Lately a lot has been said and written about the prime ministerial candidate of BJP, Mr. Narendra Modi. I have been one of those countless Indians caught in the pendulum that oscillates between hatred and hope that this man conjures in our hearts. I've read countless articles. Why is he good, why is he bad, why is he scary, why is he the right person to lead India etc etc.
I am all for a fantastic PM for India. I want to vote to ensure this happens. I don't want to be one of those trillions of Indians who sit in one corner brooding 'Iss desh ka kuch nahee hoga' and yet have no solutions to offer. I have seen Ahmedabad transform over the years, since I keep visiting the place every year and have studied there for a good 15 months. Roads across Gujarat cannot be compared to those in Maharashtra. Flawlessly good and pothole free. The BRTS bus system has changed the way the Amdavadis commute. Industrialists who face protests elsewhere always find a plan B in Gujarat knowing fully well that Narendra Modi's government will cut the crap and give them what they want at affordable rates. He has worked tirelessly to win the confidence of the state post the Godhra riots. The only people who unfailingly stand by Mr. Modi apart from the rest, are the people of his own state. Yes, this, even after Godhra riots. Imagine the kind of confidence, turnaround of faith and trust that man commanded. You have to give it to him.
This is one part. But I can't deny there is a certain fear associated with him. That comes with the Hindutva tag attached to him. We Mumbaikars know that fear. The same reason why we have never voted Shiv Sena back to power ever since the 1993 riots, never mind the countless failures of Congress/NCP in our state. It is the fear of causing polarisation of religion. In India, which is an extremely religiously sensitive country, where tolerance is a must for democracy to survive, this fear in many cases forms the cloud that overshadows the rainbow of development. And you know what is extremely surprising and shocking! It's the way people defend Modi. I have been a witness to this. 'Unko chup karane ki zaroorat thi.' 'If they behaved like that, we needed to give it back to them'. 'He's got them under his thumb now. And that's why we are happy.'.. it's not uncommon to hear such casual and seemingly obvious statements from people around. Well, let me put it this way. These are comments by Indians about Indians. And tell me, is Pakistan still a bigger worry for you?
My fear is not just Modi, my fear is this arrogant confidence that he inspires within many.. the confidence of 'He knows how to shut them up.' I am sorry, but that confidence has the potential to tear this nation apart and it scares me to no end. I believe Modi has made no efforts to hide his inching towards Hindutva ideology. There was a phase where I was enjoying hearing him, was admiring him.. all this till he made a statement on Hindutva and someone close to him made a statement on 'rebuilding ayodhya'. That droused all my support for him. Oh and here too there are many people who say 'So what's wrong with Hindutva? It is our origin and this is a Hindu nation'. That's like Raj Thackray saying 'Mumbaikar belongs to Maharashtrians'. Really?? India belongs to all it's citizens.. at least Rabindranath Tagore ensured we embibe that by wording the national anthem in a beautiful way.. And yet... we want to go for Modi.. Hindutva... Ayodhya.. 1990s all over again. Kisine sahee kaha hai. History repeats. All I can say is.. All the best India.