There is no other way to say this: every blow hurled at Narendra Modi only seems to add to his strength. In the 60+ years post-Independence, no other politician has been the target of sustained vilification and motivated witch-hunting as Narendra Modi. Yet, after every such attempt, he has managed to only emerge stronger. An immediate answer to this phenomenon of moving from strength to strength is the fact that his actions are the only, and powerful critics-silencers. However, the other and more crucial answer is this: exemplary leadership deriving out of the force of personal character. Scan the entire political landscape of India and find us a leader in the true sense of the word.
And this aspect—the force of personal character—is something no intellectual, academic, oped-writer and analyst will tell you because to the progenitors of this class only one leader existed in the Indian political realm till eternity: Jawaharlal Nehru. Expectedly, the dumb intellectual offspring of this class will yell at the “deification” and “idolization” of “personalities” but will not-so-secretly support The Dynasty. Now what are the distinguishing traits of everybody in The Dynasty from The Chacha to The Queen to her Bachelor Brat? Everything other than personal character.
Somebody once said that the history of mankind is simply the aggregation of biographies of eminent people. Everybody who scaled gigantic heights were men of outstanding personal character—from Kautilya to Vidyaranya to Vivekananda to Washington to Lincoln, all of them led by example: when they spoke, people listened and when they wanted something done, people did it without question. No matter what age we live in, fundamental human motivators will remain unchanged as long as humanity exists on this earth.
In an earlier post, I asked:
why does a place like Chennai go berserk with applause over Modi’s speech or why do university students in Bihar abuse and hurl chairs the Crown Prince who insults Narendra Modi?
Name exactly one other leader in India’s political landscape today who evokes this kind of spontaneous support and adulation. Which other Chief Minister openly invites—repeatedly, on TV, newspapers, etc—people to “come to Gujarat?” This is exactly what India for these 60+ years needed: a leader who delivers first and then merely explains how he was able to deliver, instead of hurling empty promises, or to reverse RajivSpeak: hum banake dikhaye hai. The Queen simply talks about “no tolerance for corruption” but continues to preside over the biggest loot this country has ever seen while Modi simply blacklists business houses/people that offer bribes to set up shop in Gujarat: they aren’t given a second chance. This in many ways follows Kautilya’s dictum that evil should be plucked from the very roots and giving a second chance means allowing the danger to lurk beneath the surface. And so, even the most vocal critic of Modi will accuse him of every real and imaginary crime other than corruption and lack of economic development. The best proof is the fact that almost all media outlets kept mum about Gujarat’s staggering development until recently—there are obvious limits to how long you can fabricate facts and/or close your eyes before said development starts to become physically visible.
Today, the last of the strident critics of Modi—and I’m not talking about malevolent monsters like Teesta—while they grudgingly admit his accomplishments, still try and clutch at the 2002 Straw. In a way, the wheel has turned a full circle. Of late, it’s become kinda evident that the opposite of what the Academia-Intellectual-Media (AIM) Complex say about Modi is true.
This transformation didn’t happen overnight.
For most of his 10-year tenure, Modi answered his critics with… silence. He let his work do the talking and allowed the law to take its course. Every investigation has only revealed that he is not guilty of what the self-appointed judges of the AIM Complex continue to accuse him of. But then the Cottage Industry has to survive and so it does what it does best: Exhibit 1. While these worthless AIMs repeatedly peddle the tired old lies, Modi has grown from strength to strength. He’s become a must-have in events like the India Today Conclave and the HT Summit to name two despite the fact that these events are run by outfits that are demonstrably anti-Modi. But there’s a reason: his speeches are fresh and derived from his experience in governance. For instance, when he says that “skills get jobs but knowledge creates jobs,” it holds a familiar echo: knowledge was what always made seekers from all over the world pour into India in the past. When he says that development must be made a mass movement, it rings as refreshingly different in an environment that’s been infested for long years with ruthless socialism, meaningless slogans and crass freebies in that order.
There’s no better demonstration of the power of personal character than this transformation.
Also the fact that he has inspired the Chief Ministers of other states—including Mayawati (yes!)—to give governance, not statues, a chance. There’re only so many years that you can get elected to office on the planks of caste, divisiveness, and hatred. When a Mayawati-voter goes to Gujarat and sees what he sees, he will demand similar things in his state.
In the end, the “ghost of 2002” continues to haunt just the AIM Complex despite their attempts to hoist that ghost on Modi’s shoulder. The ongoing delay tactics to postpone the Supreme Court judgment on the issue just shows their fondness for the Forces of Darkness.
And if this sounds like an unabashed encomium to Narendra Modi, it is. Show me a better candidate. I might change my mind.