A Gentle Giant
Facts, information and stories about Mr.Narendra Modi, the giant slayer, abound and are fast becoming the kind of stuff which political folklore are made of. Notwithstanding the fact that these are still the early days of his grand entry into national politics, his stature as an astute politician keeps growing by the day.
Addressing a Press Conference
Among the youth of the nation, he is a cult figure, who talks about development issues and not hackneyed issues of communalism and secularism. Women are appreciative of the fact that he respects them and yet spares them false promises of reservation for women in the parliament or state assemblies. He is reputed to be a non-believer of reservations, per se. While the issue of reservations in educational institutions and the employment sector is a highly contentious issue and constitutes the core of communal politics practised in the country, inclusive politics is the hallmark of Modiism. Contrary to the bogey raised by his detractors that he is a divisive and polarizing figure, he is all for inclusive politics.
When you successfully develop the country's economy, increase production resulting in job growth, arrest inflation and curtail prices of essential commodities in the market, you create a scope for inclusive politics where the question of reservation would become infructuous. Such a situation is feasible when you have corruption-free governance and least interference by the State in economic activities. Furthermore, people may be expected in such a social milieu to be conscious of their self esteem and proud of their social background where the need for reservation would become a thing of the past. Political stability and the right atmosphere for sustained economic growth are what Mr.Modi promises and has already delivered in Gujarat. The entire nation is keenly watching him and expecting him to paint his masterpiece on the larger national canvas.
Mr.Modi's educational background is quite modest. In one of his pre-poll TV interviews, he candidly admitted that whatever education he had received was in the Gujarati language. He is, however, well read, well travelled all over India and knowledgeable about the hardships faced by his countrymen and their aspirations.
Mr.Modi has repeatedly avowed that he believes in less government and more governance. He does not surround himself with an army of pygmies so as to look tall. Nor is he surrounded by coteries or hangers-on. He is reputed to be a loner with no best friends. These are very essential pre-requisites for a crusader against corruption. Family and friends do have the tendency of getting in the way of a leader who has dedicated himself to the development of his country and upliftment of the society. Mr.Modi has consciously shed these trappings in the service of the nation. He is eminently qualified to be called the philosopher king of Plato.
Exercise in Humility
The dictum "Love all, trust a few and do wrong to none," (All's Well That Ends Well, William Shakespeare) succinctly sums up the core of Mr.Modi's political philosophy. That there is room neither for favoritism nor for prejudices in his scheme of things was very well vindicated when he told his party men, in his maiden speech in the central hall of parliament, that they should not hanker after a berth in the Cabinet but focus on serving the country and that he was quite appreciative of all the good deeds of the previous governments in the service of the country. The way he assured his political allies, including those who failed to win seats in the election, of his continued appreciation for their support was an exercise in humility. Likewise, his expression of gratitude for his party seniors like Vajpayee and L.K.Advani was spontaneous and yet dismissive of the uncalled for criticism by his detractors that he had meted them out shabby treatment in the process of securing nomination for the prime ministerial candidature.
In the course of pursuit of his roadmap to the development of the country, it is very important for Mr.Modi to take the following into account:
- He should not fall into the trap of playing the communal-secular-politics even under extreme provocation by the opposition politics. Communal riots should be ruthlessly put down and the perpetrators given exemplary punishment. We have enough laws already in place. An initiative to proscribe political parties which incite or engineer riots from electoral politics should be taken. Communal riots should be treated as serious law and order problems. No quarter for treating them as a political activity should be allowed.
- Scams, scandals and corrupt activities involving persons holding public offices should be ruthlessly dealt with. Corrupt politicians should be barred from electoral politics.
- Hoarders and black-marketeers should be exposed and severely punished. They should also be barred from further pursuing economic or commercial activities like trading.
- The issue of security of women must be addressed on a priority basis. There should be a nation-wide referendum on what kind of penalties should be imposed on rapists and stalkers. In fact, the entire gamut of the judicial system in this matter should come under scanner in a time-bound manner.
- Mending fences with Pakistan and China is a priority matter. But engagement with these and other countries with which India has issues should be taken up only from a position of strength. UPA government's namby-pamby foreign policy should be replaced with a firm, friendly and pragmatic one
- India's defence preparedness should be strengthened on war footing.
Roadmap For The Future
Notwithstanding his own master plan for the country, Mr.Modi is being plied, at his own request, with suggestions by a large number of people, regarding numerous issues which call for his immediate attention. He is being cautioned at the same time by political analysts and observers about the perils of an ambitious over reach of his development agenda vis-a-vis the constraints of the system and the burden of a truncated economic legacy of the previous government. The failure of the outgoing government's economic policy cannot be overlooked or swept under the carpet.The disastrous fall out of the unproductive economic policy and programmes initiated by a failed government gasping for political survival has to be reckoned in all seriousness.
Mr.Modi should be watchful of the pitfalls along his way. While millions of his countrymen do believe that good days have come by and are here to stay, his detractors are waiting for him to make his first mistake as Prime Minister. It would be pertinent to recall that Mr.Modi has assured the people that he would not provide an opportunity for any one to look down upon any of his actions.
Mr.Modi, who is a suave politician reputed for his gentle manners and emotional and humane approach to social issues, may reasonably be expected to apply the following sage advice in his dealings as a firm and yet gentle Prime Minister:
"O it is excellent to have the strength of a giant but it is tyrannous to use it like a giant"
- (Measure for Measure,William Shakespeare)
© 2014 Kalyanaraman Raman