The cover story of Time dated May 9 calling “India’s divider-in-chief” has been a major talking point, with extensive coverage by mainstream media and animated discussions among social media users. Modi’s picture was on all international issues of the magazine except the United States edition.
The cover story, written by novelist Aatish Taseer, has the headline: “Can the world’s largest democracy endure another five years of a Modi government?” A second article, by Ian Bremmer, treats Modi far more positively, suggesting that Modi is “India’s best hope” for economic reform.
The magazine had placed Narendra Modi on its cover in 2015 too, with the title “Why Modi Matters”. It had also carried an interview with the prime minister.
Now, Aatish Taseer is being targeted for his article.
Taseer is a British-born journalist and writer. However, someone edited Taseer’s description on Wikipedia and falsely added he is working as ‘PR manager for Indian
The edited Wikipedia page was later tweeted by pro-BJP social media user, Chowkidar Shashank Singh.
Sharing a screenshot, Singh tweeted, “so this guys Aatish Taseer works as PR manager for Indian National Congress. No doubt Time magazine has lost their credibility and has become mouthpiece of Leftist (sic).”
Edited Wikipedia text
The text seen in the screenshot shared on Twitter has been edited. This is because Wikipedia allows users to edit pages and articles. The page on editing states, “Wikipedia is a wiki, meaning that anyone can edit any unprotected page and improve articles immediately for all readers. You do not need to register to do this. Anyone who has edited is known as a ‘Wikipedian’ (commonly referred to as, simply, editors) and, no matter how trivial the edit may seem, can be proud that they have helped make Wikipedia what it is.”
Alt News found that Taseer’s Wikipedia page was edited repeatedly on May 10, the day after his article was published. The first edit was made at 7:.9 am, when the phrase about Taseer being “the PR manger for the Congress” was added to the “Career” section of the page.
The contents of the page have been locked against further malicious alteration.
Taseer starts his article saying that in 2014, India became the “first of the great democracies to fall to populism”. According to him, Modi won those elections riding on hope but this time “whatever else might be said…hope is off the menu”.
The article says that Modi’s ascension in 2014 showed that “beneath the surface of what the elite had believed was a liberal syncretic culture, India was indeed a cauldron of religious nationalism, anti-Muslim sentiment and deep-seated caste bigotry”.
Taseer describes Modi’s record on women’s issues as “spotty”. He also criticises the appointment of Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh ideologue S Gurumurthy to the board of the Reserve Bank of India, and calls Uttar Pradesh Chief Minister Adityanath a “hate-mongering priest in robes of saffron”. Taseer describes the candidature of Malegaon blasts accused Pragya Singh Thakur in the Lok Sabha election from Bhopal as an example of “the spectre of extreme nationalism and criminality” becoming inseparable.
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