NARENDRA MODI THE OTHER GUJARATI
A NEW TRYST WITH DESTINY
The Indian republic appears to be poised on the cusp of that dawn that has eluded and avoided it like a plague since that day independent India’s first prime minister at independence declared “ long years ago we made a tryst with destiny”.
The parlous state of the elephant nation since that “tryst with destiny” has since been one of a by word for inefficiency, corruption, poverty, communal and economic division, hunger, filth, disorder and incompetence.
India throughout its post independent history has been dominated in its politics, its economy and social structures by the long dark and imposing shadow of the Nehru Gandhi dynasty and their shameless nepotism in politics.
Many say that this dynastic vision battered into a warped mess the republic of India. It distorted India’s history, purged its intelligencia and devoured its economic resources to a point that for a time recovery and redemption of India to its former glory as the cradle of civilization seemed impossible . Long years ago that history was traded it seems for a family dynasty’s ‘right to rule and plunder’.
CHINA RUSSIA AND THE INDIAN DIFFERENCE
China managed its reformation like Russia did with a generous amount of bloodshed. In Russia it was Stalin and mother nature. In China it was the Japanese, Chiang Kai Shek then Mao Tze Tung.
India’s birth was not without its brutality and bloodshed. But in the case of India unlike the Chinese or Soviets under Stalin, it was not state policy or the result of a population cull or punishment of its political opponents that precipitated the carnage at partition.
India like China and Russia are home to diverse peoples, cultures, tribes, languages and religions. Unification in China and Russia was fostered through the use of force, brutal unrelenting and exemplary force. The intolerance of diversity or individualism by the Communists gave birth to the idea of “nation first” at any cost. Socialism was the new nationalism. And it worked.
Unlike the other two states in India the right to be wrong and the right to expression is and has always been a non negotiable commodity and birthright of Indians, also at any cost.
India unlike China and Russia followed the path of its most famous son Mahatma Gandhi (real name Mohandas Karamchand Gandhi) a lawyer by profession and a Gujarati who professed non violence as a means of overcoming adversity, adversaries and as a means to attaining political and economic goals. In China like Soviet Russia power came from the barrel of the gun.
It is as history bears witness to, that Indians will not trade their personal freedoms for a China style economic prosperity. Not even the poorest of the poor will do that in India.
It is often wrongly observed by foreign commentators that India is incapable of being the economic power house China has transformed itself into. India is in transformation. It has been so since the dawn of time and it will continue to do so into eternity. But India’s pace of growth and transformation is uniquely Indian and can only occur at that uniquely Indian pace everything else Indian considered.
NARENDRA MODI- FROM TEA VENDOR TO MESSIANIC JUGGERNAUT
Narendra Modi whom no one can ignore is another Gujarati like Mahatma Gandhi. He is a one man juggernaut. The man destined it seems to crush the Nehru Gandhi dynasty of modern day maharajahs at the next Indian general elections ending in May 2014. It won’t be violent, it won’t be secular and it won’t be a surprise. It will be the change from all accounts modern India has been waiting for.
Modi’s ascendancy into high office is almost messianic. He is viewed by many in India and especially amongst its younger generation and the anti Congress movements to be a messiah of sorts. They hang on to his every word as if he can say or do no wrong.
Modi has been unfairly tainted with the events of 2002 when an estimated 2000 Muslim Gujaratis were massacred by rampaging Hindu mobs following a suspected arson attack on Hindu pilgrims travelling on a train back from their pilgrimage. Like many Hindu nationalists his group the BJP tend to incriminate and bait Muslims for the sins of that break away group of Indian states called Pakistan.
Modi has been careful to distance himself from any direct involvement in the activities of breakaway and radical factions of the Rashtrya Sewak Sangham (RSS) and the BJP, recognizing at the same time that the great diversity of democratic politics means one has to tolerate the existence of divergent views within a single polity. he has his views of Islam but is not a baiter as some allege in the opposition according to a lecturer in politics at an Ahmedabad University.
“He has always been focused. Even as a young tea vendor he would hone in on those with coin and not the hustlers and time wasters. He was always mindful of the time the train would remain stationary before moving on. He would not allow any single customer to move on with the drinking glasses in which his tea was served. It was something he and his family could not afford to reinvest in. They depended on him and he was always dependable” according to a childhood friend of the man. Careful, forward looking and reliable is how he is described by those close to him.
Although an independent Special Investigation Team cleared Modi from any involvement in the riot, his enemies have successfully kept the allegation alive at every given opportunity where Modi has been the subject of public discussion.
Gujarat under Narendra Modi has become something of a model state and an island oasis for investment, development in education, commerce and public service . Gujarat stands out for its efficiency and ability to deliver and on time in an otherwise dysfunctional, inefficient and corrupt India. Modi has achieved this without having to resort to any emergency ordnance as Mrs. Indira Gandhi briefly managed in the late 1970’s when she ruled India.
Things actually work in Gujarat. You don’t have to wait too long or budget for under the table payments.The hand does not come out each time one needs to submit a form or speak to a public servant. Merit rules the state which has attracted record foreign investment and intra state investment from India’s own multi national giants. The view is that if efficiency can be achieved in Gujarat it can be replicated elsewhere.
A NEW BROOM TO DELHI?
Since the demise of Indira Gandhi India has struggled to find a leader capable of balancing the sub continent and its teeming masses and its myriad of problems, provide stability and keep the image of the country from falling into the human cesspit India had turned into since independence. Congress’s brightest stars are non starters beginning with a pallid unimpressive Rahul Gandhi.
Shashi Taroor long touted as Congress’s modern day Nehru, well spoken, urbane, educated, cosmopolitan and well presented with all the social graces of British royalty appears to be as prone as the British House of Windsor to tragic missteps and disasters in his career. It is as if scandal and tragedy are part of his DNA. Taroor has become a by word for disaster and a pariah in Delhi’s social set that most Indians avoid him now like the plague.
Congress has no antidote for the man they call Narmo. Congress is believed to be financing other opposition candidates like Kejirwal to split the vote to avoid a humiliating landslide to Modi. Nonetheless all the signs are there that India is in for a seminal change with Modi at the helm come May 2014.
DEMOCRACY NATIONALISM AND A REALITY CHECK
Unlike China, India does not have an ordered society. Indian’s can’t be legally executed for petty offences like bribery, corruption the failure of a factory or for the collapse of a kindergarten building as they are in China.
India continues to thrive on the title “the world’s largest democracy” as if it were some sort of panacea for all its ills and as an excuse for all its failures. Modi sees India differently. Merit in his India will not be a casualty for communal politics. It will be the criteria that will work on a platform of nationalism and social consciousness.
He does believe in a fair go for all and is aware “he is riding the tiger of revived Hindu nationalism” according to one India analyst who is close to the man.
Unlike his predecessors in the Bharatya Janata Party (BJP), Atal Bihari Vajpayee and Lal Krishna Advani (the Red Bull), Modi carries no emotional or political baggage or connections to the Gandhi Nehru era or that of partition and Quit India.
His vision of India is not tainted by the archaic semi religious tones of the Gandhi Nehru era either. He did not fight the British. He does not forgive them for what they did to India but he is a pragmatist and will do business with them.
As with any other group anywhere he is willing to open up India for business with them on equal terms. In his world he will decide what equality is. Being a Gujarati with business in his blood it is part of his DNA and who could blame him for that?.
THE NEW INDIA- A NEW CONSTITUENCY
There is a new constituency in India of several hundred million youth who don’t yearn for those glory days of moralistic self righteous Gandhian virtues. In modern parlance they yearn to “kick butt”. Kick Butts of the babus domestically first and foremost, then of others who seek to demean them or stand in their way anywhere these are to be found.
There is a new Indian in their youth, self-assured, self- confident believes they are as good if not better than their neighbors at home and elsewhere in this world. They are at home in India as they are in Australia, the US and the UK. They will learn and master German or Russian in months top their class, outperform their peers and find their way to wherever it is they are going obstacles and all.
But this person does not want another Gandhi Nehru offspring assuming the right to govern and govern badly the world’s largest democracy. They want it to work for them, for their children and their children’s children. They want their place in the sun fair and square. And it appears that all the signs of their desires and their vision for their India point to a road that leads to Narendra Modi.
A REBIRTH AND PAYBACK TIME
Humiliated for decades by the incompetence and self-indulgent robber barons of the Nehru Gandhi dynasty and petty regional caste tribal politics the new Indian constituency yearn for another type of change. They harbor a wider broader and clearer vision for India, and their ideas intersect very conveniently and meaningfully with those of Narmo’s (Narendra Modi).
This new youthful constituency does not seek to redress all the wrongs of the past but to come to terms with the present instead.
They seek fair compensation for their toil instead of pious platitudes of regret, union slogans and concessions. They seek their independence from multi- lateral institutions like the World Bank, the Asian Development Bank and if necessary from the local regional trade blocks and groupings that have excluded them at China’s behest like ASEAN had for sometime.
Today India has a very widely read, cosmopolitan intelligent and aggressive educated, cultured business class which is growing by the day. It is Indian’s biggest asset. Indians contribute towards the development of the US and Europe and many have a desire to do the same thing back in India. The conditions though have to be right, stable and promising.
Indian women more assertive than their mothers do not subscribe to the pseudo intellect of Germaine Greer, Gloria Steinman or Naomi Wolf. They are more tuned in to their own Arundhati Roys’ and other Indian philosophers and writers and to their history.
After all they studied abroad and learned that India gave the world many of its scientific inventions, mathematical theories and discoveries in physics, medicine, philosophy, chemistry, biology, astronomy and today Information technology.
The radio it is said is an Indian invention. Marconi simply managed to patent his later discovery a little earlier than Bose whose name now adorns the halls and recording studios of the world. In India one would be hard pressed to believe Indians also invented the running toilet before the Romans did.
The Congress party with the indolent and unimpressive Manmohan Singh at the head “ordered around like a taxi driver by his master the Nehru Gandhi clan needs to go” says a college student at Delhi’s prestigious school of economics
Young Indians like him want someone with a fire in his belly, capable of also breathing fire urging them on, encouraging them to bigger and better things like a Billy Graham at an evangelical crusade. And by all measure of independent observers that person is Narmo.
A former advisor to Narmo goes a step further when he suggests that Narmo believes India has what Israel is credited for in intelligence, discipline, innovation, security and self-assured self-sufficiency in all its forms.
“Swadeshi” is not the sole preserve of Mahtma Gandhi or the Congress party. It is an Indian concept and not a Congress or Gandhian doctrine as the west would paint it to be”.
“We too can be like the Japanese, preserving our traditions our culture whilst engaging fully with the west on our terms” said another from a second tier university in Melbourne Australia. “We drive taxis to fund growth in the Punjab because they won’t give us jobs here suitable to our qualifications. Narendra Modi if he does what he did in Gujarat for the rest of India means these people will have to come and drive our taxis. It is the way the world is going. I don’t want the Nehru Gandhi people anymore. No one wants them” he concluded.
“China has been given so much importance and attention by the west that they have now to deal with a belligerent, uncooperative and militarily menacing China. “The west especially the US is arrogant and does not believe in listening to its friends” according to a Delhi civil servant.
“We maintain cordial ties with the US mindful of its inconsistencies and its capacity to swing against its friends”. “Look at what it has done to Pakistan. They could not have had a better ally than the Pakistanis. They have destroyed them. It is foolish for any Indian government to believe we are so special that the Americans will not sell us down the drain at some convenient time in the future if ti suits them. Look at their treatment of India in the Devi Khaobragade affair”.
A NEW INDIAN ORDER?
A new India with Narmo at the helm will place trade and commerce economic development at the forefront of his agenda. The military needs a re vamp. The domestic and foreign intelligence apparatus and the Indian defence forces and their existing capabilities leaves a lot to be desired. The humiliation of Kargil and recent Chinese border incursions have made these a priority for his new government if elected.
Narmo is rightfully suspicious of the Chinese. “Look at their behaviour in places like Malaysia over the MH 370 affair. They insult the people of Malaysia, use local Chinese to support their attacks on that government and intimidate diplomats they are meant to protect” according to his former advisor who has asked not to be named. He will do business with the dragon but does not trust them.
India has a capable defence force. Its capabilities and command structure will undergo a revamp under Narmo. It will be more assertive, more forward thinking, less reactive. Field commanders will have greater independence especially along the Indian Chinese and the Indo Pakistani borders. Coordination and co-operations between the three arms of the forces, the navy, airforce and army will be managed under a single command structure.
Development of space technology and newer more advanced defence systems domestically will be accelerated. Education and rural development will be co-ordinated and infrastructure development will be hastened.
A number of multi-national joint venture projects shelved for decades will be fast tracked and local politicians can expect a very heavy hand where corruption, graft and bribery is concerned.
Narmo joked to a group of students recently that if he attacked corruption too suddenly he would have enemies in places like Switzerland, Lichtenstein and the Cayman Islands very quickly. India he said underwrites the banking industries and the economies in these places. Her corrupt politicians that is.
Narmo is keen to eradicate poverty not through hand-outs or positive discrimination which he says is a western fad which has not really improved the living conditions of minorities and the disadvantaged there permanently. He has other ideas.
India will accelerate the pace where energy sufficiency is concerned. Under Narmo India will not back sanctions against oil producers because it is in America’s or Europe’s strategic interests to do so. India’s energy self -sufficiency incorporating both nuclear and fossil fuels will be decided along lines of India’s own interests according to a Delhi analyst who has interviewed Narmo recently.
COMMUNAL POLITICS AND MINORITY FEARS
As one concerned Congress voter said “If he will not engage in caste or anti Muslim politics or bait these two groups, I and many like me are ready to vote for him. He has ticked all the other boxes in our cards. It is sad but it’s parting time now for the Nehru Gandhi clan”. That about sums up how the majority of Indians feel about the inevitable come May 2014.
India spends billions of dollars more than the Americans on their general elections. It would be interesting to know where those funds in the billions come from.