The story of India has been reduced to one man’s journey

The billion-and-a-half citizens of the ‘mother of democracy’ are mere extras in the story of Narendra Modi.

Confident societies do not foster cults. It is despondent, unhappy, self-doubting, insecure places that submit to saviours. The animated ad released last week by the Bharatiya Janata Party—a prelude to the upcoming campaign for 2024—is designed for a nation in thrall to its rescuer. It reduces the complex story of India to one man’s journey. The citizens of the world’s most populous democracy—a billion-and-a-half people—are mere extras in his tale. He sees suffering, distributes charity, defeats sinister enemies—human and viral—is courted by Western leaders, and keeps going. India is surging forward, and we owe it all to one individual. The …


Kapil Komireddi

Kapil is a journalist, book critic and author. His first book, Malevolent Republic: A Short History of the New India (2019), was published to critical and commercial acclaim in India, the UK and the US. He has written from South Asia, Eastern Europe and the Middle East—including Syria, Pakistan and Palestine—and his work appears, among other publications, in The New York Times, The Critic, Foreign Policy, The Washington Post, The Economist, TIME, CNN, The Guardian and Le Monde diplomatique. He is a frequent contributor to The Spectator and an international affairs panellist on Monocle24 radio.