Thursday, May 16, 2013

The Modi Mirage.

The constant clutter surrounding Mr.Modi and his inevitable ascendance to 'The Chair', is only getting louder. The sounds which previously pleased the ears, are gradually turning into a desperate noise. Turn on the Television, Log on to the Internet or Read a Newspaper- everybody seems to be espousing the cause of Mr.Modi's Prime Ministership. Or so it seems. In the hullabaloo, voices of dissent and varying opinion are consistently being overlooked, stifled and suppressed. While India stands on a precipice- choosing its side amongst a Communist Left, a Socialist Center and an Anarchist Right- its citizens are left to deal with massive corruption scandals, the resultant political bickering and frequent parliamentary disruptions. Amidst the chaos, Narendra Modi appears to be the only sane choice! He is a strong man. His oratorical skills are polished. He has made Gujarat prosper. Yes. He can indeed lead us towards a new Revolution, can't he? This line of thinking has assumed such a massive proportion today, that if you don't blindly side by it, you end up becoming an object of disgust and public ridicule. More often than not, you are labelled corrupt, biased, non-patriotic and even non-religious. Despite these connotations, it is important to objectively analyze the successes and failures of Brand Modi. What is it that the man truly stands for? Are we really seeking deliverance through him or do we plan to jump from the corrupt frying pan into a criminal fire? Simply put, Is Narendra Modi actually the magic wand that Dr.Singh doesn't possess? Can he take this nation to greater heights? Is he, as the urban middle class puts it, "the answer"? For this purpose, it is vital to decipher the code of the aura that surrounds him.
They say the deeds of the future can easily be gauged by actions of the past. Let us understand how much of Mr.Modi is authentic, and how much of him is cooked.

1. Myth- The Riots of 2002 hold no relevance in 2013-

Fact- If you are an Indian sitting in North America, Yes, they don't. If you are tweeting from an Indian metropolis, Yes they don't. If you are a Hindu, Maybe, they don't. But if you are a Muslim living in Gujarat or for that matter in any other part of this country, they seem like they just happened yesterday. The horror of 2002 can not be suppressed under trumpets of 'development'. If I begin to write about the gory details of what happened in February that year, you may not want to read any further. Let us just restrict ourselves to the fact that a certain Babu Bajrangi admitted to have ripped the bellies of pregnant women apart, in order to draw the fetuses out and swing them in a pit. He also, on camera, boasted about how his goons had cut off women's breasts and played with them. All this, while the state police acted like the perfect audience- standing & watching in either absolute delight or total disgust. When the man was arrested, he revealed the names of two such individuals, who had ordered him to continue unabated with the massacre- The National President of the 'Vishwa Hindu Parishad' and our beloved Gujarat Chief Minister. As if this was not enough, a woman named Maya Kodnani was arrested in 2012. She was accused of distributing revolvers and provoking the crowds to 'seek revenge' in 2002, which lead to the grievous murders of 96 people. Do you know what she did in this intermediate period of ten years? She served as the 'Women and Child Development' Minister in Mr.Modi's cabinet. Even today, the Gujarat Government does not want them sent to the gallows. Is this Mr.Modi's unflinching belief that his minister is innocent or a back-channel sinister deal which may prevent her from spilling the beans? Let us believe its the former. Let us also believe that the SIT's 'clean chit' (The sanctity and selectivity of which has been time and again questioned in the Media) to Mr.Modi is true. Yet, is it not a fact that Mr.Modi sat like a lame duck while his state was being butchered? Is it not true that our 'Great administrator' was unable to prevent killings, order curfews or ask the police to act? Mr.Vajpayee, being the statesman that he was, called this act 'A Failure of Raj Dharma'. It is surprising that his party today has decided to overlook his observations and promote Mr.Modi as the ultimate savior. His reluctance to apologize or even talk about the riots, speaks volumes about his character- a bloated sense of power and omnipotence. Google these traits and you'd come up with a psychopathic disorder called 'Megalomania'.
A lot of times the riots of '84 are used to justify the riots of '02. The usual Congress Vs BJP pitches are raised. Let me make this very clear- ANY sort of riots are condemnable. ANY attack on humanity is preposterous. ANY genocide needs to be prevented. The Sikhs of '84 have not yet got justice, but they have delivered a Prime Minister. The Muslims of '02 too have not yet got justice, and their bete noire still refuses to wear a skull cap.

2. Myth- The 'Development' of Gujarat is exemplary-

Fact- 'Development' is too wide a phenomenon to be classified in a certain time frame and be limited to a certain class of people. If you believe that in the last 10 years, Mr.Modi has changed the face of Gujarat, you are wrong. If you believe that his 'growth' has been all-pervasive & inclusive, you are wrong again. Let me present you with factual data that is usually put forth in either a distorted or an exaggerated manner. If you think these claims are false, drop in a word in the comments section- I would be more than happy to list down my sources.

a. With about 250 dams on the verge of drying up, the water scarcity in Gujarat is mind-boggling. More than 4000 villages and 100 towns, across 10 districts have been declared 'Scarcity hit'. People either have to travel miles in order to fetch water or they have to wait for the eternally elusive water tanker, which makes its appearance once every week. The government has failed miserably on account of handling drought and water recharge. The lack of this basic amenity speaks volumes about the so-called 'Vibrancy'.

b. The Gujarat Government claims to have signed Memorandums of Understanding with foreign firms, which would entail an FDI flow of $876 Billion in the state. This would mean that Gujarat, despite its geographical and financial limitations has overtaken a country as large as China, which can barely manage an FDI of $600 Billion. Thereby, Gujarat has suddenly become an investor's paradise, a business haven! [In case you misunderstood the last statement, it was sarcastic.] Technically, the possibility of any of this occurring is veritably Zero. There have been no studies undertaken in this regard, no research conducted and certainly no data collected. I wonder where these figures came from, then. And all this brouhaha, irrespective of the fact, that the CM stands in opposition of FDI flows on a national level but invites them vigorously for his fiefdom- Genuine intention or Indiscriminate Desperation?

c. The Hunger and Malnutrition levels in Gujarat are higher than even the poorest states of India. One of the major reasons for this is a towering income disparity between the rich and the poor-the Hindus and the Muslims. The CM attributes this state of affairs to 'figure-conscious adolescent girls who refuse to drink milk'.
The Dairy cooperatives of Gujarat have indeed been a massive success- All thanks to the efforts of Dr.Verghese Kurien- A man who Mr.Modi had sour relations with. Dr.Kurien passed away in 2012 and the Chief Minister did not bother to attend his funeral- Are egos supposed to transcend mortal lives?
While a liberally 'Customized' atmosphere of booming employment opportunities is provided to the urban middle class, the rural areas of Gujarat lag far behind. Talking of rural areas, Gujarat has undoubtedly electrified all its 18,028 villages but strangely 17,940 of them were electrified years before Mr.Modi assumed power. He has merely sent electricity to the 88 remaining hamlets and then claimed the credit for all of it.
The statements above may have been haphazardly put, but there was no way to link them to one another. Such is the comprehensiveness and detail of Gujarat's inconsistencies.

d. While Corruption is a serious issue nationally, the Gujarat Government seems to make very little of it. A Lokayukta, despite constant reminders from the Governor, was not appointed for a good period of 8 years in Mr.Modi's 10 year reign. When the Governor took action and appointed one herself, his appointment was challenged in the court. The court didn't just strike down the CM's appeal but also gave him a rap on the knuckles. My question-If there is nothing to hide, why is an independent Lokayukta's appointment being feared? Secondly, the CAG reports about Gujarat government's involvement in shady land deals and trickery have been woefully underplayed. Is there a nexus that reaches right to the top, of which we know nothing? I am sure the Chief Minister will have a lot of explaining to do when it emerges that Gujarat's debt has tripled in the last 10 years. How the economy is then being managed, is totally beyond my understanding.
If such is the model that we plan to reconstruct for India, I would not give us more than a decade to survive.

3. Myth- Modi is a Lion- The sole beacon of Light in India-

Fact- Skilled Oratory does not make lions, neither does good organization. A debater and an event manager can do just the same. What makes this metaphor really stick is the ability to take well-thought out decisions, stay flexible, respect heterogeneity and be brutally honest. Unfortunately, not many of these characteristics hold good with the Chief Minister. Outside Gujarat, his magic has plummeted. Most election campaigns that he has been an active part of, have ended disastrously for his party- Himachal Pradesh, Uttarakhand and Karnataka- being the recent cases in point. He has successfully polarized the social networking sites into Modi-Lovers and Modi-Bashers, each trying to 'Trend' something fancy and in the process generating an excessively abusive environ. His 'Popularity' has been surviving on the sole crutch of 'Technology'. His 'Larger than Life' image, having been created by a PR firm, which in all probability, is being heavily funded by public money. His perseverance it appears, is surpassed only by his narcissism. Some lion, alright.
With Dr.Singh being called a Lamb and Mr.Modi being projected as a Lion, India seems to be a big Zoo that both of them are willing to compete for.

India, with its massive diversity, needs a man who can unite- not a man who is known to divide. Tolerance and Acceptance have been a part and parcel of our culture. By compromising with both, Mr.Modi can only whip up a short-lived dream, not a long-sighted reality. This article is not meant to portray him in a derisive light. Neither is this meant to support the ruling dispensation. This only intends to chalk out an actual picture of what we are being shown and what is really going on. Regardless of all his flaws, if you plan to elect him, he will certainly end up being the Prime Minister. Else, History would remember him as a Prime Dreamer who created an extensive Mirage for himself and then drowned in the ripples of his own falsifications.

P.S.- All abusive comments and angry retorts will be published. They would go a long way in showing your character and in the process, substantiate this article.