The enduring personality cult of Narendra Modi
Excerpted with permission from Gujarat Under Modi: Laboratory of Today’s India by Christophe Jaffrelot (Hurst Publishers, February 2024). The text has been edited for clarity.
Narcissism, image-building and populism
The iconographic material on which Bharatiya Janata Party propaganda and the Gujarat state government’s communications were based portrayed Narendra Modi’s image constantly. This also reflected his narcissistic inclination. Indeed, Modi has a very high opinion of himself. When the journalist Nilanjan Mukhopadhyay asked why he was so good at conceiving original ideas, he responded: “I think it is probably a God-gifted ability.” This was perfectly in tune with his reference to himself as not fully present in the mundane, everyday world.