The New Yorker: "Grave concerns about Narendra Modi's mental stability"

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The New Yorker: "Grave concerns about Narendra Modi's mental stability"

Post by Rashmun on Tue Dec 20, 2016 10:38 am

Ashis Nandy is one of India’s foremost intellectuals, a clinical psychologist and sociologist who has produced some of the most original and important works of scholarship in independent India in his forty or more years in public life. He is also a prolific writer of essays and newspaper columns and a feisty public speaker....

In one of the gravest moments of crisis in Indian polity, after the mass sectarian violence in the state of Gujarat, in 2002, when more than a thousand Muslims including pregnant women and children were killed by extremist Hindu mobs—with the alleged complicity of the government led by Hindu nationalist chief minister Narendra Modi (who is now positioning himself as a candidate for Prime Minister and the future leader of India)—Nandy wrote an essay describing Modi as a “classic, clinical case of a fascist,” with “clear paranoid and obsessive personality traits.” The essay appeared in one of India’s much respected intellectual forums, [url= ashis nandy.htm]Seminar magazine[/url].

More than a decade ago, when Narendra Modi was a nobody, a small-time RSS pracharak trying to make it as a small-time BJP functionary, I had the privilege of interviewing him along with Achyut Yagnik, whom Modi could not fortunately recognise. (Fortunately because he knew Yagnik by name and was to later make some snide comments about his activities and columns.) It was a long, rambling interview, but it left me in no doubt that here was a classic, clinical case of a fascist. I never use the term ‘fascist’ as a term of abuse; to me it is a diagnostic category comprising not only one’s ideological posture but also the personality traits and motivational patterns contextualising the ideology.
Modi, it gives me no pleasure to tell the readers, met virtually all the criteria that psychiatrists, psycho-analysts and psychologists had set up after years of empirical work on the authoritarian personality. He had the same mix of puritanical rigidity, narrowing of emotional life, massive use of the ego defence of projection, denial and fear of his own passions combined with fantasies of violence – all set within the matrix of clear paranoid and obsessive personality traits. I still remember the cool, measured tone in which he elaborated a theory of cosmic conspiracy against India that painted every Muslim as a suspected traitor and a potential terrorist. I came out of the interview shaken and told Yagnik that, for the first time, I had met a textbook case of a fascist and a prospective killer, perhaps even a future mass murderer.


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