OPINION | With 'Rashtra' In Mind, Narendra Modi 2.0 Set to Remould India
Narendra Modi took over the reins in 2014 after riding a wave of popular sentiment drawn from a perception of him being a man of action, a decisive task-master, the no-nonsense kind who believed that the nation comes first.
On Sunday, PM Modi is due to stop in Sri Lanka's capital, Colombo.
As chants of ‘Har har Modi’, ‘Ghar ghar Modi’ continue to reverberate across the nation, or I dare say with conviction, across the world, there are very few with the gumption to look deep enough at the skilful craftsmanship of the Man that goes into remoulding the Indian polity.
At a time when decades of divisive politics had actually widened the gaps to an extent that 'vote banks' unabashedly came to be prefixed by the name of the religion they pertained to. When the populace and media in all its forms accepted it as part of a typical political discourse, immersing the nation into endless nerve-wracking debates desperately vying for TRPs… in came the ‘wizard’, knowing all too well the nuances of winning minds and hearts, using the one unifying factor in a land of diversity – the nation.
Narendra Modi took over the reins in 2014 after riding a wave of popular sentiment drawn from a perception of him being a man of action, a decisive task-master, the no-nonsense kind who believed that the nation comes first. Once firmly in the driving seat, he did swing into action and brought about changes long in the waiting. He took big decisions even at the risk of losing popular support (seldom does it happen in parliamentary democracies where ‘vote’ reigns supreme) to safeguard the long-term interests of the nation.
What has been unique all along is Modi’s confidence in the people whose misery he works to alleviate. Always aware and admirably confident of the unquestionable connect he has established with the people, right up to the last person in line. Be it by meeting them, talking to them through 'Mann ki Baat', or staying in sync with their needs and aspirations. Most significantly, ensuring unprecedented implementation and delivery of projects designed to bring comfort to the poor, which makes a difference by directly affecting lives right down to the bottom of the economic ladder.
In a first, a nation perenially sick of false promises made in election speeches, with little or nothing to follow once their votes had been nefariously plucked, had a leader who visibly strained every nerve to ensure he delivered what he promised. Naturally though, without 100% success but definitely a more than creditable output. All along evoking nationalism, delivering and periodically accounting for progress in full public view.
What appealed most to the masses was that Modi did it assuming the role of the ‘Pradhaan Sevak’. Without an attempt to appease, he managed to cut across the erstwhile predominant barriers of caste, creed, language, region and religion only because he never based his talks on them to begin with. All he talked and held himself accountable for was the 'rashtra' (nation) - the one single force holding together 1.3 billion people.
The millions that soaked in the revelry at the dawn of ‘swaraj’, blissfully unaware of the nuances of self-governance, were only too naive to trust their celebrated leaders then to shape their destiny. A few among these “masters of the destiny of independent India”, whilst celebrating the unity in diversity on the outside, continued to build walls within in their self-serving quest for sustenance in seats of power. No wonder then that they had, after all, been instrumental in laying down the constitutional framework and deciding the very form of governance and knew it all too well to exploit.
This nurturing of differences within, for political gains, not essentially with an ulterior motive to divide, gradually grew into a behemoth staring the very same 'masters' in the face. The utter lack of foresight had started taking its toll. Unfortunately, somewhere down the line, the original idea of serving the people got lost in a change of priorities and it was here that dynastic politics slid in stealthily. That, truly, marked the beginning of the rot in Indian politics.
Over the decades, rifts widened and appeasing 'votebanks' came to be accepted as part of political compulsions. The nation now lay fragmented, sadly along all possible lines. The virtuous ‘netas' and 'netagiri' of yesteryears now became synonymous with corruption and mere self-gratification by despicable means.
The 'rashtra' in dismay looked hard and deep for a real leader to redeem itself. The political arena by now was dominated by the self-serving, now shamelessly corrupt and looting it without pity, fear or remorse. Scams mounted, colossal sums exchanged hands and were stashed abroad. A beleaguered 'rashtra' trudged along, barely managing with the bits it could cough up in exchange for the natural wealth mother nature had endowed it with. Such was the state of despair that even the greatest of patriots, in a position to afford, started contemplating migrating abroad or at the least send their children packing for a better future. As regards the majority, who could ill afford those expensive dreams, the less said the better.
This exactly was the state when the 'harbinger of change' showed up like a golden ray of hope on the gloomy horizon. NaMo, as the world knows him, now larger than life, wasn't exactly the 'goliath' then. More like your guy next door. What made him stand out was that he was an exception. An exception only because he grew simply practicing the very values passed on to all of us from the Vedic era. Most significantly, he did it with elan, through the quagmire of dirty politics, and yet managed to outshine all. His driving force - his love for his motherland. Nation indeed came first for him, always and everytime. Fortunately for us, it meant his love for our Bharatvarsh. And this time around, the people made no mistake identifying their redeemer.
Whilst naysayers continue to hang onto their web of lies trying to malign the man and undermine his deeds, he continues to soar like the phoenix on the back of over a billion dreams.
The malleable clay baked red in the furnace of divisive politics over decades, hardened so much as to create an unnerving clang even at a well-meaning gentle touch is what he managed to hold with both hands. The hardened shell, as expected, is giving way to the warmth of his touch only for the artisan to reincarnate it into a fresh new shape as the world watches in awe.
The recent election results hardly leave any scope to contest the fact that men and women irrespective of caste, creed, language, region and religion have chosen him to lead them. Again, detractors reserve their right to argue, albeit against their own conscience - and even be heard, courtesy media outreach and freedom of expression guaranteed by the Constitution. The writing, however, is on the wall.
NaMo, truly the 'harried potter' of modern India, a name so common yet achievements unparalleled, bashes on regardless with deft hands and nimble fingers, skilfully reshaping the destiny of Bharat. Always with a sense of purpose, this time with a sense of urgency as well to take the nation into the league it most deservedly belongs - truly a man on a mission. It has been a work in progress ever since he took charge, and definitely shall be, in just the right direction in this second edition too.
As for the rest, lo and behold as the man takes Bharat marching ahead to its rightful place under the sun.
(The writer is a veteran aviator from the IAF and ex-PRO and Spokesperson of the Ministry of Defence. Views expressed are personal.)
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