A friend forwarded Pritish Nandy’s article, “Modi Offers a New Camelot” to me yesterday. I am not sure where it was published and I have not googled to get this piece of information. The forwarded article was with some comments from my friend and from the person who had forwarded the article to him in the first place.
The comments and this article stem from the same half-informed and predetermined intelligence of our English speaking elite, totally disconnected with the real world. Words and phrases are scattered in abandon without any due regard to their meaning or applicability. Words like pogrom, autocracy, Camelot etc., are used so flippantly that one wonders at the gullibility of the people who read them and take them seriously.
Camelot was a mythical place and to compare what Narendra Modi is offering with any Arthurian legend is just intellectual dishonesty
Most of the people who write about Narendra Modi have no time to either meet him or listen to him. They are informed by the media that has spawned into an industry completely devoted to demonizing and dehumanizing him. It comes from the fear that he may actually displace the status quo that has existed for 60+ years for the benefit of the ruling classes. For the first time here is a man who is willing to take the bull by the horns and is not afraid to rock the comfortable boat. No wonder BJP power-brokers are running scared. He has knocked them out of their comfort zones and they are blabbering, not knowing which way to go. India needs to be shaken roughly out of the torpor best exemplified by the current PM, and if it needs a Narendra Modi to do it, I am willing to go along with him.
Coming to the comment that it is a “sad day for any people to have to accept that their best bet for Prime Minister is a man indicted for presiding proudly over a pogrom,” I can only say that the writer is making an assertion without evidence. The Godhra riots and the subsequent violence against the Muslims that followed is not the first time that a community has been a victim of violence in India. It is not the first time that Muslims were targeted. What about the Sikhs, the Kashmiri Pandits, the Dalits all over the country, the Biharis in Thackeray’s Mumbai, and a whole lot more? These have been happening all along in history, and are likely to happen again. That is the inexorable truth of human history. But it is not correct to keep lamenting forever. If that were the case, mankind would not have moved ahead. Israel, the American blacks and native Indians, the Russians during Stalin’s years, the whole of the continent of Africa, to name just a few, have all suffered worse “pogroms” but all of them are making an effort to move on and not harping on what the commentator likes to call “decade old irrelevancies.” History should be studied to ensure that its worst crimes do not get repeated. It should not be made an excuse for keeping people from moving on and making the lives of future generations safe and better.
What Narendra Modi has offered in Gujarat, more than the infrastructure that Nandy writes about, is the FACT THAT THERE HAS BEEN NO VIOLENCE IN GUJARAT AFTER 2002.
That is much more than one can say about the rest. If the Muslims today want to move on and ensure a better life for their future generations, why should one find fault with their aspirations? Why make them continue to wallow in the past and advise them to remain mired in misery. They have as much right to the pursuit of happiness as an American citizen.
Look at the Kashmiri Pandits. Driven out of their homes by intimidation and brutal violence, they became refugees in their own country
Not one leader came out to support their rights, neither the Congress nor the BJP. The reason for that is that they behaved like a vote bank, completely charmed by the Arthurian presence of Pt. Nehru, whom they idolized and rationalized all his faults. As a result they got taken for granted and were ignored by everyone, including the Congress. Nobody was offering them a Camelot. Yet, look at these people! Do you hear any prolonged, organized protests from within their community? No! Because they have realized that by wallowing in the past and by expecting any support from the politicians they will only be falling deeper into the abyss of poverty and deprivation. The Pandits have dispersed all over the country and the globe and are no longer a destitute minority depending upon largesse and dole from an insensitive government. They have educated themselves and are today holding positions of significance in almost all fields of activity. True, Kashmir is lost to them. But if you ask a young Kashmiri Pandit if the loss of his homeland has become a festering wound on his psyche, you will be surprised by his answer. He has made the world his country, and Kashmir is just one tiny part of it. Would the Congress like the Muslims to develop like the Pandits? No, because then they will not vote as a body.
All those who call Narendra Modi an autocrat have personally no experience of having dealt with him. Neither have I. But if he is decisive and firm about the achievement of goals and targets, is it a bad thing? Manmohan Singh, by all accounts is not an autocrat. So is he the best we can have?
As for the man supposed to have “presided over a pogrom,” when he was only about three months in the chair of the CM, without ever having held public office before, should we pillory him for not having been able to quell the violence instantly? How many CM’s and PM’s have a better record? The Congress has been trying through its pet agencies like CBI to find some evidence that could prove that Narendra Modi directed the violence and ordered the security forces to stay indoors. So far, they have not succeeded in finding even one bit of credible evidence. So what is this talk of calling him an “indicted” man?
I think it is time all this kind of windbagging stops and people like Pritish Nandy and Swaminathan Aiyar start working out of their air-conditioned offices and actually seek to meet the man and ask serious questions of him. Not like the interview Rahul Kanwal of Headlines Today had with Arvind Kejriwal that showed nothing but the utter stupidity of the interviewer whose questions were not about what AAP was all about but only about what Rahul’s preconceived prejudices and fears were. This is not journalism, but propaganda. Most of the press about Narendra Modi is not journalistic. It is propaganda of the Goebelsian kind.
By Vijaya Dar
Image Source: IANS