling.

  29. While the article displays the mastery in and command of the author on the English language , the very first paragraph where he compares the two - PM Modi and President elect Trump is at best stupid. I'm a liberal - who supported Clinton though it has no impact on the election outcomes - but have voted Modi to power for his agenda of inclusive development of 1.4Bn Indians! India was back-broken thanks to the multitude of scams - some of unimaginable proportions - CWG scam, 2G scam, 4G scam, etc etc of the Congress Party. In Not a single election speech did Mr Modi play the communal card or try to divide to community along religious lines whereas Mr Trump has been rampant in doing so. This to me is the biggest difference between these two campaigns. In India , Modi won the mandate - a resounding overwhelming majority and popular vote for his promise of development and not divisiveness as this author tries to portray. The similarity is that both used the anger of the masses to win the elections but one went on to create a more united country and the other a deeply divided one. Will be interesting to know where this anger in the author stems from ? God bless India! God bless America!

  30. This is very obviously an anti-Modi rant. What exactly is your insight here Mishra? It seemed to me that the Indian Congress party was the one without a governing vision, devoid of disciplined leadership, taking the country nowhere fast, humbly submitting to Sonia Gandhi like serfs. BJP and Modi offered an altetnative of disciplined leadership, rooting out corruption, growth and uplifting of the masses. Your insinuation that Modi was responsible for Gujarat riots was rejected by the Supreme Court of India. There is no equivalency between Trump's rise and Modi's. Modi has no record of anti-minority views or actions and he as disavowed discrimiation or violence. If Trump turns out to be at least one tenth as good to all of America as Modi has been to all of India, I should begrudgingly heave a sigh of relief.

  31. A self regulating market can work when a system of regulation levels the playing field to allow fair competition. We, in the states have deregulated away from that goal with the wave of changes begun under Reagan.

    These factors, along with liberal hubris re social values have led us to where we are now.

    The global shift to authoritarian populism seems driven in part by liberal elites that espouse compulsory support for many views that many disagree with along with economic injustice.

  32. I never would have thought to read an article in the NYT framed around Polanyi but I'm glad to see it. I've assigned the book for years. It's a workable model of intrinsic instability in market economies. (There are others, but Great Transformation is a great start).

  33. Mr. Mishra, you take a needlessly Western view of your own homeland.

    First, there is no "alt-right" in India. What you describe is what the rest of the world calls nationalism, or simply called nothing at all, because it is normal. It is only called "alt-right" in America because most western societies lag behind us in nationalism, and thus find it novel.

    Second, you are operating on the assumption that liberal democracy is normative, or even good. Do you have a justification for this, other than "because the West does it"? Thus far there has been no evidence that equality, tolerance, or diversity benefits a society, other than the small amount necessary to keep it running. In fact, the Western world is torn apart and rapidly being diluted by foreigners precisely because of their compassionate beliefs. This is not a model for the future, nor is it admirable.

    What you fear in "demagogues" and "machismo" is really the norm for humanity. It is only the West that has erred from this path, and is now suffering for it. Leftism, in the humanist sense, is a pseudointellectual ideal conceived by Europeans as a justification for compassion. It is not a serious philosophical position. By embracing it so wholeheartedly, you have rejected your own heritage and traditions for a shallow and fleeting folly.

    However corrupt Mr. Modi may be, his ideological vision for India is the right one. Any improvement should be made within the nationalist framework, and the purging should continue.

  34. In USA more than in India, a relatively small difference in vote share led to a decisive transfer of power to demagogues. In India, over interpreting of such mandate, led to an immediate blowback e.g. rollback of the land law. Similarly, Trump's attempts to undo all the good that America's first black president had done, will likely fail.

    But, as in India, Trump will surely crave the limelight, weaken the bonds of fraternity among different communities, fuel distrust of media and public institutions, weaken environmental protections, bully neighboring countries, cutback welfare spending, and use hidden politics to disenfranchise the poor.

    But both demagogues are essentially products of reactionary movements that aren't in sync with the inevitable progress in free societies towards a more fair and just society. In times like this, I often remind myself that the American constitution was written by white people. It will be a sad day for the world if they chose to let go of that proud legacy and content themselves, to be like the Indian upper castes, who wield their power to protect their inherited privilege.

  35. I do take issue with the adjective Inevitable. We are not promised a better society, we must strive, study and constantly march toward a just society.

  36. Make no mistake, Rump is a demagogue. When one elects a mad man, what one gets is madness. Expect nothing less than a nation of fascists to now claim victory and a mandate, though they don't have it, to subvert our laws and subjugate humanity.


  37. Can you imagine how long it would take to drain the swamp in india and if it did succeed hopefully it wouldn't overflow into the rest of the world.

  38. We can sure use some water here in California.

  39. Excellent opinion piece. The New York Times needs to run more of these. In particular those—like this one—that provide insights into the politics of emerging countries like India and China.

  40. Let me tell you that India is relatively less poor than late 80s and it takes time to build such a vast nation having so much diversity.
    Secondly, Modi hasn't been inducted and he's been given a clean chit by the supreme court of India.
    Finally, Modi has no hunger for power and money he has nth to gain by accumulating huge wealth (for obvious reasons) so he's using his position to make India corruption free and to maximize the welfare for the Indians.

  41. this article is the alt-right equivalent of the extreme left. Does Mr. Mishra have any statistics about the number of riots before and after BJP came to power?

  42. I get that this is an op-ed. But it's quite obvious the reporters and journalists in the mainstream media still haven't learned their lesson after the US presidential election. The fact an opinion journalist is putting "failure" and "democracy" and into the same sentence is very telling.

  43. It's hard to take this author seriously after he declares Narendra Modi to be "a member of an alt-right Hindu organization inspired by fascists and Nazis".

    The BJP, to which Modi belongs, is a right-of-center political party with a multifaceted, mature, and coherent political platform and a broad base of support. In the rambunctious, multi-party political system of India there are is no shortage of vociferous supporters or considered opponents of the party and its governments (currently at the center and in several states). However, no serious opponent would compare the BJP to the American "alt-right", facists, or Nazis. That is patently ridiculous!

  44. Ahh, another wonderful NYT hit piece on Modi. Modi v. Trump is a false equivalency. So many falsehoods - here are my top three clarifications:
    1) Modi was not elected by the alt-right, he was elected across the board and with one of the highest turnouts India has ever seen.
    2) He has been cleared of any wrongdoings by all levels of the justice system in India, including the Supreme Court.
    3) Indian security forces are combating violent protests aimed at them, for killing a terrorist. Participants in the terrorist-sympathizing, rock throwing, arsonist protests include women and children.

    Via the litany of references, Mr. Mishra provides evidence that he has completed his summer reading coursework very thoroughly. Next semester, Mr. Mishra try tackling critical thinking and fact checking.

  45. The article is in the Op-Ed section for a reason, it is an opinion piece not a news article. As a daily reader of the NYT Op-Ed section I can tell you that Op-Ed contributor pieces come from all sorts of points of view some of which I agree with and others that make my blood boil.

  46. Blair:

    Agree, but it is obvious that NYT encourages an anti-Modi platform and uses op-ed as plausible deniability. If you don't believe me, try searching for a positive article about Modi in this section or the main newspaper. You will find nothing - even when Obama is praising him as a friend, the citizens of India are good with him being in power, and world leaders are supportive of him. You will learn that he is accused of killing Muslims, but will not be told that he was cleared of the charge by all levels of the justice system in India, including the Supreme Court.

  47. Sometimes, it's easier to learn lessons from looking at other nations. The idea that free markets are the best way to conduct business has become almost axiomatic. What was cheerfully overlooked was that free markets create winners and losers. When you add in the idea that people who end up as losers just made bad decisions, you have trouble. Helping them would encourage moral hazard and disrupt the market.
    Free markets are beneficial as is capitalism that rewards risk. Competition does a lot to weed out inefficiency. We don't want to abolish any of them.
    It does not follow that we have to just accept the negatives that are now becoming apparent. Inequality is rising, not just here and India, but as a result of the global economy. Eventually, inequality undermines democracy. It creates stratified societies where the privileged get to be more privileged. Then you have angry citizens distracted by hate and fear, which can lead to very bad outcomes, including World Wars. Donald Trump may be more a symptom of what's happening than the cause, but there's a lot of reason to worry about what comes next.

  48. The parallels are striking, but the most troubling aspect of Mr. Trump's rise in the US is the great swath of voters who were so upset with the status quo that they completely abandoned critical thinking.

    It didn't matter that his lack of ethics, his lack of respect for others, and his lack of business success (except those successes enabled by fraud) should have disqualified him from any public office. He offered only fear, vague promises, simple phrases, and a knack for exploiting the manufactured hatred for Secretary Clinton.

    None of this would have worked on an electorate capable of grasping the sheer nonsense of his campaign, never mind the offensive utterances and lies that he generated on a daily basis.

    So now we are beginning an experiment with nothing less than our economy, our security, and our national dignity at stake.

  49. There is no comparison between Trump's politics and Modi's. Modi genuinely cares for the poor and he operates based on evidence. Note that, inspite of much opposition at home, he has signed on to Paris accord to control global warming, whereas Trump says global warming is a hoax by the Chinese. More recently, Modi has taken the highly unpopular decision to demonetize high value currency to reduce black money. Modi also successfully passed a national sales tax reform bill (GST). This author has a history of writing anti-Modi slander.

  50. Hhh ? I was just in India in the most polluted city in world. Try breathing there and try doing any kind of business in India: you will have to deal with illegal cash, a good fraction of it fake currency.

    Remember that the poor have no access to either clean air or illegal cash.
    Modi is trying to get rid of this immorally obtained, untaxed cash horde and provide some
    breathing space for the poor. Perhaps Mr. Mishra is suggesting
    that the poverty should be protected from access to such right wing concepts as clean air, water, and

    Modi is certainly no saint. But the entire thesis that Modi is right-wing in the Western sense of the world seems outrageous. The comparison to Trump is tempting, but false.

  51. Mr. Pankaj Mishra's diatribe against Modi is reflective of intellectuals disdain for people coming from a humble background. It is for this reason that I don't want to take cudgels with Mishra on his diatribe against Narendra Modi.

    However, one needs to correct some factual mistakes in his article, where he has made an attempt to demonize Mod for certain acts of commission when he was the Chief Minister of Gujarat. Mishra has alluded to the massacre of Muslims which was a deplorable act, but Mishra has conveniently glossed over the fact that it was a backlash to the Godhra incident, where Hindus were burnt alive in a train. Ever since Modi took over the office of the prime minister, India's stock has gone up. It is for the first time Indians are looking more assured and confident.

    Modi's has singlehandedly has taken India to the world stage, inviting admiration and praise from all the world leaders. US and Japan which were once reluctant to provide nuclear technology to India, have now agreed to assist India to meets its energy needs. Recently, Japan has signed a civil nuclear deal with India because of Modi.

    His criticism of Media is laughable. It is because of the vibrant media, so many scams, during the Congress regime, got exposed. One can go on and on, but it would be a futile exercise to convince a man who seems to so prejudiced with a person, who has sacrificed everything, for the cause of the nation.

  52. Mr. Mishra speaks in false equivalences that betray his shallow understanding of Indian politics, and deep personal bias. For the benefit of the distant, uninformed Americans who may be misled by his mischaracterizations of reality, let's get some facts into play:

    1. Modi did NOT cause or organize or lead the 2002 riots in Gujarat. He just happened to be the Governor-equivalent of the state when a muslim mob burned alive 60 hindu pilgrims, causing a violent riot that killed 750 muslims and 250 hindus. Countless FBI-equivalent, and Supreme Court appointed and supervized investigative teams, during an opposition-party (Congress) ruled decade, have dug deep into the Modi administration's role in these riots, and NEVER found ANY reason to indict him. If Modi is responsible for anything during that incident, it is the inadequate pace of the response of his administration to the rapidly escalating mob violence. By that same logic, every Governor and every President during any riot is culpable.

    2. Modi's parents were poor, his mother worked as a maid. Without consummating a child marriage arranged by his parents, he left his family and child "wife" to serve the ideological parent organization to the BJP, India's governing party. Modi's total personal assets even today, after 3 decades in politics, are meagre. He has spent a lifetime in service.

  53. For sure, things are a mess. It seems the more we think about it the worse it gets. Maybe that's the answer.

  54. I am really sorry, but this article is so far from the truth, I don't know even where to begin. (But I am going to try).

    The reason why India (for most parts) voted out the previous government (which the author doesn't seem to have any problems with) is because there was massive scale corruption.

    Now the author seems like an elitist and doesn't understand, that when a poor or middle class society, which is largely deprived of the good-things in life, see their government Loot in every possible manner, it hurts at a very core level.

    In addition to the corruption, there was large scale economic problems. Growth, Jobs were all declining. Hence, India voted for Development in 2014. The authors agenda might not be able to digest this fact, but it is a fact.

    Not for a moment, am I suggesting that there is no Right-Wing Religious Groups in India, or that there wasn't an under current of support for PM Modi by Right Wingers, but that was not the core reason for his landslide victory.

    Further, the author is more willing to believe "allegations" and "accusations" against PM Modi, and not willing to quote Supreme Court Investigations on the matter.

    Lastly, there is one reality which the Lefties have to wake up to, which is, they have enjoyed unopposed fooling and looting the people for 50 years, under the garb of fear mongering against the opposition. Now they must embrace "Honesty, Development and Growth", people want that.

  55. I've been thinking of the similarities between Modi and Trump the last few days, but could not have put it into words as well as Pankaj Mishra.

  56. Comparing Modi with Trump is a joke. Modi has done wonders for the country. Religious extremism has been on the wane in the last two years since he has been in power. Economy is doing great. But then, people like Pankaj Mishra don't seem to get it. They'd rather be stooges of the corrupt Congress socialist party which rules the country for 60 years but did nothing.

  57. "Novel"
    Fear and loathing
    On the campaign trail
    Hunter preached it
    About our electoral fail

    The future predicted
    In Orwell's 1984
    The sound you're a'hearing
    Hatred knocking at our door

    Knock, knock, knock
    The barbarians are at the gate
    Knock, knock, knock
    Now embodied in Bannon's hate

    To the novelists of our future
    Good vibes I will be sending
    That the books you will be writing
    This time have a happy ending

    Fifty percent plus one
    Just see darkness on the horizon
    Fifty percent plus one
    Need new leaders that you're inspiring

  58. Thanks for this insightful article. I think Nigel Farage should also be mentioned in it somewhere.

  59. Demagoguery and the Conservative Right are being aided and abetted by the anti-intellectual effect of social media. Anytime you democratize the access to information you weaken centers of power. The invention of the printing press democratized knowledge and gave birth to the Enlightenment, which ultimately destroyed European monarchy and the totalitarian power of the Catholic Church. Today social media has democratized the flow of raw information, there are no fact filters to eliminate fabrication. Facts and falsehoods are given equal status. The immediacy of the contact precludes in depth investigation, and the result has been to weaken the power of political elites, and magnify the power of demagogues whose rhetorical falsehoods go unchallenged. Truth is always the first victim of demagoguery. Add to that the ability to simultaneously contact millions of people, and you have the reason for the spread of Right Wing demagoguery be it India, Europe, or the USA.

  60. Grave pronouncements about the elite in power, hypocrites promising one thing, and doing the opposite when given the chance. The disenfranchised, the poor, also minorities, do want to be heard and see betterment in their daily lives; at least be given decent jobs with living wages, so begging for help won't be necessary anymore. Modi is an example of a demagogue, with known ethnic discrimination at home and suspected complicity in violence and assassinations of 'rival factions'. President-elect Trump is likewise a demagogue whose permanent lies and insults as a candidate may have given him the upper hand, deceiving everybody first by calling the elections rigged, and the Press dishonest, and by calling Ms Clinton crooked, while telling the forgotten and jobless folks he'll rescue them by shutting trade and bringing back jobs of yesteryear. Disappointment is likely to follow, when well paying jobs do not materialize soon enough. I get a 'kick' each time crooked lying Trump accuses others of vices he himself is so well endowed with. Mr. trump, due to his vast ignorance of reality as is, and the facts, cannot possible grasp the enormity of work his office demands, provided he makes an honest attempt to serve the people...given that until now his interests were selfish, and authoritarian (my way or the highway). As he disengages from his private businesses, to at least give the appearance of honesty, and without much conflict of interest, the electorate is watching closely.

  61. Pankaj Mishra is a known for his far-left leaning politics, so the article is not surprising. However, he seems to be blaming both the center-left Congress and the center-right BJP for the implementation of free market policies. While the Congress party kicked off the free market reforms in early 90s when PV Narsimha Rao was the prime minister, it was continued by the BJP party in late 90s and early 2000s. In 2004, Congress won back power, and then for the next 10 years, pretty much destroyed all the gains through rampant corruption and mis-governance. It was in this context that Modi and the BJP won the election won the election despite the overhang of 2002 Gujarat riots. They were voted in DESPITE the voters' misgivings about Modi and his role in the Gujarat riots.

    The point I am making is that the left almost always fails in providing good governance when given a chance.

  62. With the rise of Modi government and his cronies (also called bhakts), the state of the nation has worsened tremendously. India is a diverse country. What is strange about the way our political system works is that the larger the population of a state, the more representation it has in our upper house of congress.

    Elections are coming to India's largest populated state called Uttar Pradesh, which has 31 seats in the Rajya Sabha (upper house), leading to a gambit of political stunts by the government. These are the touted surgical strikes on everything from Pakistan, our neighboring country with which we've had a peace agreement of over a decade, and also on the hard earned money of h common man, which the government is attempting to steal in a desperate ploy to gain votes.

    Copying American idaels doesn't work because the world works differently on the opposite sides of the globe. America has the electoral college where Donald Trump wins the presidency despite not winning the popular vote. In India, the stark opposite is true. Only the popular vote matters and states in the north-eastern parts of the country are ignored because of their poor respresentation in the parliament of India.

    This is why India has a population and poverty problem. A dumb, big electorate is what political parties drool upon. India can't and won't change unless the system is overhauled.

  63. My responses to Pankaj Mishra:
    1) RSS maybe right of center, but is definitely not an "alt-right" Hindu organization; one of its sister organizations is Muslim Rashtriya Manch, that has Muslims as members. Do not try "one size fits all" approach in trying to compare the KKK to the RSS or Donald Trump to Modi.
    2) Modi was accused of "supervising mass murder" in the 2002 riots, the Supreme Court of India has acquitted him of direct responsibility in these riots; most of the accusations against him and his party are politically motivated by agents of the main opposition Congress Party. The Congress is itself responsible for the maximum number of riots in India. None of its leaders have faced any justice for the genocide they carried out in the 1984 anti-Sikh riots.
    3) NYTimes has been extremely biased against Modi in their coverage; for e.g. they have allowed Ms. Sonia Faleiro to write multiple editorials against Mr. Modi while introducing her as a poetess/writer (and suppressing 2 facts about her that would give pause to any reader: fact#1) Sonia Faleiro is the daughter of Eduardo Faleiro , a senior Congress Party leader and fact #2) Sonia Faleiro's husband Ulrik McKnight is a business associate of Rahul Gandhi, the vice president of the Congress Party.)
    3) The people whom you refer to as trolls are actually regular folks who have challenged the biased 'left wing' media narrative.
    4) You haven't said a word against the terrorists sponsored by Pakistan against India.

  64. A very one sided article seen through the eyes of a ultra left author about current India and its leader Narendra Modi. To compare Modi with Mr Trump is totally absurd. Modi never stooped to the level of Donald Trump in any ways .His strong stance against Pakistan,demonetization efforts to fight against black money are just a few examples. His governance is beginning to show results in rising India unlike any other previous congress governments. There is a lot of undoing to be done in India to clear the garbage created by the party called Congress and the family the party supports. Unlike the authors imagination , the whole of Indias honest men and women are supporting prime minister Modi in taking the country forward.

  65. The coarsening of society, the illusion of simple answers to complex problems, disengagement followed by acting out, the violence directed at scapegoats, the turn by some to adulterated religion...we have much to fear.

  66. its unfortunate that the left wing elite still find it difficult to accept the fact that mr modi won the election fair and square. And since then has proved to be the right choice. His approval rating continues to run high.

    Comparison with trump is ardous at best. Mostly a feel good factor for the left wing in india.

  67. Thank you for this article, Pankaj Mishra, it's educational, at least for me. The invisible hand of the marketplace is completely free to pick your pocket. Or stab you in the back...

  68. I can't believe the the level of inaccuracy of this article. I'm no trump or Putin or any right wing supporter and judging by the policy decisions that Modi has taken, they are in no sane way extremist policies.

  69. perhaps someone could explain the difference between demagoguery and democracy

    both seem to express the demos

    Please avoid - polite vs rude -

  70. This is a truly important and insightful column. But one thought seems to be adrift from the clear thinking of most of the column. Identifying the "culprit [of demagoguery in our time as] a professional class of bankers, lawyers..promoting free trade and financial deregulation," appears to rest on very shaky logical grounds. As a lawyer, it has been my experience that free trade and deregulation are not good for the business of lawyering. As laws and regulations have promulgated themselves almost geometrically in the US, for example, the business of lawyering has multiplied, as well. Why would so many lawyers cooperate in the reversal of this trend?

  71. The irony of the uneducated Trump voters is that they expect their family farms, factory jobs, coal mining jobs to magically reappear under Don the Con. Have you seen any candle makers, buggy whip manufacturers, or blacksmiths lately? I stood this past July in a Missouri field and collected stones that were used over 100 years ago for the family farmhouse. In the distance, was a commercial pig farm that has killed the family farm. In 1975, my first teaching job was in a middle school in a small Kansas farming town. The smart farm kids were great students because they knew education was their ticket off the family farm and the dumb farm kids grew up to be "marks" for Don the Con.

  72. I feel like the MSM media, including the NY Times, are not taking the implications of electing Trump president serious enough. I'm sorry, but I will not accept Trump or any of the cabinet choices he has presented, as acceptable for moving our country forward at this very difficult time. Palin, Brewer and three oil executives for Interior Secretary? Are you kidding me? Is this a joke? Are people going to stand for this?

  73. But I must concede, Mr Mishra hits the nail this time around instead of his usual ranting. With 3 years into his office, and with barely a year left before he gets on the next election's preparation , and a string of state election losses to boot, Mr Modi seems desperate to fire up the imagination of his electorate and come up with something that would ensure he gets re-elected in 2019. Sadly if his policies, their implementation rather than the intent behind them, were to go buy, this currency switch is going to blow up on Mr Modi's face. Right from his pre office promise of bringing tax exvaders to book in 100 days, to his swach Bharat , to his Bullet Train, and the inordinate delay in GST with no concrete date of launch, and with even more confusing layers withing them , Mr Modi has been stumbling upon each idea that he has put forward. And the surprising thing is none of those ideas are bad, but their implementation have been shoddy, at times a non starter.
    The current currency switch implementation is so poor, that in any other country, being denied access to your cash lying in deposit with the govt owned banks would have sparked riots and demands for the govt to quit. Its this feel good factor that Modi is doing something good that has kept people patient. My advise to Modi, dont push it too far. While you losing UP is a foregone conclusion, I wouldnt count too much on you getting back in office in 2019. P.S I am a BJP supported, albeit a dissapointed one currently.

  74. If one wants to understand how lopsided and biased his views are one just needs to read this line of his - "And last week, Mr. Modi abruptly withdrew two currency bills that account for the vast majority of cash in circulation, unleashing chaos across India." Well that's it? No explanation, nothing. India is home to a large percentage of "black money" which accounts for a large portion of overall economy. Last UPA government was rooted out of power for getting involved in slew of corruptions and Mr Modi right now is making all the right moves to recover those black money. Several measures were taken from opening bank account, to giving people time to deposit black money with 45% fine and then at last making higher denomination currency of 500 and 1000 redundant (most hoarded money is in the denomination of these two). But hey guess what? Why go in details of all such things? Why not just write it or sum up it as "unleashing chaos across India". The move has got overwhelming support in the nation with people feeling assured for the first time that they have a PM who is serious about rooting out corruption. Similarly on several other issues such as Kashmir, author just accuses, without taking stock of the whole situation, to make his dubious point. Article is anything but neutral and is full of disdain for Modi and a desperation on the part of writer to weave some correlation with Trump. It never explains anything but just indulges in typical mudslinging and moves on.

  75. I'm not an RSS fan boy, and I understand these are opinion pages, but calling the RSS "an alt-right Hindu organization inspired by fascists and Nazis" is a misrepresentation. I know I'm not going to convince Mr.Mishra tonight. All I'm hoping for is that my comment will make at least some of my American brethren read a little bit more (from other sources on the internet) before they make up their mind.

  76. Mishra is always interesting, and his new book is well-timed. I do see one difference between Trump and Modi, however. Modi campaigned for greater free markets and globalisation, whereas Trump promises to tear up trade agreements. But both have used the failure of neo-liberalism to stir up antipathy towards the established political class and minorities. And in both countries, it is the venality of the established political class that has allowed right-wing nationalism to rise.

  77. It’s hard to figure out the point of Mr. Mishra’s India-bashing article? Is he advocating for the return of Gandhian socialism and the Nehru rate of growth in India?

    Mr. Mishra obviously believes that he makes a convincing argument when he peppers his criticism with highfalutin prose, such as, “Mr. Modi appears to be an opportunistic manipulator of disaffection with little to offer apart from the pornography of power and a bogus fantasy of machismo.”

    If Mr. Modi were a demagogue as Mr. Mishra claims, would he have followed up on his promise to flush out of India’s economy its staggering amounts of black money? Mr. Mishra’s gripes about Mr. Modi’s sudden demonetization of India’s two largest notes as “unleashing chaos across India.” Instead he could have applauded the overarching purpose of Mr. Modi’s bold measure – which was a conscious effort to level the playing field by abolishing ill-begotten wealth in “one of the poorest countries in the world.”

    Finally, “Hindu supremacism” is an oxymoron in a religion that has supported an oppressive cast system for centuries. I didn’t vote for Trump but if he is anywhere close to the demagogue Modi has shown himself to be, I think we will do all right.

  78. Ok -- very well written except for a couple things:

    1) He lost the popular vote. He is only in power because of an 18th century anachronism that keeps rural area votes more powerful than urban ones.
    (The whole "America voted" for this guy thing makes for great copy and endless explorations, but it's not true however).

    2) Modi actually did have some experience in government as you state. He understood how to make municipal matters work for people -- look at the transformation of Ahmedabad. He has had to engage with an electorate well before becoming elected. Trump has no such experience.

    That being said, "For all his humblebragging, Mr. Modi, like Mr. Trump, illustrated perfectly how money talks, power seduces and success eclipses morality." -- is one of the best lines written about this mess so far.

  79. I am no fan of Modi but this is so obviously a hit piece. I'd like to see a more measured criticism of Modi with more historical context than comparison with America. If the average reader then doesn't get it, so be it.

  80. It is correct to say that both Modi and Trump have cashed on the fears of the public with the backing of the right wing ideology but the political process in the USA can still make it almost impossible for the Trump administration to implement their extreme right wing agenda but where as in India, the rampant corruption, injustice and lack of honesty by the elite, it is next to impossible for them to draft fair policies or implementation of such policies. Sometimes, a simple solution can solve many problems as mentioned by Amartya Sen, that there the main reason for hunger in the world is not because of the shortage of food but because of corrupt political policies. We in the USA, still can stop the Trump administration from implementing their extreme right wing policies by joining hands to get intellectual involved, an unbiased press, by investing more in our education system, a fair import and export policy, by untangling a crooked medical/ insurance system, investing in our infrastructure, having a just foreign policy but it doesn't seem to be happening in the Trump administration.

  81. Modi appeals to the oppressed working class, just as Trump does. Indians have had it with Dynasty politics (Nehru family) just like Americans Rejected it aka. (Clinton, Bush)

    But he emboldens the ultra right wing Hindu nationalists just like how Trump emboldened the KKK. The RSS (Hindu nationalists) have Lynched people just for eating Beef. Surprisingly a lot of Muslims do support Modi because of his populist message but do so in caution.

    Another parallel between Trump and Modi is that they both play for the camera. Modi is all about the optics. Unlike Trump, Modi is actually neither blatantly racist nor inflammatory himself but sure has turns a blind eye to the atrocities affiliated by groups tied to the BJP. Appeal to his core base.

    Another anecdote is that the ultra Hindu nationalists love Trump. Because of his anti-muslim rhetoric they celebrated his win and also burnt effigies of Clinton. They have gone as far as calling Huma Abedin a plant of the ISI who infiltrated Clinton campaign to manipulate her thinking. Conspiracy much?

  82. The author is far too desperate in establishing a false symmetry between Modi and Trump. The differences are far too many and similarities far too few if any. Neither the BJP nor the Republican party as a whole draw inspiration from the fascists or Nazis; repeating charges that did not hold up in a court does not make it so. Abuse of political power and institutions over 5 decades denied rights and progress to several hundred million people. The reforms, even if halting, and integration with global economy have lifted 200 million people out of deep poverty and into a life of dignity. Yes, the professional class has benefited disproportionately but that is unavoidable in a free market economy and needs to be accepted as long as outright corruption is eliminated. If the few US based academics working for a period at high levels of Indian government are able to contribute unique insight or useful policy prescriptions, well and good. But a country of 1.2 billion people, with half its population is under 35, needs to chart a course all its own. It is increasingly doing so with greater confidence and conviction than ever before. Responding appropriately to a state sponsor of terrorism or maintaining order within its borders and ensuring territorial integrity or taking the uncommon step of withdrawing large denomination notes as a means to curb corruption, increase tax collection, and bring the parallel economy into the mainstream are reasonable steps in the right direction.

  83. Nice thoughts, perhaps. Big flaw in the argument, though: Trump didn't win the U.S. election as a result of democracy. Democracy seats the candidate who gets the most votes.

  84. No it doesn't. The PM in India as well as in other countries like UK is the leader of the House of representatives. He is not the one that gets most votes nationally. There is no national voting in India, UK or US. In India & UK it is constituency by constituency and in US, it is state by state.
    And a National campaign in the US would be run very differently. People will concentrate on areas with most votes instead of going to battle ground states. Now the Republicans do not even campaign in NY & California. Similarly Democrats don't even campaign in red states. So if the campaign was designed for electoral collage, popular vote means very little. You can't shift the goal posts after the game. I am pretty sure that if the contest was for National vote, republicans will campaign & get much more votes in NY & California too. So please get over this popular vote obsession. It means very little.

  85. Nice polemic with an eclectic, though somewhat repetitive vocabulary. I am not sure what message I take away. I don't know India's politics and Mr Modi sounds horrific (worse than Trump?), but is the point that India has been corrupted by the US and Oxford and World Bank technocrats? Is everything the fault of that evil empire, the United States, and a group of white men?
    That's the general force of this article: no suggestions for India, no self-evaluation, no attempt at solutions, just finger pointing elsewhere.
    OK, have at it.

  86. What precisely is to blame for Mr. Trump’s apotheosis?

    1.1 million black, poor, "Democratic" voters were thrown off the voter rolls through the unscrupulous use of caging, purging, and blocking legitimate voter registrations, and wrongly shunting millions to provisional ballots which are never counted. This is called a caging system and goes by the name, "Crosscheck".

    Compare Trump's slim victory margin, with the huge number of Democrats who recently lost their right to vote:

    Trump victory margin: 13,107
    Crosscheck purge list: 449,922

    Trump victory margin: 85,257
    Crosscheck purge list: 270,824

    North Carolina
    Trump victory margin: 177,008
    Crosscheck purge list: 589,393

    According to the exit polls ( a standard of the U.S. State department to verify election results in other countries), Clinton won the election. In fact, so did Kerry in 2004 and Gore in the 2000 presidential elections.

    Demagoguery notwithstanding: The majority of American people were not motivated by hate. Clinton won the popular vote, and would have easily won the electoral college had Democratic votes not been thrown away.

    That's an incontrovertible fact.

  87. We live in a fact free world, where if it is on the Internet or social media it is believed. 30% on Internet and social media is garbage, 30% is cute kittens and 30% porn. So 10% is true or at least worthwhile. A democracy (even though we don't really have one) can't exist without an educated, literate and well informed citizenry. We fail that requirement "bigly".

  88. While one can certainly see the role of "angry or frustrated working class and the poor" choosing someone who speaks confidently, assertively and poses answers that simple people can sometimes understand, identify with or follow, Mr. Modi was an excellent Chief Minister of Gujarat: one of the most developed States in the US. He also came from poverty to pinnacle of power.

    The BJP has been presented as Hindu fundamentalist party, mostly by a bunch of ignoramuses who assume "a cultural dot in the forehead is "extremism"...while jeans, Starbucks, KFC, etc. all represent secularism. Many of these people have never read the BJP manifesto. I am progressive who have read the BJP manifesto and find it very sensitive to economic issues of the poor, the working class and the middle class...while giving support to small, up coming and/or innovative businesses.

    There are parties far more conservative than the BJP, and BJP has changed some of its policies on social welfare, though more has to be done. Communists of India think anything India does that is cultural is somehow anti-justice or anti secular. Communists of India are some the most colonized people you will find. Their theories are all from Europe or China. Nothing original in their thinking or theories.

    Socialists of India are different. They have some very intelligent, even brilliant, thinkers who understand India's unique history, geography, culture non material vision, or spirituality, as well as economic traditions.

  89. While I wanted to like this article, Mr. Mishra's writing is all over the place and more than a little lecture-like. I wonder how many of his readers who Polanyi is.

  90. All of this Nationalist Go-It-Alone sentiment will merely lead the Regions into a weaker Independence or toothless Alliances, which will play into the hands of Chinese and Russian Aggression. I believe that it harkens back to the late 1930s, when Japan and Nazi Germany were steamrolling over their respective neighbors and, meanwhile, America retained its Isolationist posture. And along the way, Protectionist Trade Economics will come to the fore.

  91. The strength of democracy comes from the peaceful transfer of power. Things may look bleak now, in both India and the U.S., but this too shall pass.

  92. As an Indian subscriber of NYT and pro-HRC outsider, I can only find Mr. Mishra's analysis in this quite lopsided and hyperbolic. He comes from a tribe of left leaning intellectuals who were fostered by previous governments to trumpet their do-nothing approach to economic growth as examples of those government's "love" for the common Indian. Between 2004 and 2014, the Congress government relied heavily on the very types of think tanks Mr. Mishra bemoans, going to the extent of institutionalising them as the extra-legal "National Advisory Council", advising the beyond-accountability leader of the Congress party.

    While Mr. Modi does have a record forever besmirched by inaction (at the least) during the Gujarat riots, he is acclaimed by bureaucrats and international organisations for speeding up decision-making in the central government. While he has not made good on all his promises, the well-entrenched anti-Modi brigade has taken to criticising every action and inaction with equal gusto. Till the 8th of November, the government had been criticised for not doing enough to curb the parallel cash economy and since the 8th of November, it has been criticised for doing too much. When Mr. Modi took office, he announced a much derided scheme for opening bank accounts for the economically weaker sections of Indian society. Now, he's being criticised for not taking enough steps on financial inclusion prior to his push for changing high denomination currency notes.

  93. Across the globe, agents of darkness are ascendant and their gullible followers have no idea that the coming war won't be on terrorism or globalism or neoliberalism. It will be on themselves.

  94. I just stopped my NYTimes subscription after the rather weak election coverage in the U.S; even as far as framing a notification I received from the paper about Hillary Clinton's 84% chance of winning the election so I remember not to spend any more money till they understand how to report the news again. This article does not help that cause.

    It is rather sad to read another article on India and Modi bashing. Context and timing matters guys, you cannot paint every story with the same brush.

    For a somewhat liberal reader as myself, I understand the allure of the development pitch during times of inaction which is what India was emerging from after years of very ineffective and corrupt Congress rule. That was something Modi communicated very well when he ran for office as opposed to the largely confused and inept Rahul Gandhi. And that was precisely what brought him to power, everything else was a footnote in that election.

    To compare him with Trump as far as the campaign goes is inaccurate. Modi was never racist, xenophobic or vulgar in his language during his campaign, you have all the campaign videos online for fact checking.

    If you have to point to what is happening in India after the BJP got elected to power as completely driven by Modi, then you probably do not understand the complicated history of the country, and neither does this author. No one person can control the actions of a billion people. Could he do more, of course yes.

  95. While there are some similarities between the ascendancy of Trump and that of Modi, there are a remarkable number of significant differences.
    The so called "liberal left" of India were embroiled in *real* scams; coal allocation scam(INR 1,86,000 Crore), 2G spectrum scam (Rs 1,76,000 crore), common wealth games scam (INR 70000 crore) were about the most infamous. Then there was bofors. A far cry from private email servers and leaked campaign emails/debate questions.
    Unlike the case with Trump, Modi's opponent was no policy wonk.
    Rightly or wrongly, Modi is considered the architect of the success of Gujarat (a state that was devastated by earthquakes and religious clashes). That is, Modi had way more credibility than a reality TV actor with unproven business acumen. Between Modi and his opponent, a sane Indian's choice in 2014 was Modi. I am not sure that is true in case of Trump.
    If you really want to see the patterns of demagoguery across the world, you need to go beyond labels like "alt-right".

  96. Fear, helplessness, and despair provide the basis for the triumph of a demagogue. Half of white women voters went for Trump. Why? They had been primed since childhood to believe that Prince Obnoxious would rescue them from distress. The strongman has enormous appeal to those who feel the need for rescue.

    Democracy can only work well if not overwhelmed by rabid, unrestrained capitalism. Wealth concentrated in a small percentage of the population inevitably leads to an intense desperation in the majority, and a yearning for rescue, for a benevolent strongman. Unfortunately, strongmen are seldom benevolent.

    The weaknesses in the American psyche originate in the "American Dream," the sense of entitlement to a good life referred to by Mr. Frank. The jobs taken by immigrants are usually those that citizens don't want. Why do Americans refuse difficult work? Entitlement. Insistence on "American Exceptionalism." American grandiosity. But without economic balance, the rapacious success of the few leaves the majority at once struggling and feeling betrayed. Ripe for the arrival of a Trump.

  97. Here in Canada the Federal Conservative Party is undergoing a leadership campaign (field of 12). We now have our own wanna-be Trump. Her name is Kellie Leitch and she is polling ahead of the pack. She has been energized with trump's win. Keep an eye on this situation; if the Conservatives elect this woman and Trudeau's government doesn't deliver nirvana by October/1019...well, hopefully our 4-party parliamentary system and a revulsion for race-baiting politics will prove it's worth.

  98. Another article in which author is totally disconnected from reality. Looks like author had his preconceived idea about Mr Modi and then weaved his pseudo castle around it. This is the time when Modi's popularity is all time high. Author doesn't know the ground reality and writing the article from his study and venturing outside in real world.

  99. Your article seems to draw on a cross cultural view of demagogues and their relationship to economic factors common to different global economies. I only have time for a very rapid scan at this time, but I'm so intrigued, will e-mail to myself for further reading.

    It's delicious to be treated to aa whole different way of looking at familiar things.

  100. "The fervent rhetoric about private wealth-creation and its trickle-down benefits openly mocked, and eventually stigmatized, India’s founding ideals of egalitarian and collective welfare."

    And forever mired in poverty. 60 years of congress rule and this author hasn't seen any problems. For once an alternative to congress emerges, people in swamp are getting desperate.

    I thought of getting times subscription this time, but with this quality of articles, i guess it won't happen anytime soon.

  101. Two and a half centuries ago, India was the second most prosperous country in the world. A proud nation where people were living in a peaceful society. Come British and within a century, India saw multiple famines. More than the body, the mind was famished. Indian's were taught to hate their own mother tongue's, made to feel ashamed if they didnt speak English, or even if they spoke, about the way they spoke this foreign language. In other words, Indian's peace-loving philosophical way of living suddenly made them 'inferior' race.

    Things remained the same even after independence. The rise of the right in India is reclaiming the right of India to believing in its people, its past, its present and its future. India's rise is not at the expense of other nations.

    The Kashmir issue that the author quotes is an issue that the Britisher's left, much like how the US intervention in Iraq caused that country's fabric to tear apart. British drove a wedge in India's societal fabric.

    Now, as a nation and democracy, India will do whatever it has to do to maintain its place in the world. Kashmir issue has been since 1947, and is not a construct of Mr. Modi.

  102. This article is an striking illustration of how leftist talking heads can conjure up self serving narratives, just as this newspaper misjudged Donald Trump's chances. Please consider an alternative viewpoint below.

    Let's start with the premise that Modi benefited from disenchantment and economic stagnation as the author suggests:

    "..just as growth faltered and many frustrated aspirers and also-rans started to think of the promise of widespread enrichment as an elaborate hoax.."

    If this were the case, you'd expect the electorate to reward leftist/communist/redistributive parties, not a reforming pro business technocrat like Modi, who ran on a platform of clean and efficient government.

    The main reason, in my view, behind the rise of Modi and Trump, is that both are perceived to have taken leftist totems like Islam to task.

    Leftism can be boiled down to the phrase "the underdog is always right". This was helpful when the underdogs were groups who were willing and able to reciprocate, like average citizens, whose empowerment led to the industrial revolution in the West and allowed it to rise far above feudal Asia.

    However in recent times leftism has run out of worthy underdogs, and has started championing dubious parties, leading to decline and stagnation in the West.

    For more detail see, especially

  103. I'm Indian and I'm not really a fan of Modi and I regard myself as a liberal - but even I find this article quite distasteful. It appears that the author's personal feelings against Modi has got the better of him.

    There is much to be critical about in Modi's background - his role in the Gujarat riots, extra judicial killings by police etc. But Modi as the PM has been different and has often come across as a voice of moderation who is trying to reign in his party's fanatical elements.

    But at the end of the day, what people see is a man who is trying to move the economy forward, who seems not personally corrupt, is willing to take a strong stand against terrorism and is practicing an assertive foreign policy.

    And on the other hand you have an opposition lead by the Congress Party and its hereditary princeling - Rahul Gandhi (a dimwit as even his partymen will admit who got the job based on his surname) - no new ideas, corrupt, ruled by family connections - in other words the same old socialist, corrupt establishment that wasted India's time while countries in South East Asia and China moved ahead. So how can you fault Indians for preferring Modi?

  104. The article reeks of pro-establishment conspiracy which has strived to maintain status quo on the socio-politico-economic order. The author writes reams about how people all around the world from India to Europe to America are being fooled into electing what he considers 'reincarnations of Hitler'.
    This argument is flawed.
    Firstly, all these leaders- from Modi to Erdogan and Putin to Trump- have been elected legitimately by unprecedented support. In fact, in India, Modi won the full mandate which is the first in 30 years of fractured mandates. In Russia, in spite of the US sanctions, Putin has come back with a bang. In spite of unequivocal support from a sea of electorate, the author is somehow not convinced that these leaders have the legitimate mandate.
    Secondly, the article attempts to spread panic that the election of these leaders all around the world will spell doom. That hasn't happened in India, Russia, Turkey, Hungary, etc. And, it is not going to happen in the US either. Thirdly, the author only tries to highlight the 'uncomfortable' change taking place around the world but refuses analyse why! The change is result of false promises of the so called 'left of center' elitists. People are disillusioned by these false promises and are looking elsewhere.
    The new set of leaders are promising certain things like left-of-center leaders did decades ago. Only time will decide whether they do and not the convenient prophesying of the author!

  105. What Mr Mishra conveniently forgets is that the other major political party in India - the Congress Party - was handed a major defeat in more than one general election because they failed their constituents. Turnout in Indian elections is massive. So political parties may use whatever angle they see fit - right or left leaning, but they win or lose based on their performance. For example, if Congress had governed better and delivered on their mandate, Mr Modi would not have succeeded in plumbing the depths of voter discontent to attain top office.

  106. I can't fathom in which world can Mr Modi and Mr Trump can be thought of coming from same ideology.

    I think the writer of this op-ed doesn't know that a)Modi has been active in politics since 1975.
    b)He has been the chief minister of Gujarat for four consecutive time.
    c)Modi is seen as a role model. He rose from humble beginnings as a tea vendor unlike Trump who inherited mass fortune.I believe their upbringing in very different surroundings just sets them apart.

    This piece seems to come from spokesperson of the Congress party and i have valid reason for my argument.

    The writer did not mention the following points which paints him as antiBJP as opposed to offering independent assessment of Modi's leadership:

    1)Modi's government liberalised India's foreign direct investment policies, allowing more foreign investment in numerous industries.
    2)In September 2014, Modi introduced the Make in India initiative to encourage foreign companies to manufacture products in India.
    3)On 22 January 2015, Modi launched two schemes - Beti Bachao, Beti Padhao Yojana and Sukanya Samriddhi Account. Thus, promoting gender equality which has been achilles heels for India.
    4)Has signed $100 billion dollars worth of trade agreements.
    5)The writer also dint mentioned the high favourable rating Mr Modi enjoys.
    6)Modi's government developed a draft policy to introduce a universal health care system, known as the National Health Assurance Mission.
    The writer did not do his homework.

  107. This article uses the word mendacious twice. I will cite just two examples. There is a link " the country’s comparative advantage in software technology " which leads to an article which argues just the opposite. Mr. Mishra then has a non sequitar about Modi withdrawing two of the largest currency notes out of circulation, but he deliberately forgets to mention why? Apart from these facts, the article is full of dishonest half truths.

  108. Of concern are demagogues and their media. Trump adviser Steve Bannon’s “Breitbart” is a Facebook big-star. It got the fourth-highest number of Facebook users on during the presidential election. Some experts say that Bannon’s “Breitbart” will be an American version of Putin’s "Pravda" propaganda media empire. With media "gone global", it's no surprise that Roger Ailes were considered a top consultant and executive.

  109. It is just shocking that when there is such a sense of optimism in India, among ALL classes, Mr Mishra still chooses to see only darkness. Very sad. Just talk to anyone in a bank queue. These are poor or working people. And they are very happy with Mr. Modi.

    There comes a point when one must be open to other ways of thinking and living than one's own. Only your path is not the right path. Only your opinion is not the most noble one, however convinced you are of that.

    People need to stop clinging onto their opinions and actually see reality. It's changing faster that what most would like. But that change is actually working for millions of people.

  110. I have been a subscriber to NYTimes for the past 3 years and as a foreigner, I used to consider it as an accurate barometer of the moods and trends of the US.

    Over the past few days, I pondered over why NYTimes completely failed in its coverage of the US elections. I think that the publication of articles such as this have helped me understand the bias that has spread like a cancer at NYT.

    In this essay, Mr. Modi is portrayed as a demagogue, no evidence is provided, and a narrative is portrayed as the unambiguous truth. The essay itself is authored by a person who is not an astute & balanced observer. It just fits into a narrative of India and Mr. Modi that the NYT holds dear & which is divorced from reality.

    It was this biased thinking that has led your newspaper to marginalize & ridicule Bernie Sanders, Peter Thiel, Donald Trump & now, Narendra Modi. In the words of Dylan..."You better start swimming or sink like a stone....cause the times, they're a changing"

  111. Well said.

  112. This is funny, biased and incomplete report. I think the conclusions or comparisons drawn between Mr. Modi and Mr. Trump are fallacious. Mr. Modi was never an ultra-bilionaire marbel floor dweller like Mr. Trump. Modi was raised within poverty. And their characters have been so far disparate than each other. Modi lived an ascetic life, a political life, dedicated his everything for well-being of people. Modi is fighting against corruption that ravaged India where Trump has yet to release his tax returns!!!
    This report is a flagrant example of yellow-journalism.
    The author mentioned Modi as alt-right. Unfortunately, Modi never said, anything like to ban a group of people from entering India based on religion, never said anything awkward like building walls!
    Even I find it ludicrous to think any misbehave or mischievous act like we have seen in recent US election campaign, alleged against Mr. Modi. I guess the author were too busy to write this epic! article and didn't notice these things.

    If we don't appreciate things that are being done or at least he is trying to do, there will be nohing to eradicate poverty, corruption, caste system in a pluralistic country like India.
    So with due respect I urge the writer Mr. Pankaj, not to be an 'ultra-liberal' 'smooth-pen' columnist like those who depict the wrong shadow cast by some other evil things on a good one.

  113. PM Modi manages to hold onto power under a parliamentary system in which he serves only so long as he enjoys majority support among elected members, a system under which Trump, with his all of his personal and professional vulnerabilities, probably wouldn't survive five minutes. In fact, without the nonsensical and clearly anti democratic Electoral College no one would even care much less still be talking about the deeper meaning of the rise of Le Grand Orange (with apologies to the great Rusty Staub).

  114. As an observant Hindu living in India, it is puzzling to see how the Western liberal media likes to bring in the (anti) Hindu angle into many of the liberal issues du jour while defending unto death other religions. Anti-Hinduism is the new Anti-Semitism in the West, I suppose. An esoteric religion which is easily misunderstood is also easy to bait.

  115. "...boasting about the size of a body part."

    This is tendentious reasoning; Modi claimed to have a "broad chest", a metaphorical reference to his capacity for bold and effective action.

    By leaving this unsaid, the author tries to imply that Modi, like Trump, referred to his genitalia, an entirely different, sly and misleading suggestion.

    I urge readers to consider whether the same kind of caution should apply to the rest of the article.

    As I see it, the article is good example of how leftist commentators dismiss the choices of the electorate as misguided or the result of falsehoods. In fact, Modi and Trump ARE similar in some ways, chiefly in that both have looked askance at liberal holy cows like pretending that there are no fundamental issues in Islam.

    Unfortunately leftism is suffering from diminishing returns from the indiscriminate application of its mantra "the underdog is always right", to underdogs who're unwilling or unable to reciprocate. This kind of dogmatism is leading to the widespread disillusionment and stagnation we see in the West today.

    For more detail see especially the December 2015 post at

  116. Given an opportunity in presidential elections Americans prefer to vote for bullies. Ronald Reagon was able to avoid any serious challenge by his disarming retort "There you go again". He used it so well he quickly became the "teflon" president. George W. Bush strived to be a "kinder and gentler" conservative (code for cold-hearted bully). Now we have unrepentant Donald J Trump eager to become the master in the use of the "Bully Pulpit" of the Presidency.

  117. There is one fundamental difference between Modi and Trump. Modi wants free trade and make India part of global economy while Trump is for closing the US market to foreign competition.
    Indians suffered under soviet style planning and economy protected from competition for generations under populists of the Congress party and voted for Modi for improving the economy and eliminating corruption which had reached stratospheric levels under Manmohan Singh. Many ministers had to resign due to scandals and several cabinet ministers and state chief ministers even spent time in jails for corruption and amassing unaccounted wealth thanks to activist judiciary and media.

  118. The media, as did the democrats had all the opportunity in the world, however they simply failed to convince the people otherwise.

    This is a democracy and it is time now to respect the will of the people and work constructively

  119. Pankaj Mishra probably never heard the word alt-right until this election in the US and yet copies it and uses it for organizations in India.
    Also, what did Indira Gandhi's socialist agenda achieve? She was supposedly liberal yet she suspended the Constitution, imposed emergency and hoisted her own family on the country. People were poor and struggling. It was devastating. She controlled the banks, restricted investments and nationalized everything. It benefited only her family and her circle of friends but not others.
    At least the economic reforms and investments have reduced poverty significantly in India.
    Why have a democracy, if you are going to paint the people who go and vote as despicable, greedy and stupid?

  120. Reading Mishra's description of India's and America's self destruction is as chilling as Paul Krendler having his own brain fed to him by Hannibal Lecter. We are doing this to ourselves, yet common sense would tell you anything would be justifiable in self defense. I guess by the time you are eating your own brain it's too late. Even if America recovers from this madness, it won't be in my lifetime. Mishra suggests that Modi is already playing out his hand. I guess the implication is that Trump will do the same or, as some think, overplay his hand like Paul Ryan already seems to be doing by putting Medicare in his cross hairs. My guess is that Americans will just as passively let Ryan feed their own brain to them on Medicare as Lecter did to Krendler. It's not like those non-racist, non-deplorable, salt-of-the-earth rural Americans weren't told this would happen.

  121. This has all the hallmarks of the Republican demonization of Hillary.

    alt-right? Demonizing minorities? What on earth is this person talking about? I notice that no proof of these things is cited. The note about the accusation of "supervising mass murder" quietly sidesteps the fact that he was subsequently exonerated by India's Supreme Court.

    The withdrawal of the currency bills has been met with widespread support from Indians across class barriers (just watch *any* Indian news channel). Modi remains incredibly popular except for within the extreme-left elite.

    This connection between Trump and Modi is completely without support. It utterly amazes me how different they are: Modi grew up in poverty, was a roadside tea-vendor like his father (I don't know why this is stated as "claimed to be"??), spent a couple of years as a penniless monk, worked his way up his party (the BJP) over two decades, served as the chief minister of the state of Gujarat for multiple terms, and finally became prime minister of India. Go listen to his speeches (there's a youtube channel or ten) before you believe this article -- seriously, don't take my word for it. Go listen for yourself. He believes in climate change and has started one of the largest solar programs in history. He is a huge advocate for women's rights, has increased research funding in the sciences, improved transparency (India went from 94 to 85 to 76 on the Corruption Perceptions Index), increased infrastructure, etc.

  122. The rise of Hindu nationalists in India and Alt right in USA can be attributed to persistent attacks by Islamic terrorists from Pakistan on Indian soil and home grown Islamic terrorists in USA. Every time an Islamic terrorist detonates a bomb, people look for strongmen, both in India and USA. The general populace considers liberal democracy inadequate to handle the dangers posed by Islamic extremism. The tools to tackle Islamic terrorism eventually blie with the liberal democrats ( education and persuasion from friendly liberal muslims) and I believe the strongmen will make it worse over the course of time. To decry the rise of right wing in both the largest democracies without talking about the rise of Islamic extremes in the world is a fallacy.

  123. The rise of demagoguery has been fuelled globally by injustice, namely, the conscious decisions of 'democracies' to cater to the interests of their elites rather than to those of their broad populations:

    Western 'democracies' created unfair economic playing fields for the masses and allowed economic elites to rob the poor with impunity; used 'nationalist' flags and 'patriot' labels to pursue horrific war crimes abroad without holding anyone to account for the resulting carnage; and, finally, turned their 'democracies' in stages for no-hold-barred prize fights between competing oligarchs, fuelled by irresponsible media outlets vying with each other to supply the shallowest news and to avoid any degree of genuine, investigative reporting.

    Western 'democracy' is a mess: Corporations being considered as 'people' but, unlike normal people, paying zero taxes; creating tens of millions of refugees, but either refusing to allow them in or going to other extremes and permitting floods of refugees to change local cultural and religious landscapes without the least planning or consideration for the security of the locals.

    It is virtually impossible, in such circumstances, for men and women of principle to gain political power: The winners are invariably snake oil salesman and women. Hell will freeze over before Western democracies elect a Bernie Sanders or a Gerhard Schroeder instead of a dyslexic Bush and a lying Tony Blair. Western 'democracies' are ripe for revolution.

  124. "Something is rotten in the state of democracy". I think "Something is rotten in the state of Media" is more appropriate statement. May be NYT is trying to prove that Modi = Trump But These kind of one sided articles only generate sympathy for Modi/Trump. White/Rural people are accused for voting Trump, Educated/Rich people are being accused by author for supporting Modi. Don't you see irony here? If you don't, Then GOD bless America!

  125. Like it or not, the citizens who voted for Trump are the first generation of Americans since the founding of this country who have not enjoyed the quality of life enjoyed by their parents. Period. They don't want to become elites; they dont want to amass grotesque wealth; they simply want to possess what they see as their rigthful heritage. It wasn't pretty - anger and fear seldom is - but please don't look beyond that. Tag it as hate, racism, whatever makes you feel better about it. But make no mistake - the working class of America - white, black, Hispanic - was forgotten and marginalized and this November they voted. Just because democracy didn't play out the way the elites smugly assumed it would doesn't make it rotten. Messy, yes. But there is no comparison to monolithic, never to end corruption in Russia and India.

  126. Instead of crying about their right to vote, the Trump voters and passive enablers are just going to have to accept being despised for admiring bigotry and sex crimes just to get their vengeance. There will never be freedom in this country as long as the evangelicals claim to use the state to advance their religion and racism beyond their own homes.

  127. yes they voted and were primarily white but they will also be subject to the biggest white backstabbing ever...

    there may not be any comparison today but this has the potential to be far more corrupt than any other country including Russia and India

  128. India has been waiting for the socialist experiment that is the preferred ideology of India's intellectual elite whose ranks certainly include Mr Mishra and friends for 70 years. It did not work and has only produced more poverty and misery. Indians are tired and want change. Mr Modi was voted in by not just the middle class (which isn't big enough to decide elections) but by large fractions of the vast population of people living in poverty including Muslims. Given the spectacular failure of Mr Mishra's preferred rulers, it is difficult to fault the choice of Indian voters to try something new.

  129. Nailed it. While many Indians on Facebook are bemoaning a "tragic repeat of Brexit" in relation to the US election results, the tide actually turned first in India in 2014. Of course, these are the same people who voted in the change. I wish Mr. Mishra would have written a bit about this cohort of Modi- and Clinton-supporters!

  130. I live in india as an expat. I left india 50 years ago and have now been living here for 18 months.

    This is the most pompous article I have ever read in NY Times.

    There is not one paragraph where the writer does not quote someone however unrelated.

    And the title of the article has nothing to do with his main point thar Mr. Trump will now be America's Mr. Modi.

    Having now lived here for a while, it never escapes me how pundits, politicians, newspapers and media in general are always comparing USA to India. And the general point being USA would not exist without India - only because of IT industry.

    As an aside, the Silicon Valley votes or money did not save the election for Mrs,. Clinton.

    What no one ever says in india or this writer is America is rich, powerful etc. Is because Americans treat work seriously and take pride in it. In India, they only talk about work but never actually do it.

    And this current PM is in love with these Indians living overseas - only because they have money. He never talks it is work that brought them to their current wealth. I can wager for current chiefs of Microsoft and Google, if they had remained in india - no one would even buy them a cup of tea - forget seeking their opinions.

    India is full of pompous Indians like the writer who only tell people how smart they are with all these quotations.

    Work and work diligently is the price for india'should ticket to the entry of world's powerful and great countries.

  131. You are as off the context as the Pankaj Mishra is, agreed, article is pompous, cites other articles only when making a point against Indian PM, and doesn't corroborates the claims.

    As far as I know, we in India never claim that US runs because of Indian IT companies, we are quite well aware of that US is powerful, rich, and people here work as well. Though it is presumptuous that Indians don't work, and just talk. Assuming that US has meritocracy, your own references to Google and Microsoft justify that Indians work and succeed. What they had done in India had they stayed back, is debatable. Though Narayan Murthy, Nilkeni, Premji etc did stay in India and became billionaires.

  132. Neil, you nailed it. Learning more from comments such as yours than from the opinion by Mr. Mishra whom I don't dislike really, but only when he is at his pompous best.

  133. Article proposes and validates the false binaries of right and left wing politics, which stand invalid and null in today's democracies. Citizens are making tailored political decisions - little bit from here, little bit good from there; no political buckets anymore. People voting Modi in national polls, opposes with wider margin in state polls - Delhi elections. Therefore, I find a lot of rhetoric and irrational sentiment in article. Not a reading quality expected from NYT.

  134. that means that voters can be conned and can bounce back as well...and to miss the right wing fast growth and spread of demagoguery mainly in Europe, US and also India and Israel is not accepting facts.

  135. The reason is that the Lefwingers in all these countries are corrupt and worry more about Islamists than the population that they are supposed to represent. The left has made an unholy alliance with one of the greatest evils of out times i.e Islamic extremism. They are in denial about the blood bath stemming from the extreme Islamic ideology. After every Islamic terrorist attack, the left's first knee jerk instinct is to worry about the well being of the Muslims rather than the rest of the population that is being victimized. They lecture the victims about Islamophobia (A term promoted by Saudis & Qataris). Its like preaching the Jews against Nazi-phobia. The left has lost the grip on reality & hence they are loosing the elections too.

  136. Really?
    Things don't go as YOU want and it's a failure of democracy?
    And, for your information, the USA is not a democracy.
    Cry me a river.

  137. What has become of us?India produced Gandhi. America produced Martin Luther King.The world now worships money and greed above everything else.My country just elected a con man as president.I have such high hopes for the millennials .Help us get out of this global swamp.

  138. Economic decline, concentration of wealth, with its resulting concentration of political power (leading to worse conditions for the common person), environmental degradation ultimately irreparable because of climate change, movement of refugees caused by belligerent policies, war and food shortages (see climate change above).

    All brought to us by authoritarians who have no foresight or morals, who are venal and selfish and anti-democracy and knowledge.

    And most of them have lousy hair.

    This world needs a savior.
    A clear voice who lays out the danger of falling for these stupid, wicked men and women with nothing to offer but ruin.

    The world is at a perilous moment.
    Only clear thought from each of us can save the day.

  139. The rapid spread of right wing demagogues at the head of government is truly terrorism as much as the mad bombers are - and now with Breitbart and Trump intertwined, right-wing hate speech will have a direct and unfiltered outlet. We knew this was bad - in India, in France with Marine Le Pen, and now in the US - and I don't know what is going to stop or at least slow it down. A truth-telling-to-a-fault mainstream press only poured gasoline on the fire with its false equivalency in election coverage, and now Trump's White House will be a tank farm with Breitbart people, past and present, lighting it up with a blowtorch whenever they feel it appropriate.

    There is no joy in half of our country - and it keeps getting worse in ways we haven't yet imagined.

  140. "Before Trump’s election in America exposed the failures of democracy, they had been revealed in Modi’s India."

    Actually Trump's victory shows the strengths of democracy. He beat a candidate of the established elites and revealed there were fundamental problems in the policies of those elites.

  141. It also exposed - again - the distorting role of the electoral college.

  142. Beautiful, insightful and intelligent commentary. More like this please.

  143. Donald has yet to hear of a demagogue he couldn't like. He must be salivating at the idea of being able to meet and schmooze with some of them personally after his inauguration. Maybe when he comes to Paris he can break with protocol and go directly to see his French soulmate Marine LePen and cut the ribbon for the Breitbart bureau planned for Paris at the same time. From there Vladimir will be waiting.

  144. The pattern is global and timeless. Economic power uses its resources to create right-wing propaganda machines with the main purpose to block every attempt at truly democratic, egalitarian and emphatic organizations working in the real interest of the majority of ordinary people.

    In doing so they offer the impoverished and distraught masses no other alternative than the accepted one, namely right-wing extremism and its non-solutions to real grievances. Hatred is what they offer. We endured the textbook example of such fascism a generation ago and didn't seem to learn much from that global melt-down.

    Capitalism is certainly progressive (as Karl Marx wrote) but its flaws are glaringly obvious. It's primarily a pyramid game funneling wealth to the top, rewarding the professional class with some comforts but impairing the fate of the poor.

    The revered Indian economist and Nobel laureate Amartya Sen did a comparison between China and India from 1949 and three decades ahead. He found that 100 million more people died in India than China due to the differences in social and economic systems. ("More" means more than the millions dead in Communist China that we are constantly reminded of.)

  145. Very one sided opinion. The author is using Trump and the American elections to create fear in India. The only common thread between America and India is that the two countries are they are democracies. The levels of corruption in the previous Congress, Sonia Gandhi led government that has drained the Indian exchequer has not been mentioned at all. True, there are elements of a religious right wing group within the current Modi led rule, but using the growth of the economy and the rise of the middle class makes this article nothing but a mouthpiece for the oppostion party venting its loss of stature. The Indian Congress Party is far more corrupt than the American Democratic Party. Malnourished children exist because of corruption by ALL poltical parties in India, not because of the fight between the current and previous governments. The previous government led by the Indian Congress also stoked fear and created division among the people among minorities to garner votes. A very immature piece of writing. Shows lack of understanding and care of the systemic problems in India that were initally started by the previous Congress Gandhi government. Very one sided argument.

  146. Mr. Modi's parents owned a tea shop, I understand. Independent tea shops have been ubiquitous and successful small businesses in India. I will weep if/when in the name of "free market", uniform, regimented corporate chains (Starbucks?) replace mom and pop shop's like Mr. Modi's, turning former proprietors into wage slaves, and shareholders and executives into millionaires.

  147. I'm offended that you refer to stink and then say it came straight from India.

  148. A few differences between Modi and Trump

    1. Modi is a person from the lower classes - He is a BC-D if you understand the indian caste based reservation systems
    2. Modi is unmarried and has no major wealth
    3. Modi started his life as a tea vendor and was not born with a silver spoon.

    So Both Modi and Trump are not similar. I have nothing more to say, knowing who Pankaj sharma is and the readership of NYT. The champagne swilling leftists and media guys are really disconnected from the public

    Coming to the left, It was Bill clinton who nearly killed most of Unions. In fact the elitist left has killed more Jobs, Unions in US.

    Name calling the followers of Trump by the leftist media as Xenophobes, racists, etc has actually just hardened their position. The reason the polls failed was because the people who voted for trump just lied in the polls.

    There were a number of Asian-americans, Indians, chinese etc all voted for Trump. They just did not say it loud ad lied on the polls.

    Name calling 30% of US population or INdian population just makes their positions that much harder.

    The Liberals have to come off their high horses. I am an Indian, but i have a question- Why would a auto worker in Michigan care if Trump is going to deport illegal aliens or Muslims? As long as he gets his job back from china he will be good.

    Hillary concentrated on just saying that Trump was bad and so vote for me. Hillary presents the status quo, why would they vote for her?

  149. very true except those jobs are never coming back...they need to be either educated or upgrade their skills and then be redeployed in the work force.

    Modi and Trump are definitely not similar in their economic background but they represent hate, bigotry and use divisive ploys to win elections which are not just rhetoric but deep rooted ability to permanently damage it's citizen and politics. Modi, however is smarter and doesn't do it in a brash, uncouth style like Trump. He uses different machineries within his government, party and his masters at RSS. that's more diabolical and effective.

  150. It is interesting to see how insight-free and unconstrained by facts an Op-Ed in the New York Times can be.

    1) There is no"alt-right" in India. While it may be a popular term in current US politics, foisting this in a different context is meaningless.
    2) While it is undeniable that there were riots/deaths during Mr. Modi's tenure as the Chief Minister of Gujarat, courts have repeatedly found him not guilty. There have been a number of violent riots during the rule of other parties which Mr. Misra conveniently forgets.
    4) The very "roaring capitalist success story" that Mr. Mishra refers to was started by 2 former Prime Ministers belonging to a different party - Narasimha Rao and Manmohan Singh - when India's economy was in shambles. Those reforms have been key to turning the economy around and bringing India's GDP growth to be one of the highest in the world. Indeed, when some segments of economy have been relatively free, those industries have flourished.
    5) While India has embraced limited market reforms, there is no trickle down as Mr. Mishra implies. High income brackets are taxed extraordinarily high in India. Does Mr. Mishra even understand what trickle down means?
    6) Mr. Mishra (mischievously) fails to mention that the 2010 corruption scandals involved the previous government from another party.
    7) Demonetization is to fight black-money; it has nothing to do with demagoguery.
    8) Enough said (1500 character limit).

    What a confused hallucination/Op-Ed

  151. Hallunication! So well said!

  152. Let's be clear about Prime minister Modi.
    Modi and his Gujarat stater government was not involved with attacks on Muslims. This was cleared by Supreme Court of India. One of the most unbiased institution in the world.
    Second, a lot of Muslims in India have voted for Prime Minister Modi.

    Modi government has proved to be one of the best governments since independence of India and before that.

  153. by doing what? and let's not make any tall claims about how the cases were dropped. for a governing official to be even charged with mass murder is despicable and not doing anything to protect its constitution, minorities while allowing bigoted xenophobes in his party to run rampant is a sorry state of affairs. Not something to be proud of unless what you really want is not a democracy.