I am not a ‘politics’ person in general. When I write this article, I possibly wish to bring forth that section of the society which comprises of its youth and what they think about Indian polity. Concentrating on the current scenario, the one individual making the right or the wrong headlines is Gujarat’s Chief Minister: Narendra Modi. At the moment, he is the sole person who is taking the country by storm. He is considered the most controversial politician of India and a man who is either intensely loved or sternly hated. On a broader perspective, Modi can see seen as a dividing line within a secular India. Whenever there is a debate for or against this man, the word ‘secularism’ does play a part. This is largely because of the repercussions of the Godhra riots which instigated a religious war inside a secular, socialist, sovereign, democratic republic: India. A massive population believes that Modi was instrumental in the slaughter of about a thousand innocent Muslims. They say he instructed the forces to shoot-at-sight and fundamentally amplified the hostility. Moreover, he considers himself a Hindu nationalist, which further makes the Muslim minority anxious about his motives and faithfulness towards them. When a young, erudite professional or student like me utters the word ‘India’, we do not segregate it into religious factions. I embrace the idea of knowing that India’s true strength lies in its unity despite of its diversity. I am nobody to judge the colossal personality that Narendra Modi is. But, I do have the right to choose because I am an Indian and I have the authority to vote.
Naomi Klein said – “Democracy is not just the right to vote, it is the right to live in dignity.” That is what we demand too. I can be a Hindu, a Muslim, a Sikh or a Christian but I do not permit the government to mock my self-esteem based on my religion. The Congress is targeting the Islamic fragments of the country because they recognize that Modi is detested amongst this stratum. The BJP, on the other hand, is trying to canvass the ideas of Hinduism in the attempt of upholding the confidence of a large segment of the Indian society. I, as an Indian youth, do not support the Congress or the BJP. I support development. I support secularism. I support harmony.
In the wake of writing about Modi, I read numerous articles about him and his authority in Gujarat. I conversed with quite a few people, read Modi’s interviews, analysed the views of the Congress on his candidature for the 2014 Prime-Ministerial elections and endeavoured to understand how every party is coercing its opinions on the Indians; how the media is allowing these campaigns to flourish and obscure the vision of every ordinary Indian citizen who largely depends on the television, the newspapers or magazines to take a stance on any national issue. For instance, the Times of India published a report in June 2013 asserting that Narendra Modi and his team rescued 15000 Gujarati victims caught in the Uttarakhand floods. The news became enormously controversial and had the power to reinforce a common man’s idea of viewing Modi as a communal leader. Following this, after a few days the newspaper clarified that Gujarat’s governmental efforts had helped 15000 Uttarakhand flood victims in many practical ways by providing them with food, medicines and shelter which does not imply the term ‘rescuing Gujarati victims’. News like this can cause a furore and amend how we perceive a particular person or organization.
In most cases, the articles and interviews also seem biased and opinionated either towards or against Modi. The anti-Modi community uses the terms: communal, self-centred and attention-seeker to describe him. Several reports claim that the levels of education and health in Gujarat are way below the other states. Some other information asserts that Gujarat’s fiscal and entrepreneurial progress has been over-hyped and Modi thoroughly acquires special recognition for all the affirmative aspects concerning Gujarat. He is termed as a dictator in some contexts and a developmental leader in others. His proximity to Maya Kodnani who has been convicted of having a huge hand in the Godhra riots further blots the person he is and tarnishes the growth he calls himself responsible for. For those who love Modi, the few words they tend to draw on revolve around development, righteousness, economic growth, agriculture, electricity and efficiency. In between these two factions lies a sector of the society I belong to and here’s what I think of Modi: He might have taken vicious decisions against the Muslims. I cannot rule that out because I am not him or any of those thousand families who suffered at the hand of such pronouncements. He might have over-hyped certain improvement records. He might be manipulative and shrewd. However, this man undoubtedly did bring a perceptible change in the state he administered. If he wasn’t even fifty percent of what his supporters claim, then he wouldn’t have been voted the best Chief Minister of India in a nationwide survey. Moreover, he wouldn’t have been elected for three consecutive terms in the same state if he did not possess an influential spark and an ardent commitment towards the citizens of Gujarat.
As I bring this write-up to a close, I’d just say that we certainly cannot condone the past but we can look forward to a constructive future. In a dialogue with the Reuters, Modi said that he did not dream of becoming anything, he dreamt of doing something. His declaration made me want to give him a chance. If we have been able to survive under a mute Prime Minister for the last nine years, let’s see how it would be to be led by someone who has a voice and the drive to act on what he says. If you want me to change my mind, give me a better option!
I’ll write more about Modi and the Indian political tale in days to come. For now, give it a thought and tell me whether you are for or against Modi. Leave your comments below!