“Fast Track” is an evaluation of Narendra Modi’s first 100 days as the hard right Hindu prime minister of India. Timed to roughly coincide with Narendra Modi’s coming visit to the United States, “Fast Track to Troubling Times: 100 Days of Narendra Modi” was released this past week. It comes after the election was concluded, but, the obvious objection holds, before enough time has passed to judge the government.
Thankfully, we can dispense with the idea that this government is starting from a blank slate. Each sections has a subsection that links current developments to relevant aspects of Modi’s record as Chief Minister, lending the report more weight than an analysis of 100 days would offer by itself.
Among Modi lowlights described in the report are a loosening of several rules around land acquisition for industrial projects that will hurt socially and economically disempowered groups, the use of anti-Muslim propaganda in UP for election campaigns, and heavyhanded pressure against members of the media to refrain from criticizing Modi or others. There are many others described in the report.
“Fast Track” is fairly comprehensive in terms of subjects, covering theModi government’s actions on “culture”, “development”, “economic policy”, “the Environment”, “women [and] sexual minorities”, “human rights”, and “religious minorities,Dalits, andAdivasis.” The independent sections are heavily sourced through links, making it potentially a more convenient read with a web browser than on paper. This design unfortunately takes away from a sense of linear narrative and there is some amount of repetition in order to allow each section to stand alone effectively. In general, the writing could be stronger; as it is, the report makes for a better reference text than a read.
“Fast Track” unfortunately does not have a separate labor section, but it does cover extensively the relationship between the state and the private sector, issues of social discrimination that are completely tied up with economic well being, and the question of development. Those interested in South Asia and its laborers will find useful information in this report.
The document is attributed to Ghadar Alliance, which describes itself as “an emerging coalition of Indian diasporic groups across the United States consisting of various social justice organizations active in the country for several decades.” (Ghadar Party was the name of a revolutionary nationalist movement in the Indian diaspora in the U.S. and Canada in the early 20th century.)