Modi Co-opting Chandrayaan-3 Success For Hindutva Propaganda?

Well before India's Chandrayaan-3 landed on the moon on August 23, India's "Godi Media" started showing split screens with the landing craft’s animated image (no pictures or live video) alongside a photo of Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi. It was clearly meant to give him exclusive credit for ISRO scientists' major accomplishment after their decades-long hard work. This Hindutva propaganda has echoes of Adolf Hitler’s use of the 1936 Berlin Olympics to promote his Nazi ideology.  It is boosting the morale of the hateful Hindu supremacist trolls unleashed by the BJP “IT cell” on social media. It is easy to conclude that the Chandrayaan is now essentially a prestige project for the Hindu Nationalist government in New Delhi. Funding such projects is easier for politicians than implementing social sector programs to uplift hundreds of millions of poor and hungry Indians who are deprived of the most basic necessities. 

Chadrayaan3-Modi Split Screen Godi Media Propaganda

It is clear that Mr. Modi wants to claim credit for the moon landing but he refuses to take responsibility for high unemployment and widespread malnutrition in the world’s largest population living in extreme poverty in India. Nor does the Modi regime accept the blame for millions of preventable COVID19 deaths in India in 2020-21. This is what Princeton economist Professor Ashoka Mody, the author of “India is Broken”,refers to as India’s “lived reality”. Here's an excerpt from Mody's book: 

"The grim reality is that, to employ all working-age Indians, the economy needs to create 200 million jobs over the next decade, an impossible order after the past decade of declining employment numbers.1 Right from independence, the Indian economy produced too few jobs. For more than 80 percent of Indians, the informal sector employment became the safety net, where workers idled for long stretches, earning below- or barely-above-poverty wages. Demonetization in 2016, a poorly executed goods and services tax in 2017, and COVID-19 in 2020 and 2021 struck hammer blows on the informal sector while creating no new options. Indeed, technology accelerated job destruction, especially in retail and wholesale trade. More Indians just stopped looking for work. Set against this bleakness, many pundits and leaders look back to celebrate and draw hope from India’s high GDP growth rates of the 1990s and 2000s. That celebrated celebrated growth, however, was an outcome of unusually buoyant world trade, rampant natural resource use, and a domestic finance-construction bubble. Even as wealthy Indians accumulated astonishing riches, job creation remained weak. The most severe forms of poverty came down, but still afflicted over 20 percent of Indians; another 40 percent lived precariously, ever at risk of falling back into a dire existence. The median Indian lived in that vulnerable zone—and, looking through a government-induced data fog, still lives there. The unchanging problem through the post-independence years has been the lack of public goods for shared progress: education, health delivery, functioning cities, clean air and water, and a responsive and fair judiciary. Along with scarcity of jobs, the absence or poor quality of public goods makes the lived reality of vast numbers."

India Ranks Low on Social Progress Indicators. Source: Economist 

India ranks 110 among 170 countries on the Social Progress Index (SPI), according to a dataset published by the Social Progress Imperative, a non-profit organization. The Social Progress Index combines 52 social and environmental indicators. 

Over 75% of the world's poor who are deprived of basic living standards (nutrition, cooking fuel, sanitation and housing) live in India compared to 4.6% in Bangladesh and 4.1% in Pakistan, according to a recently released OPHI/UNDP report on multidimensional poverty.  Here's what the report says: "More than 45.5 million poor people are deprived in only these four indicators (nutrition, cooking fuel, sanitation and housing). Of those people, 34.4 million live in India, 2.1 million in Bangladesh and 1.9 million in Pakistan—making this a predominantly South Asian profile". 

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Views: 125

Comment by Riaz Haq on August 24, 2023 at 8:06pm

AAP Ka Mehta 🇮🇳
@DaaruBaazMehta
SHARE MAXIMUM

Ravish Kumar in his Style Exposes PM Modi and BJP's efforts to steal the credit from scientists on the success of #Chandrayaan3

While Lander was close to landing, PM Modi appeared on screen and captured half of the screen..

When the Landing was successful, PM Modi again captured the screen space and started addressing the Nation before the Scientists could celebrate.

https://twitter.com/DaaruBaazMehta/status/1694567960176918554?s=20

Comment by Riaz Haq on August 24, 2023 at 8:10pm

How ISRO's Chandrayaan-3 got helped from NASA and ESA


https://tech.hindustantimes.com/tech/news/how-isros-chandrayaan-3-g...

Since the launch of the Chandrayaan-3 mission on July 14, we have been receiving a remarkable display of international collaboration. Ground stations from the National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) and the European Space Agency (ESA) are providing support to the Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO) during its moon mission. Global backup support is crucial during space missions and this especially applies to spacecraft landing. In India, ISRO operates a 32-meter deep space tracking facility that plays a crucial role in locating, tracking, and communicating with its remote spacecraft.

However, there are instances when ISRO needs to communicate with or track a spacecraft that's positioned outside the coverage area of this antenna. Constructing new large antennas and control centers worldwide is a costly endeavor. To solve this, ISRO sought assistance from partner organizations. This approach not only proves cost-effective but also promotes collaborative efforts in international space exploration. Know how NASA and ESA are collaborating with ISRO in the Chandrayaan-3 mission:

ESA's Contribution:​
ESA ground stations on Earth have stayed connected with the spacecraft to ensure its successful operation. ESA is playing a pivotal role in the Chandrayaan-3 mission. It is utilizing its ground stations within the ESTRACK network to closely monitor the spacecraft's journey. Two ground stations, the ESA's 15-meter antenna in Kourou, French Guiana, and the 32-meter antenna at Goonhilly Earth Station in the U.K., have been employed to track the satellite, receive telemetry data, and relay commands between ISRO's Mission Operations Centre in Bengaluru and the Chandrayaan-3 satellite.

With the lunar landing attempt set for August 23, the ESA has further extended its support by deploying its 35-meter deep space antenna in New Norcia, Australia. This antenna will be critical during the Lunar Descent phase. It will provide real-time information about the Lander Module's health, location, and trajectory. These valuable scientific data will be received by the ground stations Kourou and Goonhilly and will be forwarded to the ISRO.
NASA's Involvement:​
NASA's Deep Space Network (DSN) has been instrumental in providing telemetry and tracking coverage during Chandrayaan-3's powered descent phase. The network's DSS-36 and DSS-34 stations at the Canberra Deep Space Communications Complex, followed by DSS-65 at the Madrid Deep Space Communications Complex, are assisting in receiving crucial data from the spacecraft.

Comment by Riaz Haq on August 25, 2023 at 4:22pm

Nayini Anurag Reddy
@NAR_Handle
- India lands on the Moon, #Modi appears on the screen.
- #Players win medals, Modi's smiling picture on a banner.
- Students return from #Ukraine, Modi takes credit.
- Indians get #Vaccination, Modi's picture on the certificate.
- #Army does its job, Modi politicises it.

On the other side, Manipur burns, but he remains silent. Demonetisation fails, he disappears. Farmers die in protests, he doesn't care. The value of the Rupee falls, he runs away. Prices of essential fuels rise, he acts unbothered.

https://twitter.com/NAR_Handle/status/1694901530703577214?s=20

Comment by Riaz Haq on August 28, 2023 at 9:00am

Animated Clip Of Blue Moon Lander Viral As Chandrayaan-3 Landing

https://www.msn.com/en-in/health/nutrition/animated-clip-of-blue-mo...

An animated video showing a lunar lander landing on the moon is viral on the internet as a footage of Chandrayaan-3's Vikram lander, which landed successfully on the lunar South Pole on August 23, 2023.

BOOM found these posts to be false; the video going viral is actually an animated clip of the unmanned Blue Moon lander, made by American aerospace and defence company Blue Origin.

Following the success of the Chandrayaan-3 mission, the internet has been flooded with false claims around the mission, along with the individuals involved in it. BOOM has fact-checked multiple claims on old or unrelated videos and images being falsely linked to the mission.


A user shared the video on Facebook Reels, with a Hindi text caption, that translates to English as, "Today India will make history. Jai Hind, Jai Bharat." Click here to view the reel, and here to view an archive version.

We also found the same video being shared on YouTube, with captions claiming it to be a footage of the successful landing of the Chandrayaan-3 mission.

BOOM ran several keyframes of the video on Google's reverse image search, and came across several articles about a large lunar lander called Blue Moon, made by Jeff Bezos-owned aerospace and defence company Blue Origin.

Blue Moon is a series of lunar landers, that have been designed to carry both cargo and humans to the Moon, and are being developed by Blue Origin, along with other companies like Boeing, Draper and Lockheed Martin.

The articles contained images of the lander, which matched the lander in the viral video.

One of the search results was a document by the US National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) providing Lightweight Surface Manipulation System overview for Blue Origin landers.

We compared the image of the Blue Moon lander from the NASA document, and found it to be an exact match with the lander in the viral video (see comparison below).

Taking cue from this, we did a Google search with the keywords "animated video Blue Moon landing", and came across a YouTube video titled, "Meet 'Blue Moon' - Blue Origin's Lunar Lander Animated", uploaded on May 10, 2019.

Looking through the video, we found that the viral video has been made by extracting several clips from this animated video.

We also found the exact same video uploaded on the official YouTube channel of Blue Origin.

Comment by Riaz Haq on August 28, 2023 at 5:31pm

#Modi's #Hindutva diplomacy is hurting #India's image. #Hindu nationalist attitudes are alienating other nations. #RSS, #BJP’s ideological parent, openly advocates Hindu supremacy, resulting in hate crimes against #Christians & #Muslims. #Islamophobia https://foreignpolicy.com/2023/08/28/india-modi-diplomacy-bjp-hindu...

Just weeks ago, Indian diplomats had to douse diplomatic fires across the subcontinent after Modi inaugurated a new parliament building that featured a mural map of India, commissioned by the Modi government, that showed the country’s borders stretching from Pakistan in the west to Bangladesh in the east, gobbling up Nepal and Bhutan. In case anyone had doubts, lawmakers from Modi’s BJP lauded the mural for its representation of Akhand Bharat, a Hindu right-wing conceptualization and ideological goal of an undivided India.

India’s neighbors were horrified at this casual trampling of their sovereignty. Pakistan protested. The Ministry of External Affairs said the mural was not depicting Akhand Bharat but “the spread of the Ashokan empire.” The first to contradict this was, among others, Modi’s own Parliamentary Affairs Minister Pralhad Joshi, who tweeted a photo of the map and said, “The resolve is clear—Akhand Bharat.”

Foreign minister S. Jaishankar, now a frequent presence on Indian Instagram and YouTube videos for his brusque responses to criticism, swat Islamabad off in trademark fashion, saying he does “not expect Pakistan to understand.”

The explanation was enough to set hyper-jingoistic social media feeds ablaze. But Kathmandu and Dhaka, traditional friends of New Delhi, were equally mortified. Both asked for explanations. Former Nepali Prime Minister Baburam Bhattarai warned that the mural issue would “stoke [an] unnecessary and harmful diplomatic row,” with the potential for “further aggravating the trust deficit” between the two neighbors. In Kathmandu, Mayor Balen Shah, a young populist politician, cocked a snook at the mighty neighbor and published a map of “Greater Nepal” that included Indian territories. Under domestic pressure, Nepali Prime Minister Pushpa Kamal Dahal, on the eve of his India visit, said he would raise the issue with Modi. On his return, Prachanda said that even though the Modi government had “clarified” that it was a cultural map, “further study” needed to be done in the issue.

This mural controversy came just weeks after the United States made public that Modi’s BJP and Hindu nationalist groups affiliated with it were propping up demands by Nepali Hindu groups to ditch Nepal’s secular constitution and turn it into a Hindu state. The disclosure, made in the U.S. State Religious Freedom report launched by Secretary of State Antony Blinken in May, also recorded Nepali civil society actors saying that Modi’s BJP could even be funding some of the organizations driving this demand.

India’s domestic media, mostly submissive toward the Modi government, ignored the report, but foreign capitals have taken note. There is growing recognition that these instances are damaging India’s standing globally even if few might be willing to say it aloud.

“The rise of Hindu nationalism within India will have an impact on India’s global image, no doubt,” said Aparna Pande, the Washington, D.C.-based director of the India Initiative at the Hudson Institute. She added that some of India’s actions in the recent past have been “damaging” to its interests, especially in its immediate neighborhood.

“The ideology or the belief of the ruling party in Delhi has historically not been allowed to impact foreign policy. It did not matter if we had a socialist government or one that backed free-market policies, because foreign policy was insulated,” she said.

Comment by Riaz Haq on August 28, 2023 at 5:32pm

#Modi's #Hindutva diplomacy is hurting #India's image. #Hindu nationalist attitudes are alienating other nations. #RSS, #BJP’s ideological parent, openly advocates Hindu supremacy, resulting in hate crimes against #Christians & #Muslims. #Islamophobia https://foreignpolicy.com/2023/08/28/india-modi-diplomacy-bjp-hindu...


This, though, is changing.

In 2019, the Modi government amended the country’s citizenship laws to fast-track citizenship applications of non-Muslim refugees from the neighboring Muslim-majority countries of Afghanistan, Pakistan, and Bangladesh. Leaders from the BJP made statements, without any pushback from the party or Modi, that threatened to “send back” the “illegal Bangladeshi Muslims,” referring disparagingly to the economic immigration, often undocumented, by Bangladeshis into India. In a rare show of its anger with New Delhi, Dhaka canceled scheduled visits by its ministers to India.

Local conflicts can play into the Indian government’s fierce nationalism. Last year, violent clashes between newly arrived Hindu immigrants and Muslim residents rocked the English city of Leicester. Police investigations found, according to the Daily Mail, that Hindu nationalist “elements close to Mr Modi’s Bharatiya Janata Party” were suspected to have played a key role in inciting them. The Modi government issued an unusually partisan response, condemning the violence and singling out “symbols of Hindu religion” as the target of the attack.

Five months later, in February this year, the Modi government unleashed a series of tax raids on offices of the BBC across multiple cities. The sudden raids came just weeks after the BBC released a documentary that investigated the role of Modi during the 2002 riots in his home state of Gujarat, which killed 1,000 people, most of them Muslims.

Ian Hall, a professor of international relations at Griffith University and the author of the book Modi and the Reinvention of Indian Foreign Policy, said the Modi government had been trying to tread a fine line by “sometimes using anti-Muslim language at home to mobilize voters while trying to maintain positive relations with Muslim states,” he said. “There is no doubt that outbursts of anti-Muslim rhetoric and attacks on Muslims in India cause problems for New Delhi, both in the Muslim world and in the West.”

These problems come in different forms.

In London, a foreign-policy expert who asked not to be named said there were many within the U.K. Foreign Office who were “petrified” and “worried” about doing business with Modi’s government, but also acknowledged the “overriding strategic concerns” that brought them closer.

India’s geopolitical significance as a counterweight to China in the region might ensure that criticism for its actions may not be too vocal, but that still won’t give India a free pass, said Kira Huju, a fellow in international relations at the London School of Economics and Political Science.

“Western capitals are compelled by geostrategic imperatives in the Indo-Pacific to seek India’s cooperation, but they may well have gone further in these pursuits, had they not harbored deep reservations about domestic developments in India,” Huju said.

Some of this pushback was on display during Modi’s recent U.S. visit.

Media reports said that despite Modi’s insistence on not holding a press conference, the Biden administration pushed on after a marathon negotiation, ensuring that their guest did not leave without fielding questions from the press. Pande, from the Hudson Initiative, said the U.S. insistence on the press conference was a not-so-subtle message from the Biden administration.

Comment by Riaz Haq on August 28, 2023 at 5:33pm

#Modi's #Hindutva diplomacy is hurting #India's image. #Hindu nationalist attitudes are alienating other nations. #RSS, #BJP’s ideological parent, openly advocates Hindu supremacy, resulting in hate crimes against #Christians & #Muslims. #Islamophobia https://foreignpolicy.com/2023/08/28/india-modi-diplomacy-bjp-hindu...


When a U.S. journalist posed a question to Modi, infamous for not having addressed a single press conference in his nine years as PM, pro-Modi trolls, including Modi’s own leaders, viciously attacked her online and highlighted her Muslim roots. The attacks were so vicious that the White House stepped in, called it “unacceptable” and saying that administration officials “absolutely condemn” the attacks, which the spokesperson said were “antithetical to the principles of democracy … on display during the state visit last week.”

Huju said that even former U.S. President Barack Obama’s CNN interview during Modi’s trip, in which he implicitly criticized Modi’s Hindu nationalist politics, was possibly “coordinated” by the Democratic administration in the White House to send a message across to the Modi government.

Closer to home, India’s brand of politics is rankling friendly regimes, too.

Shahab Enam Khan, a Dhaka-based academic and a Fulbright professor at the U.S. University of Delaware, said that many within the Sheikh Hasina regime, traditionally close to New Delhi, were “uncomfortable” with the Modi government’s actions.

This anger against Modi and his government spilled over onto the streets in 2021, when the Indian prime minister visited Bangladesh. Angry protesters clashed with security forces, leading to the death of at least 10 people, and dozens injured.

“In Bangladesh, Hindutva is also perceived to be one form of extremism. Hence, many here are questioning India’s right to criticize other forms of extremism,” Khan said. “In fact, many here are now comparing the centrality of religion in India’s politics to the centrality of religion in Pakistan’s politics,” he said.

In Kathmandu, an anti-India brand of politics has been brewing afresh in the recent years, and the recent mural controversy only added to it. When Prachanda—the Nepali PM, an avowed lifelong atheist and leader of the country’s Maoist movement—visited India in June this year and performed a six-hour long ceremony at the Mahakaleshwar Temple in the city of Ujjain, many in Kathmandu were left aghast.

“Many here felt that this temple visit could not have been Prachanda’s choice; it was possibly hoisted on him by the Indian government,” said a Kathmandu-based geopolitical analyst and chief of a think tank, who did not wish to be named.

Analysts warn that allowing the Hindutva agenda to fray New Delhi’s traditional neighborhood ties could be dangerous for India.

“India’s neighbors are its first layer of security. India and its neighbors are in a dependence relationship—you can push it a bit, but you can’t break it,” Pande said.

According to Pande, the “entire ecosystem created” by actors belonging to and aligned with Modi’s BJP has “ensured that domestic politics now has greater impact on foreign relations with our neighbors than our foreign policy does.”

This was evident even in Modi’s visit to Johannesburg to participate in the BRICS summit between Aug. 22 and 24. The Daily Maverick, a local newspaper, reported that Modi “refused to get off his aircraft” on arrival, to protest the South African government deputing a cabinet minister to receive him.

Comment by Riaz Haq on August 28, 2023 at 5:35pm

#Modi's #Hindutva diplomacy is hurting #India's image. #Hindu nationalist attitudes are alienating other nations. #RSS, #BJP’s ideological parent, openly advocates Hindu supremacy, resulting in hate crimes against #Christians & #Muslims. #Islamophobia https://foreignpolicy.com/2023/08/28/india-modi-diplomacy-bjp-hindu...


The story went viral in India, shared widely by Modi’s critics. Hours after it was published, the Daily Maverick tweeted that it had faced a “massive” cyberattack by Indian servers, ostensibly “to deny the people of India access to this story,” and hence was blocking access to its website for Indian users. The government of South African President Cyril Ramaphosa rubbished the news report but did not react to the cyberattack. While the attackers did not reveal their identity, Modi’s party has been known for its proficient use of information technology.

This brand of muscular nationalism will have damaging effects for India’s foreign interests, analysts said.

Bangladesh’s Khan agreed, pointing to a comment by then-BJP chief and now India’s Home Minister Amit Shah referring to undocumented migrants from Bangladesh as “termites,” which remains widely remembered in Dhaka.

“The rise of nonsecular narratives [and] the rise of religious nationalism will destabilize the region because you are fueling toxic nationalism across the region,” Khan said. “It is inevitable that the more hyper-religious nationalism emerges in India, the greater political instability there will be in the region.”

Huju, the London School of Economics fellow, said that even the nature of Indian diplomacy, through the Indian Foreign Service (IFS), was at stake as a result of the Modi government’s assertive Hindu nationalism.

“Should there be a third BJP term, we are looking at lasting institutional changes to the way that the IFS is governed and culturally imagined,” she said.

Comment by Riaz Haq on August 30, 2023 at 8:22am

Views of India Lean Positive Across 23 Countries
Among Indians, Modi and India’s global influence are viewed favorably

https://www.pewresearch.org/global/2023/08/29/views-of-india-lean-p...

Next week, political leaders are gathering in New Delhi for the annual G20 summit, the first ever to be held in South Asia. As international attention is drawn to India, a new Pew Research Center survey finds that views of India are generally positive across 23 countries.

A median of 46% of adults hold a favorable view of India, while a median of 34% have unfavorable views. In comparison, views of Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi, which were collected in a subset of 12 countries, are more mixed: A 37% median say they have confidence in Modi, and a 40% median say they lack confidence in him.

----------------

Indians are more likely than others to believe India’s power is on the rise. Around seven-in-ten Indians believe their country has recently become more influential, compared with a median of 28% across 19 countries who said the same in 2022. In those 19 countries, respondents were most inclined to say that India’s influence had not changed much in recent years (48% median), but only 19% of Indians agree with this view. Indians are just as likely as those in other countries to think India’s influence has become weaker in recent years (13% vs. a 19-country median of 13%).
Modi is popular in India, but has more mixed reviews internationally. About eight-in-ten Indians (79%) have a favorable view of Modi, including a majority of 55% with a very favorable view. In comparison, a median of 37% in 12 countries, most of which are middle-income, report having confidence in Modi to make the right foreign policy choices. Kenyans are especially confident, with 60% saying they trust Modi to do the right thing regarding world affairs, while Argentines are particularly skeptical. Just 12% in Argentina have confidence in the Indian leader. At least one-in-ten in each of these countries also do not offer an opinion on Modi.

Comment by Riaz Haq on August 30, 2023 at 8:23am

Views of India Lean Positive Across 23 Countries
Among Indians, Modi and India’s global influence are viewed favorably

https://www.pewresearch.org/global/2023/08/29/views-of-india-lean-p...



European attitudes toward India have turned more negative over time. Favorable views of India have declined by roughly 10 percentage points or more in all five of the European countries where past data is available. The greatest change is seen in France, where just 39% now have a favorable view of India, compared with 70% in 2008. Notably, French adults are also less likely than they were in 2008 to share an opinion on India. In all other countries, people are more or about as likely to offer an opinion on India as they were in 2008.

Indians stand out for their favorable views of Russia. Whereas a median of only 14% across 22 countries have a positive view of Russia, a 57% majority of Indians see Russia favorably. Indians are also the most likely to have confidence in Russian President Vladimir Putin to do the right thing regarding world affairs among all publics surveyed. Likewise, the United States is seen more favorably in India (65%) than in many other countries surveyed. When it comes to China, India stands out for the opposite reason: It is the only middle-income country surveyed where a majority has unfavorable views of China.

Negative attitudes toward Pakistan persist in India. Roughly three-quarters of Indian adults hold an unfavorable view of Pakistan. This includes 57% who have a very unfavorable opinion. Indians’ views of Pakistan have consistently been unfavorable since the question was first asked in 2013, with the share holding an unfavorable view of the country never dipping below 60%.
Outside of India, substantial shares in many countries surveyed do not offer an opinion on India and on Modi. In the U.S., this includes 40% who report having never heard of Modi. Some groups are more inclined to provide a response to the two questions: This includes men and those with more education in several countries. Younger adults are also generally more likely to offer an opinion on India. Within India, a quarter or more do not offer an opinion of Indian National Congress (INC) leaders Mallikarjun Kharge and Adhir Ranjan Chowdhury.

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