Sunday, May 18, 2014

I want Modi to Succeed

                                                                     Image - courtesy Twitter


My friends, who know my views on him, must be surprised at the above statement. Some of them, who have stood shoulder to shoulder with me intrepidly on numerous Face Book battles, liking each other’s comments and supporting each other while unbelievably fanatic near psychopaths spewed their venom online, may feel let down.

Here is the reason why I fervently hope and want Modi to succeed. (Not that what I say or believe matter a damn in the larger scheme of things, but I like to write about my feelings and this is an attempt at sharply defining what I feel)

India, and 1.2 billion people deserve a break.

We deserve a break from corruption, a divided and hence paralyzed government, a powerless prime minister and a totally incompetent, removed from reality and arrogant mother-son combination, which seems to be the only rallying point for a once great party.

But have I changed colours and started loving the man? No. Never. Not even if the country turns around hundred and eighty degrees under his stewardship.

What has shocked me in the last one year and amazed me in the last two months is the way a vast majority of middle class Indians have completely blocked their minds out from Modi’s history. He did not earn his wings as a messiah of development. He earned it as a hard line Hindu fanatic who was part of the core group which engineered rath yaatras and destruction of mosques. He was also (to give him the benefit of doubt) the chief minister who let mobs run riot while the minorities in his state were butchered.

He established the foundation of his popularity first as a hard line Hindu, an extreme right winger. Once that was established only he moved on to the next phase- that of establishing himself as a development wiz.
There is no doubt that he is a superb administrator, extremely hardworking, personally corruption free, highly efficient and very astute (even without having to compare with the bungling idiots on the other side). As important is the fact that he is an amazing orator who can eat the entire opposition for breakfast. To top it all, he has the smartness, no, brilliance to create a powerful brand.

So I have been torn inside- should I admire this man who has so many admirable qualities and blank out his past in my mind as so many of my friends have done? Should I also think that what he did was for the larger good and forgive the glaring blots? For there is no doubt again that he will be a far more effective Prime Minister and that there is a very high probability that he will pull the country out of the mess that we are in.
But if I do that, if I join the milling hysterical crowd that is singing paeans to him and glorifying him and deifying him, what example would I be setting for my children? That it is OK to perpetrate horrible and shameful deeds to some people as long as you achieve some good for most other people in the end? That means always justify the end? That someone with such a huge questionable past who stood for everything that is against the plural nature of our constitution can become the Prime Minister of India? That we should all remember that ‘Jo Jeeta, Wohi Sikandar’?

As I watch friend after friend and relative after relative succumb to the frenzy, I feel sad and shocked. Sad that there are so many who are willing to forget those unfortunates who lost their lives and their families to the hard line nature of Hindutva which Modi represents, just because they feel that their own future is now brighter. (And I don’t doubt an iota that it is brighter). I feel so sad that the media which had staunchly tried for many years to point out the dangers of Modi has suddenly done a volte-face in the last three months and hope that this had nothing to do with the alleged Rs.5000 crore communication budget of Brand Modi. How many times have I fervently wished that Modi was not a Hardline Hindu fanatic or at least that the pogrom of 2002 had never happened so that I can also join the crowd.

I am shocked at statements such as ‘See, how inclusive and balanced, his speech is? He is no hardliner.’ Or ‘He has not once mentioned Hindutva or Ayodhya. He is so balanced’. Can’t people see that he is a brilliant strategist and a consummate actor? He knows that there is no need to do the hard line act anymore- those hard line voters were won over when he / his ilk did Ayodhya and later the riots. He knows that now he should just focus on getting the apathetic, middle liners.   

At the same time, I am also hopeful that this regime will, once and for all, stop- through legal means- the hardliners of some minority communities that dish out fatwas and believe they are a law unto themselves. The hardliners who used to get away scot-free because of vote bank politics. I hope the regime can bring about one Indian law, applicable to all. I am incredibly hopeful by the shauchalaya over devalaya decision that he has intrepidly taken, backing development over hard line policies.

My humble request to all at this juncture is only this. Even while we all pray that Modi succeeds for our own good, let us not forget the path that he tread was dangerous and scary. It is even more worrying because he is efficient, effective, charismatic and astute and can sway the masses. Let us, as a people promise to ourselves that we will not let him return to his roots if the vagaries of global economy makes his development agenda less effective than it deserves to be- even while hoping that he has genuinely learned and grown; let us promise ourselves to rise up and fearlessly quell rabid behaviour if it rears its ugly head again; because the easiest thing to do if the development agenda does not work would be to polarise the nation again to stay on in power.


Narendra Modi is here to stay; maybe for the next 15 years as a Prime Minister of this country. I hope fervently that he succeeds in his development agenda.

10 comments:

Gopinath said...

RamG,

Nice write up. Appears you are completely taken in by the tsunami this last election has thrown at us, and a lot of thoughts are flowing through.

Even am quite apprehensive of what he will accomplish, and how he will reign in his extreme right wingers, many of whom will believe his phenomenal triumph is a license for them to open up and follow their foolish display of power and pseudo-hinduistic belieifs.

Of course, his route to the top post is no showcasable journey, nor one we can ever quote as an example, nor talk to any of our ilk about, nor even mention to anyone in a momenrt of pride about his hardliner past.

However, as you have rightly pointed out he is an amazing orchestrator, with precision like adminstrative fervour, and arguably some level of national pride that is evident from some of his speeches, we can look forward to progress, the opportunity for which haas been woefully lost over the last decade.

Beyond all this, we seem to have a huge leadership and statesmanship deficit in the country, which has manifested in the smartest market savvy person winning the race for now. Hope we find some hidden gems during the next 5-10years.

Gopinath Manian said...

RamG,

Nice write-up. Aptly written and definitely addresses the current issue!!

The tsunami which has hit the country at the end of the general elections, and the reality of it all, appears to have got into you and forced your thoughts on a subject you could do without writing about.

Narendra Modi is a smart, savvy individual who has marketed himself at a time when the country faces a leadership deficit, especially over the last decade when we have given into sycophancy and dynasty driven politics. The last 10 years has apparently left us behind by more than 30 years, and we have a challenge to surmount as a nation.

Will this man deliver, is a big question especially when he is surrounded by extreme right wing fanatics, who will take his winning with such a phenomenal majority as a license to let loose a display of their pseudo-hinduistic beliefs.

However he seems to have an innate passion to administer, along with being street smart and has generated some interest in the intellectual community and middle class majority of India with his vision for the nation, which appears to be the reason for his victory.

Of course we cannot write about him based on his past, and it is a subject we would love to ignore given a choice, and if we had the authority to have given him the right punishment when it was appropriate.

Am another person from the other side who is waiting to see him succeed and hope that we generate some leaders and statesman of substance over the next 5-10 years, which will take us beyond having to remember the antecedents of the person who will be the next prime minister after Narendra Modi.

Anonymous said...

great post.. more people need to read this!
- bulX

Unknown said...

Thanks for sticking your neck out and staying focused on the positive

SURI BEN NOAH said...

I guess, I am a bit of a pessimist for in India If you speak the Truth you will be labelled as a pessimist but I expect him to reveal his true colours shortly. People don't change drastically. They only put on an act as if they have changed. Apprehensive of an Ayodhya or Godhra repeating itself..

Sandra M said...

Now that it is fait-accompli, let's hope he has the wisdom to uphold secular value moving forward, because that combined with his strengths may be what India needs right now.

Anonymous said...

While I don't know much about all the stuff going on in India, I thought that the 2002 pogrom was triggered by Muslims burning a train carrying Hindu pilgrims, specifically to attack Hindus. If that is true, it is not reasonable to blame just Modi and his organization for communal issues. Imagine if in Pakistan, Hindus had burnt a train with Muslim pilgrims!
N

Priya said...

Thanks Ram :) I cannot agree with you more. Deeply saddened by the overall lack of critical reflection on Modi's past or of his development claims (we seem to prefer flyovers to child and maternal mortality!) and the inability to discern between propaganda and credible media. But yes, India did not have a choice and the fact that the BJP has secured only 31% of the total votes makes me hope that Indians will flirt with this party to escape the Congress but will not tolerate or forgive any attack on the Idea of India - one of the most diverse countries in the world. We will learn from this election I am sure as Modi sets out to match the high expectations he has promised in his well-funded media blitzkrieg. But irrespective of which political party comes or goes, unless we embrace and celebrate diversity in our hearts and in our daily lives, there will always be Modis and Tytlers for us to contend with.
PS: Mr Anonymous - Godhra was terrible and the perpetrators were brought to justice. The response was horrific beyond belief. Anyone senior in government service knows that unless state-sponsored, an efficient administration can stop a riot in 3 hrs. Either Modi is a poor administrator or he watched while Gujarat shamed itself and a nation. There is only one to pick from these 2!

Madhuri said...

What a train of thoughts RamG,
It’s a fathomless mystery that how did lengthy and extremely expensive election campaigns have altered the reputation of a man always considered for being polarized –a hard line Hindu chauvinist. Just by emphasizing on his strong economic growth measures, a controversial man who will always be associated with the Gujarat riots-worst religious clash that has shaken India's secular identity, which is embodied in our constitution has been elected as our new PM.
It will be enthralling to watch how far Modi goes in replicating his success in an individual state on the national stage.

Global Blogger said...

RamG - well written indeed. Sorry to barge in a trivial comment :) Remember we have the comic actor Innocent in Parliament from Kerala to counter anything good coming from the new government :)