Narendra Modi, the prime minister of India, is not just a product of the world’s largest democracy; he is also a product of incredible marketing. The crux of this marketing hinges on a personality cult, carefully woven around a frequent and unabashed show of masculinity created through the means of propaganda. We are aware of the campaigns where our prime minister has been heavily glorified. But the latest in the exercise seems to have a global stamp of admiration.
British adventurer Bear Grylls has announced his show on Discovery where he seems to be on an adventure trip with prime minister Modi. This is the second instance since 2015 of an elected world leader appearing on Man vs Wild, the television show. The first leader to join Grylls for Man Vs. Wild was former American President Barack Obama.
The only question I have in mind here is: Did Discovery request prime minister Modi for this show, or the prime minister’s PR machinery approached Discovery? I won’t be surprised by anything today.
Once the show is aired, what kind of an image is the prime minister looking to build, besides the persona of an environmentalist PM who loves nature and cares about animals? I am not sure. I am not sure where we are going, from the image of a tough leader to being a symbol of masculinity. To the extent that there is indeed a “personality cult” to Modi’s politics with a potential to shape both domestic and foreign policy of India., exaggeration of his personal authority seems complete with this show.