Modi Chasing a Mirage!

This impression has certainly been created by the excessive importance, Prime Minister Narendra Modi accorded to the International Yoga Day. He did succeed in attracting global attention and also dominating the media. At the same time, it is time he gave some importance to far how long can such cosmetic and news-making moves help him politically and electorally. Does he expect to gain in the next parliamentary elections on the strength of the importance he has accorded to yoga and similar such moves?

There is no denying that Modi appears to have an uncanny command over dominating media as and when it suits his interest. This is indeed strange despite him also being known for keeping a distance from media. At the same time, Modi cannot ignore the fact that Indian as well as international media do not take long to come out strongly in criticism of political gimmicks being indulged by him and others of his team. This implies that yoga and similar such moves can help Modi stay in limelight only for a short period.

As Modi has completed a year in office, the time has come for media as well as people to start questioning on how beneficial his government has been towards common Indians. Certainly, Modi entered the national stage armed with great promises for one and all. But, has he really succeeded in delivering them? Here, it may be said that a year is too short a time to expect Modi to live up to all the promises he made. In this context, it cannot be ignored that he won the Indian electorate’s vote primarily because of his tall promises and the “secular” mask he had donned during campaigning for Lok Sabha elections.

Sadly, over the past year, Modi’s “secular” mask does not appear to be as “secular” as it was when he took oath as prime minister. Not surprisingly, questions are being raised in most circles about his remaining quiet regarding saffron brigade’s drive directed towards the saffronisation of the Indian education. What does Modi’s silence indicate? Certainly, noise about saffronising Indian education would not have been made by saffron brigade activists and steps may not have begun in this direction without a green signal from Modi.

Modi, apparently is still guided by the fact that he needs to be primarily concerned only about promoting a good image of his while promoting the RSS agenda. And in this direction, he seems extra concerned about his dresses, hair-style, beard and also occasional interaction with members from minority communities. The last in his opinion is apparently essential to retain at least some credentials of his “secular” image. Yet, Modi appears to have given minimal importance to the fact that his secularism is bound to be questioned in relation to each and every communal activity indulged in by saffron brigade activists. This includes saffronisation of education and communal tension being triggered in several areas.

What may be a “good” and “secular” image of Mr Modi, from his own angle, carries little relevance for secular Indians, including minorities, if they find it paying no heed to the communal designs of the saffron brigade. In fact, Modi’s quiet approach towards the saffron brigade may also be interpreted as a sign of his encouraging them to go ahead with whatever their communal agenda is while he is in command. Perhaps, Modi has lost track of the fact that in today’s communication era, his moves are being constantly watched by public and media. To a degree, public can wait for his economic promises to mature. However, the public is least likely to remain unconscious of the communal activities of those linked with his saffron brigade.

It cannot be forgotten that even before Modi completed his first year in office as prime minister, his “secular” face had begun being questioned by voters. Against their posing questions, the much talked about Modi-wave failed to have any impact. It was not without any reason that BJP performed miserably in the Delhi assembly elections held earlier this year. That was a crucial signal of the Delhi voters caring little for the so-called Modi-wave. Rather, they voted against it and BJP, owing to the communal tension triggered in several parts of Delhi by the saffron brigade activists. The Delhi electorate thus announced their verdict. The Modi-wave and his secular mask carried little appeal for them if it proved to be of no help in checking the communal drive of saffron brigade activists.

True, now and then Modi has declared his commitment to abide by the principles of Indian Constitution, the preamble of which defines India as a secular state. But his silence towards his saffron brigade’s communal activities repeatedly raises the question as to whether he is governing the country or is he more concerned about promoting their agenda? It is time that Modi seriously reflected on the political damages being inflicted on his “secular” image by the communal drive of those linked with saffron brigade. If he waits till next parliamentary elections to display his being extra-concerned about his so-called “secular” image, which seems a mirage at present, it may be just too late by then!    

This article appeared in The Milli Gazette print issue of 1-15 July 2015 on page no. 11

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