An Indian view on history, current affairs and politics

September 23, 2020

Narendra Modi and a billion aspirations

What is it about Narendra Modi that makes him invincible against seemingly impossible odds? Never before in the history of independent India has a man, let alone a politician, been attacked, slandered, maligned, abused and insulted the way he has been. An extremely hostile central government with all its might, so called secular parties, a largely biased mainstream media, civil society members and NGOs with vested interests and ulterior motives colluded to unleash decade long Gobblesian propaganda full of hatred, misinformation and disinformation to discredit the beleaguered man. The hate campaign wasn’t just limited to India but had international reach. A lot of western governments severed all contacts with Modi’s government and he was denied a visa by USA even though he had not applied. As if it were not enough, he was attacked bitterly within his own party which came into open after Mr. Advani’s resignation post Modi’s elevation as BJP’s campaign committee chief.

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Fig: Narendra Modi on the cover of TIME magazine.

The only stick used to beat Modi relentlessly was an accusation of his inaction to control 2002 riots that started as a retaliation to the brutal incineration of 58 Hindus most of whom were women, children and old. Despite years of Supreme court monitored investigation led by a special investigation team, they couldn’t find a single accusation to be true. On the contrary they proved how false and baseless charges were thrown to malign him. People got rich, got promotions, awards, funds and famous just by slamming him. Modi bashing became an industry in itself. It is in this light that Modi’s meteoric rise as the most popular politician in India appears unparalleled in the world.

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Fig: Sabarmati river front

Modi as a politician is unique amongst his contemporaries and brings a lot of value to the idea of governance. To be able to withstand the kind of pressure he has gone through is an achievement in itself but Modi excelled as a leader under such conditions. He transformed Gujarat into a peaceful, business friendly developed state. He transformed the political discourse throughout the country and forced everyone to talk about development. Instead of caste, creed, religion he talked of jobs, water, electricity and roads. Many of his initiatives, like BRTS, Sabarmati river front, roads, 24×7 electricity, water to remote areas, kanya kelavani, 108 ambulance, agriculture, industries etc are there for everyone to see and there is no denying that Gujarat leads in so many sectors in India. People can see that talk of development is not just empty rhetoric but it can be done despite insurmountable odds.

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Fig: BRTS Ahmedabad, the only successful BRTS in India

Modi is not just a great administrator but a visionary as well. With innovative projects like GIFT city and Dholera SEZ mega projects, investment and leadership in non renewable energy field, canal top solar plants, impetus on sports, Institutes of higher learning, Modi is already looking towards future. He has the skills and the vision to fulfill the desire to progress for all Indians.

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Fig: Asia’s largest solar power project inaugurated by Modi

Modi has often been derided as a Hindu nationalist who has marginalized minorities. This has not only turned out be factually incorrect as percentage of Muslims below poverty has steadily declined but the community has prospered which is evident from the overwhelming support Modi got from Muslims in recent elections. For Hindus, Modi symbolizes an aspiration. Aspiration that India will be a great nation again, as it once was before foreign invaders attacked us. Hinduism gave so much to the world in fields of science, arts, spirituality and yet Hindus were brutalized and massacred in their own lands. The virtue of tolerance and respect were of no use when the foreign onslaught began. Hundreds of millions of Hindus were killed, raped, and converted. Their festivals banned and their temples destroyed. The victors hated Hindus because they were idolaters. Will Durant argued in his 1935 book The Story of Civilization: Our Oriental Heritage (page 459):

The Mohammedan Conquest of India is probably the bloodiest story in history. It is a discouraging tale, for its evident moral is that civilization is a precarious thing, whose delicate complex of order and liberty, culture and peace may at any time be overthrown by barbarians invading from without or multiplying within. The Hindus had allowed their strength to be wasted in internal division and war; they had adopted religions like Buddhism and Jainism, which unnerved them for the tasks of life; they had failed to organize their forces for the protection of their frontiers and their capitals, their wealth and their freedom, from the hordes of Scythians, Huns, Afghans and Turks hovering about India’s boundaries and waiting for national weakness to let them in. For four hundred years (600–1000 A.D.) India invited conquest; and at last it came.

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Fig: Ruins of Somanatha Temple Prabhas Patan, Gujarat, from the Archaeological Survey of India, taken by D.H. Sykes in c.1869

Writer Fernand Braudel wrote in A History of Civilizations (Penguin 1988/1963, p. 232–236),

Islamic rule in India as a “colonial experiment” was “extremely violent”, and “the Muslims could not rule the country except by systematic terror. Cruelty was the norm – burnings, summary executions, crucifixions or impalements, inventive tortures. Hindu temples were destroyed to make way for mosques. On occasion there were forced conversions. If ever there were an uprising, it was instantly and savagely repressed: houses were burned, the countryside was laid waste, men were slaughtered and women were taken as slaves.”

The British rule and there after, the persecution of Hindus continued. From well financed covert conversions run by missionaries in the name of charity, to deliberate denigration and distortion of Hindu texts and beliefs, it’s still going on. To this day, from Pakistan to Bangladesh, from Kashmir to Kerala, from Godhra to Mizoram, Hindus are bring attacked and humiliated. History is witness to the fact that Hindus have never been the aggressor and yet, riots in current day India only indicates that Hindus have their backs against the wall. With the ruling dispensation in center and all other states trying to appease minorities for vote bank politics, Hindus have pinned their hopes in Modi. Not because he will be aggressive but because he will be just. Not because we want revenge but because we want respect. A glorious future of Bharat where the nation and Hinduism get their just and respectful place. Bharat truly becomes the great nation, it once was, with all its religious, linguistic, racial and regional diversity. Is it a dream? yes it is ! one that a billion Hindus aspire to live and Modi is their man.