FaithWorld

‘Cyber-Hindus’ – India’s new breed of political activists backing BJP’s Modi

By Reuters Staff
December 2, 2013

(Hindu nationalist Narendra Modi addresses his BJP party’s supporters during a rally ahead of the state elections, in New Delhi November 30, 2013. REUTERS/Anindito Mukherjee)

Four men chatting in a Delhi bar are not, by their own admission, natural drinking buddies.

The young professionals in their 20s and 30s come from vastly different regions of India and varied backgrounds.

They first “met” on Twitter, spotting each other on the micro-blogging site where they voiced a common desire – to see Hindu nationalist leader Narendra Modi become the next prime minister.

After online introductions, they met face-to-face on their own initiative, and, finding they had plenty in common, gather monthly in the nation’s capital to talk about life, work, and, most importantly, how to make a difference in India’s upcoming election. The men insisted they paid for their own expenses, and only one of them was associated with Modi’s party.

Tiny cells of friends like this one are being created up and down the country, they say – a rare instance of India’s politically apathetic urban middle class getting drawn into activism. Many come together of their own volition, others with a nudge from Modi’s Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP).

It’s another arrow in his quiver ahead of a general election that must be held within six months, and opinion polls are already predicting he and the BJP will win more seats than the ruling Congress party.

The young pro-Modi activists are being dubbed “cyber-Hindus”. When online, they spread Modi’s message, counter newspaper criticism of him and question reporters’ integrity, or mock the Gandhi dynasty that runs the Congress party and has dominated Indian politics since independence in 1947.

Read the full story by Sruthi Gottipati and Mark Bergen here.

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