Like Narendra Modi personally

This man's biography provides the material for a feature film: As the son of a tea seller, Narendra Modi made it to the office of Prime Minister in what is at least numerically the largest democracy in the world, twice with a comfortable majority. Modi certainly has his entry in the history books. Also because the politician of the Hindu nationalist BJP single-handedly disempowered the secular Nehru Gandhi dynasty and thwarted Rahul Gandhi's ambitions. The offspring of the clan had long been intended as the democratic heir to the throne for the office of head of government.

Nevertheless: As Prime Minister, Modi does not follow the policies that the multiethnic state of India would need. The way in which he exercises his office is rather a danger for the country. Modi lacks a special gift, which became apparent long before his time as head of government in Delhi. As Prime Minister of the state of Gujarat, he sparked religious unrest rather than mediating it. Now Modi would have to try at least in a new role to unite the country with its 1.35 billion people, to balance the religions and to create perspectives for every Indian. But it upsets the nation.

How he does this is once again becoming particularly clear these days: after years of litigation and a decision by the highest court, Modi decided to lay the foundation stone for the construction of a Hindu temple himself. His supporters lie at his feet for this, the Muslims prefer to remain silent for fear of further reprisals. The temple is being built on a site where there was once a mosque that was devastated by a Hindu mob and as a result of which 2,000 people died in clashes.

Modi easily secures the applause of his fans. But it is a game with fire, the social peace in India is so seriously endangered. In the land of gigantic populations there are 200 million Muslims who increasingly and rightly feel treated like second-class citizens. First, Modi supported a citizenship law, which disadvantages Muslims. Then he cut the partial autonomy of the Indian part of Kashmir, which disadvantages Muslims. Now, before the eyes of the nation, he is setting up a temple that humiliates Muslims. It doesn't take any special skills to see a pattern in it.

Not only domestically, the powerful head of government misses the opportunity to use his capital as a politician who stands above things in order to refute the latently simmering conflicts in the country. In terms of foreign policy, too, he misses a good opportunity to help his country gain a better reputation. In a time of ailing superpowers and increasingly authoritarian states, India could become the shining counterexample: a country that takes minorities with them, doesn't exclude them. This is exactly where the magic of this multi-layered nation lies: that very many people with very many different views can live together peacefully. But Modi is part of a dubious zeitgeist, he says: "Hindus first". If his life should actually be filmed - "Der Spalter" is the perfect title.