India Elections: How Modi Tried to Use a Religious Crisis to Win Votes | The Dispatch

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I’m trying to get to
Sabarimala Temple, one of India’s holiest
Hindu shrines. “You’re going
to Sabarimala?” “We’re going to the top.” But it’s not easy. “We go talk to him?” “That man.” “O.K. Let’s go.” There are police everywhere. “Hello, sir.” They seem to be on high alert. “Times?” “New York Times.” “American. American.” “’New York Times.
The New York Times, over.” “Thanks for your help, yeah?” “Thank you, sir.” In the end, I get through, and I walk among thousands of
pilgrims who are here to worship the god Ayyappa. “Oh, cool. There it is. There it is. This is it. It’s like a whole
little town here.” One group I don’t see? Women, between the
ages of 10 and 50. The devout believe
Ayyappa is a celibate god and those women
could tempt him. But I do meet the
vigilantes who are here to stop any
young women from entering. “Right here, what
are you looking for?” “Right here, we’ll be asking:
How old are you?” Traditionally, women
of childbearing age have been banned
from coming here. But last year, the
Indian Supreme Court said it was illegal
to block them. The decision erupted
into a religious crisis that lasted for months. [chanting] The devout were furious. They said it was an
assault on their religion. And the political right wing
seized an opportunity. They rushed in,
calling themselves the defenders of
tradition, and helped fuel violent protests. So, I came here to feel
the reverberations. How much can a controversy
over one temple shape politics in the
world’s largest democracy? I’m Jeffrey Gettleman. It’s election time, and
Prime Minister Narendra Modi will likely win
another five-year term. [cheering and applause] This is the first time I’ve
actually seen Modi in person. And wow, to rouse his base,
he knows exactly what to say and how to say it. He’s trying to leverage the
controversy over Sabarimala Temple into votes for
his party, the B.J.P. Reporter: “Hello, ma’am. So, you like Modi?” “Yeah, definitely.” “Why?” “I think —” Reporter: “Some people say
B.J.P. divides India between Hindus and Muslims. What do you say?” Reporter: “Even the Muslims?” “Yeah.” Reporter: “So, you think
of it as Hindus or Indians?” Among many Modi supporters,
this is a core belief, that India is a Hindu nation,
despite the fact that people of many religions live here. And I wonder what this
means for minorities, and for the future
of this democracy. See, since Modi came to
power five years ago, hate crimes against
Muslims have shot up. Lynch mobs have killed
dozens of people suspected of slaughtering cows,
which are sacred to Hindus. To be clear, Modi doesn’t
encourage the violence, but critics say he hasn’t forcefully condemned it, either. Now, his party is riding this
wave of Hindu nationalism into the most secular
parts of the country. That’s another reason why
I came here, to Kerala. It’s a progressive state. Modi’s party has never won
a single Parliament seat from here. This is the party that hold
the most seats in Kerala, the Indian National Congress. It stands for a pluralist,
secular India. So this is the last
place I’d expect the Hindu right to succeed. But the state has turned
into a real battleground, all because of Sabarimala. Not far from
the temple, I meet up with K. Surendran on
the campaign trail. He’s a B.J.P. candidate
for Parliament, and he was one of the
thousands arrested for rioting at
Sabarimala and physically blocking women from entering. It made him a hero
of the Hindu right. It’s impressive to see
him work the crowd. He doesn’t even
have to say much. [singing] People here know exactly
where he stands on Sabarimala, and that’s what matters. Modi’s party has
another advantage — a strong ground game. These men are
volunteers with the R.S.S. — The hardline
Hindu organization known for churning out leaders. They’re basically
Modi’s foot soldiers. There are thousands of
branches like this one. Modi, himself, actually
rose up through their ranks. Hari Mohan joined
this group when he was 9, and now he helps recruit
some of the younger guys. As soon as their workout ends,
he and his R.S.S. friends fan out to door-knock for
Modi and the B.J.P. What’s interesting
is Hari doesn’t talk about jobs, farms
or the broader economy — Modi isn’t doing
so well on those. Instead, Sabarimala Temple
is really the issue. I realize that
for most people here, even women,
the controversy isn’t about gender equality. It’s about traditions,
and who will protect them at all costs. India is a
deeply religious country. India is also a
secular democracy. These two things are
becoming harder to square as religion, and one
religion in particular, comes to dominate politics. This moment feels
like a battle over very different
visions for India’s future. And what happens
here in Kerala could predict the direction
of the entire country.

100 comments

  1. So true. Parties are using religion to divide India. It’s taking India more backward. We are becoming more and more retrogressive.
    Why don’t Indian ppl vote on the basis of more job opportunities, more growth,
    Why are they so much focused on making it a Hindu nation

  2. This is a great example of selective journalism.

    Sabrimala isn't the only issue.

    Jobs
    Security
    Stable governance
    Unemployment
    Entrepreneurship
    Corruption
    Farmer and workers
    Infrastructure
    And what not.

  3. So rightly said, "What happens in Kerala will decide the direction of the entire country". Kerala decided after 2 days of your video; And thus the direction of our country is a "Secular Democracy".

  4. Aaah! The mouth piece of the Blue Empire. Don't you have something more important to do, NYT? Such as promote Biological males declaring themselves Female and then competing with Biological women in sports like Boxing and wrestling?

  5. Pseudo secular foreign media like BBC cnnibn new York Times Washington post times and evils like polygamy triple talak burka caste system should all be banned in india! Congratulations to our most beloved, democratically elected and one of the best prime minister of India we ever had since last 60 years, the one Mr Narendra modi ji. Thank God India is in safe hands now. 🤨

  6. Rubbish western media houses start reporting by saying him as hindu nationalist He won because of
    90 million toilets,
    360 million bank accounts,
    15 million houses for homeless,
    25 million electricity connections
    70 million smokeless kitchens
    Roads, rails, ports and what not…

  7. This Newspaper/Media is Biased AF. They’re swayed by leftists at such a great extent. They try to paint everyone in negative light who disagrees with them.

  8. Gotta love the indian youtube mobs going from video to video disliking any video that shows the real truth about modi xD every video in my "up next" that is against modi is getting buttload of dislikes….whenever there is a video that says good stuff about modi , it gets likes with 1000s of fake indian accounts or accounts pretending to be someone from another country xD lol…i bet my comment is also gonna attract alot of haters and to that sir i say .|. in advance. ciao

  9. why doesn't he make reports on minorities of bangladesh? And shows that hindus of india is beating indian Muslims, guess what they got the justice, but hindus of bangladesh? Well muslims are killing hindus, last month a hindu political leader was burned to deathe in the northern part of bangladesh when he was in custody. Government killed him by the officials, this is just one incident among millions of incidents. Why they did not report on love jihad and using hindu girls as planned jihad and suicide bombing? Why they did not report on baduria, diamond harbour, basirhath massacre held by muslim in westbengal? Why they didn't report on communal violence against hindus in nasirnagar incident of bangladesh?

  10. I agree with new York times 101%. I am a Christian… Look at those Hindus.. Their mindset needs to grow up….

  11. Typical NY Times. Kerala is not Congress voting state, but Communist. Anticommunist rabies at it best from NY Times.

  12. I am a Moslem from Pakistan. I have over the years met many Hindus who are extremely fine and normal human beings. I don't know why BJP is trying to radicalize the Indian Society? Hinduism does NOT have political dimensions or facets. Hence, Hinduism is only a way of LIFE devoid of politics. If India wants to imitate theologian states such as Iran, KSA, Sudan, Pakistan or Israel, then good luck to them.

  13. NYT wants India to have a minister like trump. guess who? Wait you didn't vote him right your elections were rigged😂

  14. All stupid people…MODI IS HIMSELF TERRORIST WHO KILLS HIS OWN PEOPLE BLAME ON PAKISTAN TO WIN ELECTIONS…

  15. I wonder who is behind NY times trying to undermine Modi. They were the only international newspaper who showed Modi's win in bad light.
    Modi has publically condemned cow vigilantism many times. His agenda after second win included protection of Minorities.
    BJP won bcoz there is no strong leaders to oppose. If BJP was biased, even Hindus wouldn't vote for them.
    Except for certain internet Hindus and some isolated incidents in villages, most Hindus are secular and prioritizes India before their religion.

  16. so because India is now developing and have a good leader the West is all out to destroy him. The West especially the U.S. who believe that if all the 3rd world develop the world will boil over.

  17. Congress is led by Ghandi whose mother is an Italian a foreigner, a Western that is part of neo-colonialism

  18. 3:47 Hindu is not a religion it's an turn
    And there is not any cast system in India you can change your cast by your knolage

  19. K surendran lost shamelessly
    Kerala people showed the bjp again their divide and rule wont work in india by not giving a single seat in the state

  20. This video was needed to be made. It was long overdue. I am from India and i know how BJP works. Nt against the party but some extremists like Gow Rakshaks (cow vigilante) make me sick to the bones, their thinking are from Stone ages -killing a person for eating beef or worse in suspicion of having beef. Good job!! If only our national media could have done something like this, they just make paid news nowadays

  21. This is exactly why I don't like TNYT. They ignore all the good stuff Modi has done. Typical leftist agenda blaming everything if they do not win.

  22. How much ignorant new York time is , I mean how they have represented a false and base less narrative

  23. NO ONE TALK ABOUT MUSLIM IN THE COMMENT SENSION THE ONE MEN WHO SAYS THATS INDIA IS FOR HINDUS LOL THERE IS 200 MILLION MUSLIMS IN INDIA ,THIS MEN SHOW THE INIDAN HINDU FACE AND MANY VIDIOES TOO ABIUT BLOFY INDIANS

  24. India a pluralistic secular democracy.. sounds good to hear right ?? But are we secular ? are those minorities secular..? a big NO..what percentage of seculars are we talking abt ??

    NYC times trying to generalize/ovresimplify a much deep rooted problem.. Politicians in India have always used the DIVIDE to their advantage and tried to lure respective communities as their votebanks..
    sadly, it's not a new phenomenon..

  25. Kerala is so progressive that ISIS are having their classes for terrorism….so progressive ……they are bombing kerala churches ..so progressive…..

  26. Describe what you just saw in one word: FILTH
    describe in two words: FILTH FILTH
    in three?: Heaps of FILTH
    thank you!

  27. I’m a Modi supporter but I don’t think that India belongs only to Hindus. It belongs to humans who live here.

  28. Modi and trump are the dark sides of democracy…pretty ironic that the key to winning elections nowadays is spending more money on advertising!!! People are just consumers being peddled around like crazy. It is not much of a science to sway opinions and sell ideas nowadays. In a parallel universe wherein Modi/trump had to struggle based on their character only; they would never stand a chance.

  29. Looks like the bhakts are now watching English content…9k dislikes that's a huge quantity of chowkidars

  30. Did you base the view of 1,300,000,000 people on the basis on One Indian counterpart who might have given you a working theory for your documentary? Or interviewing the selected 2 or 3 people to best showcase your case and forwards your narrative

    Man! Have you got it wrong or what? Is Kerala the most progressive state because BJP has won no seats there? And Congress is for Secular progressive India?

    You make RSS Sound like a fundamentalist organization. Could you please contrast with the fundamentalism all over the world, over the featutues?

    Modi isn't ding so well on job? Statistics please

    Kerala will predict the direction entire Country. Whattttttt!

    Dude, Please.

  31. Biased and ill
    Researched video. Pls stick to covering stories that are easier for your reporters to understand. Instead of putting up videos which are miles from the truth just to pander to ur tgs.

  32. agenda people from newyork cant understand…..U guys not understand why trump become president….and u come to india….hahahah

  33. stay away from nwwyork time..they having one agenda…same as bbc….Seculrism….they r real intolrance people

  34. Problem is that we still give attention to these western media houses and they never leave a opportunity to spread hate news….🖕to you western idiots

  35. India is called HINDUSTAN. Get the HISTORY of this land correct. Pakistan, Afghanistan, and even Iran were all AKHAND BHARAT. Minorities are invaders. For Muslims Pakistan was created.

  36. Actually, the term 'Hindu' was devised by the 'Arabs' and later used by the 'Europeans' to refer to people living beyond river Indus(between the Himalayas and the Indian Ocean. 'Hinduism is not a religion'
    'Sanatana Dharma' is the religion but the west and most of the Indians themselves often use the two terms interchangeably.
    That's where all problems actually arise from!!

  37. Politics and Religion ought never be mixed. It always ends in calamity. Just look at Saudi Arabia, UAE, Israel and Pakistan (to name a few). Secular Government is the only way forward.

  38. This case nicely proves that religion is a poison for human, society and evolution of humans as a species.

  39. India is rioting, Albania is rioting, England has conflicts, Hong Kong is rioting and the US is an orange mess. What is going on?

  40. AND THIS KIND OF GUY IS AN EDUCATED AMERICAN!!!!!
    NOW YOU CAN UNDERSTAND HOW DUMB MOST OF AMERICANS ARE.

  41. Pora jhot Bolta Hain modi government Hindu Muslim KARTA hain what is Hindu Muslim my
    Brother all is one
    God made insan not Hindu Muslim we made Hindu Muslim sabb ka atma ek Hain there is no Hindu Muslim atma Randi rubbika lakat modi government ka rakal Hain sabb ko malom Hain phir bhi sabb modi government ko votes daga because he will save us from Pk and China and USA and Europe Randi rubbika lakat modi ka rakal Hain please don't vote for modi government

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