British sculptor Anish Kapoor compares Modi to Mugabe

Archana Venkatraman

Anish Kapoor, the British sculptor of Indian-origin, has spoken out strongly against BJP leader Narendra Modi - who could be India's next PM -- and compared him to Zimbabwean dictator, Robert Mugabe.

British artist Anish Kapoor compares Modi to Mugabe
Image: Wikimedia Commons (Torsodog)

Speaking on BBC World Service's World Updates programme on April 7, the 60-year-old artist said: "Modi just takes too partisan a view and has shown himself to be, at the very least, associated with terrible riots and deaths and such like."

"India has huge number of problems. We aren't going to solve them with a morally questionable leadership," said the Indian-born UK artist, who received Knighthood last year.

Kapoor called Modi a "Hindu Nationalist" and questioned Modi's handling of the 2002 Godhra massacre.

In his Prime Ministerial candidacy, the BJP leader has argued that his past should not colour people's views of him as India's next PM. To this, Kapoor said: "He will probably end up as India's Prime Minister but we don't accept such an argument from Mugabe, then why should we accept it from Modi."

"Sorry I am drawing a comparison but I think we have to be watchful of what people have done in the past... We can't just put the past behind and say it's done with," he added.

"The whole matter of Modi's guilt or otherwise is still before the court, so how can we simply put that aside, it is not yet the time to put that aside," Kapoor told BBC Radio's presenter Dan Damon.

Campaigning for the India I grew up in

Born in Mumbai (then Bombay) to a Hindu father and Jewish mother, Kapoor moved to London in 1970 to study art. He is behind several popular sculptors including the Cloud Gate in Chicago and the ArcelorMittal Orbit artwork for London's Olympic Park.

Kapoor quoted Gandhi to explain India's secularism. "Gandhi spoke for all of India when he said he is a Muslim, a Jew, a Sikh, and a Hindu. That's the India I grew up in and that's the india we need to wholeheartedly support and campaign for."

The Turner Prize winner has always been a vocal critic of Modi and had urged the UK government to withdraw its invitation to Modi to visit Britain.

Kapoor's view of Modi comes just days after UK's newspaper The Economist took an open stance against the BJP leader with its viewpoint: "India deserves better" as India goes to the polls.

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