fDi award to Modi going to ‘Gujarat’ instead – Anand’s response

Thanks to Vijay Prashad for the use of this graphic

Thanks to Vijay Prashad for the use of this graphic

Thanks to all those who sent in their protests against  the ‘Asian Personality of the Year 2009’ award being given by fDi magazine (a subsidiary of Financial Times) to Narendra Modi. This was a minor victory – offset by the magazine’s decision to give award the ‘state of Gujarat’. This is problematic because the period they are awarding Gujarat for includes the 2002 carnage. In addition, Modi, as Chief Minister, will probably still be the person to receive the award.

1. Mumbai-based filmmaker Anand Patwardhan’s response to fDi’s change of stance
2. fDi editor Courtney Fingar’s form letter emailed to all those who wrote in to register their protest
3. Vijay Prashad’s press release and compilation of signatures
1. From Anand Patwardhan, Sept 2, 2009:
To Courtney.Fingar@FT.Com
Dear Ms. Fingar

While it may appear to some as a minor relief that you have taken cognizance of the public outcry against the genocide-perpetrating Narendra Modi and decided to give your award to the Gujarat government instead, until such time as Mr. Modi remains the Chief Minister of Gujarat, this is only a cosmetic change.

Would you have felt comfortable giving such a prize to Adolph Hitler in the case that he had invited foreign investment in his dream projects, some of which did actually help in the industrialization of Germany? And if people had protested in time, would you then have given your award to the Third Reich instead?

It is not too late to correct this grave error. If you cancel this award altogether you will not only have a clear conscience, you will also save yourself considerable embarassment and the effort it takes to find arguments to reply to people like me.

Anand Patwardhan

Courtney Fingar- fDi publicity photo

Courtney Fingar- fDi publicity photo

2. From fDi editor Courtney Fingar to those who wrote in to protest the ‘Asian Personality of the Year 2009’ award to Modi:

Thank you for your email and for sharing your views with us — please know that they have been taken onboard.

Following a review prompted by the ongoing investigation into the 2002 Gujarat riots, fDi has decided to present its award to Gujarat state, rather than Mr Narendra Modi, the state’s chief minister.

fDi would like to clarify that the criteria of the award has always remained focused on rewarding the success of a region in attracting foreign investment.

The award is in recognition of Gujarat state’s ability to attract an outstanding volume of inward foreign investment. Gujarat increased that volume by more than 50% over the past year for a total of 10.3% of all foreign investment into India.

Mr Modi was Chief Minister of Gujarat at the time of the riots. Mr Modi’s alleged role in connection to the riots is under investigation but he denies any responsibility.

fDi has also decided to highlight the geographic regions of all the other winners. The magazine is keen to maintain its primary focus on reporting on the effectiveness of different economic regions and rewarding innovative and effective promotional strategies.

Courtney Fingar
fDi – Foreign Direct Investment
Financial Times Business

3. Press Release from activists, September 1, 2009.

When we heard that FDI magazine had chosen Narendra Modi, CM of Gujarat, as Asian Personality of the Year 2009, we were shocked. FDI is run by the Financial Times, whose reporter, Edward Luce covered the aftermath of the Gujarat riots of 2002, and had a very strong condemnation of Mr. Modi in the paper. The Special Investigative Team is getting ready to investigate Mr. Modi as we write this press release. And yet, this publicity. We hastily drafted the letter below, and asked our friends to sign. Before we knew it, hundreds of people sent us notes of support. We have a number of their names below, but there are more. Of those who have signed, there are several luminaries. Well-known academics such as Arjun Appadurai, Gayatri Chakrovarty Spivak, David Ludden, Sheldon Pollock and Sanjay Subrahmanyum. Well regarded artists such as Anand Patwardhan, Meena Alexander and Mallika Sarabhai. Human rights activists such as Teesta Setalvad and Rasheed Ahmed. Journalists such as Beena Sarwar and Amit Sengupta. These are just a few of the people who signed on.

Our letter was sent to Dame Marjorie Scardino, who is the head of the Pearson Group, which owns the Financial Times and the FDI. We hope to hear from her soon.

If you have any further questions, please write to vprashad@trincoll.edu.

Mira Kamdar
Vijay Prashad.


Dear Marjorie Scardino,

We are writing to inform you of what we consider a shocking action taken by one of the publications under the Pearson Group umbrella, an action that begs for your attention. The magazine FDI, of the Financial Times Group, has selected Narendra Modi, the chief minister of the Indian state of Gujarat as its Asian Personality of the Year (2009). This award gives Mr. Modi, whose human rights’ reputation is most troubling, a huge boost of legitimacy where he deserves none. We thought it important that you, as Chief Executive Officer of Pearson Group and as someone associated with organizations that work hard to promote peace and security, including the MacArthur Foundation, know of the damage to FDI’s credibility, and thus to the Pearson Group, this award has caused.

India’s National Commission on Human Rights as well as Amnesty International and Human Rights Watch have demonstrated the responsibility of Mr. Modi and the government he continues to head for a pogrom against Muslim citizens in his state in 2002 that left some 2,000 men, women and children dead and several hundred thousand citizens homeless. (See the Human Rights Watch report “We Have No Orders to Save You” http://www.hrw.org/en/reports/2002/04/30/we-have-no-orders-save-you). On the basis of these and other reports, the U. S. government denied Mr. Modi a visa to visit the United States in 2005. The United States Commission on Religious Freedom subsequently recommended that he be denied a visa when he applied for one again in 2008, at which point Mr. Modi withdrew his application.

Furthermore, Mr. Modi and key members of his administration are under active current investigation by India’s Special Investigation Team (SIT) under the direct supervision of India’s Supreme Court for criminal charges relating to his direct responsibility for killings perpetrated during the 2002 pogrom. Here is link to an article in the Times of India from July 29, 2009 reporting that Mr. Modi’s petition requesting a stay on the investigation: http://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/news/india/SIT-free-to-quiz-Modi-in-post-Godhra-riots-case-HC/articleshow/4815592.cms. A simple web search will demonstrate that the ongoing investigation into Mr. Modi’s role has been widely reported in the Indian press. It is astounding that FDI magazine had no knowledge of Mr. Modi’s current legal woes in India, or, if it had knowledge, decided to confer the award upon him anyway.

In terms of Mr. Modi’s financial leadership, FDI magazine seems to have missed the many stories that show how despite the consistently high claims about foreign direct investment into Gujarat, the economy has failed to deliver any significant improvement in the lives of the majority of the people who live there. From 1996 to 2006, despite all the hullabaloo about the economic miracle Modi engineered, Gujarat’s position in India’s human development index actually fell in the categories of education, health, child mortality, infant mortality and in the weight of children. Moreover, and this is relevant to the award, the 2002 pogrom led by Modi had a direct effect on investment in Gujarat, which fell from 14.45% of all investment capital in 1995 to 8.78% in 2002, and by 2005 to 7.67%. In addition, one should bear in mind that less than 21% of the memoranda of understanding signed by the Modi government have been acted upon. Writing in Mint, the Wall Street Journal’s publication in India, Salil Tripathi notes: “It is odd, therefore, to credit Modi with Gujarat’s vibrancy. And it is hard not to blame his government for the colossal failure to protect civilians during the anti-Muslim violence in 2002.” The entire piece bears reading: http://www.livemint.com/2009/01/21220308/The-real-Modi-story.html

Given the above, we are naturally stunned with FDI’s decision to confer upon Narendra Modi, of all people, the Asian Personality of the Year award of 2009.

We are fully confident that you had no role in this decision. But we hope that you will, in your capacity as CEO of the Pearson Group and as someone whose presence on the board of the MacArthur Foundation indicates you to be someone dedicated to high ethical standards, take immediate action to insure that this award is rescinded and a public statement of regret is made by the responsible publication.


Mira Kamdar, Author, Senior Fellow, World Policy Institute, New York
Vijay Prashad, Professor, Trinity College

cc. Robert Galluchi, President, MacArthur Foundation.

The list of signatories to this letter is below:

Abha Sur, Professor, MIT
Aditya Nigam, Centre for the Study of Developing Studies.
Akhil Gupta, Professor, UCLA.
Adley Siddiqi.
Adrien Rebello.
Ajay Skaria, Professor, University of Minnesota.
Ajit Saldanha.
Ali Kazimi, Film maker, Professor, York University, Toronto.
Alliance for South Asians Taking Action, San Francisco.
Allwyn D’Souza.
Ameena Saiyid, Oxford University Press, Karachi
Amit Sengupta, Hard News, New Delhi.
Amitayu Sengupta.
Anand Patwardhan, Filmmaker.
Angana Chatterji, Professor, California Institute of Integral Studies.
Anirvan Chatterjee, Founder, Bookfinder.com [an Amazon.com company]
Ammu Abraham, Feminist and anti-communal activist, Mumbai.
Amrit Wilson, South Asia Solidarity Group, London
Anne Murphy, University of British Columbia.
Anu Mandavilli, San Jose Peace and Justice Center, CA.
Arindam Datta, Associate Professor, MIT.
Asad Jamal, Advocate, Lahore.
Ashwini Hardikar
Ashwini Tambe, Professor, University of Toronto.
Badri Raina, Professor, University of Delhi.
Balmurli Natarajan, Assistant Professor, William Paterson University.
Beena Sarwar, journalist, Karachi, Pakistan.
Bindu T. Desai, neurologist.
Amrita Dhillon, University of Warwick, UK.
Anchita Ghatak.
Andy Nazareth, Bangalore.
Anju Lavina.
Anuja Gupta.
Arjun Appadurai, Goddard Professor of Media, Culture, and Communication, New York University.
Arvind Gopal.
Asad Hussain.
Asad Jamal, Advocate, Lahore.
Ashutosh Singh.
Ashwini Rao.
Barbara Foley, Professor, Rutgers University.
Biju Mathew, Professor, Rider University.
Bipin Trivedi.
Bishakha Datta, Executive Director, Point of View, Mumbai.
Brajesh Satya.
Carl W. Ernst, William R. Kenan Jr. Distinguished Professor of Religious Studies, UNC, Chapel Hill.
Caterina Guenzi, Researcher South Asian Studies, Paris.
Chinmoy Banerjee, SANSAD, Vancouver.
Chukka Srinivas.
Clarissa D’Lima.
Clive Nihal D’Lima.
Col. (Retd.) Dr. M.J. Shamsi, Lucknow.
Corinne Lefevre, EHESS, Paris.
Cyril D’Lima
David Lloyd, Professor, University of Southern California.
Daya Varma, Professor, McGill University, Montreal.
Deepti Misri, Assistant Professor, University of Colorado, Boulder.
Douglas Haynes, Professor, Dartmouth College.
Dr. Anees Ahmad, Associate Professor, Universiti Sains Malaysia.
David Ludden, Professor, New York University.
Devaki Singh
Devaki Singh.
Dolphy D’souza.
Douglas E Haynes, Dartmouth College
Howard Spodek, Temple University
Ghanshyam Shah.
Dr. A. R. Mookhi
Dr. Wasim Khan, Network of Progressive Muslims.
Durba Ghosh, Professor, Cornell University.
Elisabeth Armstrong, Associate Professor, Smith College.
Fatima S. Alloo, UC Davis.
Felix Padel.
Firoz Vohra, Chicago.
Fr. Cedric Prakash, Director, Centre for Human Rights, Justice and Peace, Ahmedabad.
Fredric Landy, University of Paris X, CEIAS, CNRS-EHESS, Paris
Garga Chatterjee, Harvard University.
Gautam Babbar, New Delhi.
Gayatri Chakravorty Spivak, University Professor in the Humanities, Columbia University.
Gopika Solanki, Carleton University.
Hari Sharma, SANSAD.
Howard Spodek, Temple University.
Hyder Khan, MD.
Imteyaz Ahmad.
Indranil, ANWESHAN, New Delhi.
Irfan Engineer, Director, Institute for Peace Studies and Conflict Resolution, Mumbai, India.
J. Manjrekar, Baroda, India.
Jehangir Merwanji.
John Demmery Green, Canada.
John Ishvaradas Abdallah, World Without Borders.
Justin Podur, York University.
Kamayani Bali-Mahabal, Human Rights Activist, India.
Kanishka Goonewardena, Associate Professor, University of Toronto.
Karthik Ramanathan.
Kasim Salt, Chennai.
Kasturi Ray, Assistant Professor, San Francisco State University.
Kavita Philip, Professor, UC Irvine.
Khalid Azam, IMC.
Kushru Misstry.
Lalit Batra, CUNY.
Lalit Vachani, Filmmaker.
Leena Ganesh, Researcher, Architect, Activist.
Leya Perpetua D’Souza, Bahrain.
M. V. Ramana, Princeton University.
Manu Bhagavan, Assistant Professor, CUNY.
Marika Vicziany, Professor, Monash University.
Mario D’Penha, Rutgers University.
Mehru Jaffer, Writer.
Milan Moudgill.
Minal Hajratwala, author, Leaving India.
Minni Menon.
Mitu Sengupta, Assistant Professor, Ryerson University.
Nadeem Akhtar.
Nandini Majrekar, Tata Institute of Social Sciences, Mumbai.
Nasir Abid.
Nasr Sadruddin.
Eric P. Meyer, INALCO, Paris
Erwin Lazrado, Gujarat.
Faisal Hussain.
Fauzia Minallah, Artist.
Feroze Mithiborwala.
Firoz Vohra, Chicago.
Gopika Solanki, Carleton University.
Hasan Kazi, Schaumburg, Illinois.
Hussein Tayabbhai.
Imteyaz Ahmad.
Ines Zupanov, CNRS, CEIAS-EHESS, Paris.
Iqbal Akhtar.
Irfan Engineer, Institute for Peace and Conflict Resolution, Mumbai
Isobel Nazareth, Bangalore.
J. Manjrekar, Baroda.
J. S. Bandukwala.
Jaffer Ahmed
Jagdish Parikh.
Janaki Andharia.
Jaswant Krishnayya, Systems Research Institute, Pune.
Javed Iqbal.
Jayati Vohra.
Jesse Knutson, University of Chicago
Jyoti Gulati
Jyoti Punwani.
Kadeeja Arif, BBC World Service, New Delhi.
Kalim Irfani.
Kamani Bali-Mahabal, Human Rights Activist
Neville Lobo
Kanika Satyanand, New Delhi.
Kedar Satyanand, New Delhi.
Khozema Mohamed.
Krishna Satyanand, New Delhi.
Kulamarva Balakrishna, Vienna
Kunda Pramila Nilakantha, People’s Media Intiatives, Mumbai
Kushru Misstry.
Laila Halani, Institute of Ismaili Studies, London.
Lena Ganesh, Researcher, Architect, Activist
Lynette Gomes.
Lynette Viegas.
M. Usman Baki.
Mallika Sarabhai, President, Darpana
Mariamma Michael.
Marie Fourcade, EHESS, Paris.
Marika Vicziany, Monash University.
Marina Budhos, Author, Assistant Professor, William Paterson University.
Mary Ganguli.
Masud Sheikh
Mathilde Damoisel, Documentary Film Maker, Paris.
Meena Alexander, Distinguished Professor, CUNY.
Milan Moudgill
Jacques Pourchepadass, CNRS/EHESS, Paris
Moazzam Siddiqi.
Mohit Satyanand, Chairman Board of Trustees, Liberty Institute, New Delhi.
Mona Alam Sheikh.
Mona Karim, MD, Morristown, New Jersey.
Mriganka Sur, Professor, MIT.
Mrinalini Sharma.
Nagesh Rao, Assistant Professor, College of New Jersey.
Najia Alavi.
Najid Hussain, Son-in-Law, M.P. Ahsan Jafri, murdered in 2002 genocide, USA.
Nalini Vishvanathan, Silver Springs, MD.
Nancy Lobo.
Nasir Abid.
Nataniel Roberts, USA.
Naveen Qayyum, Thailand.
Nazia Kazi, CUNY.
Neelanjana Mukhia.
Neville Lobo.
Nida Kirmani
Nikhil Aziz, Grassroots International.
Nishaant Choksi, University of Michigan, Ann Arbor.
Nivedita Menon, Professor, Jawaharlal Nehru University, India.
Noreen Celine D’Lima.
Nurul Kabir, Cambridge.
Nuzhat Kidvai, Teacher, Karachi, Pakistan.
Omar Ali, Assistant Professor, Medical College of Wisconsin.
Omar Khalidi, Professor, MIT.
PA Nazareth, Bangalore.
Pamposh Dhar
Pankaj Shah.
Pankil Shah.
Patricia Uberoi, Professor, Centre for Developing Societies, Delhi.
Paula Chakravartty, Associate Professor, UMASS, Amherst.
Pei Wu, California Institute of Integral Studies.
Philomin Raj, Advocate, Madurai.
Pierre Lachaier, École Française d’Extrême Orient, Paris.
Pierre Rousset, ESSF, France.
Poornima C. V.
Prachi Patankar, South Asia Solidarity Initiative.
Prathim Maya Dora Laskey.
Pratima Narayan Chabbi, Southern University of Illinois.
Premila Nazareth Satyanand, New Delhi.
Prerana Reddy, Director, NY Arab & South Asian Film Festival.
Priyadarshini Ghosh.
Purnima Mankekar, Associate Professor, UCLA.
Radhika Chandiramani.
Rahul Roy, Filmmaker.
Rajagopal, Researcher, Chennai.
Rajeev Talwar
Rajesh Mishra, Arch Vahini, Gujarat.
Raju Rajagopal, Kuala Lumpur.
Ramki Ramakrishnan, Tiruvanathapuram.
Ranjan Pal, Director, Intercedent Asia.
Rasheed Ahmed, President, Indian Muslim Council, USA.
Raza Mir, Professor, William Paterson University.
Rita Kothari.
Ritty Luokse, Associate Professor, New York University.
Rohit Barot.
Rudolf C. Heredia, Indian Social Institute, New Delhi.
Rukmani Ramani, MSSRF, Chennai, India.
Rummana Fakih.
Rupa Viswanath, Assistant Professor, University of Pennsylvania.
Rishab Malik.
Rita Kothari, MICA, Ahmedabad.
Robin A. F.Viegas.
Rohan D’Souza, Professor, JNU.
Rohini Hensman.
Rohit Barot, Bristol University
Rohit Prajapati.
Ruchi Chaturvedi, Assistant Professor, Hunter College, CUNY, New York.
Ruchi Shroff.
Rudolf C. Heredia, Indian Social Institute, New Delhi
Rummana Fakih.
Rupal Oza.
Ruth D’Souza, management consultant.
Saachi Bhalla.
Saadia Toor, Assistant Professor, CUNY.
Saba Dewan, Filmmaker.
Sabeen Mahmud, Director, PeaceNiche, Karachi.
Sadanand Nanjundiah, Professor, Central Connecticut State University.
Sahar Shafqat, Associate Professor, St. Mary’s College of Maryland
Sandeep Vaidya, India Support Group, Dublin, Ireland.
Sangay Mishra, Drew University.
Sangeeta Kamat, Professor, UMASS-Amherst.
Sanjay Subrahmanyam, Professor, UCLA.
Sanjna Singh, Producer/Director, Out of Status.
Sapna Gupta, Paris, France.
Sayan Bhattacharyya, Ann Arbor, MI.
Shabab Danish, Angelique International, India.
Shahed (Robin) Khundkar, Huntington Beach, Ca.
Shahid Ali, M. D.
Shalini Gera, Hayward, CA.
Shashwati Talukdar, filmmaker.
Shazia Hashmi.
Shishir K. Jha, Professor, IIT Bombay.
Saibal Chatterjee, Film Critic and Writer, New Delhi.
Sam Merchant.
Sameera Khan, Journalist, Mumbai, India.
Samir Sur, Professor, Boston University Medical School.
Samira Sheikh, Vanderbilt University.
Sandipan Dhar.
Sankaranarayan, Bhubaneswar.
Shabab Danish, Angelique International, Delhi.
Shabnum Tejani, SOAS.
Sheldon Pollack, Ransford Professor of South Asian Studies, Columbia University.
Shyam Bahadur Namra.
Siddhartha Kaundinya
Simona Sawhney, Associate Professor, University of Minnesota.
Snehal Shingavi, Assistant Professor, University of Texas.
South Asia Solidarity Initiative, New York.
Sreekala MG
Sriram Ananth, Editorial Board Member, Elaan.
Srirupa Roy, Associate Professor, UMASS Amherst.
Subhanil Chowdhury, ICRIER, New Delhi.
Sujani Reddy, Professor, Amherst College.
Sukla Sen, EKTA, Mumbai
Sunil Deshmukh, Miami, Florida.
Sunita S. Mukhi, Director, Wang Centre, SUNY Stony Brook.
Swastika Ghosh.
Teesta Setalvad, Citizens for Justice and Peace.
Thomas Bärthlein, Deputy Head of South Asia Service, DW-Radio, Bonn, Germany.
Thomas Bärthlein, South Asia Service, DW-Radio/ DW-World, Bonn.
Tina Shrestha, Cornell University.
Umber Khairi, Journalist.
Usman Kazi
Uttara Rajgopal
Uttara Shidore.
Venkatesh Athreya, Professor, Chennai.
Veronica Fernandes
Veronique Benei, Professor, London School of Economics, London.
Véronique Dupont, IRD, Paris.
Victor Edwin, University of Birmingham.
Vinay Gidwani, Professor, The Graduate Center, CUNY.
Vinay Lal, Professor, UCLA.
Vinayak Chaturvedi, Professor, UC-Irvine.
Vinod Mubayi, New York.
Vipool Kalyani, Editor, Opinion, London.
Walter Fernandes, Director, North Eastern Social Research Centre, Assam, India.
Waquar Ahmed, Professor, Mt. Holyoke College.
Wasim Khan, MD, MPH.
Yasmeen Lari.
Zafar Iqbal, Washington, DC.
Zafar Iqbal.
Zafar Siddiqui, Minnesota.
Zafar Siddiqui.
Zainah Mustansir
Zubin Shroff

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