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New Discovery

New Discovery: The Modi Raj

The Economist profile the Indian Prime Minister

3:00 PM GMT+1 on June 7, 2024

    Thanks to the Economist for their support.

    Anyone who wins three consecutive elections in a democracy with over a billion eligible voters could make a decent argument for being the world’s most popular politician. If you read the news this week, you probably saw that Narendra Modi achieved just that, securing a third term at the head of India’s government for the next five years. However, despite expectations of a landslide victory thanks to India’s economic revolution, Modi’s BJP party actually saw a significant drop in popularity as more Indians than expected rejected his Hindu nationalist dogma.

    It’s this duality of mission that is explored in a new series from the Economist, The Modi Raj. International correspondent Avantika Chilkoti tracks the personal and political history of Modi starting with his humble beginnings working in his father’s tea shop. But as you soon find out listening to the Modi Raj, much about Modi is up for debate, including this origin story. From here we trace Modi’s story as he enters politics, through the 2002 Gujarat riots where Modi is accused of whipping up violence against Muslims as Chief Minister, and onto his successful campaign to become Prime Minister in 2014.

    In line with the Economist’s typical high quality reporting we get good, thorough journalistic analysis. Chilkoti shows how the Prime Minister has achieved enviable economic growth in a vast and complex society by starting the podcast with his origin story and moving to his economic philosophy. Yet all of it must be seen through the lens of Modi’s Hindu nationalism. It’s another aspect of Modi’s leadership that can be traced all the way back to childhood as we receive a full exploration of his involvement in the RSS, a rightwing Hindu nationalist paramilitary organisation.

    The success of The Prince, a biography of China’s Xi Jinping in 2022, proved the Economist’s ability to put a story like this together. The Modi Raj backs up and expands on those credentials, bringing us an essential profile of one of the world’s most powerful men and what made him the person he is. Launching just as Modi’s dominance of Indian politics comes under question, The Modi Raj acts as an exceptional guide to outsiders wanting to understand the man at the pinnacle of the world’s largest democracy.

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