Ghost-written articles have been around for a long time, but in the era of modern image management, they have reached menacing levels.
“Earthy” politicians who can barely string a cogent sentence churn out lengthy, high-school essays which fawning owners and fearful editors are happy to find space for, more out of expectation than editorial value.
Narendra Modi has a “signed piece” on the editorial page of The Times of India—grandly titled How Bapu united India’) to mark the 150th birth anniversary of the “greatest Indian since the Buddha” (according to Ramachandra Guha): Mahatma Gandhi.
The Nero of 2002 on the “Apostle of Peace”?
Some thoughts of Gandhi are unexceptionable, but they were so long before Modi became PM—and they will be long after he has gone.
Were it not the prime minister’s name adorning the TOI article, the following 11 adjectives included in the article by some faceless babu or partime poet (who no doubt would have strung similar sentences for an earlier master) stand out for their sheer hypocrisy given the Modi government’s record—the words, the deeds, the intentions, the actions—in the last 52 months.
No one can carp about not wasting food and water, or keeping our environs clean, or living frugally but surely irony is dead, or more accurately it lies assassinated, when…
# Modi writes about “mindless hate dividing societies” as if he has presided over the most peaceful India in its last 70 years.
# Modi, who has stayed silent when innocent Muslims and Dalits are lynched or intellectuals murdered, talks about Gandhi’s “clarion calls of peace and ahimsa“.
# Modi hails Gandhi “who brought everyone together, made people rise above differences” when nearly every section of India in 2018 is in ferment.
# Modi, who destroyed the lives and livelihood of millions through demonetisation, blithely talks of “an era of prosperity for the millions on the margins”.
# One of the planet’s most famous climate-change deniers now says it has become one of the “central issues of discussion”.
# Modi whose expensive clothes, Rs 4.31 crore suit and Bulgari glasses are the talk of town talks about responsible spending during the festive season ahead.
# Modi, who has spent close to Rs 4,000 crore on promoting himself since May 2014, talks about “human wants and human greed”.
# Modi talks about cycling when he spent Rs 378 crore on 44 chartered flights in 44 months without batting an eyelid.
Pandit Jawaharlal Nehru spoke most eloquently of Gandhi, but the only external quote Modi’s “ghost” sneaks in is of Sardar Vallabhbhai Patel. That says everything about what Bapu’s 150th anniversary really will be: another event.
Indeed, if Mahatma Gandhi were on Twitter, he would have tweeted:
“Look who is writing an article on my birth anniversary. ROFLMAO :))”