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Lionising patel

LIONISING A PATEL By Prem Chandran Chief Minister Narendra Modi has grown in stature with the RSS-BJP combine nominating him .....

: Oct 2012
: Adur, Kerala, India
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By Prem Chandran

Chief Minister Narendra Modi has grown in stature with the RSS-BJP combine nominating him as the prime ministerial candidate in the run-up to the General Elections. Good enough. But, it is a moot point whether he has mentally equipped himself to don the role; the latest example of his suspected meanness having been put on display at a function to honour former Union Home Minister Vallabhbhai Patel in Gujarat. Technically speaking, the function saw Modi as the host and Prime Minister Manmohan Singh as the chief guest. And, Modi did not let go of an opportunity to embarrass, if not tease, the PM.

To say that Patel should have been the first prime minister of the country is entirely in the realm of Modi’s personal understanding of things as it unfolded at the time of Independence. He has as much a right to hold on to his view just as many of us have the right to look at things in a different way, or more precisely to believe that Jawaharal Nehru as the first PM of independent India was perhaps among the best that could have happened to this country in its formative years. But, choosing this as an occasion not only to hold forth his view but also to embarrass the Prime Minister of the country, although indirectly, at a public function attended by a large gathering, amounted to not just being ambivalent but also to being insensitive – rather, it demonstrated how rude and crude the PM-in-Waiting can be. In the first place, it was for the Indian National Congress, which fought and won freedom for the country under the leadership of Mahatma Gandhi to decide who should head the new government -- a government which came into being as part of an agreement entered into between the departing British and the Congress Party. Modi, by no stretch of imagination, was a part of that era, or of tricolour legacy. Rather, he stood on the other side of the political spectrum as he grew up. Now, keeping a Congress PM on his front, Modi neither cared for etiquette nor for good manners, which he as a CM should have shown to a Prime Minister. His statement amounted to a taunt, and a provocation, which was uncalled for. That the statement would cause embarrassment to the PM was, and should have been, a foregone conclusion. Modi, by no means, is short on common sense.

In the minimum, Modi would do well to allow himself to grow. He need not only require to restrain his tongue but also learn to conduct himself in a more civil, if not civilized, way. In a way his weaknesses would now start showing up, as he scouts around the country and addresses public meetings. He has little of exposure at the national level; and had no go in Parliament. Being a regional chieftain or satrap is one thing; being the leader of a nation is quite different. He had little of exposure to the North, other than as a former RSS functionary, and much less in the South and the East. Modi, if anything, would need to cultivate himself to a higher level first, before he uplifts his persona for the national sweepstakes. He could also, for another, restrain himself from tom-toming about his great deeds in Gujarat, and leave it to others to make a case out of it for the BJP or even for himself.

For argument’s sake, it can be admitted that Sardar Patel would have had his strong points to being the Prime Minister of the country. It was his resolute stands that made annexation of Goa and Hyderabad into the Indian Union possible; Nehru’s dove image and peaceful pursuits would have proved dangerous for India and it is anybody’s guess as to what the scenario would have been if Hyderabad was allowed to remain as an adjunct of Pakistan. It was for nothing that Patel came to be known as the Iron Man. He had in him the grit and determination. But, Nehru had the vision, that carried India forward in the right direction; but for him India might not have had its giant dams and steel factories which laid the strong foundation for both agriculture and industry in this country. We as a nation should rather be thankful to both Nehru and Patel for having shaped India this way. What we are looking forward now is what a Narendra Modi has to offer to this country and its people by way of shaping our destiny for the better part of the 21st Century; and not to look back and find fault.

To say that a Nehru, an Indira Gandhi or Rajiv Gandhi had done good for this country is not necessarily to subscribe to the dynastic tendencies that were injected into the political process in the years that followed Jawahar Lal Nehru’s exit. That Nehru was a party to making his daughter the Congress President, thereby concentrating power and influence of both governance of this country as also the leadership of the country’s main political entity of that time, cannot be lost sight of. Yet, Nehru’s untimely death left a vacuum, which was filled by a Lal Bahadur Shastri, and not Indira Gandhi. She came from behind when Shastri too had a sudden death, and the sycophants in the Congress party, who flourished under the Nehru-Indira days, made sure they foisted the dynasty rule over this country if only for their personal gains. Indira Gandhi turned the Indian National Congress into Indira Congress, and the past four decades were one of foisting the Nehru family legacy over the country in multiple ways; so much so, every welfare programme started in this country with the money from the public exchequer has the Nehru or Indira stamp on it; and the obsession has reached such a vulgar proposition that Indian democracy is mostly turned into a dynasty rule, the periodic elections being just another excuse for a family to foist its unholy hold over the nation and the people, and urged on by a big brigade of self-seeking sycophants that form the central pillar of the party.

It is in this context that Narendra Modi came in as a breath of fresh air; a man who rose from the lower rungs of the society and proved his qualities of leadership in impressive ways in one state. His grit and determination may have shades of Sardar Patel in them, but here now is the time that he should grow and live up to the expectations of the people at large, not just of the RSS nikkerwallahs who, had they been having the right frame of mind, would have had the privilege of enjoying the confidence of the country’s vast Hindu community. Winning such confidence would require for them to have better exposure to the outside world, rather than holding views like ‘rapes happen only in India (cities) and not in Bharat (villages)’ and not limit themselves to the uniformed fundamentalist life in centrally located Nagpur. Hinduism is more about openness; it was for nothing that Indian sages of the Hindu variety held out the dictum, Vasudaiva Kudumbakam (World as one family), to the wider world. In the minimum, Modi need not have to be in a combative mood at all times. Raking up the Patel legacy is one thing; and teasing a chief guest is quite another.

Last edited by Premchandran; 10-31-2013 at 09:11 PM
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