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19 May 2024, Edition - 3232, Sunday

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Let’s blame Narendra Modi for all of India’s ills!

Covai Post Network


Aditi Kumaria Hingu

We live in an interesting country. A country where tradition and modernity co-exist peacefully, possibly the only country where Jews have not been persecuted, a country where the majority religion is less prescriptive and more accepting of diversity than many others, yet it faces the danger of being called ‘intolerant’, largely due to its own over enthusiastic proponents.

However, despite all the dichotomies that exist in our society, there has been two unifiers- Prime Minister Modi and social media. Everyone has a view on the PM. A virtual industry has cropped up around Modi – whether it is a prosaic as the Modi kurta or whether it is as intellectual as blaming him for everything – his frequent foreign tours, his inability to do yogasanas flexibly (did we elect a PM or an acrobat?), his sartorial designs etc.

Nothing showcases this as beautifully as a cursory look at my Facebook feed. Social media (largely FB) has again been a big unifier in our country and it is not uncommon to have friend lists running in a couple of hundreds. Of course, the FB audience is largely the English-familiar, middle class but it is fair to assume that this middle class is made up of a heterogeneous group of people rather than being one homogenous mass.

In recent days, I have learnt a lot from reading the FB news feed and my three main learnings are below –

Lesson 1: For the English speaking middle class, a single Dadri is far more horrendous than all the previous massacres that have happened. If a massacre happened while the Congress government was in Centre, then it was ‘an unfortunate incident’. But if PM Modi is in the Centre, then even one isolated incident is worse that state sponsored pogrom.

Nayantara Sehgal returned her Sahitya Akademi Award in support of ‘…all dissenters who now live in fear and uncertainty.’ She and others who followed her have been lauded for taking a stance by many of my FB friends. However, nobody questions why were the intellectuals silent when the 1984 Sikh massacre or the 1990s exodus of Kashmiri Pandits took place?

India has never been as intolerant or racist as many other countries still are – A foreign born can never aspire to become the leader of the USA. In India, we have had Sonia Gandhi reigning as the supreme leader for decades.

Gen. (retd) V K Singh risked his own life to be at the forefront of evacuation of 4000+ Indian from Yemen – most of them being Muslims. He is possibly the only political leader who was physically present at a war zone to oversee evacuation – yet he is portrayed as an intolerant leader based on comments taken out of context.

Lesson 2: Blaming PM Modi for everything is the ‘fashionably correct’ thing’ to do – be it dal prices (remember Onion prices in UPA II rule?), farmer suicides (how is ~1200 farmer suicides in Jan-Aug 2015 any worse than 3000+ suicides in 2013?), vandalization of churches (proved to be unrelated acts of mischief by members of different religions), and for the general state of filth and corruption all around…what the previous dispensations could not achieve in 60 years of rule, Modi is expected to deliver in one year.

Many Indian politicians tend to be motor mouths and focus on short term sensationalism. The ruling party is no exception. PM Modi is panned by intellectuals for not reining in his party colleagues, but is he a dictator or a puppeteer? Each of these politicians has their own support base and they will play to the gallery to further their own political gains.

In any case, have any of the recent utterances been worse than Mulayam Singh Yadav’s infamous ‘boys will be boys’ (‘justifying’ rape) or Suresh Kalmadi’s equally infamous ‘their hygiene levels are different than ours, you see’ (justifying filthy accommodation in Delhi Commonwealth Games).

Nobody asked Manmohan Singh for an explanation for these or any of the numerous multi crore scams that were a common feature of his tenure? Yet Modi is asked for an explanation for any utterance made by anybody even remotely connected with BJP/RSS.

Lesson 3: True secular, nation loving intellectuals love to blast the Government for all the ills in the country especially those involving perceived ‘minorities’. Despite concerted efforts at minority appeasement by previous dispensations, if the minorities are still backwards, surely one man cannot be blamed for it. It is true that there are many ills prevalent in our country, but India is a complex and dynamic country to govern. One man cannot undo decades of misrule.

Like all organizations, the current Government has performers and non-performers. Are the armchair nationalists even comparing Suresh Prabhu’s silent, laudable efforts at improving the health of Indian Railways with the populist measures that were taken by Mamta Banerjee or Lalu Yadav?

Criticizing the government on social media is easy, it attracts eyeballs and generates buzz. But it does not translate into nation building. Nation building happens away from the glare of lights – it is about villages getting connectivity through roads, it is about girls’ continuing education because their school now has a toilet, it is about the India narrative changing from apologetic to one that is confident and sure.

Going by what the armchair intellectuals seem to suggest, there has never been a darker time in India. It is ironical that the idiocy of Rahul Gandhi, the complicity of Manmohan Singh, the craven greed of Lalu Yadav, the ruthlessness of Sonia Gandhi are all preferred by the intelligentsia than the ‘roll up the sleeves’ attitude of Modi.

Or maybe, it is the PM who has got it all wrong – he should not waste time on development. He should be an inactive, invisible PM like his predecessor. Or even better, he should give politically correct soundbytes and garner wealth at the cost of the exchequer. That is what is desired from him. This is the irony of my FB feed and our nation today – we only want leaders who talk, we don’t want leaders who work. And maybe that is the reason why decades after independence, we are still a third world nation…because a leader can only be as good as its citizens let him be.

Disclaimer:The views expressed above are the author’s own

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