Tuesday, May 19, 2015

Great Expectations and A Modi Bhakt’s grief?

Sundar thi mein woh pathik, meri sundarta nikhar gayi
jag mein sundarta bharkar meri sundarta bikhar gayi

(I too was beautiful oh stranger, my beauty also stunned one and all,
But as I spread my beauty all around, I am left a barren)

“We were wrong. We were wrong in supporting ….as the catalyst …not capable of it….had only the will for what now seems to be a passion for personal power….A little being of own power, a few slogans which might have been initiated by a genuine desire for reform and change….”

The detractors of  the Prime Minister Narendra Modi would be too glad to read these lines. Incidentally these lines are not mine and more interestingly, these lines are not about Narendra Modi. Now this is sheer coincident. History, truly, has a depressing habit of repeating itself especially in a democracy.
These lines were penned decades back by Raj Thapar, a close friend of the then Prime Minister Indira Gandhi on 18 August, 1974, in her diary. The exact reason for such a statement for Indira, by Raj Thapar who along with her husband Romesh Thapar formed an inner-intellectual coterie for the then Prime Minister for sometime is not known. But this marked the period when Indira Gandhi started losing friends.

To put things in right perspective, Raj Thapar’s diary noting read, “Having been trying to unravel the political illogic that seems to prevail……I have come to a sad, sad conclusion. We were wrong. We were wrong in supporting Mrs Gandhi as the catalyst – she was not capable of it. Mrs Gandhi only had the will for what now seems to be a passion for personal power….A little being of her own power, a few slogans which might have been initiated by a genuine desire for reform and change but were so parroty that they finally became mere vote gathering chants…”.

A look back at last 365 days and little more into the calendar of Indian polity, one can easily draw parallelism. Last one year of the Modi government saw many slogans – Sabka Saath, Sabka Vikas, Swach Bharat, Achhey Din etc to name a few. The common perception about failure of the government to deliver ‘achhey din’ (Good Days) is palpable practically in every household and those patient Indians who still want to give ‘more delivery time to Modi Sarkar’ would be guided by political detractors of Modi and the English press and a few websites particularly to believe that rather the country has made a nosedive decline in every sphere of life.

Such a gory picture need not be true. But it’s also a fact there are areas where Modi government should have acted more decisively and with more concrete steps. Price rise and fuel price is one such area. So is the overall job scenario as things have hardly improved from what was last year around the same time even as Finance Minister Arun Jaitley and his lieutenant Ravi Shankar Prasad (Telecom Minister) are dishing out statistics to defy this argument.
Sonrise: Indira with 'powerful' Sanjay
For instance, Jaitley said, the Foreign Direct Investment (FDI) in India grew by about 40 per cent year-on-year to Rs 1.76 lakh crore in 2014-15. In 2013-14, the country had attracted Rs 1.26 lakh crore FDI.
But creditably in some areas, PM Modi is acting decisively and with necessary determination. The pursuance of changes in the 2013 Land acquisition Act is one such instant even as the opposition parties are not leaving anything to chance to dub the Ordinance as “anti-farmers”.
Certainly, Modi is treading on a risky path as farming community are most vulnerable section of Indian voters --- the ‘bullock capitalists (or landlords)’ included - and who can be easily swayed into any side of the political divide.
Last one year, Modi has focused immensely on foreign policy and in some areas even his critics see merits in it. The Indian foreign policy is appearing more pro-active than it has been in last 40 years if not more.
But an ear-on-ground Neta, Modi knows about the importance of delivery. His instincts are still active as they have been during his long stint as Gujarat Chief Minister.
Again drawing a parallelism with Indira Gandhi, one can say, the country’s only woman Prime Minister had achieved the impossible when she could dismember Pakistan vis-à-vis independence of Bangladesh.

For his part, Indira’s father Jawaharlal Nehru had set up modern temples in the form of industries, encouraged large dams and provided jobs to educated. Modi has neither of these situations. Even the populism of nationalism of banks was achieved by Indira in 1971 and such steps do not evoke enthusiasm of the socialist era in the 21st century.

So PM Modi has to act and produce results in the overall improving of investment atmosphere. The series of foreign trips and interactions with CEOs in countries like Korea and China ought to be seen from that perspective.
But which were the areas Modi government’s role remain far from satisfactory?
One such area obviously is to keep the regime inclusive and he seems to be not doing enough to on this eradicate the perception that fundamentalism has been let loose in this country although the ‘sickular media and polity’ will never understand between genuine assertiveness of the majority community.
But, Modi chose to remain silent when the likes of Sakshi Maharaj and Yogi Adityanath only made unnecessary noise !
So people often whisper, Is the Modi government anti-minority? Are Christians and Muslims being persecuted?
Are Christians cherishing anti-BJP rhetoric?
I don’t agree the Modi government is anti-minority, yes they could be pro-majority for a change !

And in another blog I would like to answer these questions myself but if we cherish democracy, the public perception is important. Thus, the Prime Minister needs to convince and carry along his people. The onus is on him as expectations too are from him as the Mandate 2014 suggested.  The mandate had nothing or less to do with other BJP leaders or even the Hindutva agenda even as a large number of Sadhus were deployed during electioneering in 2014.
The pretext often taken about leaders that he or she is being out of touch from the ground reality does not apply to Modi and thus cannot be excuses for his failures. PM Modi should not turn out to be CM Jyoti Basu in West Bengal – whose initial years have seen a time of ‘great expectations’ but the end scandalously belied.     


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