Modi is no Abhimanyu
Finally the national elections 2014 are coming to close. The only few interesting events left are elections at Amethi on 7 May and Varanasi on 12 May. For mainstream media everything else are just fillers. Unless some salacious reports emerge, like that of Congress leader Digvijay Singh’s affair with a TV journalist scooped by the Millennium Post. Media will now move on to the election results and then to cabinet formation. This is a time for stock taking – what did the nation get from the grueling election campaign, the longest in the history of Indian democracy?
The first question is when did it all begin? Was in February 2013 when Narendra Modi came to address students at Delhi’s Shri Ram College of Commerce with protesters outside demonstrating against the event? Or was it in January 2014 when both the national parties, Congress and BJP, had their respective annual sessions in Delhi? Some might even say that this began when Arvind Kejriwal had his spectacular road show, literally, at Jantar Mantar road in Delhi in April 2011? Or did it start with the campaign for the assembly elections in end-2013? Opinions will vary but the fact remains that there have been too much of campaigns. Even veteran TV anchors tweeted that they wanted now to shift attention to some other subject.
Well they will in any case, soon enough they all will focus on their favourite villain, in Delhi for a change. Next point of interest is how was the campaign for the common citizens. Was it entertaining? Well this will depend on what we mean by entertainment. If political slugfest is of interest there never was any more entertaining event anywhere. So intense had been the contest that in the end we saw the repeat of the epic battle scene of the Mahabharata where all the charioteers of the Kauravas fought the young valiant Abhimanyu. Well but there is a minor difference. Narendra Modi is not young, not at all. Valiant he has been but unlike Abhimanyu he does not have sympathy of observers nor can he hope to have it in future. Even if he wins he will be the fall guy after the epic battle. In contrast, Abhimanyu remains a hero with sympathy from one and all.
The other important question that will beg answer is in the end will the victor emerge as the hero? Assuming Narendra Modi is the victor, the answer is an emphatic no. Modi is a villain for those who think, speak and write. Any aberration will attract a hate mail. Even a liberal columnist Gurcharan Das collected several such hate mails when he endorsed Modi. How can one defend an eternal villain even if he wins an election? People are mostly fools. They vote being dazzled by the campaign. Didn’t the messiah of the aam aadmi tell us how Modi had been funded by the corporate crooks? An interesting argument of Modi-bashers is that he is a polarising figure. The meaning of polarising is that this restricts vibrations – light – wholly or partially in one direction. Modi the detractors claim restricts his growth only to a particular community. There are a few interesting conclusions from such observations. First, it implies that Modi serves the need of the majority community of India. If that is true he has very reason to win support. By calling him a polarising figure the detractors are actually providing a reason why he should receive support from all over the nation.
Second and another interesting observation is that when some development work of the state is initiated by such a polarising figure the benefits go only to his people. In simple terms, if a road is laid between Delhi and Kolkata only a particular community receives the economic benefit of the improved infrastructure. Unlike the thinking class common citizens of the country, who are not fools. They might not support the leader in elections but will not be hostile to him either. The term polarising is of no significance to them as long as their quality of life improves. The hilarious aspect of Modi bashing is how the same crosses the border and travels to Europe or America. Foreign journalists and magazines write how they would not endorse Modi as Indian prime minister. Some author who had been living like a rat only few years ago afraid of being killed for a book he dared to write comes out and signs a campaign against Modi. Certain forgotten film artists, architects and out of job scribes manage to receive a new lease of media mention by opposing Modi. Secretly they must be thankful that they could emerge out of their oblivion.
So much hatred for Modi makes one introspect. Could it be his modest background? He was born in a household living on the edge of poverty. He could not have been acceptable as a young boy in any of the families, which presented the mankind with the thinkers who are up in arms against him. He did not study in any ‘branded’ elite institute. He speaks only Hindi and Gujarati but not English, the language of the privileged. What is more is that he had been associated with the Hindu outfit, RSS. Isn’t Hinduism an archaic and antiquated line of belief? We do not even know who created the religion, how did it spread and what is most important is that why has it not died in a modern world? Even a quick look at Narendra Modi gives us enough reasons why a thinking type should hate him.
Should this take away the credit that is due to Modi for launching a great election campaign? Or should we transfer the credit to some non-existing US PR firm funded by Mukesh Ambani, Gautam Adani et al? Analysts will spew their venom even after the election dust settles. It will be of interest for others to see how they start changing their stripes in due course.
The author is a communication consultant