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Modi on Path to Making a Permanent Place in Indian History
The Rise of Modi
Narendra Modi swept to power in a gigantic wave, not seen for over 3 decades as he beat the moth-eaten UPA government led by the lackey of the Nehru- Gandhi family Manmohan Singh. It was a victory with a meaning as the Indian state had become moribund, corruption was rampant and almost 30% of the economy was black. Somebody was needed to give spunk to the Indian ethos which was also damaged on the international front with a fear of China. Sadly right from the days of Nehru, that behemoth of Indian politics the cardinal refrain was something like the title of Alistair McLean's novel" Fear is the key". Somebody was needed to set the ship on an even keel and steer it forward. It has now fallen to the lot of Narendra Modi to steer the Indian ship in choppy waters.
Modi is the Boxer
Modi has been in power for just 2.5 years but it is palpably clear that his interest is not on just winning elections but on turning the clock as well as steering the Indian ship to port. Firstly on the diplomatic front, two significant events have happened. He has called the Chinese Bluff and reached out to nations which for decades were neglected fraternity. In this one can see his overtures to Mongolia and regardless of the China factor his offer to help Mongolia utilize the credit of one billion dollars to counter the Chinese embargo are worth noting. Mongolia had earned the ire of China by playing host to the Dalai Lama, a worthy hated by Beijing for no other reason that he asks for rights of the Tibet people burdened by an oppressive regime.
Modi has also launched a surgical strike across the border into Pakistan. His critics say that insurgency has not gone down. Very true, but the aim of one surgical strike was not to finish insurgency but show the mailed fist as to what the Indian state is capable off. This is not lost on Pakistan and I suppose the new Army chief General Bajwa is aware of this fresh resolve. One can remember that Nehru could have turned the tide of the 1962 war in case the IAF had been used, but an irrational fear led him to accept defeat and humiliation and one can record that after that he was a shadow of his former self as he tried to hide from the world.
Modi is a different kettle of fish. He in contrast, has beefed up the border and lately positioned a 100 T -76 tanks n the border in a show of resolve to China. He has become a Globe trotter and progressed India's case to the far corners of the world. The US outgoing president Obama held him in high esteem and even wrote an article on him for TIME magazine.
Attacking the Fiscal System
Coming, home Modi has done the unthinkable as he attacked the fiscal system. This had become so moth-eaten that a parallel economy was created and it was an accepted norm that all deals would be in the 60:40 % ratio with 40% being in the unaccounted money. How was this going to be changed? the Congress and various governments shied away from this as they tacitly encouraged it. There were allegations of kickbacks even for the prime minister Rajiv Gandhi, known as the Bofors scandal and strangely the CBI and enforcement directorate just sat on their haunches. What could they do? the PM was himself involved.
Cleansing the Augean Stables
Modi decided to clean the Augean stables of black money and parallel economy in a surgical strike by carrying out demonetization of all high-value notes. Overnight people who had hoarded millions of rupees realized, that what they held was worthless paper as the old notes were no longer legal tenders. It was a step that was needed and I have known many who lost hundreds of thousands of " black money" hoarded in their safes. The political leaders cried foul. It was to be expected as they were the ones who had stacked up thousands of crores of money to use in the elections to buy votes. It was a terrible blow and the opposition led by the Congress howled like a wounded dog, but the deed was done as Modi tried to set right the fiscal balance of the nation.
History will record the efforts of Modi and it will also record that such a man comes once in 100 years. Modi may yet fail, but the torch he has lit and the ensuing flame will not be extinguished and one can be sure that India will move forward.