Mr Modi! Think Again!

When I was a kid, my grandpa, told me a joke.

There was, once a potato storehouse that had caught fire. When, everyone was trying to put the fire off, there was one man who was dancing in happiness. When, he was asked for the reason behind his joy, he exclaimed,

“I will soon get French fries for free!”

So, as predicted, Modi finally became the Prime Minister of India with a sweeping majority in the 2014 general elections.  I, too, for once, decided to give the new a leader a chance, after all.

Soon, my uncle came home in ecstasy, post the budget, rejoicing a cut of almost three thousand in his income tax.Yet, he conveniently ignored the striking rise in his pharmacy bills. Modi earned a follower from my family even!

But did he help India see some good days yet? Has he been any good?

I see not. When I tried to watch my Prime Minister, in the United Nations, I stopped midway. My expectations, from Modi were much higher. Of all his demerits, he was definitely a good orator. The very choice of his language of the speech defied me of my representation to the world.

I do not speak Hindi; neither does majority of the Indians! In fact, Modi too does not speak Hindi as a mother tongue. Why would he not speak in his own language? Like most Indians, Modi too did not do justice to the Great Indian story!

“Ei desher I chele Ami…Firingir O Bangla desh…” (I’m a boy of this country only; Bengal belongs to the foreigner too)- Jaatishwar

Of all the acclaimed compositions of the film Jaatishwar, this particular lyric touched me the most. It instantly brought back the very spirit of the Indian society to me.

Indeed, this is the same country, where a Portuguese merchant became an acclaimed local singer, loved and married a Bengali woman and assimilated completely into the Bengali society. It is that same country which protected Jews and the only nation to not commit atrocities against them.  India even has Greek settlers who have been a part of us like the Scythians, Parthians, Shakas, Kushanas and every other race of the world.

This diversity of India is not just another random story of The Indian togetherness. Instead, it hides within itself a very strong message of an extremely prosperous and stable market that has varied tastes and an amazing collection of prospective consumers.

India is also one of the fastest growing markets of the world. Therefore, ‘sell in India’, is no less a priority.’

What Modi lacks, is the vision of a statesman. Where is his message to the prospective young entrepreneurs of the country? If he really wants to build the nation, he should get out of his easy publicity stunts and inspire and inculcate fresher ideas. He should create a passage where a child from a working class family can aspire to become an entrepreneur. A leader is expected to instil dreams into us. Why are we still dwelling in the boring thoughts of employment and the sustainability of a mediocre middle class existence somehow!

On an honest note, I personally do not really care about a love Jihad or a Ram Mandir at all. All that matters to me is a substantial betterment of my living and an overall growth and development of my country. A better society would make the markets stable which would fetch investors for my business and I would make more money!

It’s simple, if I become rich, the country makes money too!

The clean India movement seemed to be nothing more than a populist farce to me! If waking up early one morning, and holding fancy brooms in the hand really solved India’s problems, then there would, perhaps be a revolution each weekend!

In India, there are officially, around 1.3 million manual scavengers, out of which, the majority are women. Inspite of being illegal, the Indian Railways is one of the biggest employers of manual scavengers. The Indian railways have repeatedly ignored the numerous laws that were passed against such a primitive custom. Definitely, no one has ever bothered to begin a ‘swatch railways project’. That would, certainly raise a lot of eyebrows and provoke  a debate.

Why has Modi not offended anyone yet? A real leader offends and changes the rules unapologetically. A true visionary can never win a popularity contest.

My frustration with India has always been its preconceived opinions. Even before a child is born, his identity is fixed! Why can’t we begin like a fresh piece of paper without any scribble of tradition, opinion and prejudice in it? When will the Indian youth really come up with their own refreshing ideas? When will the real Jihad against the domination of the obsolete ideas, views and principles of our previous generations happen? When shall we start afresh? When will an Indian youth discover the ‘me’ that has long been buried in the pressures of ‘we’?

The major idea behind the setting up of the IITs in India was to encourage excellence in education. These graduates were supposed to be nurtured as the future leaders of the world, not their employees!

When Modi goes for a bilateral trip, he carries along the entire nation with him. America did not grant a visa to Modi, the visa was granted to the Prime Minister of India.  Therefore, if he fasts for navratri, he should probably fast during Ramzan as well!

Besides, fasting during a diplomatic meeting was definitely a very regressive approach of Modi.  Eating creates a comfortable ambience for discussions and ties. It is a part of International relations and hospitality. It was clear that Obama was much more comfortable in the presence of Dr Singh than Modi.

Why does Modi have to represent India as such an orthodox nation?

Indeed, Obama too was brought up amidst street urchins, yet he climbed his way to the top with education. But, a chaiwala did not become a Harvard Law graduate to become our Prime Minister. That is the difference. Modi is an imposed social mobility upon India.

India has to break free from this slave mentality. It’s time that we break our barriers and ask for more. Let’s research a little more and cram our minds a little less. Let’s try to create something instead of being those same mediocre high salaried men of the most regular daily jobs!

It’s alright to make mistakes, but it is criminal not try. What is the point being afraid of death when we wake up each day doing the same ordinary things? How different would we act lying dead in the graveyard?

Like the mad man, in my grandpa’s joke, Modi is cheering the backwardness of the country. Tradition does not eclipse truth. Tradition is not static. We must move ahead of the times. The youth has to be relied upon. The nation must believe in their decisions. They need the honor and dignity of adult human beings. Let’s have some faith in their maturity. Let’s believe in them. For once, give them a chance, to move ahead, to decide their path. Let’s bring in some freshness into the world. Let us, break the walls of narrow minded thinking and dream big.

Have faith in the young, they shall not disappoint you! Give them a chance to dream for this country. If a dream is big enough, no tiny fragment can ever ruin it!

If India cannot foresee the endless prospects of the future, we can never make it big. And, if it’s not big, it is of no significance!

The ray of Hope…

“At least today, stop listening to your Abida Parvin and destroy the DVD of Veer Zaara!”  Declared my friends as they heard the live telecast of Sarabjit’s sister’s emotional outcry. And once again, the intrinsic diplomats within every Indian were aroused. We all began to deliver our verdicts as to how a rogue nation like Pakistan must be annihilated.  The BJP erupted with their pseudo patriotism and the Congress desperately tried to balance all sides. And I began my cacophony yet again!

Around a week back, the Indian judiciary celebrated forty years of the landmark judgment of Kesavanada Bhararti v State of Kerala. The case, in many ways, had redefined the legal perspective of our nation.  The verdict was a celebration of an evolving Indian democracy. The 700 pages long verdict had not just defined the parliament’s power to amend our constitution. It contained the synthesis of the constitutions of 71 different countries which the attorney general had relentlessly created!

The case had brought about a new doctrine in Indian Jurisprudence- The basic structure theory.  It implied that the parliament could amend the constitution up to any extent until it altered the basic structure of our constitution.

If a country represents a person, its foreign policy his ethics, then, the judiciary is his conscience. India had followed the precedence of a state none other than Pakistan. The country, not only had a Christian Chief justice (under whom the theory was framed), but also a Hindu Chief justice on a later date. Pakistan had a pure conscience.

Today, we stand at a very significant stage for both the nations. Pakistan is largely turning into a failed state.  coups, military hassles and terrorism are overpowering the nation that had once started off on the same foot as India. India, on the other hand, is facing a stage of transition. We too, are increasingly turning into a bunch of hysteric mass and social frustration is on the rise. Most pertinent of all, both the countries are approaching elections.

Almost every Indian child is brought up with hatred towards Pakistan.  We are made to believe that the country had emerged straight from the dungeons of evil. Perhaps, it is a similar situation even across the border.  An uncanny mistrust breeds amidst the strained relation of these two nations. However, there is still a lot of similarity that hides behind this contempt.

Unlike any other nation, India can be the nation, closest towards understanding Pakistan. No, this is no humanitarian appeal to the Indian government towards playing the peace maker. One must realize that peace making, in international politics is not always done through sweet speeches. Rather, effective diplomacy and  careful  strategies hold the key. India must keep aside its populist politics and take the burden of the truth.

Pakistan, as it approaches its first completion of a democratically elected government is now desperate to sustain democracy. The nation is devastated with terrorism and an overwhelming power of the military. The country struggles to survive amidst its own problems of Baluchistan, Taliban and corruption. In a situation as such, India may play a very significant role in forging an alliance with the nation. Economic ties are imperative to not just support better business and bigger markets, but also to build political trust. As the elections take place in Pakistan, India must remain vocal and in complete synergy with the need for democracy in Pakistan. If democracy develops, the military power shall decline and hence the security of both the nations shall strengthen.

The 2014, withdrawal of U.S from Afghanistan shall also be an important point in the history of our relations. Pakistan, in an increasing fear towards Indian influence in the Afghan has often aided the Talibs. India must ensure a hard talk and a clear stand on this particular issue. The political parties of Pakistan, too, have to realize that, if the Taliban continues to be in power, terror threats also increase for Pakistan. Under such happenings, it would be largely difficult to sustain the Pakistani democracy. On the other hand, if Afghan develops its own governance and becomes self sustained, all the countries would benefit politically and economically.

I love Shahrukh khan! So do the Pakistanis. Often does, Shahrukh, represent my country just as much as Abida Parvin represents Pakistan.  Both these countries must collaborate and work towards such socio-cultural ties that can bring the people closer. Yes, Abida Parvin is a Pakistani singer. But she sings Ghalib who is intricately tied in the Indian culture. One must realize that we have shared the same culture for thousands of years until we were partitioned. This very cultural heritage must be utilized to sustain a strong bond amidst the two nations.

However, even as we discuss these strategies, the Prime minister of India is muzzled by his coalition parties and the opposition. With every step that the center tries to initiate, there is uproar in the parliament. The state leaders threaten to withdraw support, the opposition stalls parliament and the entire nation erupts in rage. The Indian mob wants to see blood. Later, the media attacks the leader for his silence.

The government often reminds me of my school days. I was always snubbed by my teachers for being very talkative. And, whenever, I was quiet in class, they called me dull!

The problem with us is that we want instant and quick remedies. They killed Sarabjit, we’ll kill them!! They breed terrorism, we shout Hindutva! India wants magic! We are opiniated. Yet, it takes us just a few hours to declare a common prisoner a ‘martyr’. Sarabjit’s martyrdom reminds me of the kid who called a random stranger his best friend to make his other friends jealous. India desperately needs a Hero to prove Pakistan an anti Hero.

Salman Khurshid is not just any other foreign affairs minister for India. He is also India’s message for secularism to those who try to see us as a Hindu majoritarian pseudo democracy! Diplomacy is not a magic potion that can fix all issues straight right after consumption. Diplomacy is a journey through the passage of time. One has to hold his patience in order to watch foreign relations flourish. India must practically exert itself as the leader of the developing democracies. The immediate need  is also to rise above the mediocrity of Indian politics. The entire system must stand up as one in order to make a statement at the global level.

The basic structure of both the nations’ ideals calls for integrity. The soul of the Indian foreign policy stands for peace and development. Repeated peace negotiations between the two countries have been hampered by the military interference in Pakistan. India must ensure and support the rise of a stronger, democratic and more consolidate form of government.

Even recently, the Pakistani court did not hesitate to disqualify its own Prime Minister. Repeatedly, the Pakistani judiciary has taken a number of upright decisions regarding elections and various other issues. India must take this opportunity to renew its relations with one of its most important neighbours.

India should look forward to the bright scopes at the International level. It is high time that we leave behind the cynicism and monotony that we are sinking into. We must stand up to shape our future and write our own destiny.

The Indian Soft Power
“It’s not the country with the larger army but the country with the better story that will prevail – we have to be able to tell the better story.”

Shashi Tharoor on ‘Soft Power’ as a Foreign Policy