Guest post by RAMA SRINIVASAN
Prime Minister Modi is set to meet President Trump on June 26 and we can anticipate an exciting contest between bear hugs and crushing handshakes. We indeed live in interesting times where symbols rather than spoken words determine the fate of nations (Trump is rumoured to have partly pulled out of the Paris Agreement after losing a handshake duel with the new French President). Both Modi and Trump deploy symbols effectively to further a conservative agenda that is in many ways self-serving rather than ideologically dogmatic. I wondered if a list of ways in which they are different despite being strikingly similar in many ways might be an interesting experiment but all my points could be bracketed under one larger word: privilege. Everything that follows in this article are ways in which this privilege operates in the case of Trump and how the lack of the same has shaped much of Modi’s career.