After becoming the Prime Minister of the country, Narendra Modi, while addressing the Indian Diaspora abroad, made repeated comments that triggered major trends like the hashtag #ModiInsultsIndia on Twitter.
Initially, the globe trotter would hardly miss any opportunity to mock India and curse previous governments including NDA-1 for all the ills plaguing the country. And in the same breath, he would claim that it was only after he assumed the office of Prime Minister of India that Indians started feeling proud of their country.
In fact, many citizens in the wake of PM Modi’s criticism of his own country had started wondering if he was treating NRIs who have chosen to make foreign lands their homes, as his new constituency.
In May 2015, PM Modi was severely criticised for his controversial comments in China and South Korea about Indians being ashamed of being born in India before the BJP-led NDA government came to power in 2014.
“Till last year. Indians were ashamed of admitting they were from India. They said ‘humne kya paap kiya ke hum Hindustan me paida huwe?’ (What sins have we committed that we are born in Hindustan),” he said in S Korea. Here’s the video:
“But within one year I have been in power the scene has changed completely. Now India is the fastest growing economy in the world – all the credit rating companies and investment funds acknowledge that,” Modi boasted to clapping audience.
Modi also mentioned BRICS nations in the same address, “BRICS stands for Brazil, Russia, India, China and South Africa. Economists said these countries will decide the world’s economic future. But the ‘I’ of India was so weak that BRICS was collapsing at the centre. I ludakh raha tha….Now India has become so strong and so self-assured that the same people who criticised India are saying there can be no BRICS without India!”
Before this, speaking in Europe, PM Modi had said he was busy cleaning the accumulated garbage of over 50 years.
In June 2016, Shiv Sena slammed Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s remarks in Doha about India being plagued by corruption. An editorial in Sena’s mouthpiece ‘Saamna’ said that PM Modi had “maligned the nation’s image”, and questioned if scams in BJP-ruled Maharashtra, Madhya Pradesh and Gujarat can be attributed to the Gandhi family.
In a big embarrassment during his tour to Russia, Prime Minister Narendra Modi was pulled back by a Russian official in December 2015 as he walked past the guard of honour accorded to him while the Indian national anthem was being played soon after his arrival in Moscow.
Even at home, Modi has been accused of being disrespectful to national symbols.
In 2015, PM Modi signed an Indian Flag to be gifted to US President Barack Obama, which he handed over to chef Vikas Khanna.
It was viewed as a violation of the Prevention of Insults to National Honour Act, 1971, amended by the Prevention of Insults to National Honour (Amendment) Act, 2005 by many.
In June last year, a case was filed against Prime Minister Narendra Modi for insulting the National Flag. The petitioner accused Modi of showing disrespect to the National Flag on International Yoga Day (June 21). Kumar claimed that the Indian PM used the flag like a mere piece of cloth by sitting on it and using it to wipe his hands and face.
During crucial state elections, at a political rally in Uttar Pradesh, PM Modi took digs at Amartya Sen, the Harvard professor, and Manmohan Singh, the Oxford-educated former Prime Minister, over their fierce criticism of demonetisation. “Well-known intellectuals from Harvard and Oxford, who have been in key positions in the Indian economic system, had said the GDP would go down by 2 per cent, some others said it would go down by 4 per cent,” Modi declared.
“To develop a country as diverse as India, you will need the help of people who bring a different perspective to the table. Mocking economists and credible academic institutions will only isolate us from the world,” Prateek Kanwal, a Harvard University student had stated in a letter to Prime Minister Narendra Modi.