In India, Narendra Modi’s curious anti-colonial crusade

NEW DELHI LETTER

Since 1ah Officials and institutions funded by the Maharashtra government are banned from using the word ” Hi ” to greet someone when they receive a call. The term is considered by the authorities to be “an imitation of western culture”. You have to say that now “Vande Mataram”, that is, specified the state culture minister, Sudhir Mungantiwar, “I bow to our mother”.

This western Indian state, whose capital is Bombay, is run by a zealous elected official who was nominated a few weeks ago by the Bharatiya Janata Party, the party in power in India. Eknath Shinde, a Hindu nationalist, has decided to endorse the new slogan of Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi, who is to mark the 75the Anniversary of the country’s independence, on August 15, Indians invited to it “eliminate all traces of the colonial spirit”.

Since coming to power in 2014, Narendra Modi has steadily erased a triple legacy, that of the Mughal Empire, which expanded Muslim influence in the subcontinent from 1526, that of the British Empire that succeeded him and ruled India from 1757 to 1947, and that of Jawaharlal Nehru, the Prime Minister of Independence. School history books were rewritten in this sense, cities, streets, monuments were renamed.

Narendra Modi pledged billions of euros to transform New Delhi’s architecture, which was completely shaped by the British in the 1920s, when they decided to move the empire’s capital from Calcutta to Delhi. The Rajpath, a symbol of the colonial era, designed by architect Lutyens, has been redesigned and renamed. The “Alley of Empire”, a majestic avenue that stretches for three kilometers from the former palace of the Viceroy of India to India Gate, the triumphal arch dedicated to the victims of the First World War, is now called “Kartavya Path”. ‘ or ‘Path of Duty’. »

Turn your back on the values ​​of independence

At his inauguration, just hours before Queen Elizabeth II’s death on September 8, Narendra Modi delivered a very anti-colonial speech, arguing that the “Rajpath”a symbol of colonialism, was synonymous “of slavery” for the Indians. “Today its architecture and spirit have been changed. When ministers and officers pass this way, it will remind them of theirs kartavya”, he assured.

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