‘Mor’ than meets the eye: The making of the Modi iconography

Modi Peacock pictures
The Modi-mor (peacock) pictures are part of an ongoing exercise of image building in which Modi has been presented in various set-scenarios as guru, mystic, curious wanderer, physically superior, and an intellectual in control | Image - Eunice Dhivya

When the carefully choreographed pictures of Prime Minister Narendra Modi feeding peacocks and geese in the manicured lawns of the official residence of the PM were released last week, it was greeted with the usual hoopla — legions of his fans hailed their hero and his near-mythic status, which is sought to be reinforced by these images, and on the other side, all these images were held up to ridicule by the liberal cosmopolitan crowd for whom such attempts are crass and tacky and the timing awfully wrong.

The notion of the Prime Minister sitting in a sort of urban idyll reading a newspaper while his Apple Mac awaits his attention is sought to convey an image of a man on top of the game, cool and collected.


But to the discerning eye, it seemed to be contrived all the more because outside his deserted lawns, where he had shown his yoga skills a year back, his country was in turmoil, the economy was crashing, India was leading the COVID-19 numbers and losing out on the fiscal numbers, with no green shoots anywhere outside his lawn.

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