Messiah Modi by Tavleen Singh & Politics of Literature in India – Opinion

If India is what India is today, it is not because of the so-called ’eminent’ personalities but because of its citizens. And, fortunately, it will always be the case. There are a few select-few in this country who think that their whims should dictate the political decisions and welfare policies in this country. It may originate from the idea that it was the process for many years – the ‘Lutyens Delhi’ decided what India did all these years. And, still, a sense of that pleasant hangover pertains that doesn’t allow itself to fade away. Tavleen Singh, a very famous journalist, who recently changed her stance on Narendra Modi, the prime minister of India, has written a book that almost demonises Modi as a devil – a devil who has forgotten his promises that he made as a ‘messiah. The book Messiah Modi, published by Harper Collins, seems a book written in haste with all the subjective ailments faced by the author recently.

This book is also an example of how grave the connection (or rather a nexus) between politics and literature is in India. Erstwhile, it was Tavleen who could be seen defending Narendra Modi in her tweets, posts and columns. Now, it is Tavleen that we can find pouring fire on Modi’s image – even after the country has given him a massive mandate for the continuous second term. Is this change sudden? Does this change of mind show any pattern? Well, to me, it seems only after Tavleen’s son wrote an entirely headless article for the Time Magazine just before the 2019 general elections in India that got him under attack from the politicians from the BJP and the prime minister Modi himself, Tavleen has changed her tune.

Politics in India and politics outside India (majorly outside Asia) are very distinct. In India, even criticising one party means there must be something cooking behind the curtains. Chetan Bhagat is a very recent example – the author whose books have been banned on railway station bookstalls in India recently seems to have lost his good sense over the subject of CAA. Tavleen’s, and many others’ who are like her, criticism of Modi and his policies and his silence have produced many pieces of whimsical and subjective literature that should not be taken very seriously as they only talk too much – and this is the ugly beauty of political writings; you can write all that you think without citing any sources, not even secondary.

The op-ed pieces in Indian newspapers are filled with politically driven innuendos which don’t have any base. These are all but opinions offered by ‘intellectuals’ and ‘experts’. However, there are also the original voices that cite their concerns with proper evidence and we should take those seriously as far as it’s about reading and respecting one’s opinion. To be frank and honest, in India, political literature in non-fiction genre (fiction as well) has lost all its dignity – if not all, then to a great extent that has pushed it on the verge of subversion.

You will soon read the review of Messiah Modi: A Tale of Great Expectations by Tavleen Singh on Literature News by one of our book reviewers.


by a contributor for Literature News