Adolf Hitler realized the importance of creating a strong public image. He rehearsed gestures and poses to present himself as a powerful leader and tailored his dress and speech to appeal to particular audiences. He portrayed himself as a man of the people, an “unknown soldier” who fought for Germany in the First World War, one who rose to head a political movement due to his talent, and one who would alone be able to revive German glory. These notions were popular in Germany’s democratic politics.
Modi as a Cult Figure
Similarly, the massive propaganda machinery of the BJP-RSS regime, working under the highly skilled leader and Modi’s right hand man, Amit Shah, has successfully crafted a narrative around the prime minister’s personality that has resonated with the majority of Indians. The narrative that created Modi’s cult following has a four-pronged approach:
Modi as a selfless leader with humble origins; a “chai wala” and “fakir”(tea seller, holy man)
Modi as a decisive and strong leader with a “56 inch chest,” capable of defending India against its adversaries