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Modi ji, Ab ki bari — Janta ki Baat

Dear Mr Modi,

Your continual rapid-fire announcements and pronouncements have led me to believe you are rooting for progress and honesty in governance. So I concede these 5 years to you. Besides even your opponents have conceded you are a man with a mission.

But I am confused. Reason being in the last few months your political pronouncements make me wonder where we are headed. Agreed until you have complete control over the non-BJP states, your governmental machinery and moreso of your own party,  you  are unable to make clear, powerful decisions of your own. So to achieve this control Mahatma Gandhi has been invoked in the same breath as Balasaheb Thackeray!  Perhaps you have a larger cause to serve than mere philosophical quibbling about minority rights be they of non- Maharashtrians in Mumbai or others. So you have put them both on your expedient fast moving rath.  Winning is all that matters. If Gandhi the Gujarati gets you votes why not—the state of Sabarmati Ashram be damned. You probably think if Indira Gandhi was the daughter of Kashmir and the daughter in law of the Parsis of Mumbai, then what’s the fuss  with a  little  political `farsaan’ mix of your own;  you too can be a compatriot of a liberal Gujarat ki shaan Gandhi, and a comrade in arms of fundamentalist Balasaheb. Bismarckian `real politik ‘ is invoked.

But when you have claimed your citadel, and undiluted power is yours, mustn’t we know what you truly stand for?  How will it be when the chips fall?  When you have conquered Kalinga & Kashmir, Avadh & NE, Dravid & Bangal  and given the overseas clarion call to  Buddhists of the World  to Unite in a “Dharam Dhanush” (my phrase) in a Dharam Yudh against proselytizing faiths  (read Islam & Christianity) –then what are we going to get? Which of the multi-headed avatars of Mr. Modi will stand up? Because,  foolish as we janta are,   we will not know if the real Modi will be saffron, green, blue or khadi white—I see your waistcoats too are in myriad hues. And if none of it matters and these pronouncements are simply `a costume’ that you will discard once the ‘play’ is over, then shouldn’t we be ready for that too.

Why is this important to know this now?  Because a wise writer  once warned (and yes he wrote in English)  “….I believe, when statesmen forsake their own private conscience for the sake  of their public duties….they lead their countries by a short route to chaos.” (Robert Bolt: A Man for All Seasons)

Yes we will privatize the Railways,  SAIL and other PSU’s, indigenize defense production, buy the transfer of technology, sign MOU’s for roads and infrastructure, but sir how will we cure the nation of its real termites—the Yadav Singhs, the Ghoshs  and the Sri Saharas sheltered by your own compatriot netas who too win elections speaking convenient truths?  The need of the hour sir is good and honest governance.

I have been in Saurasthra before Elections 2014.  In the light of your “ Swach Bharat Abhiyaan” I must mention the alarming filth and garbage in poor areas, common civic amenities appear unplanned and uncared for, be it Junagadh, Porbander, Rajkot, or Jamnagar. (Just look at the pathetic makeshift railway stoppage just outside the state of the art Reliance Jamnagar refinery). The schools look the same, why the rear approach to your own Ahmedabad Railway Station is a mess (again Muslim area). Junagadh’s fabulous monuments are an eyesore—oops I forgot—Muslim heritage. You have not been able to clean Gujarat sir, how will you clean India—inside and outside.

As an Opposition leader surprisingly recently said, the Prime Minister means well, we must co-operate. But teamwork Mr Modi is the need of the hour, and a Party culture that uses good governance to garner votes and sheds its extremist positions will surely galvanize this nation.

Gandhi led such a movement but his war horses came from diverse strengths. They were stalwarts who did not have quick fix remedies. Seeing the truth of their intentions and, mind you words,  teeming millions followed. Why? Because they mostly stood for what they spoke.  Words come from the seed of thought and cast indelible shadows on our lives.

I have a hunch you want your name cast in stone like Gandhi, Nehru, Patel and Bose, Aurobindo , Tilak, and Gokhale and …the list is endless…I could add Kabir. All flawed but great men. You want to be remembered as one  too—or what was your life worth? As poet Robert Browning said—a man’s aim should exceed his grasp—or what’s  life for?  It would do you good to closely study their speeches, and to identify if they meant what they said. Or  were they  mere stunts—election or otherwise. I do hope it is not the former with you, at least then my confusion will clear for -I know Balasaheb and Gandhi were never one.

Great expectations rest on your shoulders—Perhaps more than fawning media you would do well to read the odd hesitant doubting voice. Aakhir jo thok peeth ke samajhne ki koshish karta hain—vohi acha samajhte hain.

Manju Kak

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