This post “Psychology of a Modi hater” by @arigold reminded of a few conversations of my own with such folks in recent past with colleagues, friends and neighbours. Over past few years, I always found Modi haters to be either traditional/ex-Congress supporters who are too embarrassed now to support Congress publicly (and at times- turned AAP supporters) or folks just genetically wired to secular definitions. But, there is also a big brigade out there – which is just confused and clueless.
Below I narrate a re-creation of few such conversations.
A: OMG! This man is scary. He has made life hell with his crazy ideas.
Me: So you are troubled by demonetization. Hmmm… You shouldn’t have shunned those credit cards/smartphones.
A: No, its not about me. But my maid, driver, Press-wala, Dhobi, grocer – they are all struggling to survive.
Does Modi give a damn for the poor?
Me: Oh! So thoughtful of you! But this fig leaf is many weeks old and shriveled now. Got anything fresh?
A: Sorry, you maybe a Bhakt. But I don’t like him. The way he talks, they way he dresses, they way he speaks. WTF is this 56- inch, Munh-todd’ jawab. Such loud language doesn’t behoove a PM.
Me: So you love a PM who is mute and needs high command approval before opening his lips? What is wrong with what he has said, anyways.. Can you elaborate a bit please?
A: No! See, a PM cannot be threatening a neighbour like that. India is not a rogue nation. We can not threaten neighbours!
Me: errr… chapter, section, verse please? Which edict/psalm/rule/law says that India must silently take brutal hits and revert only by sending dossiers? Do you want a country which every Tom, Dick, Harry treats like a punching bag? Piss on and walk way! Have you even noticed how Modi single handedly changed the equations in SAARC, and for that matter across ASEAN and the rest of world for India in last 24+ months? Does respect as a nation mean anything to you?
A: Well.. I do acknowledge that he’s working hard. But more than him, I can’t stand all the others around him. He is a one-man show.
Me: Yeah… sure. One man show! Have you even seen the names in his cabinet. Parrikar has transformed defense and its spending single-handedly, after a decade long comatose. Sushma runs a lean machine even from her hospital bed. Have you taken a train since Suresh Prabhu took over railways? Do you even have a clue of how Gadkari has put infrastructure buildouts in highways/waterways on steroids in last two years? Or Piyush Goyal bringing coal/power sector back from grave to a situation of zero-coal-import in under 2 years? Or the LED revolution he has driven throughout India – in time lesser than it took you to decide how and when to repaint your appartment? Or voluntary elimination of LPG subsidy, end of urea leakages, unprecedented expansion of LPG cover to BPL families, expansion of banking network, financial inclusion and zillion other things done by his team in last 2 years?
A: yes! His ministers are work hard too. Doing lots. But, what about those saffron guys? That Sadhavi or VHP guys. Why can’t Modi shut them up?
Me: Sure. Modi can shut everyone up. Muzzle everyone, jail everyone. You and me too. And you would be the first one to cry “Fascism”, “Modi is a dictator”, “Where is free speech” Remember that drama? Or is free speech only for folks in studios’ and wine drinkers at IIC?
A: Whatever! I can not support BJP. I am an army-kid. I have been brought up in a secular environment. I can not support a party that talks of Hindutva and such stuff. That’s communal and divisive. India cannot be ruled like this (not kidding! this army-kid thing. This is a real argument by a colleague!)
Me: Your blinkers are too coloured and conditioned- its pointless elaborating to you what Hindutva means or how secularism has been abused in India. Or how communal laws have been bleeding Hindus and Hindus alone. Be it RTE, ownership of temples and rituals or vote bank politics in general. But hey- Divisive? Only Modi-effect I have seen so far is unification of most bitter enemies… Nitish allied with Lalu, Mamata pally with Communists now. Kejriwal may even adopt Shiela Dixit as Godmother anytime now. If any, Modi has proven to be a great unifier. Only thing I see is – Modi slogging endlessly with a vision and a mission. For over two years, umpteen milestones & initiatives and not a speck of doubt or charge on him. Just relentless execution!
A: Well, I agree he is honest. He is working extremely hard too… But sorry, I can not vote for him. I am secular.
But, anyways – my vote should not matter! Most folks I see around me support him! Its ok for me not to. He will win anyways!
Me: Really? Do you even understand how the electoral maths works in India? And what makes you think ‘everyone else’ supports him. There are quite many educated seculars like you out there. In 2014, a mere 30% odd voted for Modi. At least 60% did not for his alliance. It is just a matter of time and Bihar/ Delhi like alliances, arithmetic and smart arithmetic/transfer of votes for the remainder to kick him out. And that will give you back the great miserable mess we have had for seven decades.
A: Whatever you say. Anyone but Modi! India must think beyond just one man.
Me: Actually, you are right. India is too big and great to just follow one man. You opened my eyes! I am ready to support a party/leader other than Modi – for PM in 2019. Heck! It late already. We must begin campaign/support for him/her right away. Tell me who? Who is the leader you deem ready/fit to lead India in 2019? Enlighten me!
A: Hmmm. Errrr. Well! Shucks! OMG! I forgot. I am late for my next meeting. Bye!