Good Days at Last or Bad ones Ahead?
Well begun is half done, is best applicable to Modi Sarkar. Bonhomie established with neighbouring countries was matchless master stroke in foreign diplomacy. But what about actions on domestic front tackling rape, handling Pune murder most foul, surrounding oneself with yes-men as governors or top men in government?
dr. james kottoor
Good days at last! It is good to live in hope, but not good to die in despair! Optimism, YES, pessimism NO, so realism alone must guide us, because blessed are those who do not expect too much for they shall not be disappointed. Proof of the pudding is in the eating. One must walk the talk.. Listen one must to all the talk, but stop short, we must, of judging until talks produce deeds. You shall know them, especially politicians, only from their deeds.
Democracy is a talking shop, a market place for clash of ideas for the survival of the fittest or the fanciful. To succeed in this market one should have the gift of the gab. Modiji had it, has it and cultivates it to the maximum. I join the rest of the world in applauding him. Manmohanji, Soniaji and Rahul-kid don’t seem to have even a trace of it and so are proving misfits in Democracy. Accept my heartfelt condolences for being crushed to smithereens. Beyond recovery? Take comfort in the thought of a Phoenix rising from the ashes!
Everything has been going well with Modiji ever since he started out as a one-man battalion, as an undeclared presidential candidate in a parliamentary democracy and won the coveted PM’s throne with no opposition for his forward march. What was most stunning and unexpected, he unleashed a diplomatic hat trick and got himself endeared to all SARC nations who responded with their smiling presence to celebrate his crowning. At one shot he painted himself as a man of global vision, out reach, inclusiveness and international cooperation and also erased to some extent the image created on the domestic front during his whirlwind election tours as a divisive, polarizing and exclusive builder of a Hindu Rastra,. So what is he actually now? Too early to judge. It is said, office makes the man fit the chair when man fit for the chair is not found waiting. I give the benefit of the doubt to Modiji and say he changed or is changing himself to suit the demands of his new office as PM, until of course, the opposite is proved by facts.
Darling of Electorate
The electorate voted en masse for Modiji, not for BJP the party, because all parties, national or regional, except AAP the new entrant, were equally good or bad in popular perception. They were literally sick and tired of all of them. Then what made Modiji different? The answer is, the million dollar publicity blitz unleashed. It presented what people were yearning after and dying to see:: a man of vision, conviction, decision, direction and quick action, a man of development for all Indians, a man of hard work – a workaholic if you wish -- demanding similar output from everyone in his team, a man who abhors red tape and delay in decision making and executing, a dictator in that sense, who runs roughshod over every hurdle to gain speed to reach the goal -- all of which were longed for but totally absent in previous governments. I myself had dreamt often, that only a benevolent dictator could make India jerk out of its snail space to make progress in health, wealth and happiness for all, especially the downtrodden. People voted for these cherished dreams of theirs presented with intoxicating ingredients. Didn’t people vote en masse once upon a time for a “workers Paradise” in Russia and in the fast changing China?
If Communist countries once spoke of “workers’ paradise”, capitalist countries like US still speak of “pursuit of happiness” as their goal. Goal is same, only ways are different. But the globalized world today is slowly waking up to the harsh fact that “Workers’ Paradise” or “Pursuit of Happiness” is just a pipe dream without work opportunities, will to work, or work discipline. Equally “All work and no Play” especially for an enslaved working class in an exploitative cut throat capitalist system can turn this world into a veritable hell only. That is why a Pope Francis literally wages a relentless war against the “Trickle Down” capitalist doctrine of a US president Renold Regan or of UK’s Margret Thacher.
Francis therefore is ruthless in admonishing the Big Business, cartels, money bags and giants in the financial market bent on profit only: “Thou shall not kill”. A Wal-Mart with 100% FDI in retail in India for instance is said to kill all small local business by denying equal opportunities to them or eliminating the poor from the market to fend for a daily living family wage or subsistence wage among the unorganized labour force. What is needed instead is a “trickle up” action plan and life style of high thinking and simple living on the part of the well-to-do, high and mighty ruling class, which the Pope tries to instil in all by his own humble lived example. Can such compelling example, whether in religion or politics (think of AAP’s Lal batti), acquire the force of command or contagion to trickle up? While the question is debatable and debated, through his Spartan life style, his love and care for the poor and marginalized, Francis sets a contagious example of how to put into practice the high principle of Gandiji, “there is enough for everyone’s need, not for everybody’s greed.” Slowly but surely some of his admirers – especially bishops in US and Europe -- are beginning, or at least forced to begin to follow his lead to live a Spartan life.
Bad Days must go first
For good days to dawn, the new government must work first for the sunset of bad days in the lives of our countrymen who go through the worst human living conditions due to abject poverty, illiteracy, division, discrimination, exploitation, intimidation and elimination from the job market. Latest international headlines are about atrocious rape crimes against women in India in spite of Modi Governments promise of zero tolerance of such happenings. Nay a union minister of state, Nihalchand Meghwal, accused of rape by the victim is defended to continue in office... Before that came the cold blooded murder of a totally innocent Muslim youth in Pune for his identity and the ominous silence from BJP circles, especially from Modiji who is usually prolific with his communication through tweets.
This event loomed large in popular memory of the tragic burning to death of Australian Missionary Steins and sons in his car and the most exemplary and instant touching reaction of Atalji, the then PM: “I hang my head in shame”, expressing his concern for and solidarity with the bereaved before the country and world . He was equally forceful and out spoken when the Gujarat massacre took place as well and spoke of the need to uphold “Raj Dharma” on the part of the rulers of the State. That connects us with the Great Man, small in stature, Lal Bahadoor Sastri who set a high standard of statesmanship, not political shadow fighting, when he resigned to take moral responsibility for a railway accident under his watch as Minister. In contrast the ominous silence of a PM known for his communication skills is leaving honest observers high and dry and totally ill-at-ease not knowing what to say and how to be polite and honest at once.
Added to all these the multitude of problems staring in the face of Modi Sarkar are: 1. the international diplomatic challenge of rescuing Indians – prisoners or nurses -- caught in the cross fire in Iraq; 2. the row on the domestic front over replacing UPA governors with BJP ones through verbal communications and not trough transparent and straight forward ways; 3. pushing to the forefront the touchy issue of giving prominence to Hindi also termed “Hindi imperialism”, detested by Tamilnadu and frowned upon by other states; and last but not least, 4. the proposal of a steepest ever back-breaking train faire hike (14.2% in passenger fares and 6.5% in freight tariffs) to become effective from June 25th, some thing which the BJP itself fought tooth and nail, when the UPA attempted a modest hike.
Testing Time just Begun
The popular and powerful sections in the country, especially the corporate world, the middle class and the youth are waiting with bated breath to see the man of action turning everything into gold with his magic Midas touch even when top TV channels and Print Media – builders or distorters of public opinion – are taken over by Ambanies, when even college students are booked for free speech critical of the top executive in social media, when NGOs like Green Peace is acted against for alleged antinational and anti-developmental activities, when even defence sector concerned with national security is being considered for the inflow of FDI. The nagging questions are: what about the unpopular and powerless in the country? Where is space for the voice of the voiceless? Is democracy exchanged for money-cracy?
Therefore there is both hope, anxiety and despair among the thinking sections about how long they should wait to pass judgments on what the new government is doing. They can surely wait until the new budget is announced and concrete steps are taken to implement them. The honeymoon time of the new Government is petering out. It is now testing time to evaluate the credibility of the new dispensation as actions are rolled out one after another. One can only hope and pray that the actions of Modij’s avatar as PM in Delhi may turn out to be as attractive, appealing, acceptable. soothing and entertaining to the entire world as his evolving, ever changing but ever pleasing sartorial styles which make him shine and peak in rainbow colours like our enchanting national bird we all are proud of. Let those good days dawn soon.