First Language Analytical Writing
— Saloni Kamat, March 25, 2014
Response to Text: Analysing Chetan Bhagat’s Article
United States was stumped by it. The Modi effect is so intriguing that the U.S. banned the Chief minister from reaching the U.S. shores. U.K., Germany and other European nations realized the miscalculation nine years later and corrected it promptly. For U.S., it was too little, too late. The possibility of Modi ascending to the premiership of India in 50 days is looming large. Mr. Chetan Bhagat, the celebrated author, has tried to demystify such an enigmatic phenomenon and unravel the Modi mystery by elucidating elegantly and candidly some significant facets in his article in ‘The Times of India’ titled, ‘Analysing the Modi effect’. The article unfolds ideas, both minute and complex, pertaining to Modi’s transformation from ‘Pariah’ to probable Prime Minister. The finer strands he has missed can be discerned by a nationalist heart.
Bhagat has fittingly ascribed to Modi extreme attributes such as ‘fascinating’, ‘controversial’, and ‘pariah’. Love him, or hate him, but you cannot ignore him. The brigade that loathes him, abused him, hounded him through CBI cases, and even weakened his security hoping for the worst. Individuals like Teesta Setalvad, financed by the ruling party, made careers based on Modi baiting, ‘screaming’ against his concocted failures and ‘looking for holes in the most pathetic places’ while ignoring Modi’s spectacular achievements. Bhagat has aptly termed such ventures as ‘a new industry’. The result? Modi took center stage; he ‘thrived’. ‘Criticism is Modi’s polish…’ Castigation and vituperation are his tonic. The transformation is complete when the ‘elusive allies send accommodating feelers’. He is a leader of hope.
Bhagat has meticulously picked up Modi’s ‘Hindutva stance, development agenda, ability to manage expectations, personality, oratory, sense of humour, practicality and his divine luck’– and succinctly analysed the impetuses that have catapulted Modi to the numero uno position in the Prime Ministerial stakes.He boldly explores the frowned-upon theme of a ‘strong sense of Hindu entitlement’. Bhagat, however, has not alluded to Modi’s tactical toning down of his proven Hindu nationalism to assuage secularists. His rhetorical questions to Hindus while bombs were exploding during his Patna rally– “Do you want to fight Muslims or poverty?”(and vice versa) – was a masterstroke. All his perceived downsides are working to his advantage. Can his state cabinet members dissent? Yes, as long as they are on Modi’s side.However, the Indians love a tough Prime Minister. The ruling party members are breast beating that it is a one-man show. However, It is a one-man show versus no show. And the one-man show is working.
Bhagat’s quest to comprehend the characteristics of the engine propelling Modi’s unstoppable juggernaut is not just academic, for as he rightly points out that while it would give BJP, which ‘is not home yet’, an insight to enhance its engine torque,the ‘opposition’ can learn a trick or two to put a spoke in its wheel, instead of ineptly helping it to gather momentum. Curiously, Bhagat has almost cast the ruling party in the role of an ‘opposition’. For the first time, someone outside the ruling party has attained the pole position and everyone else is trying to stop him.
Bhagat feels it would also ‘give us insights about who we are as Indians.’ The insight Bhagat may gain is a common perception of the gullible Indians about ourselves, content in drawing the veil of self-defeating feigned righteousness, assiduously cultivated by the ruling elite through the media to perpetuate their rule for eons and to ensure that the Indians would not embrace the genius of Modi till their ship has sunk to the bottom of the ocean. Any other self-respecting country would have entrusted Modi to unleash his prowess to uplift the nation long ago and the riveting episode Bhagat has analysed would not have existed at all.
Also, Bhagat has missed an obvious rationale for the swelling of Modi’s unprecedented support in the recent months. Until Modi came on stage, there was a huge advantage waiting to be plucked: the ruling party’s looting spree leading to miseries overwhelming the common man. However, BJP could not articulate it, resulting in ‘opinion poll’ headlines like ‘Congress in retreat, but no BJP gains’.Modi unveiled the self-defeating righteousness and drilled down this fact into the minds of simple citizens with sagaciously designed extempore speeches. On the other hand, he voiced his robust performance, practical solutions and amazing vision on governance, economic resurgence and every issue under the sky in a fluent flow of a ‘Guru’. A perception grew: ‘Modi knows it all. He can do it all. He will do it all.’ The tide turned.
On the whole, Bhagat has captured the essence of a myriad of complex factors efficiently. The real reason behind Modi’s ascendancy, though, is: Modi knows it all.