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!

“What should I do with which I do not become immortal?”

My mother often quoted the famous argument by Vedic Scholar Maitreyi whenever I failed my tests. She forbade me from dwelling in the shallow mediocrities of life. She said that it was alright to commit mistakes; however, one must never sin. I did not understand her as a child. Then, all that mattered to me was that she was not angry with me and I could go down to play.

“I pity him!” was my immediate reaction after watching the ‘Rahul Gandhi interview’. Well, for once, it was not because of my clichéd support for any particular person or political group. Rather, Rahul reminded me of my traumatic nursery interview sessions, where I always sat helpless trying to figure a way out of the ordeal. Failure was inevitable.

Strangely, the next thing that I watched was the first Obama-Mit Romney presidential debate.  It too was a tense situation of American politics and the two arguing men were no less rivals than Rahul-Modi. Yet, it began with a little exchange of wit and moved on to a rather substantial discussion.  Yes, there was a moderator, but certainly, he was no match to the ferocious Arnab Goswami.

The discussion appeared to be an exchange of ideas between two adult gentlemen. Unlike the hour long Rahul-Arnab farce, which seemed more like an interrogation scene. But frankly, is it not time that the Indians grew up?

On one hand, we have a Rahul Gandhi, who is an intimidated weak student. And, on the other hand, is a Modi who, is a similar unprepared boy but manages to amuse us enough with his rhetorics. Basically, he is just a smart student who manipulates well.   However, amidst all these dramatics, we are forgetting a very important fact- this is not a high school test anymore!

Indians, continue to cherish their joint family roots. We still romanticize the fact that ‘elders’ dominate our major life decisions.  Perhaps, that is exactly what is reflected even in our modern political scene. It lacks the strength of individuality and progressive thought.

Rahul Gandhi constantly spoke about ‘the fundamental point’, but never really came to it.  Instead, we were once again regressed to the same old drab conjecture and comparison of the 1984 and the 2002 riots! I don’t blame Arnab for his meaningless questions. They were all that we had to ask Rahul. Still, inspite of all the sadistic pleasures that we got out of watching him, I don’t think it benefitted anyone at all.

The differences between Rahul-Modi are known to all. However, they are of little significance. The ‘real issue’, instead, is the way forward for India.  As common citizen, I’m more concerned about the taxation policies, foreign policies and governance methods that these politicians envisage. If they cannot put forth and defend their ideas now, how can they even implement them later? So, where are these ‘real’ discussions of ‘fundamental’ governance plans?

How does India perceive itself in the changing situation in Afghanistan? How are we going to react to the changing paradigm of Asian international politics? Should India focus more on South East Asia or does its future lie with the relations with the U.S? How are we going to handle Sri Lanka, Pakistan and China?  Should we focus only on GDP growth or Human development is a greater concern?

India, historically, has remained as the cradle of a flourishing democracy. Public debates were once, a part of our lifestyle.  However, today, we lost our heritage to a monotonous mediocrity. Our politicians, like us, lack a sporting spirit and all they want to do is blame each other!  We have stopped giving ourselves the freedom to fail. And thus, it becomes all the more difficult to conceive and try out newer plans.

It is the same fallacy that forbids a child from writing a creative answer because he is afraid of failing the test. And if he fails, mother may not be too happy! But, we are free of the parental domination now. Why can’t we just clearly speak about what we want to do? Let Rahul Gandhi discuss his own resolutions. Why must he defend his father? Let Modi speak of his way forward, why must he recite an RSS anthem?

Election is just the beginning. The real substance comes out of what lies ahead of it. Else, it stands as another catastrophe as Kejrival.  Spewing criticisms and throwing aspersions is as easy as waving the ‘Jhadu’. However, taking the responsibility and facing the system is just as difficult as tolerating it!

The Rahul-Modi saga may quite replace the Saas-Bahu gossips for a while. But, it will give us nothing more than frustration. It will not make our country immortal. Yes, Rahul Gandhi may be a mistake.  But, not being able to create a vision for the nation to move forward will be a sin!

As a child, I did not understand my mother. I know what she meant now. To her, education was more necessary than mere gradation. She taught me to learn from my mistakes. She taught me to grow.

Freedom cannot be given to anyone. It is realization that comes from within. Why must the Indians only become CEOs of Microsoft? Why can’t we create a Microsoft?!  Why are we so afraid of risks? How long are we going to crib about everything and exclaim “Nothing can happen to this country!!?” Then, later, we shall sit in our cramped office spaces and pull our colleagues down! Are we forever going to live in our miserable hopelessness?

India cannot afford to die so soon. We cannot accept defeat so easily. India is not so feeble that it shall only whine about its problems. Instead we have to face them and overcome every crisis! Let’s break the shackles of the childish fears. Let’s broaden our mind, perspective and reclaim the heritage that we had once gifted the whole world.

 

 

“Where the mind is without fear and the head is held high;

Where knowledge is free;

Where the world has not been broken up into fragments by narrow  domestic walls;

Where the clear stream of reason has not lost its way into the  dreary desert of sand of dead habit;

Into that heaven of freedom, my Father, let my country awake”

Rabindra Nath Tagore

Grow Up! India!