The most important things regarding personality we can say about a person is the things that he will do to make us love him, or hate him or feel indifferent to him. Besides, personality also deals with what a man wants, what he will do to get it, and how he copes with his inability to get everything he needs and desires. Personality further defines how a man is shaped by and how he shapes, the social milieu in which he lives. A look at the approach of the political parties towards the ensuing general election in the year 2014 and the general electoral fervor that is seen, there is only one person who has attracted the attention of the people who hate him, who admire and love him and also people who are indifferent to him, all alike is Narendra Modi, the flamboyant Chief Minister of Gujarat and the chosen man spearheading the BJP election campaign. Even when all other political parties pretend to profess that they do not bother much about NaMo, whatever he says or does become a news and stir the opponents to counter him. There is thus a spontaneous reaction from the opponents to Narendra Modi.
What makes people react so spontaneously to whatever that this one and the only man does? No political leader worth the name in the entire nation draws so much attention than the controversial and mercurial personality called Narendra Modi. The shameful and undemocratic act of a sizable number of members of parliament belonging to almost all political parties sending their wish list to the President of United States not to grant a visa to Narendra Modi, most popular and democratically elected Chief Minister of a State in India, not only shows how scared and perturbed they are to face Narendra Modi and how powerful a personality that he has become but also reveals to what extent our representative of the people can stoop to undermining the dignity and decorum of the post they hold and also the pride and self respect of the Nation. Is it not a great fall of our nation, dear country men?
His opponents call him the “Maut Ka Soudagar” (Merchant of Death), tormentor of the major minority community, rank communalist and hardcore Hindutva propagator. His admirers hail him as the man of progress and development, an avid articulator and an able and avowed administrator for good governance. Even people who are indifferent look up to him with perplexed observation. “Great Individuals are not only popular themselves, but they give popularity to whatever they touch.” Besides, “True Popularity is not the popularity which is followed after, but popularity which follows after.” No adverse popularity will make any politician a record breaking third time the Chief Minister of a state continuously with thumping majority.
But unfortunately, Narendra Modi has left a legacy, rightly or wrongly, of 2002 riots as a Muslim baiter mostly created by his detractors. But The Time magazine article says Modi is a firm, “no-nonsense leader” and “Modi means business.” Further it describes him as one who can steer India out of a “mire of chronic corruption and inefficiency”. As reported in the Time, a small but significant action of Modi shows whether he is pro development or pro Hindu activist when Modi ordered the demolition of about 120 small Hindu shrines to make room for the construction of a smooth four lane highway to Gandhi Nagar. It is worth recalling as reported by Time what Virendra Mhaiskar, CEO of the road building company IRB remarked about Narendra Modi, “Mr. Modi is looked upon with different lenses in different parts of the world,” Besides, he recalled “submitting a $42 million bid to complete a section of Ahmadabad’s excellent bus rapid-transit system. The entire bidding process was done online — no cups of tea with mid-level bureaucrats, no photo-ops with local politicians.” He says, “Even today, I don’t know who the mayor is.” Narendra Modi is also credited with “good planning – exactly what so much of India lacks”, and a leader with the “ability to get things done”. Time highlights how unlike other politicians “Modi doesn’t put his faith on display”, and having no religious icons in his office – which instead has only statues of his hero, Swami Vivekananda. It further points out how “in a country where nepotism and dynastic politics are the norm, Modi’s family is invisible.”
One of the attributes to Narendra Modi is that he is arrogant, brutally frank and self centered. It’s better to speak one’s mind and tell the truth, than to stay quiet and lie to self. It is said, “There is no need of justifying yourself to others, until you can justify yourself to your own conscience.” and “ Do not change to try to make people like you…Just be yourself and the right people will come and love real you”. Whatever that he does is the dictates of his own conscience and his detractors and critics interpret everything that Modi does to suit their interest to malign his name and standing so as to degrade and downgrade him in the eyes of the public. The world may judge him by what he does and may be negatively, but being true to oneself is better than being a liar just to impress everyone. “There comes a time when one must take a position that is neither safe, nor politic, nor popular but one must take it because it’s right.” (Martin Luther King.Jr.) That goes with Narendra Modi also.
Yet another facet that has been projected about Modi is that he is autocratic and he adopts dictatorial ways. But considering the vastness of the country and the diverse cultures, traditions, languages, religions and casts and creeds and varying geographical features, can anybody become a dictator of this country? It’s not at all possible. One may be able to suppress all the people some of the time, some of the people all the time but not all the people all the time. Indira Gandhi, the icon of Congress party and the dictator herself, whose experiment with emergency is a classical example in this direction and psychic of the people of India will never allow anyone to take such a daring step. History of the world also teaches us that dictators cannot survive and sustain for long. Yet another important factor which cannot be overlooked is the fact that unlike other national parties and other regional parties, perhaps BJP and the Communist Parties, are the only two parties who do not have the hierarchical and dynastic succession of power. Besides, BJP has many stalwarts not only having vast political experience and longstanding positions in the party than Narendra Modi but also have their own place in the political arena. Hence, personal obeisance is out of question in BJP. This will definitely deter Narendra Modi from acting like a dictator. Since he is also being an astute politician and an articulate administrator, he knows what is best for him and for the country.
The big question that is being raised is what will happen to the minority communities in case Narendra Modi comes to power? According to data of the Home Ministry, 10.6 per cent of Gujarat’s police force is composed of Muslim officers. The percentage of Muslims in Gujarat, according to the 2001 census, is 9.1 per cent. This is the second largest Muslim force next only to Odisha. In 2006, the Sachar Committee report had said that among all States surveyed, the socio-economic condition of Muslims in Gujarat was the best in India. Shabbir Khandwawala, Gujarat’s first Muslim police chief, joined the BJP along with several other bureaucrats. Khandwawala was instrumental in modernising the Gujarat police force and injecting a measure of professionalism into its functioning. The fact that no communal violence has taken place in Gujarat since 2002 is a testimony to what Narendra Modi stands for. “What happened in Gujarat 10 years back was the darkest phase in the history of Gujarat,” says Mohsin Sheikh, 56, an artist who lives in the Muslim enclave of Sarkhej in Ahmedabad. “I am hopeful that the victims will soon get justice. At the same time, I think that everyone should try to forget what happened a decade back and move on. Gujarat’s development is benefiting not just one community but all the people of Gujarat, irrespective of caste and religion.” That sums up Muslim feelings.
It is very interesting to note that only the Gujarat riot of 2002 is kept alive even after ten years of its happening just to spike Narendra Modi in spite of the fact that he has not been implicated in the riots as per law. Communal riots have been taking place in India before and after the independence. Nobody now remembers the holocaust of 1947 when India attained independence. Who was responsible for that? Nobody thinks about it now. What about the riots that took place in independent India after partition? Nobody talks about them now. The only riot that has been repeatedly being mentioned by opponents of Congress Party, particularly BJP is the 1984 Sikh riots. But a close look at it will raise a pertinent question, was it a communal riot? It is a question to be pondered over.
The biggest question that lingers is whether Narendra Modi will “saffronise” by declaring India as a Hindu Nation. Under the prevailing Indian conditions with its vast diversities and a constitution which includes the fundamental rights enshrined in it, it cannot happen nor will the people of India allow it to happen. Since independence, this country has seen many a governments under different rulers and the deterioration is also seen particularly of late. Simmering discontentment and disenchantment have overtaken the Indian populace. What they need is someone to lead them to realise their hopes and aspirations and to lead this country in to a super power. They nurse a hope that if there is a drastic change in the governing authority of this nation, it may lead to the veritable realisation of the nations aspirations. The people have given ample chance to others. Considering the popularity of Narendra Modi as per the recently conducted survey by media persons, why can’t Narendra Modi be given a chance to prove his mettle?
Last but not the least, BJP in general and Modi in particular should realise the fact that the Achilles heel for them is the enemy within who should not be allowed to become a Trojan horse.