Indian authors speak out over plan to reissue Narendra Modi exam book

Alison Flood in The Guardian:

Leading Indian authors Pankaj Mishra and Arundhati Roy have spoken out against Penguin Random House India’s decision to publish and promote a book by Narendra Modi during the country’s coronavirus crisis, with Mishra accusing PRH India of “enlist[ing] in a flailing politician’s propaganda campaign”. In a letter published in the London Review of Books blog, Mishra wrote to the chief executive of PRH India, Gaurav Shrinagesh, after the publisher announced it would be reissuing Modi’s book Exam Warriors while, in Mishra’s words, “smoke from mass funeral pyres rose across India”. India suffered a world record one-day death toll from Covid-19 on Wednesday – 4,529 – with the overall figure believed to be much higher than the official death toll of 283,248. Calling Modi “an inspirational leader for the youth”, PRH India describes the 2018 guide as an “inspiring book for students” that will “be a friend in acing exams and facing life”. Advice from Modi includes: “Do not merely dream of becoming a doctor, engineer or lawyer. Think of how best you can make a difference to society and let that ideal guide you”; and: “Proper feedback is one that makes the other person reflect, and not feel repulsed.”

…“Publishing Modi’s Exam Warriors is a similar form of self-abasement, made more ridiculous by the unresolved mystery about Modi’s degrees – a BA by correspondence taken at the age of 28 and an MA in ‘Entire Political Science’ from a university in Gujarat that never offered such a course,” said Roy. “Every effort to verify the authenticity of these claims about his degrees that he has made on oath before he stood for the 2014 elections has been blocked by the universities, the election commission and the courts. So we don’t know what (if any) exams this Exam Warrior took.”

More here.