Delhi-based author Vineetha Mokkil has written an “open letter to Modi bhakts in America” asking them to stop funding the current political dispensation as punishment for pushing India’s healthcare system towards a collapse amid the pandemic.
Some readers have responded saying she has given voice to their anguish. Some have accused her of “tarnishing the image of India”.
The article, titled “An open letter to Modi bhakts in America: Your God has feet of clay and blood on his hands”, was published on the South Asian American news website American Kahani on Wednesday.
Mokkil, a short story writer who regularly visits the US, told The Telegraph: “The moment is right for introspection even for bhakts who may have voted for a Ram temple but are also affected by the pandemic today.”
She wrote in the article: “While India gasps for breath, while patients die in hospital after hospital for lack of oxygen, while the sick collapse on the streets and beg for medicines and beds at overcrowded hospital gates, your God is lavishing Rs 22,000 crore on building himself a glitzy new palace in the heart of Delhi.
“Consumed by his vanity project, he forgot to instruct his government to procure adequate vaccine supplies — the one thing that could save countless Indian lives as the second wave explodes in the country....”
Mokkil said: “All those odes to India’s ancient glory, the shiny promises of turning India into a Vishwa Guru who dazzles the world, all the bombastic words he uses to cast a spell on you at his Madison Square Garden rallies are a means to an end. Your God mouths the words to make sure you donate your dollars to his political campaigns and rallies. Keep the dollars coming, and he’ll keep telling you what you want to hear.”
She added: “Under your God’s watch, India had been brought to her knees. It is a pariah nation now. The Covid hotspot every nation dreads.... He has not consoled the families of the dead or met with them.
“He chants Jai Shree Ram only to win elections. He pits Hindu against Muslim and throws a lit match on the fire when tensions flare up.... If your God is the protector of all Hindus as he claims to be, if your God is the bearded messiah of the Hindu Rashtra he and his party fantasise about, why did he allow the Kumbh Mela to go on knowing full well that the faithful would be infected?”
She concluded: “Your callous and calculating God has finally shown his Vishwaroopam. Open your eyes wide. Open your eyes and behold his grotesque core. He is full of false promises. He has a forked tongue and an ice cold heart. He cannot save, protect or defend the people under his care.
“Stop leaving offerings on his bloodied altar. Stop funding his campaigns of hate. Stop enabling the annihilation of secular India’s soul.
“Find a less lethal God to worship. This one has feet of clay and blood on his hands.”
On Saturday, Mokkil told this newspaper: “I wrote this letter to bhakts in the US because they have a strong investment in Indian politics. They may not all be rabid Modi followers but they enable what is happening with their (political) contributions.
“All these people are culpable for our suffering due to their misplaced view of India that is not in touch with reality. Right-wing propaganda has given them a fantasy that is being realised at the expense of the suffering of people in India.”
Like most Indians, Mokkil is dealing with the trauma of friends suffering from the coronavirus and loved ones struggling for basic facilities that the government should have provided.
“This is avoidable suffering. People shouldn’t have to cry for help online for oxygen, beds and medicines. Things like this do not happen in other parts of the world, which too are facing the pandemic,” she said.
“Besides those confusing an elected Prime Minister with India as a country and saying you cannot question the Prime Minister, there are others who don’t have a basic understanding of civics. They think that all failures are only the responsibility of the states.”
Mokkil hopes that at least a few among the target audience would reconsider the destination of their donations. “We must seize the moment to reach out to bhakts who too are suffering. Words are all we have,” she said.