Yes, I am a Proud Bhakt, but not to his team! An IITians Cry

Representational Image, IANS Photo, Edited by Sreekar J

The entire world is echoing that Shri Narendra Modiji is a very great leader, both in inspiring masses and in the governance. His entry into the Prime Minister’s office would go down in history like the epic Arjun’s war heroics of shri Mahabharat. His battle against corruption, especially the demonetization move, would be written in history books, for centuries to come, like Ram’s greatest victory over the Ravan of corruption and black money. This is like he has planted a tree and the tree will bear fruits for the generations to come. But not so farsighted patriots could only see the results when they start enjoying the taste of those fruits. In the history of Indian politics, none has gained as much fan following as he did and none has performed as efficiently as he has done.

I grew up listening to his ‘work in Gujarat’ and saw him as an ideal leader India needed since ages. In short, I grew up worshipping him. Being IITians, staying with the elite crowd of the country both in terms of intellect and ethics, we always liked Modiji’s work and were actually dreaming of seeing him as PM. After the 2014 elections and the subsequent intolerance of intolerance, I never even minded being called as a Bhakt. What is wrong with worshipping the hero I admire, I argued. As the time passes by, things are unmolding in a different direction. Though there are many dominating things to be proud of, there are some petty matters which worry me, where the charm of Modiji didn’t work at all.

I voted for BJP because I believed in Modiji. I experienced adrenaline rush when I attended his speeches, especially the online campaigns. When I read “if Modiji comes to power, forget about Kashmir, Pakistan would be begging for Lahore”, I felt that is exactly the kind of leadership India desperately needed. When Modiji promised to bring back the black money from foreign bank accounts and put all of it in accounts of poor, I thought (& still hope) he was going to be GEM of a PM. I always hated Congress for its deep rooted corruption and Modiji arrived in the game like a trump card. Fast forwarded to 2 years of ruling; black money accounts’ list came and went; Vijay Mallya ran away with thousand crores loan; after demonetization still political leaders and business magnets are holding huge black money/cash in new denominations; and now political parties can accept cash/donations of any amounts without disclosing. Is it just me who is feeling betrayed or is it the entire country, I wonder. I still think he is still working his best to eradicate corruption, but the party members and alliances are not as perfect as he is. I believe, it is their betrayal which is hurting both PM and Public. Or is it that he has lost his charm? I want to believe otherwise!

When I see a leader in any responsible position, especially CM or PM, I look for a Modiji like figure in him. Particularly in the leaders of BJP, I try to see if there are any fractions of Modiji’s traits because the only reason I voted for BJP is because of Modiji. I truly thought, when he was announced as the PM candidate, that he would change the entire game. But little did he influence the leadership in the team BJP. One such example is Yogi Adityanath being elevated to the post of CM. I personally don’t have any reservations or anti-reservations against him, but as I saw and listened to him in both direct speeches and through media (both electronic and print), I always thought ‘why a person like him is being supported by Modiji’. But after the UP elections, I was deeply hurt. I am hurt for the fact that Modiji couldn’t create even an inferior clone in UP, the state which is so infamous for its’ communal and nastiest castiest politics. May be, Yogi would do a great job as CM or he may even turn out to be the best CM ever existed in the country. But the image he carries, is a contradiction from the image Modiji inspired all of us to think of leaders as. After seeing these recent developments, I wonder, why isn’t the charm of Modiji not working anymore?

Make in India has been a very great initiative by Modiji. I experienced goose bumps of excitement when I heard about the companies participated, ideas discussed and investment done in India. “India is going to beat the west in development and technology in the years to come”, I thought. In fact, I dreamed of foreigners migrating en-masse to India looking for jobs and education. So great dream it was. But when I see a mob beating couples in public, I try to reason out why mob policing is even needed in India. When I hear the lude comments by the leaders of the very Modiji’s party and allies commenting about girl’s dressing and her modesty in public and on media channels, I see the very foundation of the image of “Make in India” being shaken to the level of roots. I feel the disappointment of facing a contradiction of ideologies and character. When I see these hard core anomalies of justice, I cry, why such a bunch of poor leaders without even basic social commonsense joined great stalwarts like Modiji. Is it that he has no control over the team? Or the charm is really not working?”  

When Modiji announced the 125th Birth Anniversary of Ambedkar and spoke at length about the equality and when he named the app as BHIM, I thought the days of equality and fraternity are just about to knock the door. Just to think of it, he is probably the first PM to praise the works of Ambedkar and to make his works and home a heritage of wisdom. I thought history is made with this move and the “acche din” are arriving like a monsoon in desert. But the violence in universities and colleges involving students, especially professors has created doubts in my mind. When professors were manhandled by students, no matter on what issues, I thought, what happened to the country. I grew up practicing “Matru Devobhava, Pitru Devobhava, Acharya Devobhava”. Modiji himself stands as an icon of great traditional and cultural values of India, but the very attitude of the student wing ABVP of the party has shattered the image of values.  When students died of the violence, and when other leaders of the party tried to throw mud on the image of victims in the name of caste and religion, I felt like losing all hopes on the party members. Is it that “the party controls PM?” or “he controls the party?” I hope it is the later. In fact, that is exactly the reason why, we got him elected; because he was different from the old bunch, more efficient, strict and perfect. Or is it that “he has lost his charm?”

All said and done, I proudly say that I am still a BHAKT of Modiji and I strongly believe that all this can be reversed if he tries to pull the reins, of the chariot he is driving, back into his hands. Or am I too optimistic to hope such a change? Or is he really not the boss of the party? Or is his charm truly not working in his own party and allies? Deep inside, I still want to believe that he leads the entire country into a heavenly like future. Hope my doubts are wrong.

Writer Sreedhar Babu is an academician based in Pune, an IITian