Understanding the NaMo Phenomenon
Its increasingly clear that instead of unrestrained triumphalism and exultation at SC Verdict, Narendra Damodardas Modi is planning to seize this moment of judicial ‘vindication’ to invent an unique political template and build a new reconciliatory narrative that seamlessly blends his unique formula of exceptional governance and delivery of public services with a conscious cultivation of mellowed down public persona. Why is“NaMo”, as Modi is fondly called by his legion of admirers, so hugely popular despite an incessant vilification campaign? Is it just personal incorruptibility or Gujarat's economic achievements under his stewardship?. This is an attempt to understand Modi’s persona, popularity and his seminal role in changing the political contours of this country, by challenging status quoists and in establishing new benchmarks of performance. Hyperbolic as it might sound it is pertinent to ask this question-is he India’s destiny deliverer who will indeed prove a catalyst and harbinger of a new renaissance?
NaMo’s Early Life
Born in a backward class Ganchi family belonging to Vadnagar, an historical place in Mehsana district of Gujarat, Modi received his sanskar of service from his mother at an early age. His mother, an expert in traditional medicine used to provide medical help to citizens of Vadnagar. Young NaMo, by all acounts, used to help his mother in arrangements and managing the crowd. This early exposure to sanskara shaped the service oriented thought process of NaMo throughout his life. He participated in several service activities as a student and later as a RSS pracharak. NaMo is ofte quoted as saying “Kuch ban ne ka mat socho, kuch karneka socho(Don’t aspire to be something, aspire to do something)”. This perhaps is his way of emphasizing conviction in service oriented lifestyle.
NaMo was introduced to RSS in Vadnagar early in his life. It appears that he was heavily influenced by Swami Vivekananda. After high school he even went on a journey of spiritual exploration for couple of years after which he got involved with RSS in Gujarat. His participation in JP movement and his raise in RSS at state level and later in BJP is well documented. I don’t want to go in detail on his raise in Gujarat BJP except that he did played crucial role in organizing Advani’s Rath Yatra and helped party capturing power for the first time in Gujarat in 1995.
NaMo’s Political evolution
NaMo, courtesy his Sangh schooling and modest background, could easily transform himself in to an earthy politician with ears on ground and an ability to effortlessly communicate with masses in their simple idioms. In his long career of public service he brilliantly mastered in engaging all sections of society.
The first time his name heard outside Gujarat was during a rebellion orchestrated by Shankersinh Vaghela. This episode was a huge blow to BJP'S credibility as a party with a difference. It was alleged by the Vaghela faction that NaMo’s alleged super CM behavior was central to that rebellion. Because of that episode ordinary BJP sympathizers had no great impression on NaMo puzzled as they were on how a hardcore RSS guy be root cause for disciplinary breach?. Modi was then moved away from Gujarat to centre. This eventually turned out to be a blessing.
In the central party hierarchy, he was given an influential position of general secretary and the turning point came when he was made the national spokesperson during 1999 elections, That was the first time many political observers got a glimpse of vintage Modi – his responses to probing questions pointed to a person of extraordinary political wisdom with deep rooted understanding of middle India and ability to abstract and articulate complex issues in an clinical manner. One wishes that BJP has a record of those press conferences.
Subsequently after a superlative performance at national level, he was again moved to Gujarat this time as CM, despite never having contested an election in his life and as someone with no financial or political support by virtue of his birth or caste. This is quite a testimony to his abilities.
2002 Riots- Agni Pariksha
Enough information is in public domain on the riots of 2002. I would like to focus on NaMo’s response. While critics might contest it, enough evidence is available to conclude that Modi largely adhered to Raja dharma during those calamitous days and did perhaps what he could in his capacity as CM to contain them. While its possible to argue that administration could have initially responded with more alacrity given the state of dismal policing infrastructure and riot control mechanism, its difficult to envisage any government could have controlled riots instantly when such huge mobs are on streets. I personally heard then Ahmedabad Commissioner P.C. Pande explaining on TV how police were outnumbered by huge mobs and despite charged atmosphere riots were controlled in shortest possible time in Indian history.
We may be belaboring the obvious but no other political personality has been subject to such a vicious, virulent vilification like Modi has been. Modi has been relentlessly subject to campaign of calumny by the well-funded and organized 'cottage industry' that sprung up post Gujarat riots .The 'industry' has been a windfall for professional protestors and other assorted collection of humans fancifully described as civil right activists, media professionals, eminent intellectuals, grassroots activists, progressive filmmakers, social scientist, concerned citizens etc. The agenda of the likes of Teesta, amply rewarded by the UPA Government, was to exploit the communal fault lines and fester the wounds already inflicted on the divided communities by the riots
How could NaMo withstand such an unprecedented vicious attack? Another person would have easily broken down given the viciousness attack. His response to one of the questions posed by an interviewer gave a glimpse of his state of mind and conviction. When asked whether he can withstand this crisis, Modi responded “you may believe in Goebbels propaganda, but I am raised in a culture that proclaims Satyameva Jayathe (Truth alone Triumphs"). This response explains what the man is and from where he draws sustenance and inspiration from. He proved his leadership mettle and emerged with flying colors decimating his opponents in electoral arena of Gujarat. That an small town pracharak could single handedly taken on and punctured the ego of the powerful secular brigade is something for which he has never been forgiven. Secular mafia, as one seasoned observer so aptly called them, has never experienced such a humiliation in history from a usually docile native nationalist leadership. He proved right in his faith in truth with latest Supreme Court verdict on SIT report that exposed consistent Goebbels propaganda by secular mafia over the last decade.
CM of Gujarat – modernizer with dharmic ethos
I won’t go into political challenges NaMo faced after 2002 victory, but would discuss ideas he implemented with great degree of success. Everybody knows and acknowledges rapid stride Gujarat made in all areas of development under NaMo. Ideologues in RSS mould has a certain view on economic and social life derived from ancient Indian teachings and ethos. They tend strongly subscribe to the ideas of sustainable development, self sufficiency and Antyodaya. Given his hardcore Sangh background everybody, it was assumed that NaMo to follow 100% swadeshi line in the sense he would not engage with any foreign MNC or big corporates. But he actively conducted investment summits to attract FDI as well as domestic investment.
Did he deviate fromSangh's ideological puritanism build on commitment to swadeshi economics ? Answer is no. A closer look at his policies reveal that he is genuinely striving to help the last man by following Antyodaya philosophy. His engagement with the world is strategic as well as beneficial. India needs to engage world for knowledge sharing, security to achieve parity with the world, while simultaneously protecting strategic and vital areas in economy and defense. His emphasis on rural productivity, renewable energy, mission mangalam and decentralization will automatically achieve the goals of swadeshi. Swadeshi lies at his heart; he is a modernizer with dharmic ethos
India is destined to follow the governance path innovated NaMo even if he doesn't politically progress to occupy higher position. He has created a model and blue print for Indian national renaissance. For the first time after a long time India is witnessing an embodiment of spirit of chanakya and chandra gupta together in NaMo. He symbolizes true kshatriya spirit. Secular brigade is more aware of his potential than his admirers. An inspiration to millions of nationalists, NaMo is destined to change the course of India for better.
A humble request to BJP & RSS,please support NaMo by all means. I know they are averse to personality centric politics, but a personality that embodies cultural nationalism is required to take the message across the population. It can’t do that just by organizational strength in a billion population. Destiny brought up this man, It’s striking at your door, will the BJP/RSS listen?