ARTICLES FROM THE SUNDAY GUARDIAN
Copyright. All rights reserved. Ram Jethmalani. 2019.
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I had written in 2011, that the Anna Hazare movement was a Grotian moment in India's slow march of democracy, because it spelt out a new paradigm between the people, the elected representatives, Parliament and government. The movement was propelled by the magnitude and intensity of public unrest and anger against the government, primarily targeting corruption. It provided the long-awaited platform that the middle classes never had, but people's anger was so great that it became a universal platform for urban and rural, young and old, middle class and poor, demanding dialogue with government on equal terms as electors of representatives of the people, seeking accountability from them, and demanding urgent remedial action for public good. The Anna movement faded away for several reasons. As it now appears, perhaps its founder members were, from the very start, possessed by grandiose visions of themselves in political office, and were merely using the movement as a launch pad. Regardless, the Anna movement gave opportunity for the collective voice of the people against corruption to find a channel, which gradually got subsumed into the "good governance" agenda of Narendra Modi.
I would term 16 May 2014 as a Grotian movement in the history of our nation. It signifies a certain break with the past, and ushers a clear new beginning. It is for the first time since Independence that the people of India elected a non-Congress party with absolute majority; and for the first time after 1984 that it elected any party with a clear majority. May 2014 was not the aftermath of assassination or sympathy. It was simply a strong and assertive statement made by the people of India to the Congress-led UPA government that enough was enough, that they just had to quit. Against the promise and boast of income growth, the UPA government had delivered mind boggling corruption growth; instead of increased jobs, the people had been subjected to a battering from increased food prices, and day to day costs for just for a modest standard of living.
The people's voice needed a catalyst and a great leader whom they could trust to provide the alternative, who resonated with what was in their minds and hearts. They saw an inspiration in Narendra Modi that they had not seen in other leaders for decades. His public speeches displayed a nationalism that could only be compared to the Independence Movement. He placed India before everything else, with his stamina and dynamism brimming with love for India and for protecting national interest in every conceivable way. The people saw in his speeches and actions an aura of determination and fearless energy. The priorities he spoke of were those that were uppermost on their own minds: rising prices and inflation, corruption and mal-governance before which they stood helpless and powerless, unemployment, and lack of infrastructure. They learnt of his governance track record and they saw in him a role model that the country had desperately been seeking, one who would set an example for proper value systems within the government and among the citizenry. They saw a leader who would take the country forward with our heads held high, who would redeploy the energy of government that the UPA had invested on masterminding, facilitating and achieving corruption, on the priorities of the nation and people. The mandate of 16 May has only one message: it was a categorical, pan India vote of confidence for Narendra Modi. He also proved a posse of political analysts completely wrong that the era of single party governments in India was over and that the future belonged to coalition governments and regional parties.
Narendra Modi reflects a complete antithesis of the archetypal Indian political leader that the world has become accustomed to seeing during the last few decades. His personality exudes charisma, confidence and ardent nationalism, great determination and stamina to achieve his tasks, and knowledge and experience of how to achieve them. And above all, he has no goals or ambitions that are not those of the nation. It is India and national interest around which his world revolves.
Narendra Modi's election as Prime Minister marks another departure from our political tradition. He is not the westernised, Oxbridge "one of us", though he represents the same fierce nationalism that Churchill represented for his country. The "one of us" brigade of India's intelligentsia, as well as their British media counterparts tried their damning bit, but could not destroy Modi's persona before India's electorate. The Economist and Guardian, or their local "one of us" intelligentsia counterparts can keep screaming their views, but they are irrelevant to India's democracy. They may keep persevering with their designs of reducing India to an "idea", but the people of India want their country to be a prosperous, robust nation, and not just an "idea" that catches the fancy of barren, self-styled intellectuals. India's people knew what they wanted, they got what they wanted, and I am supremely confident that our new Prime Minister will give them what he has promised.
It is most encouraging that the election statistics seem to indicate an inclusive mandate. India Today gives an analysis that the Muslims of Delhi have voted for the BJP and that "the BJP has won more than half the 87 Lok Sabha seats across the country with a high percentage of Muslim voters, with most of the gains concentrated in the politically crucial states of Uttar Pradesh and Maharashtra". After seeing the prosperity of Muslims in Gujarat, they have clearly realised the futility of the dream merchandise of the Congress, BSP and SP, and have started reposing their trust in Narendra Modi. They will see for themselves very shortly his goodwill and his efforts for their prosperity, and also realise how the Congress party and the enemies of India methodically mesmerised them with their falsehood. Most Muslims have also been kept ignorant of the fact that in the Gujarat elections of 2012, Narendra Modi secured a sizable 30% vote of the minorities. I hope this is the beginning of a process that will see even greater involvement of Muslims in the mainstream politics of India.
The repercussions of Modi's stupendous victory are rumbling across the country in so many ways. Tremors are being felt in Bihar and in UPA states like Maharashtra and Assam. But what is of utmost importance is that the NDA government must remain tremor free. Modi must constitute his Cabinet and Council of Ministers with untainted men and women of unimpeachable integrity. He will face a serious post mortem on this issue, and he must be given a completely free hand to form his government. Erstwhile kingmakers and influential BJP members had started descending upon him even before the election results were declared, not for putting India First, but for the plums that were getting irresistibly closer by the hour. I am confident Narendra Modi is fully aware of the gravity of the fact that his first test of credibility will be the composition of his Cabinet. And that those with sweetheart deals or common business interests with the UPA's scam-ridden regime, or any shadow of venality will only compromise him.
For me, the wheel has turned full circle. I have witnessed in my youth, the Independence Movement, the trauma of partition and refugee status. I saw the evolution of Independent India, the emergency and its aftermath, and the polity deteriorating to the dregs of today. I consider myself fortunate to have also witnessed the beginning of a new epoch.
Modi is what astrologers call the Gaja Kesri Yog in the horoscope of India. This paper wishes him great success in Mission India First, and taking our country to glorious heights.