After eight, maybe nine, years of carefully coiffured image management, there is nearly nothing about Narendra Modi‘s expensive wardrobe that is debatable.
Anybody blessed with even just one functional eye can see that he changes his clothes virtually hour of the day, rarely ever repeating colours.
But when you are an undisguised fan girl who has spent half a century peddling “Lutyens Delhi” gossip as journalism, and look at the world through a Porsche Cayenne, it’s easy to be lectured of the austere lifestyle of the saint.
In her new book Messiah Modi?, excerpted in today’s Indian Express, Tavleen Singh writes of an “audience” with the prime minister as recently as 2018, a year after the 2017 lynching of Pehlu Khan:
It is courteous to listen, not interrogate, in a private encounter, but the naivete is beyond touching, because it took “Gush Gush Singh”, as Mani Shankar Aiyar memorably christened her, the revocation of her son Aatish Taseer‘s OCI card to declare that Modi had made his “first mistake“—in December 2019.
The home ministry cited a delay in submission of details for the revocation of Tasser’s card. But it was read as retribution for his turgid Time magazine article before the 2019 election, titled by the desk as ‘Divider-in-Chief’.
That produced another wail of the rags-to-riches rise of an impoverished family from a barsati in Golf Links: “M.J. Akbar gave me a job. Vasundhara Raje gave me money. Sonia Gandhi gave Aatish his best clothes.”
It is stupid to presume, of course, but hopefully the question-mark at the end of the book title Messiah Modi? was not an afterthought after her son’s harrowing experience.
“The home minister didn’t take my calls; the PMO’s media handler ignored my calls and emails. It was then that I realised that somebody very high up wanted revenge on Aatish”.