Post Mortem

Modi’s India: The path ahead

By Nagaland Post | Publish Date: 4/10/2019 12:57:16 PM IST

 (From previous issue)

The Indian Christianity of the Mar Thoma Church and the Mughal imparted Islam of India are uniquely Indian in that they are hugely different from Roman Christianity and Arab Islam respectively. This uniquely Indian flavour is what makes them Indian and they need not become a Hindu tradition to be Indian. The Nagas and Mizos of India who are historically of a Mongolian/Chinese extract, are nevertheless uniquely Indian due to their historical situations of being on the Indian side of the Himalayas. It is this uniqueness that is celebrated as their being Indian. So, commonality of all traditions is not what we seek in being Indian, rather each of these traditions brings to the table a unique view of what it is to be Indian.

So, if India can be seen as a huge orchestra with a variety of instruments, then the aim is not to make all the members of the orchestra play a single instrument; rather it is to use all the different instruments to perform in harmony the same song – the song of India. The success of an orchestra lies in each member bringing the unique sound of their instrument in harmony with the sounds of all the other instruments and to produce a musical piece together that is rich precisely because of the harmony of its diversity. 

Given this as my prejudice, how has Modi fared in Modi’s India. Two years in as the PM, in September 2016 in Kozhikode, during the birth centenary celebration of Deen Dayal Upadhyay, the founder of BJP’s precursor, the Bharatiya Jan Sangh (BJS), Modi shared his eight-point vision for India.

1. Garibi se mukt, Samriththi se yukt (free from poverty, full of prosperity)

2. Bhedbhav se mukt, Samanta se yukt (free from discrimination, filled with equality)

3. Anyay se mukt, Nyay se yukt (free from injustices, ensconced in justice)

4. Gandagi se mukt, Swachchhta se yukt (free from squalor, covered with cleanliness)

5. Bhrashtachar se mukt, Pardarshita se yukt (free from corruption, complete with transparency)

6. Berozgari se mukt, Rozgari se yukt (free from unemployment, enriched with employment)

7. Mahilautpidan se mukt, Streesamman se yukt (free from atrocities against women, full with respect for women)

8. Nirasha se mukt, Asha se yukt (free from despondency, full of hope)

Of course, even Modi’s political detractors will have to accept that different schemes in promotion of these objectives and vision have been implemented. As an ‘aam aadmi’ who can only perceive what he sees around himself, I have been able to observe the implementation of cleanliness and environment-friendliness in my neighbourhoods. Although it has been inconvenient, but the use of plastic has greatly reduced. Segregation of waste has been introduced with a view to recycle organic waste. As a nation we witnessed and experienced several experiments by the government to fight corruption. Be it demonetization or tightening of the income tax net or converting India to a cashless economy, it has affected me as a citizen for the first time in my life. Has the Indian economy grown? Has there been an increase in employment? Numbers and quantitative analysis can be used to argue both ways. But I can testify that 2016-18 have been the most successful and profitable years in my career. Is the success directly a result of government initiatives or is it merely a result of my consultancy coming to maturity? It would be impossible to ascertain the impact of macro policy on micro economic activities.

But what I remember as highlight of the past five years, or what has profoundly left a mark on me are events and activities that have made me proud as an Indian. The beginning and flourishing of the Kabaddi league tournaments were significant, which interestingly began in the year 2014. The international yoga day celebrations launched in 2015 has made India proud. Modi’s foreign trips have indeed boosted the India brand internationally, and revived the Indian diaspora population. Finally, Modi’s self-proclamation as India’s Pradhan Sewak and Chowkidar has albeit symbolically given a sense of security and flourishing. I am unable to name another Indian politician who has been equally faithful to both India’s past as well as her future.

Of course, one of the accusations has been that Modi too has his RSS bosses in Nagpur who have their own agenda for the country. And many in this country have strong emotions when it comes to the RSS. Shall we leave aside emotions for a bit and talk plainly? Modi has been an RSS sewak all his life and so to expect him to not be influenced by the RSS or its ideology is not common-sense. Furthermore, to demand that he distance himself from the RSS which has undergirded him all his life would be unfair. So, to have the expectation that RSS should have nothing to do with either BJP or with Modi’s India is unrealistic.

But if a segment of the Indian society takes strong offense with RSS ideology and functioning, then like any other organization, perhaps for its own good, the RSS should reflect on itself and see how best it can reimagine itself for the greater good of India in the twenty-first century. For any organization, religion or business to be continually relevant and successful in the fast-changing world, it must be open to change and re-configuring itself according to the needs of the present without losing sight of the original vision.

For Modi, even as he matures as an international politician and stands firm on his own successes and legacies, like in any family when a child comes of age, his relationship and equation with his RSS family will be reconfigured. It will be a two-way relationship, where not only does Modi realize RSS dreams for India through his politics, but also Modi will be able to realize his dream for the RSS for our age and time. Modi’s stand on the Gau-rakshaks is an example of this mature relationship. Of course, we want to hear him more on some of the ridiculous claims of Indian Science or communal-based violence.

There are politicians and there are politicians! The world is looking for politicians who are not merely known for their pragmatic approach to governance, but who take ‘governance’ to the next level. Politicians who are not only able to lead in the messiness of everyday politics, but also able to rise above race, caste, and even nation, and contribute to humanity as a whole. These politicians would etch their names in the sands of time and stand tall in the history of the human race.

I am an Indian Christian – Indian and Christian at once. I am proud of my Indian heritage, culture, religious traditions and share a lot in common with Savarkar’s vision for India. And also, I am a follower and a bakhta of Jesus Christ. One of the reasons I follow Jesus is precisely because of his political imagination. He too imagined a kind of Ram Rajyaor Kingdom of God where politicians would govern under the authority given by God himself. One of the greatest lessons I have learnt from Jesus is self-critique. He being a Jew and an Israelite, spared no words in critiquing and admonishing Jews and the Israelite nation when they were wrong. He was assassinated and torturously crucified on the cross by his own countrymen who had political disagreements with him. The courage to say no to one’s own, one’s family and nation is indeed the sign of a mature global leader. He welcomed those who were despised by society and broke social mores and arrangements in catering to the needs of all. He had a vision for mankind that continues to have an impact even after two thousand years.

There are many in the country who want to go beyond the confines of their selfish lives and make a larger contribution to India and even humanity at large. There are many in the country who also want to be sewaks and chowkidars. There are many of us looking for a leader who will lead us in a path that will not merely give us political security or economic wellbeing but also meaning and significance to our lives.

Would Modi be the one to lead us in 2019? Would Modi’s India truly be a Ram Rajya that ushers in the Kingdom of God, where the lion and the lamb play together? Would Modi’s India give its citizens not just value for their tax-money but also a deep value for their lives? What would Modi do? What would you do?

(Concluded)

Brainerd Prince

Launched on December 3,1990. Nagaland Post is the first and highest circulated newspaper of Nagaland state. Nagaland Post is also the first newspaper in Nagaland to be published in multi-colour.

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